AGGRESSION ON IRAQ AS AN EMOTIONAL EXPERIENCE FOR MUSLIMS
By Dr. Ahmad Shafaat
The American attack on Iraq created in me and many other Muslims
almost every type of emotion – sadness, anger, hope, faith,
and a desire to act frustrated by a feeling of helplessness.
Sadness was felt for those thousands of Iraqi
children, women and men who were either killed or crippled for life.
Everyone has heard of the example of the twelve-year old boy who
lost both his parents and both his arms, but there are hundreds
of similarly tragic stories that the media simply did not have time
to cover, especially in the USA and Britain where governmental propaganda
and other more “important” issues of war took priority.
Anger was felt at the fact that the mightiest
and wealthiest country in history first imposed a dictator on a
small country, then weakened and impoverished it by sanctions and
weakly air raids for more than a decade and then without any valid
reason and in disregard of the international law and world public
opinion attacked and devastated it. A seemingly quick end to the
war, although seen by some as a vindication of Bush-Blair aggression,
in reality only proves that Iraq posed no real threat to the USA
or Britain and hence that the war was a violation of international
There was anger also at the fact that the Anglo-American
invaders were quick to secure the oil fields but did nothing to
safeguard the museums and libraries containing priceless artefacts
and books, hundreds and even thousands of years old.
There was anger because there is promise that
Iraq will be democratic, but when the question arises, what if the
Iraqis choose to become an Islamic state, many Americans talk of
preventing such an eventuality.
There was also anger at Muslims themselves. Why
for the past few centuries have we been so inactive and devoid of
foresight that while nations around us were moving from strength
to strength, we have been moving from weakness to weakness, as a
result of which other countries keep attacking us? And why did we
allow traitors to become our rulers and kings who would sell Islamic
and Muslim interests to maintain their rule and who would often
help the Americans and the British -- by making their lands, sea
ports, and airspaces, and sometimes even money available to them
-- to attack any Muslim country that will not appease the imperialists?
Finally, there was anger at those Iraqis who seemed
to welcome the Anglo-American invaders and waving the foreign flags.
It is not blameworthy that Iraqis should feel relief at the fall
of a dictatorial regime, but to welcome the invaders is as shameless
as to accept dictators, especially invaders from those countries
who have been responsible for the death and disease of hundreds
of thousands of Iraqi children through sanctions.
Along with feelings of sadness and anger, there was also feeling
Hope was felt because a vast majority of Iraqis
did not welcome Anglo-American invaders any more than they accepted
Saddam. Tens of thousands demonstrated saying “No to America,
no to Saddam”. They instead wanted Islam. The British and
the Americans have used these demonstrations to their advantage
by saying that they are a manifestation of the freedom that the
Iraqis now have. What they will not say is that there is another
infinitely better alternative to bloody, expensive, and illegal
wars for promoting democracy in the world: do not support the dictators.
But I doubt very much that the Americans and the British will learn
this lesson. Indeed, I venture to predict that other Arab dictatorial
regimes, far from being next targets for change, are now safer than
ever before because the Americans and the British have seen what
comes out when you remove a dictator from a Muslim country: dreaded
religion of Islam.
Hope was felt also because humanity demonstrated
that it has at least as much potential for good as for evil. It
not only produced the war mongers in Washington and London, but
also protestors for peace and good sense, even in Washington and
London. From east to west tens of millions came out to call on the
Americans and the British governments to stop their crazy war machines
and respect the international law. And as the common people opposed
war, so did some of the governments that traditionally go along
with whatever the USA says: France, Germany, Russia, and even Canada.
I also felt some hope at the thought that just
as centuries ago the Mongols, after devastating Baghdad became Muslims,
the time may not be too far when the “modern day Mongols”
will also submit to the message of God. The present world order
rests on very weak foundations. The United Nations may have a reasonable
charter but it cannot improve or enforce it and the mighty nations
have just reinforced in a powerful way the principle that might
is right. The world needs a strong international order built on
justice and rule of law. To this end it needs the message of the
Accompanying hope, I felt feelings of faith arising
in my heart. A little sober reflection showed me the power and wisdom
of God at work in the recent Iraqi affair. I was God creating a
collision between a hard-headed national dictatorship and an equally
hard-headed international dictatorship in order to provide means
for the destruction of both. The dictatorship of Saddam has of course
already fallen. The international Anglo-American global dictatorship
has also sowed the seeds of its own fall by acting in defiance of
the international law and of the will of almost the whole of humanity.
These seeds must come to fruition at the appointed time set by God.
This working of the power of God is visible in another way. Remember
the Islamic revolution, about two decades ago? Saddam was prompted
by the Americans and their allies among the Arab dictators to attack
Iran in order to defeat the revolution or at least to stop it at
the Iranian borders. The Arab rulers provided or promised money
and the Americans helped him acquire weapons including chemical
weapons – yes the same weapons of mass destruction that seemingly
lie behind the latest aggression against Iraq. War did not go well
for Iraq until the use of chemical weapons that Saddam acquired
with American knowledge and help. After the death and maiming of
millions of people Iranian advance was halted and Saddam was saved.
But now by the hands of the same Americans and Arab rulers for whom
Saddam once fought against Islam God has brought him down and the
Islamic revolution may have finally crossed the borders where it
was once meant to be stopped. Such is the amazing working of the
power and wisdom of God.
Another emotion experienced by Muslims is desire to do
something. This emotion was, however, frustrated by a feeling
of helplessness. Our rulers, who derive their strength
from outside, have not left the people with avenues for any actions
aimed at defending our lands, culture and religion and as a result
desire to act does not get channelled in meaningful directions.
But it is of paramount importance that we overcome this feeling
of helplessness and create our own avenues of constructive action.
Such action should be of two types: 1) action that makes Islam and
Muslims stronger, e.g. helping those Muslims who need help, pursuing
knowledge and research in all fields etc; 2) action to oppose the
Anglo-American hegemony through peaceful political means.
This second type of action is required even if the Americans and
the British fulfill their promise of creating a democratic Iraq.
Hegemony is wrong in itself even if once in a while it does some
good. Indeed, even the greatest evil can have some very good consequences.
For example, for the West the worst example of evil is probably
Hitler. But Hitler’s actions expedited the development of
science and freedom for Asian and African countries from colonial
It should also be remembered that if the Americans will move to
real freedom for the Iraqi people, it would be only because the
war was fiercely opposed by the rest of us and because they are
still under a close scrutiny by the world , so that they have a
real need to justify their actions before the international community.
This opposition and scrutiny should continue with undiminished vigor
if some good results of an evil aggression are to be ensured.
Note: This article is copyright to © Dr. Ahmad Shafaat.
It may be reproduced for da'wa purpose without making any changes.
1Saddam is Bush as a national
dictator; Bush is Saddam as an international dictator. The only
difference between the two is that since the world is much larger
than Iraq, Bush’s global power is more limited than was Saddam’s
power within Iraq. True, Bush has been chosen by a certain percentage
of the Americans, a very tiny fraction of the world population upon
whom he imposes his will. But Saddam also had the loyalty of a fraction
of the population of Iraq whom he rules by decree. In fact, the
percentage of Iraqis supporting Saddam was probably much higher
than the percentage of the world population supporting Bush.
This is shown by the example of Afghanistan which is not moving
towards freedom and democracy.