USA and Muslims
Muslim extremists generally dislike non-Muslims and they hate various people at local level, for example Chechens, Pakistanis and Arabs hate Russians, Indians and Israelis respectively. However, they all detest the USA and generally non-extremist Muslims also dislike or disagree with the USA. The recent attacks on poorest of the poor Pakistani Christian churches are the direct results of Muslim extremists loathing of the USA. It is imperative to examine the history of the USA interactions with Muslims since the end of Second World War.
United States emerged as the leading western super power after WWII due to nuclear capabilities, strongest economy and the military might. Soon after the conclusion of WWII, most of the Muslim countries in Asia and Africa gained independence from European colonial powers. Despite being the staunchest ally during WWII, USA did not help European colonial powers in stopping or delaying the independence of colonies. Within a short span of 20 or so years, most of the countries with Muslim majority, from Indonesia to the westernmost end of West Africa gained independence. United States did not played any role â€“ neither delaying the independence nor influencing against the creation of Muslim majority Pakistan â€“ in the independence of subcontinent in 1947.
United States supported the creation of Israel in 1948. This was really the first major anti-Muslim act of USA and still cited most frequently by Muslim extremists in the list of grievances against USA. Since then, it has continuously created hardships for about 0.05 percent of the total Muslim population of the world â€“ the Palestinians. United States has done everything possible for Israel without worrying about the consequences. However, the creation of Israel was a British decision to carve out a Jewish homeland from its possession just as French carved out Lebanon from their Syrian possession. Like Pakistan and Lebanon, Israel would have emerged with or without the support of the USA.
Next major event came in 1956, when USA gave lukewarm support to Britain and Israel to stop Egypt from nationalizing Suez Canal. In 1967 Arab-Israel War, USA supported Israel and since then helped Israel to keep occupied territories. In 1973 Arab-Israel War, USA supported Israel more openly and materially to limit the Egyptian gains during the war. During Iranian Revolution, USA supported Shah of Iran but did nothing to stop revolution from succeeding. During Israeli invasion of Lebanon, USA took part on Israeli side and withdrew after massive car bomb killed 250+ marines in their barracks. In 1991, USA led a coalition of mainly Europeans against Iraq and liberated Kuwait. Lastly USA ended Taliban rule in Afghanistan after they refused to hand over masterminds, involved in the terrorist acts of September 11, 2001. As it stands, another war between USA and Iraq is just around the corner.
The losers in all these cases except Taliban were no friends of extremists. In Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser ruthlessly suppressed Muslim extremists, Ikhwan-Al-Muslimoon; in Syria, Hafez Al-Asad razed the whole city of 20,000 Ikhwan supporters and Saddam Husseinâ€™s history of dealing with Shias, Kurds and opposition is no secret. Without USA interference, Muslim extremists would have definitely been up in arms against them, possibly with lot more bloodshed of mostly innocents.
This is the briefest possible account of only one side of the story although this part has been repeated ceaselessly among Muslim circles. Here is the remainder of the story.
Turkey is the first major beneficiary of US support since it joined NATO. The industrialization and economy and, therefore, the standards of living of Turks have improved tremendously since joining NATO. Since the decline in US aid to Philippines after the closure of Clark Airforce and Subic Bay facilities, Turkey has moved up to become third largest recipient of US aid behind Israel and Egypt. Turkeyâ€™s 2500 dollars per capita income and 150 billion dollars GDP is directly related to the US aid. Turkey was also allowed to invade Cypress and carved out Turk Cypriot entity despite less than 20 percent Turk Cypriots in Cypress.
Egypt economy has also benefited greatly from roughly 2 billion dollars per year US aid after signing 1976 Camp David Peace Accord with Israel. From less than 200 dollars per capita income, today Egyptâ€™s per capita income and GDP are 1500 dollars and 100 billion dollars respectively. Egypt has been able to pour large amount of money into the crumbling infrastructure. The improved transportation system alone would have been impossible without massive US aid. Additionally, its 7 billion dollars worth of loans were written off in exchange for full cooperation during 1991 Gulf War.
