What we want to do?
Realizing the value and importance of creating awareness about the Holocausts and Genocide of Muslims, the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada (ISCC) requests all the Muslim organizations and communities to organize and coordinate the following activities.
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said that all Muslims are like a body. When any part of a body suffers, the entire body suffers. I believe that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is true but if we look around the world, the above mentioned scenario seems to be untrue. It is not that the Hadith is wrong but in fact, it is due to the fact that we are not the kind of Muslims that Prophet (Peace be upon him) referred in this Hadith.
The massacres of Muslims have taken place in the past and it is taking place today. But it seems that the people in the western world do not know much about these sufferings. Therefore, there is a need to create awareness about the suffering of Muslims. It is critical that our non-Muslim friends and neighbours know the truth about Muslim sufferings. We just need to communicate with our Christian, Jewish and other friends in their language and terminology. I am sure they will understand but Muslims have to take the first step. Creating awareness about the sufferings of Muslims does not and should not undermine the sufferings of the victims of the Jewish Holocaust of Word War II. In fact, our efforts should bring people together due to the fact that we all have suffered from the hands of oppressors. Let’s review few Holocausts and Genocide of Muslims around the world.
- Palestine: The Muslim community of Palestine has been struggling for their survival and freedom for almost a century. The Palestinian community was struggling for their homeland long before the creation of Israel. They were expecting to have their homeland when the British leave the area but when British left the area they created Israel not Palestine. There can be several arguments for this. Some may say that due to disunity among Palestinian and chaos amongnegbouring Arab countries, Palestine was not created. Nevertheless, whatever the reasons were, we do not have Palestinian state today and people are suffering. After the creation of Israel, the extremists not only captured the homes and lands of poor Palestinians but they also denied them the right of existence in their own homeland. Since 1948 the calamities on Palestinian people have increased instead of decreasing. There is no doubt in my mind that the Jewish community suffered a lot during world war II from the hands of Nazis and almost six million Jews were killed in that Holocaust. However, all these calamities ended on the Jewish people when the allied forces got victory. The Jewish community was liberated with the help from USA and allied forces.
On the other side, the Palestinians have been struggling alone against a power (Israel + USA + worldwide allied countries) which is 1000 times more resourceful than the Palestinians. Palestinians have no support from their own Arab brothers. Palestinians have no support from the Muslims of the world. Palestinians get lip service from the Arab and Muslim world. Apparently, we do not see any end to these calamities on the Palestinians in the near future. So far, more than a million Palestinians have been killed and millions of them have been made refugees in refugee camps. The Israeli forces have converted Palestinian homes and areas into refugee camps.
- Chechnya: The Muslim community of Chechnya has been struggling for their survival and freedom for almost a century. During early 1900s the Russian forces illegally occupied Chechan land and later Russian government annexed it and made it part of Russia against the will of Chechans. The severity of Russian oppression on Chechnya is so grave that the Russian government looted all the resources of Chechnya such as oil, coal and other minerals and built the European part of Russia while denied the Chechan Muslims any part of their own wealth. Chechnya is one of the least developed areas of Russian Federation.
After the collapse of Soviet Union Chechnya announced its independence from Russia. Since then, the Russian forces have carried out the Genocide and Holocaust of Chechan Muslims. Thousands of Muslims have been killed. Buildings have been destroyed. The entire infrastructure of Chechnya has been collapsed. Women have been publicly raped. Their brothers, fathers and husbands have been mutilated in front of them. Just like Palestinians Chechans got no help from the governments of Muslim countries except the lip service. The western governments are the most hypocrites. On one side they want to resolve the Chechnya issue peacefully but on the other side they are providing all the support and the resources to Russian Military to crush the Chechan Muslims.
- Kashmir: The Muslims of Kashmir have been struggling for their freedom for the last two centuries. For the first 145 years they fought the war against the British rule along with the people of India. Finally, when the people of India succeeded in getting independence from Britain in 1947, the Kashmiri Muslims thought that they would also be independent from the rule of non-Muslims. When the British left India, the country was divided into countries. The Muslim majority areas of India became independent country called Pakistan and the remaining Hindu dominated areas became a separate country called India. According to the agreed upon formula of division Muslim dominated areas should have joined Pakistan but the departing British rulers divided the border in such a way that it became very easy for India to annex this beautiful and full of resources land of Muslims into India.
