By Abid Mustafa
Whenever western governments mention weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and Muslims in the same breath, the western media immediately breaks into wild frenzy warning its people that a catastrophic event of epic proportions is about to unfold.
Old European fables of Muslims spreading Islam by the sword are reinvented to convey the impression that Muslims are extremely dangerous, highly irresponsible and pay scant regard to human life. Hence the mantra of disarming Muslim countries of WMD has become the rallying cry of the West directed against the Muslim world.
In some cases the arguments are extended to justify the West’s ongoing policy of regime change in Syria, Iran and perhaps Pakistan. However, a close study of Islamic rule in the past contradicts the popular western myth that Muslims are bloodthirsty people anxious to wipe out the rest of mankind in the name of Islam.
The same however, cannot be said about the West. The West armed with its secular doctrine and materialistic world-view proceeded to exploit, plunder and colonise vast populations in order to control resources and maximise wealth.
In pursuit of these newfound riches the West succeeded in destroying civilisation such as the Incas, American Indians, Aztecs, and Aborigines. Those who survived colonisation were forcibly converted to Christianity, stripped of their heritage and sold into bondage to western companies. For the indigenous people of Africa, India, Asia, Middle East and others, the promises of freedom quickly evaporated and were replaced by colonial rule. Rather than show remorse towards such atrocities the West could only gloat at its achievements.
Technologies such as cannons, pistols, steam engines, machine guns, aeroplanes, mustard gas etc only hastened the acquisition of colonies and the exploitation of its people. Resistance offered by the natives towards their colonial masters was met by brute force – often resulting in the destruction of entire communities. When the West was not destroying the natives they were too busy annihilating each other in a desperate bid to cling on to their precious colonies. World Wars I and II are prime examples of the destructive nature of western values.
This is a description of the Old World where countries like England, France, and Germany built empires and accumulated immense wealth on the death and destruction of millions of innocent people. Is the New World (America leading the West) any different today?
Take the example of the New World and its relationship with Afghanistan and Iraq. Liberation has become occupation; democracy has given way to colonial rule, devastation is termed as precision bombing and the slaughter of innocent Muslims is described as collateral damage. Meanwhile, American and British oil companies are queuing up to exploit the oil wells of Iraq and transport the energy reserves of the Caspian Sea to Europe via Afghanistan.
The Islamic Khilafah in the past never treated mankind in such a barbaric fashion. Neither did the Khilafah spread Islam by force nor destroy civilisations. When Islam spread to Egypt, many Coptic Christians did not embrace Islam and today they still number approximately 7 million. Likewise, when India was opened up to Islam the inhabitants were not coerced into accepting Islam. India today has a population of more than 750 million Hindus.
Compare this to extermination of Muslim and Jews in the courts of the Spanish Inquisitors during the much-coveted European renaissance. Those Jews that survived this Spanish holocaust, were warmly welcomed by the Ottoman Caliphate. In Islamic Spain they flourished and became important members of the Islamic society.
Today the world has more to fear from the destructive nature of western values than WMD. In the past these values were enforced upon nations either through direct colonial rule or through tyrannical regimes loyal to the West. Presently, the greatest danger-facing mankind is the constant threat of the West imposing its values on the rest of the world through WMD.
-Abid Mustafa is a political commentator who specialises in Muslim Affairs. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com