US aid and business partnerships helped Indonesia to come out of practical bankruptcy and famine situation created by bad populist policies of Suekarno regime that was overthrown with US backing of General Suharto. Pakistan has been greatly helped economically, particularly in the aftermath of 9/11 terrorist acts in the USA and also militarily throughout its existence. USA involvement in Somalia tremendously reduced the state of anarchy and war-lordism in addition to bringing miserable famine under control. International charities without US military protection would have been unable to control famine and more people would had died in Somalia than Iraqis killed during the Gulf war and sanctions following the war.
Bosnian and Kosovo Muslims were underdogs throughout Balkan crisis. Neither of them was in a position to gain independence on its own or even with the help from Europeans. It was USA involvement on the side of Muslims that tipped the balance and today Bosnian and Kosovo Muslims are enjoying peace and freedom. However, the biggest political windfall for Muslims from US policies and involvement is not even mentioned or acknowledged. No nation but USA is almost directly responsible for creating 6 new independent Muslim majority nations comprising an area of almost equal to two-third continental USA with 50+ million Muslims in Central Asia. Now USA is helping them to become truly independent nations with native cultures, economic independence from Russia and infrastructure to meet the needs of these countries.
USA does not support insurgencies and uprisings in Kashmir, Chechniya and Mindanao. It also does not support mainly Christian, Animist and Indigenous uprisings in Irian Jaya in Indonesia, Sarawak in Malaysia and southern Sudan and did not support mainly Biafra independence from Nigeria. Unlike Muslims, USA is not molded as a crusader state for Christians. Had the USA behaved like crusaders or Muslims, oil-rich, better-educated and prosperous Southern Nigeria would have seceded from poor, unruly, tribal Muslim north long time ago. Similarly southern Sudan would have gotten independence in matter of few months with the help of USA. If half of a tiny Island, East Timor could gain independence with the help of USA, Irian Jaya, Borneo from Indonesia and Sarawak from Malaysia too could have gotten independence with help from USA.
The US immigration policies, well into 1960s discriminated all except Europeans. Once the doors were open, Muslims came to USA like everybody else. They were allowed to settle, run businesses and work, educate them and practiced their faith and cultures within the secular laws of the land. Over the last 30 years, hundreds of thousands of students from Muslim countries got their education and learned and sharpened their skills, earned living, helped their kin in number of ways. Many of those went back to their mother countries, served and continuously serving their nations. A very large number of skilled professionals, specialists, managers and business leaders in Muslim countries have learned their crafts actually in the USA.
Additionally USA funded a large number of educational and research institution and even opening universities like Middle East Technical University in Turkey and American Universities in Cairo and Beirut. American Centers around the Muslim cities provided a free source of information for those who wished to read and learn. US laws such as PL-480 helped poor and grain imported Muslim countries to buy grain at ease, in time and cheap. US grain exports actually reduced the price of grains to the dismay of other grain exporting countries like Australia and Argentina. Most of the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries in Muslim countries are subsidiaries of US pharmaceutical companies and rely upon the expensive research and development carried out in the USA. A near death individual after suffering heart attack in Pakistan must thank the â€˜Great Satanâ€™ for saving his/ her life. How many American lives, Muslims contributions have saved, directly or indirectly? The lists from science and technology, from arts and crafts, from business and management, from economics and government, from banking and insurance and from other fields are very long to reproduce here.
In fact, no non-Muslims country in the history of Islam has helped Muslims directly or indirectly more than the USA. The way Muslims honor such a vast array of contributions defies any logic. Only Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and UAE recognized Taliban and Muslims should have been thankful for delivering Afghanistan back to Muslims from the clutches of obscurantist and regressive idiots. Pakistanis should be thankful for 9 billion dollars of forex reserves, booming stock market and 3-fold increase in remittances solely due to Pakistanâ€™s riding on the bandwagon with the USA in the war against terrorism. Before September 11, 2001 Pakistan forex reserves were at 1.5 billion dollars and remittance at 900 million dollars per year. At least the Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Indonesians, Turkish, Egyptians, Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Azeris, Turkomen, Kirghizis, Tajiks, Bosnians, Kosovars, Somalians, Sudanese and Nigerians owe gratitude to the USA. It would be highly illogical for the USA to support Kashmiris, Chechen or Mindanao Muslims. Whether these people have genuine reasons for rebellion or not, nevertheless they represent from less than one percent to 4 percent of the population of the countries they are seeking independence from. No major country is going to support very tiny minorities unless at odd with India, Russia or Philippines respectively.