After the independence, Pakistan fought a war in early fifties and captured some of the area of Kashmir. But this did not help in reducing the miseries of the Muslims of Kashmir. For the past 55 years India is systematically changing the demographics of Kashmir. Thousands of Muslims have been killed. The Indian forces have carried out the Genocide of Muslims in Kashmir openly and deliberately. There is no house in Indian held Kashmir where at least one or more family members have not been killed by the Indian army. Every Muslim home is under a siege. Women’s have been raped. Children have been kidnapped or killed. Muslims are forced to leave Kashmir. For every Muslim house in Kashmir there are three Indian soldiers.
Again, Kashmiri Muslims have no help from any Muslim government. They are fighting against an enemy who is 100 times more resourceful and powerful. The west has completely closed its eyes on Kashmir. The Genocide continues in Kashmir and apparently no one cares.
- Bosnia and Kossovo: The conflict in Bosnia Herzgovina and Kossovo is fresh in our memories. The largest Holocaust and Genocide in the recent history of Europe after the Holocaust of Word War II was created against the Muslims of Bosnia and Kossovo. More than half million Muslims were killed, Almost all the adult male population of Bosnia and Kossovo was sent into concentration camps. Women and children were not only tortured and raped but they were forced to kill their own relatives with their own hands. Millions of Muslims were made refugees to take shelter around the world.
This genocide and Holocaust took place while the European and America forces were there. They saw it, and pretended, as they were helpless. The United Nations forces, which included Europeans and Americans, supposed to protect the safe heavens for Bosnian Muslims but they failed and thousands of Muslims were slaughtered in front of them. Imagine a hypothetical situation, if instead of Bosnian Muslims few hundred American would have been slaughtered by the Serbs, would the UN forces just had watched it helplessly like they watched the slaughter of Bosnian Muslims? Off course, not. The Holocaust of Bosnian and Kossovar Muslims was carried out by a conspiracy of eliminating Muslims from Europe. That conspiracy failed. Otherwise, the plan was to remove any chances of a Muslim state in Europe.
The situation in Bosnia Herzgovina, Kossovo and Macedonia has been temporarily settled. This is all artificial, because the problem has not been resolved permanently. The conditions under which Muslims are living are not very much different from the conditions that started the conflict in first place. BosniaHerzgvina is still divided on the ethnic lines. There are pockets of each community and they do not talk to each other. Any small incident can flare up the old wounds and situation will go back to mid 1990s situation. In Kossovo and Macedonia the situation is similar. Both Kossovo and Macedonia are divided on ethnic lines. Forcing the people to live together while they do not want to live together will not solve the problem permanently. To solve the problem permanently Kossovo must get its freedom and Macedonia should be divided into autonomous regions.
- Muslim States in Russian Federation: The history of Muslims in the present Russian Federation goes back to several centuries. But during the past two centuries the Russian forces have occupied most of the Muslim states, which used to surround Russia. Even after the fall of Soviet Union, there are still many Muslim states, which have been illegally annexed into Russia. Chechnya is one of them. Ingushetia, Kergyzia, Ossetia, Turkamania and many other states in Siberia are all Muslim states which have been annexed into Russian Federation against the will of the people of these lands. If a fair and open referendum is held today and people given a chance to vote without any fear of persecution, many Muslim states will choose to breakout from the Russian Federation. The reason is very clear. Since the annexation of these Muslim States into Russia, the Russian governments have been using and exporting the resources of these Muslim states to develop and flourish the regions around Moscow and leaving these areas undeveloped and backward. The Muslims of these states and regions do not even have access to basic human needs such as education, drinking water, transportation, health care, etc.…
The Muslim population of these states has any power. The puppets in the parliament represent them. Since Muslims of these states do not have access to education, therefore, they are not well educated which creates a huge vacuum for the leadership of these Muslims. The standard of living of these poor Muslims is worse while their regions are the wealthiest in Russian Federation for their natural and mineral resources.
