The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Architects of War

Thursday, 20 April 2006
by Abid Ullah Jan
"So, what is consuming the world: the acknowledged terrorism of Muslims or the unacknowledged terrorism of the United States and its allies? This brings us to the point that the endless tirades about Muslim terrorism are directed at holding Muslims from exercising their right to self-determination. Anything in the name of Khilafah in particular becomes part of the struggle towards this end and is instantly criminalized. "
"The war into which we have plunged in Iraq and Afghanistan, then is a civil-religious war to decide who shall rule the Islamic world."

-- Patrick J. Buchanan[121]


It is hard to believe, but personalities driven by religious motives and apocalyptic visions have greatly influenced the United States’ foreign policy towards the Muslim world. After invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, there is strong existing and emerging evidence that supports this view.

Mark Miller writes in his book, Cruel and Unusual, that it would be comforting to see Bush’s words and deeds “as a case of individual mania, which reasonable people—Christian and non-Christian—might shrug off.” Unfortunately, the issue of religious war is not limited to Bush alone.

"…this is no laughing matter, as Bush is not alone in his apocalyptic frame of mind, but aided and abetted very powerfully. Having variously seized our nation’s government, the GOP also pursues ‘religious war.’"[122]

Apocalyptic thinking—especially in the Christian Right—joins other factors influencing United States policy towards Muslim countries, such as controlling global oil sources, assisting corporate-driven globalization, militaristic imperialism, and more. Why focus on this one factor? Because the Christian Right is a powerful force and the Evangelical movement is shaping politics, academia, media and culture in the United States, and they are the largest voting bloc in the Republican Party, so they can expect politicians to pay attention to their interests.[123]

On the one hand, the anti-Islam agenda of these forces is well known and on the other, George Bush takes his born-again religion seriously. The way he applies religion to the political decisions has been discussed widely.[124] That is why we need to understand the link between the Evangelical movement, the apocalyptic thinking shared by military, media and political leaders, and their role in making a war on Afghanistan.

According to history professor Paul S. Boyer, author of When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture, religious views in the United States have “always had an enormous, if indirect and under-recognized, role [in] shaping public policy.” Boyer advises the Americans to pay attention to this hidden truth because of the “shadowy but vital way that belief in biblical prophecy is helping mold grassroots attitudes toward current United States foreign policy,” especially in the Muslim world.[125]

Evangelicals and their covert allies, for example, are having an increasing influence in shaping the United States’ foreign policy. One does not need to go through painful research to understand that Evangelicals are systematically spreading hatred against Islam in a very organized manner. The title of Laurie Goodstein’s report in the New York Times (May 27, 2003) tells it all: “Seeing Islam as ‘Evil’ Faith, Evangelicals Seek Converts.” What is considered as evil is not allowed to grow and establish itself. Elimination of evil has always been considered as legitimate. So become invasion and occupation of Afghanistan legitimate by default. The focus of Islamophobes, according to the New York Times report, is on “how to woo Muslims away from Islam.”

According to Goodstein:

"At the grass roots of evangelical Christianity, many are now absorbing the antipathy for Islam that emerged last year with the incendiary comments of ministers. The sharp language, from religious leaders like Franklin Graham, Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Jerry Vines, the former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, has drawn rebukes from Muslims and Christian groups alike. Mr. Graham called Islam ‘a very evil and wicked religion,’ and Mr. Vines called Muhammad, Islam’s founder and prophet, a ‘demon- possessed pedophile.’…The oratorical tone of these authors and lecturers varies, but they share the basic presumption that the world’s two largest religions are headed for a confrontation, with Christianity representing what is good, true and peaceful, and Islam what is evil, false and violent."[126]

The New York Times and others outlets of the so-called mainstream media have been devotedly quoting these preachers of hate.[127] The objective is not to condemn their extremism but to promote these ideas in the garb of objective analysis. If a lecture by an Evangelical preacher reaches 20 people, the New York Times makes its reports available to 1.3 million people through direct circulation;[128] not to speak of the 270,000 paid subscribers and other visitors to the 40 web sites of its sister publications, at the very least.[129]

The influence of anti-Islam elements, which shape the United States policy toward the Muslim world, is spread far and wide. A Southern Baptist magazine named Michael Horowitz one of the 10 most influential Christians of the year in 1997. The only catch: He is Jewish.
The former Reagan administration official earned the accolade, on a top-10 list with Mother Teresa and Billy Graham, for rallying American Evangelicals to the plight of persecuted Christians abroad.

