An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Zakaria's GPS: Moderate and Fanatic Islam

Generally speaking, I like Fareed Zakaria’s GPS program aired on CNN every Sunday. He addresses issues which are important with a depth that others don’t. But on some issues – relating to Islam and Muslims – one can clearly see his bias and prejudice.

Two things stood out on today’s GPS program.

The first one was his reasoning for having returned the award from Anti-Defamation League (ADL) presented to him in 2005. The reason was that ADL has campaigned against the Cordoba mosque being built near Ground Zero of 9-11. The land has been bought and the state government is rooting for the mosque. But some citizens are against it. One of the reasons the critics cite is that it hurts their sensibilities that a place that was laid into a ruin will have a structure that belongs to the religion that the fanatic terrorists espoused and used as an inspiration.

The supporters of the mosque argue that it is precisely against these fanatics that the mosque will be used, since it forwards a “moderate” viewpoint of Islam. Fareed uses the same argument.

The critics remark that the issue is with the Islamic ideology itself. To which all the Muslims then take exception.

And that is where the confrontation between Fareed Zakaria and ADL comes into play.

The argument to kill and to discriminate against the Non-believers is so prevalent within Islam that no one can reasonably argue – without truncating and/or twisting verses – that Islam has anything different to offer to the Non-Muslims.

I think the Muslims have to stand up to the fact that Non-Muslims are genuinely angry at how they are targeted in Islamic scriptures and there is no attempt by the “moderates” to even acknowledge that. Heck, even citing of precise verses from Quran and Hadiths becomes an evidence of “hate speech” on part of Non-muslims.

There is a need for a ruthlessly honest dialog to occur, where the arguments in Islamic scriptures and theology that lead to and genuinely and unambiguously incite violence need to be tackled head on. After all at some point in mankind’s history, someone needs to take on this monster head on. So many barbarians and killers have tormented the world inspired by and parroting the verses from a certain scriptural base, yet, we continue to brush it under the carpet.

In fact, if one really and honestly looks at the societies that Islam entered – by which ever means – one would see that from a flourishing civilizations those areas became “Civilizational Deserts”. Islam’s greatest achievement is orchestrating Civilizational Desertification throughout the world. Look at Persia of today, or look at Bangladesh of today or the areas in Afghanistan. All these areas had thriving civilizations with great cultures, but no one can say they now have anything worth saving there anymore!

That brings me to the second point that bewildered me. Zakaria’s interview with Hamid Gul. Everyone knows the role of Gul in helping out the Al Qaeda and the terrorist networks. Yet, Zakaria kept on asking “leading questions”. “So, General, what you are saying is that Afghanis feed US with incorrect information and that is what these leaks brought out”, asks Zakaria. “Yes, of course! These leaks had no authenticity.” He very easily, without any challenge from our friendly “moderate” guy, dismissed all the allegations as crap and nonsense.

Isn’t it amazing that so much terrorism has been exported from Pakistan and so much of Nuclear proliferation has happened via its very establishment and yet, every culprit from AQ Khan to Hamid Gul escape without any punishment or repercussions? It is indeed mindboggling.

In the same program of Fareed Zakaria, one saw a strange mix of strong defense of Moderate Islam and then, almost deliberate, letting go of a fanatic and terror Master so easily. Actually prompting him to ease his way out. And it is this strange but very real danger of “partnership”, which operates under the radar, which perturbs non-Muslims.

There was a time when the best of professionals – doctors and engineers – from Pakistan used to make their way to UK. The current generation, however, shows no signs of leaning towards education. Indeed, current Muslim generation in Europe may be one of the most radicalized and motivated group in the entire Western world since the Nazis. They are a disaster waiting to be unleashed.

By all definitions and accounts, the first generation immigrants to Europe and UK specifically, would have been, what Zakaria calls “Moderates”. But, the fact remains that fanaticism has flowered from those very families itself. And that is when the society around them gave freedoms that other countries, including their own, would not provide. In fact, many immigrants from India and Pakistan usually took the asylum route to UK and US for some years.

Looking at the how moderate populations have given way to Fanaticism and radicalism, would it be so wrong to say that Moderate Islam is basically an Incubation laboratory for Fanaticism as and when it can blossom?

For better clarity, let us look at Pakistan itself. The idea of Pakistan was fashioned by so-called “Moderates”. The radical clerics in those days were against the idea of Pakistan. That Pakistan was the brain-child of “Moderate Muslims” (as Zakarias of the world define it) like Iqbal and Jinnah, did not obviate the massacre, rape and looting of non-Muslims by its Tribals and Army in the First War of Kashmir in 1947-48. Indeed, the massacres were a brainchild of those “Moderates”! It also did not obviate the blossoming of fanaticism that is prevalent today.

Given that as it is, what is the guarantee that the next generation of the most radicalized Muslims would not take shape in the very womb of the Cordoba mosque? At least the history says that it is a verity that has been empirically repeated as nauseum.

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