- Muslims in China: There are more than 50 million Muslims live in China. The ancient record of the Tang Dynasty describes a landmark visit to China bySaad ibn Abi Waqqas (May Allah be pleased with him), one of the companions of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in 650 A.D. The Chinese emperor Yung-Wei respected the teachings of Islam and considered it to be compatible with the teachings of Confucius. To show his admiration for Islam, the emperor approved the establishment of China’s first mosque at Ch’ang-an. That mosque still stands today after fourteen centuries. Anti-Muslim sentiments took root in China during the Ch’ing Dynasty (1644 – 1911 A.D.), which was established by Manchus who were a minority in China. Muslims in Chinanumber more than 50 million, according to unofficial counts. They represent ten distinct ethnic groups. The largest are the Chinese Hui, who comprise over half of China’s Muslim population. The largest of Turkic groups are the Uygurs who are most populous in the province of Xinjiang, where they were once an overwhelming majority. This overwhelming majority of Muslims has slowly been reduced but still Muslims are in majority.
The reduction in Muslim population has been drastic during the communist regime of China. So far all the communist governments have seen Muslims as threat and they have killed more than half million Muslims during the communist party rule. The ethnic cleansing of Muslims is continuously going on in Chinafor the last fifty years. Muslims can not worship openly. The areas of Muslim majority have been kept undeveloped and when a Muslim wants to improve his / her standard of living he /she has no choice but to leave the area. When he / she arrives in the developed areas of China they are no more allowed to practice their religion openly.
Today, the entire western world cries for the hard time faced by the followers of Falun Gong movement but no one cries on the genocide of Chinese Muslims. Whenever, the Western governments talk about the human rights issues in China they always mention Falun Gong and Christians. At least, I have never heard any western leader mentioning the Muslims of China. The most unfortunate situation with the Chinese Muslims is that the Muslim countries themselves do not want to talk about them because of the good relations between Chinese government and the Muslims countries. At least the other oppressed Muslims get little lip service from Muslim governments and Chinese Muslims do not even get that.
- Cambodian Muslims: When the civil war in Cambodia took place during Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime, millions of Cambodians were sentenced to death. Among those millions of Cambodians, thousands of Muslims were also murdered. Mosques and Islamic schools were destroyed. Many Islamic institutions were closed. Muslims were forced to step on the Holy Qur’an and eat pig which is against their religious beliefs. The genocide of Cambodian Muslims was not even considered worth mentioning in the media including media in the Muslim world.
There are many other countries where Muslims are not allowed to identify themselves as Muslims and practice their religion with freedom. If they try to practice their religion, they become victims of hatred and oppression or face genocide. The oppression of Muslims by the Muslims is also on the rise. Muslims are not allowed to practice Islam in many Muslim countries such as Turkey, Algeria, Tajikistan, Uzbukistan, Qazakistan, Azerbaijan, etc. In many Muslim countries Muslims are not allowed to democratically elect their own government. Most of the Muslim governments are secular and are symbol of oppression
It began with Khader Adnan’s sudden and bold declaration: “My dignity is more important than my life.”
And with that he refused food for the next 66 days. With each day he persisted, more and more people around the world were riveted to this man’s brave confrontation of Israel’s draconian policy of administrative detention. But perhaps more significantly, Palestinians from all political parties – as well as no political party – united and rallied together in support of this man and against Israel’s unfair treatment of Palestinian prisoners.
Now, Hana al-Shalabi approaches the completion of her third week on hunger strike. Like Adnan, Shalabi, 29, is protesting administrative detention, torture and humiliation at the hands of Israeli soldiers.
Hundreds of Palestinians join hunger strike
These individuals represent not just the 300 Palestinians currently in administrative detention, or the over 5,000 Palestinians still in Israeli prisons. They exemplify and speak for all Palestinians in a way that no politician or political party has been able to do for a long time.
The authorities of the West Bank and Gaza Strip have been simultaneously vying for power while nominally trying to “reconcile” the occupied land’s divisions. Meanwhile, Adnan and Shalabi have galvanised Palestinian support across party lines.