Muslims are up in arms again because USA has to take security measures in the wake of 9/11 terrorist acts. USA has to single out those groups who most likely pose threat to its security. The US government has the responsibility to protect its tax-paying citizenry from future terrorist attacks. It is no secret that Pakistan has several terrorists breeding mills called madrassahs and officially backed terrorist training facilities in order to facilitate insurgency in Kashmir. Whether Pakistan can justifiably claim it to be part of ingenious strategic depth defense has no bearing for US; it has to be weary of any trained terrorist ending up in the USA. Since a terrorist or a potential terrorist can not be identified with ease, a series of stringent measures are necessary. That is why, INS has added Pakistanis in the list of nationalities subject to extra scrutinizing as a precautionary measure. Although terrorists are few and innocents many, but innocents often end up paying the price of the excesses of few. It is norm in every arena and everywhere. One error by a single player can lead whole team to defeat, few corrupt politicians and idiot Generals are mainly responsible for the sufferings of millions of Pakistanis and so on. If Pakistanis wish to be off the list of special treatment by INS, they have to do something to root out the causes that put them in trouble on the first place.
Although USA is against governments or individuals such as Saddam Hussein but even considering that USA is unfair to Iranians, Iraqis, Libyans, Syrians and Palestinians; they account for about 10 percent of worldwide Muslim population. USA had been relatively more unfair to Christians during cold war. The communist bloc accounted for more than 10 percent of worldwide Christian population. USA supported South African apartheid but that did not make all Africans to hate USA or resorting to terrorism against the USA. USA did not help India, Hindus or Sikhs in any way against Muslims or Pakistan but Hindus and Sikhs do not dislike USA the way Pakistani Muslims do. Do Muslim extremists despise the USA and most Muslims dislike or disapprove of US policies has something to do with the most powerful country following a culture of pork-eating, drinking, miniskirts wearing and globalization of American culture or plain jealousy against prosperity, progress and plenty?
Many other nations are unhappy with Americanization of their cultures in the name of globalization but follow appropriate strategy to compete ingeniously and not succumb to the scorched earth strategies. The way to compete Americanization of culture is not by banning cable and satellite media, restricting free flow of information or worse, destroying businesses who vend electronic signals receiving gadgets. Muslim extremists have no right, without winning election to stop anybody from willfully accepting Americanization with or without the label of globalization.
The case for detesting USA by Muslim extremists is so illogical that when the above mentioned facts are presented to them, all they can say is this: â€œwe are against certain US government policies and not against US public or nationâ€. But so are Chinese, Europeans, Indians, East Asians, Africans, Latin Americans and rest of the world. In recent months, Gerhard Shroeder, Luis â€˜Lulaâ€™ da Silva and Roh Moo-Hyun have won elections in Germany, Brazil and South Korea respectively on the platforms of opposing certain US policies. Nations do disagree about certain policies of each other but they do not resort to vicious and vindictive attitudes due to policiesâ€™ disagreements. Muslim extremists are quickest to resort to violence. Most of all, flags represent nations and not governments policies. The setting on fire of US flags by the mobs of extremist and not so extremists Muslims across Muslim world routinely, is a sign of execrating the USA and not merely disagreeing with few US governmentâ€™s policies.
Blind following of the so-called Islamic culture and Islamic civilization has created most of the current problems of Muslims. Nobody but Muslims are responsible for the quagmire they are in today. They ought to reduce or get rid of this baggage with the help of rational approaches, pragmatism, science and technology and the USA.