The grass-roots movement Mr. Horowitz founded—inspired by the specter of Western passivity during the Holocaust—actually galvanized interest in global issues among America’s growing ranks of evangelical Christians. Their rising involvement is being felt from the pews to the White House, where Evangelicals’ influence has helped shape a series of legislative and policy moves, particularly the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Evangelicals have been gradually exposing their interest in international causes with the same moral fervor they have long brought to domestic matters. According to Peter Waldman, Staff reporter of the Wall Street Journal:
"Since 1998, they have helped win federal laws to fight religious persecution overseas, to crack down on international sex trafficking and to help resolve one of Africa’s longest and bloodiest civil wars, in southern Sudan. In so doing, evangelical groups, once among America’s staunchest isolationists, are making a mark on U.S. foreign policy. They have tipped the balance, at least for the moment, in the perennial rivalry in Washington between “realists,” who believe the U.S. has limited capacity to change the world and should not try, and “idealists,” who strive to give U.S. conduct a moral purpose."[130]

Most importantly, Evangelicals are not a marginalized group or a fringe movement. Waldman reports that a Gallup Poll shows, the Evangelicals are growing in numbers, and they are no less than 43 percent of the United States population. Interestingly, Evangelicals are playing an increasing role in the military. Department of Defense statistics show that 40 percent of active duty personnel are evangelical Christians. Sixty percent of taxpayer-funded military chaplains are evangelical. The percentage of Evangelical Christian chaplains is higher than their faith’s representation in the ranks. The military directs them not to proselytize. However, many say that would force them to deny a basic tenet of their faith.[131]

The widely available copies of The Soldier’s Bible in the United States carries at the back inspirational words from military leaders such as Lt. Gen. William Boykin who said of his battle against Osman Atto, a businessman who got rich in oil exploration before Somalia collapsed into anarchy in 1991, “I knew my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol.”[132]

American analysts such as Peter Waldman are good at tracing the history of Christian activism in America’s foreign affairs, which dates back to the early 20th century, and included strong backing among establishment Protestant churches for the foreign-policy idealism of Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

This evangelical activism did not start with the increasing American influence in the world affairs. Though driven in its early years by slave traders and other rogues, later on Evangelicals also increasingly influenced the British Empire. According to Waldman, “religion played a role in Britain’s push into the Mideast later in the 19th century,” and in today’s Washington, Evangelicals are playing the same role as “Britain’s imperial Evangelicals made common cause with the neoconservatives of their era, known as liberals.”[133]

Just like the modern day crusade in the name of democracy, the liberals’ mission was spreading representative government and free trade. David Livingstone, the famous explorer of Africa, in 1857 said, “the two pioneers of civilization, Christianity and commerce, should be inseparable.”[134] Similarly, Mr. Horowitz says, the same “tough-minded Christianity” that propelled Britain’s empire drives American Evangelicals.

As for the United States policy in Afghanistan and Iraq, Bush, himself a born-again Christian,[135] has sometimes invoked a notion of America’s latter-day manifest destiny. “I believe freedom is the almighty God’s gift to each man and woman in this world,” Mr. Bush said at many occasions, including the 2004 Republican Convention. According to Bob Woodward’s book “Plan of Attack,” Mr. Bush, when asked if he consulted his father, said, “You know, he is the wrong father to appeal to in terms of strength. There is a higher father that I appeal to.”[136]

Bruce Lincoln, a Biblical scholar, looked at Bushes speech announcing the start of military action against Afghanistan: only three of 970 words were unambiguously religious, but to the well-scripted eye, the speech had plenty of Biblical imagery and allusions from the text such as the Book of Revelation.[137]

More born-again Christians work in the Bush administration than in any other in modern history, says Richard Land, a top executive with the Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s largest Protestant church.[138] They include National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Attorney General John Ashcroft, whose denomination, the Assemblies of God, is especially active overseas.

The views of Evangelicals and neoconservatives, long aligned in some ways, did not grew more so after September 11, 2001. They are only exposed after 9/11. Spreading hatred against Islam and undermining any attempt on the part of Muslims to live by Islam has just become a norm. Democracy and religious freedom are no more fig leaves to cover the anti-Islam designs. In some Christian circles, evangelizing to Muslims acquired a higher priority. Falwell went on to launch the Moral Majority, and he currently claims that Jews and Christians are locked in a joint struggle against a violent Islam founded by the “terrorist” Muhammad.[139] LaHaye became co-author of the Left Behind series of apocalyptic novels, which portray Israel as under attack by the forces of the Antichrist.[140] “A lot of Evangelicals perceive Islam, in its militant forms, as the new antichrist,” says Mr. Marty of the University of Chicago.[141]