“She really makes me want to join the revolution again,” said one young man, a former fighter in the Al-Aqsa Brigade, who is now working for the Palestinian Authority’s security forces.
Shalabi began her strike as soon as she was detained by Israeli forces on February 16. She was already well-acquainted with the cruelty of administrative detention, which allows Israel to hold Palestinians indefinitely without charge or evidence. Shalabi had recently spent over two years under that status and was released last October in the prisoner swap deal between Hamas and Israel.
The PA’s ability to convince the population of its legitimacy is at an all-time low. Contrary to the fantasies spun about the West Bank’s prosperity, people in Palestine are destitute. The cost of living has never been higher: gas, electricity and food prices have skyrocketed, and food insecurity among the population is estimated at 40 per cent.
On top of that, a cash-strapped government – with over $1bn in debt and unfulfilled loans – is speaking of raising taxes and slashing more services. The dissatisfaction with the PA’s performance has ignited protests in all West Bank cities and prompted even some Fatah supporters to speak of it being time to dissolve the PA.
In Gaza, the state of affairs is even grimmer, due to the six-year siege imposed on the coastal enclave. An acute power crisis threatens a “collapse of essential services”. Hospitals are close to running out of the necessary power to operate, the amount of available drinking water has dropped by 60 per cent and food prices are surging.
Over the past six months, PA President Mahmoud Abbas and the Hamas government have had their moments of glory. President Abbas generated short-lived exhilaration when he took his bid for statehood to the United Nations last September and Hamas was highly praised when it secured the release of over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners released in exchange for Israeli corporal-turned-sergeant Gilad Shalit.
But these political manoeuvres are intended and only serve to defend politicians’ positions and spheres of power in the midst of an internecine conflict over control, rather than mobilise a national resistance movement.
In the meantime, Israel has quietly escalated its colonisation and tightened its control over occupied Palestinian territories. In February alone, 380 Palestinians were arrested, 158 individuals were displaced and 825 olive trees were uprooted by Israeli forces. Those numbers do not even speak to the significant uptick in vandalism and attacks by settlers and the deaths and injuries suffered by Gazans from continued aerial bombardments.
The status quo in Palestine is becoming less bearable for more people and the current leadership has proven unable or unwilling to challenge it. But then again, Israel is not the only power at risk of losing its relevance.
As Mourad Jadallah, a legal researcher with Addameer, a prisoners’ rights organisation in Ramallah, told Asa Winstanly in an interview: “Why did the Palestinian media and the Palestinian Authority ignore Khader Adnan and his hunger strike? Because he’s [affiliated with] Islamic Jihad? Or because he’s taking the memory back to the days when the prisoners were leading the national resistance?”
Khader Adnan and Hana al Shalabi have reinvigorated resistance and raised the long-flagging morale of people on the streets. This is a dramatic testament to the adage that change can only come from below – so maybe it’s time we stop looking to the top.
Tom Friedman had an especially fatuous column in Sunday’s New York Times, which is saying something given his well-established capacity for smug self-assurance. According to Friedman, the big challenge we face in the Arab and Islamic world is “the Narrative” — his patronizing term for Muslim views about America’s supposedly negative role in the region. If Muslims weren’t so irrational, he thinks, they would recognize that “U.S. foreign policy has been largely dedicated to rescuing Muslims or trying to help free them from tyranny.” He concedes that we made a few mistakes here and there (such as at Abu Ghraib), but the real problem is all those anti-American fairy tales that Muslims tell each other to avoid taking responsibility for their own actions.
I heard a different take on this subject at a recent conference on U.S. relations with the Islamic world. In addition to hearing a diverse set of views from different Islamic countries, one of the other participants (a prominent English journalist) put it quite simply. “If the United States wants to improve its image in the Islamic world,” he said, “it should stop killing Muslims.”
Now I don’t think the issue is quite that simple, but the comment got me thinking: How many Muslims has the United States killed in the past thirty years, and how many Americans have been killed by Muslims? Coming up with a precise answer to this question is probably impossible, but it is also not necessary, because the rough numbers are so clearly lopsided.
