By Dr. Haider Mehdi
Basir Khan, 45, a robust Pathan from Northern Pakistan, is an activist – in fact, a faith-oriented activist. With little formal education, Basir Khan commands a vast business network spread over several countries, a Pathan community-organized enterprise, and makes a great deal of money. He spends a large amount of his earnings on organizing co-faith believers on a regular basis and entertains his guests with traditional Pathan hospitality.
Basir Khan and his congregation have a simple no-nonsense approach to orthodox traditional “faith”: God, absolute adherence to Allah’s commandments, and infinity in the life hereafter immortalized in good human deeds. They are all conceptually convinced of their view and the arguments they advance are quite convincing – Pathans, Afghans, Iraqis and Muslims in general had nothing to do with 9/11. They are equally adamant that 9/11 was an inside job carried out by the CIA-Mossad to create a pretext for the military occupation of Afghanistan, Iraq and the political occupation of Pakistan and the Central Asian Islamic nations. The purpose: to control the rich natural resources of these countries and expand traditional Western-US imperialism and hegemony. And yet, Basir Khan and his associates firmly believe that Pathans in Pakistan and Afghans will eventually prevail against the “Western infidels,” come what may – no matter how many more US-NATO troops, drone attacks, civilian massacres, political deceits, bribing and destruction is carried out against their countries.
On a personal level, I might have several theological disagreements with people of Basir Khan’s religious persuasion. But on another level of national political discourse, I know perfectly well that it’s the Pakistani Pathans and their unfailing “faith”, self-assurance, steadfastness, honesty, community organization skills, unbending self-righteous belief in their “cause” and an absolute determination to confront the “occupiers” that are the vital factors that will ensure Pakistan’s future existence . Pathans are as Pakistani as anyone can be – and even more so. They have been in the forefront of Pakistan’s ideological, political and territorial defense and will continue to be so unless Pakistan’s ruling and political elite – obsessed with their blind self interests, super egos, power-grabbing, political control and dependence on the US-West for their continued political life – turn these “faithful Pakistanis” into a lethal anti-nationalist force. The Pakistani ruling elite has done that in the past in the then East Pakistan and are doing it again in Baluchistan and against Pathans in Northern Pakistan.
Look at the prevailing political phenomena in Pakistan from the “faithful’s” perspective: whereas they consider the US-NATO policies of deliberately orchestrated “Clash of Civilizations” against Islamic nations as a global agenda (as the majority of Pakistanis believe), the Pakistani ruling establishment has not even acknowledged the American-NATO military-political presence as a “possible threat” to the country’s sovereignty and its territorial integrity. In fact, the ruling elite has owned the American-West’s so-called “war on terror” as Pakistan’s war. In the process, they have covertly sanctioned the US “drone attacks” against their own citizens and, as a consequence, created unprecedented (hitherto non-existent) internal terrorism, suicide bombings and civil war-like national chaos, crises and political instability. How long can this madness continue?
Imran Khan, the sole voice of reason, political rationality and nationalist vision has time and again called for engaging political “dissidents” in the North with political expediency rather than with military force. But the Pakistani ruling elite, both military generals in the past and traditional politicians in political power now, are simply pawns in the hands of US-West’s political establishments who can move them when and how they wish.
Imagine the “faithfuls’” fury in the recent US “Quran burning” episode. Perhaps it was one of those US political establishment’s planned theatrics, a horribly staged political drama. In the past, it was the communists, and now it’s the “Islamists” who are coming to take over their blessed lives and country. The US political establishment never ceases to manipulate the fear and insecurity of the American people and keeps plunging them into “a black hole of war.” How ignorant, how deceptive, how awfully manipulative is this continued political charade!
The American hate-mongers have associated the Cordoba mosque near Ground Zero as a Muslim attack on “Western culture” and view it through the prism of their ignorance of historical realities. They equate it with the Christian-Muslim wars of domination in medieval Spain. The American public is as much misinformed about the Cordoba mosque rationale as they were about the Communist and Socialist ideologies in terms of their humanistic perspective and values. The Americans react with the same ignorance, fury and insecurity towards the Islamic ideology – they are the unfortunate victims of their own political-corporate establishment propaganda.
Little do Americans know (they are kept in the dark by political strategists of the American empire) that 10th century Islamic Cordoba was an embodiment of religious tolerance, cultural sophistication, political liberty and liberal multinational politics. Muslims in historical Cordoba gifted the world with such liberal political and religious thought and practice that the 21st century America and the West cannot even conceive.
Liberal Jewish Rabbi Bruce Warshal wrote in a recent article on the Cordoba mosque project near Ground Zero, “The caliph, Abdul Rahman III, had a Jew as his foreign minister and a Greek bishop in his diplomatic corps. He also had a library of 400,000 volumes at a time when the largest library in Christian Europe numbered merely 400 manuscripts. There were also 70 other smaller libraries in Cordoba. The very reference to Cordoba reflects the sophistication and liberality of the Muslims behind this project. They have changed the name of the center to the address of the building, Park 51, to deflect criticism. This was unfortunate since nothing will quiet a hate-monger.”
Contrary to this religious tolerance and liberal political thought, consider a few examples: the blasphemous cartoons in Denmark, the French hate campaign and legislation against Muslim women’s dress code, the British-German -US blatant racism against Muslims under the pretext of integration and free speech, etc.
It’s unfortunate, but in fact true that the majority of Americans and a large segment of conservative Western Europeans, are trained “hate mongers” indoctrinated by those in service of the US-West’s “corporate empire” seeking endless control of the global political arena. This 21st century hysteria against Muslims comes from the George W. Bush and Tony Blair era where global politics turned into a war against Islam and Islamic nations. Obviously, both Bush and Blair still have their supporters in neo-conservative segments of Western society.
Indeed, Rabbi Warshal was dead right when he said, “The impetus comes from a triumvirate of right-wing Christians, Jews and politicians. Fundamentalist Christians are still fighting the crusades, still vying to convert the world to their truths.” In the process, they have unleashed a war of terror and destruction against the Islamic people. And yet, fundamentalist Christianity will not succeed in its crusade against Islam, nor will the West succeed in ruling the world for their corporate interests and profits at the expense of other nations and their people.
“Future historians will be amazed at the utter stupidity of the US government. Rather than end bias in the Middle East policy (and against Muslims), American officials keep their nation in the black hole of war, fear, hate and bankruptcy,” said Paul Findley, former US Congress member.
Pakistan is lucky to have “faithfuls” like Basir Khan, for they are the ones that will guarantee our national existence and survival against the American-Western “hate mongers’” madness! And madness it is, isn’t it?