This is part of the apocalyptic thinking which is shaping the United States policy since the demise of Soviet Union in particular. The references to evil, liberty and Satan in the United States political and military leadership at the top level reflect the mindset that has been shaped over a period of time. Apocalyptic views in the United States—that involves the anticipation of a coming confrontation that will result in a substantial transformation of society on a global scale—have deep links to the early Christian settlers, who saw the establishment of what became the United States as a fulfillment of Biblical prophecy. They believed that the nation they were building needed to be defended against the subversive machinations of a literal Satan and his evil allies.[142]

Today, Mathew Rothschild of The Progressive dubs the current Bush administration foreign policy “messianic militarism.”[143] This tendency is not unique to the current administration but echoes the history of dualistic apocalypticism and a demonizing form of anticommunism that dominated U.S. culture for most of the 20th century.[144] When Ronald Reagan declared the Soviet Union the Evil Empire and launched a massive military buildup in the early 1980s, his actions were based on apocalyptic claims from both the Christian Right and a new movement built by hawkish cold war ex-liberals dubbed neoconservatism. Khurram Husain in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists argues that the neocon “claims were all drawn from worst-case scenarios. [they] made projections of Soviet stockpiles and built up a picture of a Soviet Union bent on dominating the world based on wild speculation.”[145]

With the collapse of communism in Europe, the United States was reframed as the defender of global civilization against the heathens in “rogue” Muslim states, where, according to the neoconservatives’ perception, terrorism still festered, women rights are abused and human rights are violated. This opponent-swap drew from an even earlier apocalyptic focus than anticommunism—a worldview extension of the earliest Christian millennial visions, which came to the United States “from the original, English-speaking heartland, itself grafted on the crusades and the voyages of discovery.”[146] With the election of George Bush in 2000, the apocalyptic predictions of neoconservative militarists garnered even more support.

Analysts in the United States believe that the 2004 elections were panned out as a choice between committed Evangelicals and committed secularists. In this contest, Evangelicals won.[147] After re-election, in his second inaugural address, Bush repeated the word “freedom” several times, once in the phrase “untamed fire of freedom” (said in the same sentence as the phrase “hope kindles hope”). This, like many other statements in his speech, is a favorite Biblical echo of American Evangelicals. They often quote the lines from the book of Jeremiah in the Bible that say, “I will kindle an unquenchable fire in the gates of Jerusalem” (Chapter 17: Verse 27) or else “I will kindle a fire in her towns that will consume all who are around her” (50: 32).

In such ways, as Matt Rothschild, Editor of The Progressive puts it, these “hidden passages” send a signal to Bush’s mass base, the Evangelicals. In one part of the speech, Bush says: “History also has a visible direction, set by liberty and the Author of Liberty.” The line directly refers to the Biblical phrases, “You killed the author of life” (Acts 3:15) and, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). As Rothschild notes, “The Author of Liberty is The Author of Life, and that author is Jesus.” Freedom, for Bush, is another way of saying Jesus, and the missionaries married the “spread of freedom” by the U.S. military with the spread of American evangelicalism.[148]

According to Kees van der Pijl, a European scholar: “Today, the missionary ideology constructed around the civilization/barbarity dichotomy must satisfy the tastes of a Western public…because every hegemonic strategy has to build on the available foundation of attitudes and dispositions in the wider population if it is to be effective.” Therefore in the current Bush administration, “the End of History/Axis of Evil line of thinking …argues that for the world to reach its definitive form in terms of civilization….[it is necessary to] neutralize the states ‘mired in history’ as potential rabble-rousers, the ‘rogue states’ beyond the pale.”[149]

Most of the Christian Right and many militarist hawks in the neoconservative movement share such a dualistic apocalyptic vision. This coalition of “messianic militarism” eclipses the power of other sectors that helped elect Bush: moderate corporate internationalists, anti-interventionist libertarians, and paleoconservatives—so named because of their allegiance to the isolationism, unilateralism, and xenophobia of the Old Right.

Wes Allison, Times staff writer, concludes that Evangelicals are dominating the United States policy in the new era and “religious conservatives have the most political power in generations.”[150] “Let’s Take America Back!” goes the current campaign of the Christian Coalition. Alan Keyes, candidate for the United States Senate in Illinois and founder of Renew America, a conservative political action group, warns, “American liberty is under internal attack as never before in our history.” According to Vijay Prashad, an Indian analyst writing for Frontline: “U.S. evangelicalism does not represent Christianity, but it does, however, represent the agenda of the Bush administration.”[151]

The White House web site carries Bush’s remarks to the National Association of Evangelicals. Bush’s words show the conviction and beliefs which underline policies of the sitting administration, at least. Touching upon the same Biblical phrases mentioned above, Bush said:

"The National Association of Evangelicals was founded 62 years ago with the highest of calling—to proclaim the Kingdom of God. Today, your organization includes 51 denominations representing some 30 million people. You’re doing God’s work with conviction and kindness, and, on behalf of our country, I thank you….America is a nation with a mission. We’re called to fight terrorism around the world, and we’re waging that fight. As freedom’s home and freedom’s defender, we are called to expand the realm of human liberty… I’m fortunate enough to be President during a time in which our country holds great influence in the world, and I feel that we must use that influence for great purpose."[152]

The United States government and the Evangelicals, neo-cons, Christian-Zionists, all share the same great purpose. The Evangelicals’ agenda is no different than any other. In his book, Mission, Myth and Money in a Multicoloured World, Jules Gomes exposes some untold facts. Gomes is a leading Indian Christian scholar, a member of the teaching faculty at one of the largest Protestant seminaries in India, the United Theological College at Bangalore. In this insightful book, Gomes describes in detail the dark and little-known world of Western Evangelicals, their association with other totalitarian groups and similarity of their agenda.

Gomes reveals that the Christian Evangelicals whom he has interacted with closely for many years see America as God’s chosen nation, capitalism as “sacrosanct,” globalization (a euphemism for American imperialism) as a “blessing,” the carpet bombing of Afghanistan as “necessary,” the war on Iraq as a “crusade” and the American flag as a “quasi-religious icon.” In short, he says, he has discovered, much to his dismay, that ‘the western church [is] replicating the imperialistic behavior of the western world’. The only difference now is, he writes, that the centre of imperialism, economic, cultural and political, has shifted from Europe to America. Today, America leads the world in sending out missionaries to other lands. In this regard, Sam George reports 2001 statistics—from Operation World , 21st century edition by Patrick Johnstone & Jason Mandryk—in Indian Missions (October-December 2004). Accordingly, America has sent out 60,200 missionaries to 220 countries. ‘Coca-Colonization’, as Gomes describes American imperialism, thus goes hand in hand with Christianization.

Gomes writes, let alone the Protestant fundamentalists, even the apparently less extreme U.S. Catholic bishops blessed the American invasion of Afghanistan. The Evangelicals are now among the most fervent supporters of the American invasion and occupation of Iraq. Impartial analysts conclude that there must be noble souls among Evangelicals as well. However, they insist that taken as a whole, the evangelical project constitutes a major menace, a thinly veiled guise for western imperialism, and a powerful threat to religious and cultural communities.[153]

The main reason for the Crusade

For American Evangelicals, the end of the Cold War provided an important opening for Christianizing the world and winning the battle against evil. For that, they have two options: the use of redemptive violence and missionary approach.

Some analysts argue that Bush and his fellow born again Christians believe in the myth of redemptive violence or messianic militarism,[154] which posits a war between good and evil, between God and Satan. For God to win, evil needs to be destroyed by God’s faithful followers.[155] And of course, Bush and his fellows see the “war on terrorism”—lately turned to war on Caliphate—as a “monumental struggle between good and evil.” On September 11, Bush told the American people, “Today, our nation saw evil.” In his State of the Union Address on January 29, 2002, he referred to an “axis of evil.”

On the missionary front, as the International Monetary Fund-induced rollback of state services proceeded in earnest, the United States government promoted “non-state” actors to do the work that the state used to do. Among these “non-state” actors, the United States administrations encouraged groups like U.S. “faith-based organizations” (including Evangelicals) to conduct social service work around the world. It is no accident that the Manila meeting took place in 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell.

The Manila meeting brought together church leaders from across the planet, and partnered them with U.S. churches. Luis Bush, head of the AD2000 & Beyond Movement, offered a concept for the new evangelism called 10/40: “The core of the unreached people of the world live in a rectangular-shaped window! Often called `The Resistant Belt’, the window extends from West Africa to East Asia, from 10 North to 40 North of the equator. If we are serious about providing a valid opportunity for every person to experience the truth and saving power of Jesus Christ, we cannot ignore the compelling reality of the 10/40 Window regions and its billions of impoverished souls.”[156]

In 1989, American Evangelicals also held the Global Consultation on World Evangelization in Singapore and created the Joshua Project. The Global Consultation aimed to organize Evangelicals to go forth into the 10/40 Window to convert the poor aggressively. As the United States government cut back on the Peace Corp and on its already modest foreign aid, it began to encourage private work, including that of missionaries. For the past few decades, the Evangelicals have been a faith-based Peace Corp. In the throes of the Cold War, the United States government did not promote the missions for fear that this would only alienate them from the peoples of the Third World. Instead, the John F. Kennedy administration produced a secular “mission”, the Peace Corp, to send young Americans into the Third World to conduct development activities and to win over hearts and minds to America.

