Dr. Muzaffar Iqbal

Rolled into one category of bigotry, brute power, duplicity and hypocrisy, the United States of America, Britain, France, and Germany together form the nexus of power which now rules the Muslim world through a neo-colonial setup which remains little studied and far less understood. This neo-colonial structure is pervasive; in fact, one cannot even begin to enumerate and identify the far-reaching impact of this cobweb of power with its ultimate center in Washington DC.

To be sure, there is a certain amount of diffusion of this power and each of these four countries has a certain degree of independence in their foreign policy, but when it comes to dealing with the Muslim world, they work in unison: they collude, cooperate, and attack. If anyone has any doubt about it, the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq should be a sufficient proof. Now, even the so-called prime source, the Iraqi defector who was used as the main proof of the alleged secret biological weapons program of Saddam Hussein has admitted that he lied. Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, codenamed Curveball by German and American intelligence officials, has confessed: he cooked up the whole story. But it is not conceivable that the Americans and Germans were so gullible as to believe on face value what Rafid said. They simply used him, just as he used them to get money and asylum and together they brought death and destruction to millions of Iraqis.

The leadership of the neo-colonial quartet has many common characteristics not the least of which is that they all show utter contempt for Muslims, their faith, beliefs and practices if one can see behind their sweet words. This is the same power mafia which has kept alive hordes of dictators in the Muslim world for decades and these are also the people who change colors overnight: one day Hosni Mubarak is a friend, even a sage ruling Egypt with wisdom, the other day, he must go to make room for the next selected person who would be king.

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The neo-colonial setup is based on the same basic policy which had allowed France, Germany, and Britain to rule a very large part of the world during the classical era of colonization. The building block of this system are the local traitors, memorably codified by Iqbal in his Javed Nama through two arch-traitors—Mir Jafar of Bengal and Mir Sadiq of Decca—who were instrumental in the defeat and death of Nawab Siraj-Ud-Daulah of Bengal and Tipu Sultan of Mysore respectively. They delivered their country to the shackles of slavery. There is no shortage of Mir Jafars and Mir Sadiqs in the Muslim world. These men and now women, are willing to sell their nations to the foreigners for their own benefit.

The entire edifice of neo-colonialism rests on this foundation. With their enormous wealth, bigotry, and sheer brute power, the neo-colonizer quartet is able to buy Mir Jafars and Mir Sadiqs everywhere. This has produced small ruling cliques in lands as far apart as Yemen and Morocco. These chosen and selected people act as surrogate rulers for the Western quartet. In a way, this structure is an outgrowth of the colonial era; the only major difference is that now also military serves as a base from which the rulers of the Muslim world are drawn by the quartet.

Like some lower biological species hooked on to a Darwinian survival mechanism, the quartet has learned new adaptation techniques. Unlike the nineteenth century, neo-colonizers of the Muslim world now do not insist on direct rule and they do not put all their eggs in one basket; rather, they work with multiple—and often mutually opposing—local warlords and political groups, but always keeping their own interest in focus. Thus, they can pitch a Pervez Musharraf and a Zardari on the field, just as they can do the same for a Sulaiman and Mubarak. But in the end, all serve their interests.

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There is, however, a new factor which has recently emerged in the Muslim world. The neo-colonial edifice of proxy rule is becoming increasingly difficult because masses are awakening and beginning to understand what is happening to them. Thus, as general public becomes more aware of the nature of this heinous game, the lifetime of local proxy rulers is shortening. It is fruitful to understand how this change is taking place for therein lie the hope that neo-colonialism will one day fail.

The change now underway all over the world has—as its driving force—a small group of intelligent people who are able to tell masses what is going on. In certain Muslim countries, there is an additional factor—judiciary—but for all practical purposes, this is still a nascent factor which has not yet made its impact on the overall equation. For all practical purposes, the change is being driven by intellectuals, young men and women who simply refuse to live with terror and fear, and honest and brave journalists who have carved out a major role for themselves through electronic media which does not require reading ability which is still lacking in vast areas of the Muslim world. This new force—young men and women, intellectuals and journalists—has no power base; it is the sheer will of these people and their intelligence that is the real power which is threatening neo-colonialism of the Western quartet.

The challenge posed by this new force to proxy rulers has made life very difficult in the Muslim world. There is constant strife and struggle. The ruling cliques, which are not necessary from them (they just look like them), are pitched against their own people. These men and women, who ape their masters in everything they do are thoroughly corrupt and they can only stay in power with the blessings of the Western quartet and in turn, they serve the interests of these powers. This marriage of convenience is evident all over the Muslim world and requires no more proof than the recent events in Egypt which are bound to yield nothing substantial as one brute dictator will simply be replaced with a new set up which will guarantee continuation of neo-colonialism, albeit in a new disguise.

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Muzaffar Iqbal is the founder-president of Center for Islam and Science (www.cis-ca.org), Canada, and editor of

Islam & Science, a semi-annual journal of Islamic perspectives on science and civilization. He received his Ph.D. in chemistry (University of Saskatchewan, Canada, 1983), and then left the field of experimental science to fully devote himself to study Islam, its spiritual, intellectual and scientific traditions.

Born in Lahore, Pakistan, he has lived in Canada since 1979. He has held academic and research positions at University of Saskatchewan (1979-1984), University of Wisconsin-Madison (1984-85), and McGill University (1986). During 1990-1999, he pursued his research and study on various aspects of Islam in Pakistan, where he also worked as Director, Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH) between 1991-96 and as Director, Pakistan Academy of Sciences (1998-99).

During 1999-2001, Dr. Iqbal was Program Director (Muslim World) for the Science-Religion Course Program of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (CTNS), Berkeley, USA.

Dr. Iqbal has published books and papers on  the relationship between Islam and science, Islam and the West, the contemporary situation of Muslims, and the history of Islamic science.

His publications include Islam and ScienceGod, Life and the Cosmos: Christian and Islamic Perspectives Science and IslamDawn in Madinah: A Pilgrim’s Passage , The Making of Islamic Science (IBT, 2009) and a few more titles.

He is the General Editor of the forthcoming seven-volume Integrated Encyclopedia of the Qur’an, the first English language reference work on the Qur’an based on fourteen centuries of Muslim reflection and scholarship. He is a regular contributor to Opinion Maker.