Here’s my back-of-the-envelope analysis, based on estimates deliberately chosen to favor the United States. Specifically, I have taken the low estimates of Muslim fatalities, along with much more reliable figures for U.S. deaths.
To repeat: I have deliberately selected “low-end” estimates for Muslim fatalities, so these figures present the “best case” for the United States. Even so, the United States has killed nearly 30 Muslims for every American lost. The real ratio is probably much higher, and a reasonable upper bound for Muslim fatalities (based mostly on higher estimates of “excess deaths” in Iraq due to the sanctions regime and the post-2003 occupation) is well over one million, equivalent to over 100 Muslim fatalities for every American lost.
Figures like these should be used with caution, of course, and several obvious caveats apply. To begin with, the United States is not solely responsible for some of those fatalities, most notably in the case of the “excess deaths” attributable to the U.N. sanctions regime against Iraq. Saddam Hussein clearly deserves much of the blame for these “excess deaths,” insofar as he could have complied with Security Council resolutions and gotten the sanctions lifted or used the “oil for food” problem properly. Nonetheless, the fact remains that the United States (and the other SC members) knew that keeping the sanctions in place would cause tens of thousands of innocent people to die and we went ahead anyway.
Similarly, the United States is not solely to blame for the sectarian violence that engulfed Iraq after the 2003 invasion. U.S. forces killed many Iraqis, to be sure, but plenty of Shiites, Kurds, Sunnis, and foreign infiltrators were pulling triggers and planting bombs too. Yet it is still the case that the United States invaded a country that had not attacked us, dismantled its regime, and took hardly any precautions to prevent the (predictable) outbreak of violence. Having uncapped the volcano, we are hardly blameless, and that goes for pundits like Friedman who enthusiastically endorsed the original invasion.
Third, the fact that people died as a result of certain U.S. actions does not by itself mean that those policy decisions were wrong. I’m a realist, and I accept the unfortunate fact that international politics is a rough business and sometimes innocent people die as a result of actions that may in fact be justifiable. For example, I don’t think it was wrong to expel Iraq from Kuwait in 1991 or to topple the Taliban in 2001. Nor do I think it was wrong to try to catch Bin Laden — even though people died in the attempt — and I would support similar efforts to capture him today even if it placed more people at risk. In other words, a full assessment of U.S. policy would have to weigh these regrettable costs against the alleged benefits to the United States itself or the international community as a whole.
Yet if you really want to know “why they hate us,” the numbers presented above cannot be ignored. Even if we view these figures with skepticism and discount the numbers a lot, the fact remains that the United States has killed a very large number of Arab or Muslim individuals over the past three decades. Even though we had just cause and the right intentions in some cases (as in the first Gulf War), our actions were indefensible (maybe even criminal) in others.
It is also striking to observe that virtually all of the Muslim deaths were the direct or indirect consequence of official U.S. government policy. By contrast, most of the Americans killed by Muslims were the victims of non-state terrorist groups such as al Qaeda or the insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. Americans should also bear in mind that the figures reported above omit the Arabs and Muslims killed by Israel in Lebanon, Gaza, and the West Bank. Given our generous and unconditional support for Israel’s policy towards the Arab world in general and the Palestinians in particular, Muslims rightly hold us partly responsible for those victims too.
Contrary to what Friedman thinks, our real problem isn’t a fictitious Muslim “narrative” about America’s role in the region; it is mostly the actual things we have been doing in recent years. To say that in no way justifies anti-American terrorism or absolves other societies of responsibility for their own mistakes or misdeeds. But the self-righteousness on display in Friedman’s op-ed isn’t just simplistic; it is actively harmful. Why? Because whitewashing our own misconduct makes it harder for Americans to figure out why their country is so unpopular and makes us less likely to consider different (and more effective) approaches.
Some degree of anti-Americanism may reflect ideology, distorted history, or a foreign government’s attempt to shift blame onto others (a practice that all governments indulge in), but a lot of it is the inevitable result of policies that the American people have supported in the past. When you kill tens of thousands of people in other countries — and sometimes for no good reason — you shouldn’t be surprised when people in those countries are enraged by this behavior and interested in revenge. After all, how did we react after September 11?