In 2003, Reverend Richard Cizik of the National Association of Evangelicals told the press, “Evangelicals have substituted Islam for the Soviet Union. The Muslims have become the modern day equivalent of the Evil Empire.”[157] The 10/40 Window idea spawned a movement called Window International Network, while the Southern Baptist Convention moved their International Missions Board to concentrate on Muslim populations. In the past 15 years, the number of missionaries who work among Muslims has quadrupled. Barry Yeoman of the Wall Street Journal reports that Columbia International University (CIU) in South Carolina is offering “intensive course on how to win converts in Islamic countries.” Rick Love, the international director of Frontiers, runs this course. Frontiers is the largest Christian group in the world that focuses exclusively on proselytizing to Muslims.[158]

The mission is targeting Islam. “We see Islam as the final frontier,” says David Cashin, a professor of Intercultural Studies at CIU who used to don Muslim clothing and pursue converts in the teashops of Kaliakoir, Bangladesh.[159] For assuring success in this mission, courses at places like CIU teach the missionaries to camouflage themselves. “In Indonesia, evangelists ran a quilt-making business to provide cover for Western missionaries, allowing them to employ—and proselytize—scores of Muslims.” Students on the mission to the Muslim world are told that:

"Muslims must be reached by whatever means possible. Their zeal is helping to fuel the biggest evangelical foray into the Muslim world since missionary pioneer Samuel Zwemer declared Islam a ‘dying religion’ in 1916 and predicted that “when the crescent wanes, the Cross will prove dominant.’"[160]

Anything that can pose a serious challenge to this ambitious agenda, such as the establishment of an Islamic governance system, which the Taliban were struggling to establish, must be crushed. The real front behind the campaign against the Taliban was exposed when in August 2001, the Taliban government in Afghanistan arrested two members of Antioch Community Church: Dayna Curry and Heather Mercer. Curry and Mercer came to Kabul with Shelter For Life, a Christian missionary and relief organization that works in Afghanistan, Angola, Burundi, Honduras, Iran, Iraq, India, Kosovo, Macedonia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Western Sahara. The Taliban were the only one who accused Curry and Mercer of proselytizing, a crime during its regime in Afghanistan.

Their incarceration played a small role in the United States government’s already well-extensive media campaign against the Taliban. However, the way the United States assigned a special role to the CIA and its forces to release them[161] and the way President Bush feted them on the White House lawn gives us some clues about the real front against the Taliban. Few denied that Curry and Mercer had gone to convert Afghans, for they had been part of a global movement of American Evangelicals whose goal is to harvest as many souls for their brand of Christianity. Neither Curry nor Mercer denied what they had done. Their pastor, Jeff Abshire, told the press, “they wanted to serve others and show God’s love for people through practical ways” and “introduce people to God and see them `disciplined’ as followers of Christ”.

“They had a calling to serve the poorest of the poor,” President Bush said at a White House ceremony shortly after the Hollywood-style rescue of Curry and Mercer. “Their faith was a source of hope that kept them from being discouraged.” But Curry and Mercer were doing more than relief work: Once home, they admitted to violating Afghan law by showing “part of a Jesus film” and giving a Christian storybook to a Muslim family.[162]

The Taliban government was becoming a source of major concern for the Evangelicals and other Christian missionaries. Muslims were gradually realizing the need to establish an Islamic state that knows no boundaries and all divided nations are like an Ummah. The Taliban’s weaknesses were an excellent source for other Muslims to learn and refine ways to make living by Islam possible. This posed a major threat to the global designs of the missionaries.

For example, the anti-Islam prayers reflect Columbia International University (CIU) in South Carolina’s official attitude toward what it considers a competitor religion. Evangelicals will never allow establishment of a competitor religion as a way of life and a model for humanity. Prominent on the CIU’s Web site is an essay posted shortly after 9/11. “To claim that ‘Islam’ means ‘peace’ is just one more attempt to mislead the public,” it reads. “Muslim leaders have spoken of their goal to spread Islam in the West until Islam becomes a dominant, global power.” Warren Larson, who directs the university’s Muslim Studies program and served as a mentor to John Weaver, the Afghanistan missionary, wrote the essay. A former missionary himself, Larson fears that Christianity might be losing the race for world domination. One can imagine antagonism towards Muslims struggle to establish living by Islam from the fact that even increasing Muslim population bother the leading crusaders of 21st Century. “Islam is biologically taking over the world,” he says. “They’re having babies faster than we are.”[163]

