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Whipping up a twenty-first century crusade
Enayet Rasul

First, there was the publication of the Satanic Verses in the eighties by Salman Rushdie-- a gross slander of the Holy Koran that shocked and angered the world's Muslims like never before. It was followed by similar attempts by relatively small timers one of whom, unfortunately, included the ill famous Taslima Nasreen of Bangladesh. In both cases, the two became celebrities in the West for their vilification of Islam and the literary, aesthetic or any other true value of their works, if any, were hardly questioned.
Then, in 1993 came the famous article in the renowned Foreign Affairs magazine by Professor Huttington in 1993 in which was stressed the cultural distinctiveness of the Judea-Christian world and the Islamic one and the inevitability of a clash between them. The thesis introduced in the Foreign Affairs was fine tuned and formed the subject matter of a book published by him in 1996 called : The Clash of Civilization - Remaking the World Order.
Without analysis of the book's intrinsic merit, it was too ardently received by powerful quarters in Western countries that matter. It was incorporated as a theory of International Relations in the text books of US and European universities. The academic acceptance of the earlier theories of International Relations took many years of rigorous debates and analysis to determine whether these would truly merit incorporation in university text books. The glaring exception or the great hurry to embrace Huttington's clash of civilization theory, therefore, could not but help arouse suspicion . Why the exceptional haste in making legitimate and respected a half baked theory with such determination ? Later events provided a clue. The Huttington theory was adopted by a section of the establishments in Western countries and advocated as a serious intellectual proposition to explain and understand the world order that emerged following the collapse of monolithic communism and its spent drive at world domination.
In the eyes of the upholder of Huttington's clash of civilization theory, the void created by the disappearance of communism as an ideological force, would now be filled by another attempt at ideological conquest of the world from another source meaning the threat to world order from Islamic countries and their unique civilization. Therefore, it was contended that the West had to protect itself from revolutionary Islam in the same manner it saved itself from revolutionary communism.
There is no need to explain the very great shortcomings of the theory. First of all, except Iran and for a while Afghanistan, no other countries from among the 46 Muslim countries posed any revolutionary threats to the world order and militant Islamists were nowhere near to taking over the reins of power in these far greater number of the Muslim countries in the world. This scene has hardly changed from the nineties. Furthermore, the Iranian Islamic clerical regime has mellowed a great deal and it is doubtful whether it is so keen to export its Islamic revolutionary ideals to other countries. The fall of the Taleban regime in Afghanistan has also excluded that country from the list of countries the West could be anxious for having conditions to plan easily from there terrorist attacks against Western targets. But despite the non-existence of these conditions on the whole in the Islamic world as depicted in the clash of civilization theory, all kinds of uncalled for provocative actions are noted in the West to artificially create or promote conditions of conflict with the Islamic countries. This, then, raises the question whether there is a grand design behind the wings in the West to engineer conditions for a justification of the theory when objectively nothing much of substance exists in reality to substantiate it.
No other conclusion can be drawn about the appearance of satirical cartoons of Prophet Mohammad (SM) in a Danish newspaper recently. The hurt sentiments of the world's Muslims from this vile activity should have been earnestly understood in that country and in the West in general. If they were sincere to arrest further ill developments from this incident, they would take care to stop its repetition and apologise to the Muslims. Instead, they appear to be engaged in pouring salts in the wounds by republishing these cartoons again and again which suggest that restraint and understanding is furthest from their minds.
The Islamphobia and deliberate encouraging of blasphemous activities in the West are like clear provocations designed expressly to rouse the world's Muslims in indignation against the West. In other words, there is a method in the madness. It seems squarely aimed to create conditions for a stand-off between the West and the Islamic countries when none existed prior to the provocations.
The thirteen satirical cartons of the Prophet of Islam that appeared in the Danish paper, Jyllands Posten, are completely devoid of any decency or sensibility. One of them shows the Prophet with a bomb in his turban with its fuse lit, an allusion that Islam and its Prophet are terrorists and warlike. Another seeks to make a link between the Prophet and carnal desire. The provocations are enough to create deep rage among Muslims across the world and bring anti-Western passions to a boil.
Perhaps this is exactly what the grand strategists want. The Satanic Verses and clash of civilization theory were only preludes to setting the stage for an artificially created confrontation with the Islamic world for their interventionism. The demolition of the Twin Towers in New York in September 2001 provided the perfect excuse for invading Afghanistan. But leaked intelligence reports showed that the fate of the Twin Towers was known in advance and the forewarned ones avoided going there on the fateful day. Next came the invasion and occupation of Iraq on the falsely played up allegation of Iraq having weapons of mass destructions (WMDs). Iraq with the third biggest supply of oil reserves in the world is now under the occupation of the United States and its European and Japanese allies which have great dependency on oil. Now, a criticial phase is being reached in the West's confrontation with Iran. The likelihood is growing of invasion of that country, too, on the rather lame excuse that it is trying to build nuclear armaments. But Iran has the second biggest oil reserve in the world and grabbing it is the main objective and not nuclear arms since the potential invaders know it well that Iran is not making them , according to even honest analysts in the West. And it helps to create a confrontation climate, to encourage jingoism about imminent terrorist threats from Islamic countries, before one more of them is attempted for conquest to satisfy the thirst for oil.