The motives for religious war on the part of the religious front and their allies on the political front boils down to the struggle for dominating the world. The misconceptions and malicious intentions are obvious from the following statement of Patrick Buchanan:

"The war into which we have plunged in Iraq and Afghanistan, then is a civil-religious war to decide who shall rule the Islamic world. Governments of men who are part of America’s world. Or regimes are True Believers sworn to purge their world of Zionists, infidels, Christians and collaborators. Today’s struggle for the hearts and minds of Muslims and Arabs is between Ataturk and the Ayatollah."[164]

Faith in force or super-fascism

The religiously motivated political, academia, media and military fronts have joined forces to form Project for the New American Century which is a neo-conservative think-tank that promotes an ideology of total U.S. world domination through the use of force. The group embraces and disseminates an ideology of faith in force, U.S. supremacy, and rejection of the rule of law in international affairs.

The group’s core ideas are expressed in a September 2000 report produced for Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush, and Lewis Libby entitled Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources For a New Century. The Sunday Herald referred to the report as a “blueprint for U.S. world domination.”[165] PNAC’s membership includes people such as Richard Perle, Elliot Abrams and William Kristol. A writer, Norman Podhoretz, is one of the founding members, who described the PNAC mission and the war on Iraq as, “A process of the reformation and modernization of Islam.”[166]

According to the Sonoma State University media research group Project Censored,[167] The Neoconservative Plan for Global Dominance[168] was the Top Censored Media Story of 2002-2003.[169] Many impartial observers, such as John Pilger, believe that these religious zealots are imposing a “violent and undemocratic order” throughout the world. He thinks the actions of Bush and company and all who “insist on describing themselves as ‘liberals’ and ‘left of centre’, even ‘anti-fascists” are “little different from the actions of fascists.”[170] The insiders further confirmed these views. Pilger notes in one of his article:

"The former senior CIA analyst Ray McGovern, who once prepared the White House daily briefing, told me that the authors of the PNAC and those now occupying positions of executive power used to be known in Washington as 'the crazies'. He said, 'We should now be very worried about fascism.'”[171]

Similarly, views of a key architect in post-9/11 Bush Administration’s legal policy have confirmed that there is not even a “little difference” between the modern day crusaders and earlier fascists. John Yoo, who also served as General Counsel of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, publicly argued there is no law that could prevent Bush from ordering the torture of a child of a suspect in custody—including by crushing that child’s testicles.[172 ]

PNAC began to enter the public consciousness when journalist Neil Mackay wrote about the September 2000 report in the Sunday Herald (September 15, 2002). According to the article, the report sparked outrage from British Labour MP Tom Dalyell.

Tam Dalyell, the Labour MP, father of the House of Commons and one of the leading rebel voices against war with Iraq, said: “This is a blueprint for US world domination—a new world order of their making. These are the thought processes of fantasist Americans who want to control the world.”

Although the goals in the publicly available reports revolve around military control of the Gulf region; simultaneously fighting multiple wars, permanent bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait; increased military pressure on China, creation of “US Space Forces” and development of “world-wide command-and-control system.” But the facts on the ground reveal that the single objective is defeating the ideology of Islam. As we have seen in the past two chapters, the next section concludes that the objective of the 21st century crusaders in the garb of “liberals” and “democrats” is not financially profiting for war. It is the spiritual satisfaction which the super-fascist crusaders achieve with every new war of aggression and occupation in the Muslim world.

A majority of Muslims are not even aware of PNAC, whereas informed Americans, such as the editor of TVLies.org, have reached the following conclusion:

"Even a rookie detective will tell you that motive and means are the keys to identifying suspects in a crime. The self-proclaimed goals of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) clearly establish a more realistic and plausible motive to create a “new Pearl Harbor” than can be attributed to any Islamic extremist. As a matter of fact, the events of 9/11 were perhaps the most counterproductive factors in the history of Islamic progress. They resulted in an overwhelming backlash against the many Islamic people around the world."[173]

Unfortunately, the PNAC is not alone. There are dozens of such think tanks and institutes, engaged in influencing the United States policy against Islam. PNAS ‘s office is nowhere else than on the 5th floor of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) building on 17th St, in downtown Washington. The AEI is the key node of a collection of neoconservative foreign policy experts and scholars, the most influential of whom are members of the PNAC. It’s no surprise that Bush, on February 26, 2003 chose to unveil his vision of a new Middle Eastern order at the AEI. According to Pepe Escobar:

The AEI is intimately connected to the Likud Party in Israel - which for all practical purposes has a deep impact on American foreign policy in the Middle East, thanks to the AEI’s influence. In this mutually-beneficial environment, AEI stalwarts are known as Likudniks. It’s no surprise, then, how unparalleled is the AEI’s intellectual Islamophobia. Loathing and contempt for Islam as a religion and as a way of life… For Bush, Iraq is begging to be educated in the principles of democracy… But this very presumption is seemingly central to the intellectual Islamophobia of both the AEI and PNAC.[174]

The fear of Khilafah, not “terrorism”

Tied to general fear of Muslims is the real fear: the fear of Khilafah. In chapter 3 of this book, we will explore the reason for this fear. Here we will establish the existence of this fear.

A prominent leader from South Asia, Mohammed Ali Johar, predicted in 1924:

"emphasize>It is difficult to anticipate the exact effects the “abolition” of Khilafah will have on the minds of Muslims in India. I can safely affirm that it will prove a disaster both to Islam and to civilization. The suppression of the time honored institution which was, through out the Muslim world, regarded as a symbol of Islamic unity will cause the disintegration of Islam...., I fear that the removal of this ideal will drive the unadvanced and semi-civilized peoples..., into ranks of revolution and disorder."[175]

Eighty-one years later, we witness that the “civilized” world is busy in the noble cause of digging out Saddam’s atrocities, but at the same time tries to burry deep Uzbek president, Islam Karimov’s massacre of civilians in Andijan. The reason for such a silence is the justification which Islam Karimov put forward for his massacre and continued human rights violations in Uzbekistan. In Karimov’s words, the victims “wanted to establish Khilafah.”[176] Atrocities of similar, dictatorial regimes in many Muslims countries are acceptable to the “civilized” world because these are considered as secular bulwarks against Hizb ut Tahrir-like movements, whose main crime is the struggle for establishing Khilafah.

The so-called mainstream media and the architects of war at the political and religions levels, make everyone believe that the trouble started, at the earliest, around the Taliban’s coming to power in Afghanistan. In fact, the global troubles have been attributed to Khilafah since its inception in the 7th century. Thirteen centuries later, when the British Empire abolished the remnants of Khilafah in 1924, it took a sigh of relief and considered it as the ultimate victory against Islam.

To the utter disappointment of Britain and its allies, the problem, nevertheless, remains. Khilafah still provides motivation to many actions and reactions; movements and counter-movements in the Muslim world. Consequently, the centuries old zeal of Islamophobes to abolish Khilafah is as much the root of all unacknowledged terrorism of the United States, Britain and their allies as the renewed zeal among Muslims to seek self-determination and real liberation from the colonial yoke. Although a majority may not be thinking in terms of establishing Khilafah, but it will be the natural consequence of true liberation and unified approach towards tackling the prevailing problems. That is why the totalitarian warlords in Washington and London are opposed to granting real independence to Muslim masses and spread the fear of “Caliphate.”

Elisabeth Bumiller of the New York Times points out in his December 11 column that policy hawks in the Pentagon have used the term Caliphate internally since the planning stages for the war in Iraq, but the administration’s public use of the word increased this past summer and autumn:

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said it in a speech last Monday in Washington and again on Thursday on PBS. Eric Edelman, the under secretary of defense for policy, said it the week before in a roundtable at the Council on Foreign Relations. Stephen Hadley, the national security adviser, said it in October in speeches in New York and Los Angeles. General John Abizaid, the top American commander in the Middle East, said it in September in hearings on Capitol Hill.[177]

The major problem with Khilafah is the morbid dread it strikes in the hearts of those who are determined not to allow Muslims to become united, exercise their right to self-determination and live by the Qur’an. The key to materializing these objectives lies in thwarting Muslim’s organized struggle towards real liberation from the puppet regimes and uniting the divided world of Islam.

Just the thought of this struggle leads the Islamophobes into taking many pre-emptive measures, which, in turn, lead to grievances, reaction and counter measures on the part of Muslims.

The more time passes, the more people realize the importance of a central, independent authority for Muslims. Unlike all the now defunct revolutions of human history, the 7th century revolution in the heart of Arabia not only culminated in establishing a way of life but also setting guidelines for human governance, which are still valid today.

This realization of the need to have a central, independent authority for Muslims is directly proportional to the struggle on the part of the architects of war on Afghanistan who will never allow Muslims to take any steps that may lead to the establishment of an alternative model to the existing unjust socio-political and economic order.

The “war on terrorism” is a post 9/11 slogan. In fact, it is a summary title for all the anti-Islam efforts: from intellectual escapades to legal hurdles, wars, occupations, detentions, torture and criminalizing the concept of Khilafah. In this process, terrorism is used as a synonym of Khilafah.

One can notice this by carefully listening to the brief statements at the end of summits and conferences these days. It seems as if there is nothing going on in the world except terrorism. The crux of all messages is: We are committed, determined and stand as one against the evil of terrorism. We would not allow terrorists to win. They are against our values and way of life.

A realistic look forces one to ask: Where does the alleged ‘Muslim terrorism’ stand in comparison to the mass killings, tortures, detentions, and exploitations carried out to deter Muslims from being organized and united. This proves that the war is actually on something other than the deceptively labeled terrorism. The first physical action of this war was the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan.

One month before 9/11, the New York Times reports that most Americans are made to believe that terrorism “is the greatest threat to the United States and that it is becoming more widespread and lethal.” The Americans are made “to think that the United States is the most popular target of terrorists and they almost certainly have the impression that extremist Islamic groups cause most terrorism.” Larry C. Johnson, nevertheless, concludes: “None of these beliefs are based in fact.”[178 ]

Johnson cites figures from the CIA reports. Accordingly, deaths from “international terrorism fell to 2,527 in the decade of 1900’s from 4,833 in the 80’s.” Compare the 2,527 deaths in the 90s due to acknowledged terrorism with the death of 1.8 million in Iraq during the same years due to unacknowledged terrorism of the United States, its allies and the United Nations. The United States and allies’ terrorism remained unacknowledged because they justified it with lies about Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction. For example, compare the 4,833 deaths due to acknowledged Muslim terrorism with the one million deaths due to unacknowledged aggression of Iraq against Iran on the behest of the United States and its allies.

So, what is consuming the world: the acknowledged terrorism of Muslims or the unacknowledged terrorism of the United States and its allies? This brings us to the point that the endless tirades about Muslim terrorism are directed at holding Muslims from exercising their right to self-determination. Anything in the name of Khilafah in particular becomes part of the struggle towards this end and is instantly criminalized.

Many people believe these measures are part of the wider crackdowns for safety and security in the wake of 9/11. This, however, is not true. The reality is that anything in the name of Khilafah has been ridiculed and presented as a threat to safety since 1924 in particular. The reason: Islamophobes do not want to see real Khilafah re-emerge after their assuming in 1924 that they are done with the remnants of a symbolic Khilafah forever.

An example of this attitude is the reaction in the British press at the eve of Khilafah Conference in London in 1994, long before the staged 9/11 and 7/7. A headline in Independent (August 07, 1994) reads: “Muslim body accused of racism: Muslim rally angers Jews.” A headline in Telegraph (August 8, 1994) reads: “Wembley survives the Muslim call to arms.” An inset in the same story reads: “Fundamentalists’ Elusive Dream of An Islamic Empire.”

The morbid dread of Khilafah is evident from the editorials in the leading British dailies at this occasion. “The threat of Jihad,” reads the title of the Telegraph editorial, which goes on to link the Khilafah conference with the happenings in Algeria: “Islamic fundamentalists won a majority in recent elections, but, for political reasons, have been denied by the old guard.” The editorial goes on to sow the seeds of dissention among Muslims: “in Britain yesterday, for example, a rally of Islamic fundamentalists caused nothing but alarm by its challenge to the British Muslim community’s moderate leadership.”

The Guardian attempted to belittle the conference in its August 8, 1994 report with comments such as: “Much of the Islamic rhetoric meant little to many of the young British Muslims,” as if the participants were forced to join the conference, or that popular opinion decides what is Islamic and what is not.

The fear-mongering trend was not limited to a few presstitutes. Times titled its editorial: “Marching Muslims: Reminder of the need for vigilance” (August 08, 1994) and went on to scare the public: “The rally yesterday of some 8000 Muslims in Wembley Arena provoked understandable nervousness in Britain and abroad.” That “understandable nervousness” is not there since 1994, or 7/7, but since 1400 years. It did not end with systematically abolishing Khilafah in 1924.

A report in The Independent (August 8, 1994) by Tim Kelsey went to the extreme in fear mongering. Headline of the report tells the whole story: “Fundamentalist gathering seeks political overthrow of Western democracies: Muslims call for Israeli state to be destroyed.” One must remember that this is coming from a more progressive paper and not from some right-wing publication and that too in 1994, when even the Taliban had not come to power.

It is understandable that the enemies of Islam would go to any length, beyond these fear-mongering reports, to discredit the concept of Khilafah and deny them the right to self-determination. This includes staged terror attacks, lies for justifying invasions and occupation, and support to criminal regimes, which promise, in turn, not to let Muslims live by Islam. That is how the turmoil widens and the hopes for peace diminish with each passing day.

Note:

For the references in this write up, please refer to the author's latest book: Afghanistan: The Genesis of the Final Crusade.

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