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Common Enemies in Darfur & Iraq

The Janjawid in Darfur and the Arab/Islamist insurgency in Iraq something key in common: they are Muslims who make war on their Muslim brothers and sisters in spite of the example set by the earliest ummah of Muhammad. I'm no … Read More

By / June 29, 2007

The Janjawid in Darfur and the Arab/Islamist insurgency in Iraq something key in common: they are Muslims who make war on their Muslim brothers and sisters in spite of the example set by the earliest ummah of Muhammad. I'm no expert, but my bet is that there was probably more ethnic difference between Bilal ibn Ribah and Muhammad than there is between the average Arab Janjawid and his non-Arab victims. This isn't a War on Terror, nor is it a war on Muslims–it's more like a war on poseur Muslims.

Designating right-thinking Muslims and wrongheaded, posturing ones isn't without its problems. There isn't one unquestionably correct Islam; there are many different Islams–some peaceful, some not. There are some that preach pluralism and reconciliation, others that advocate secession and violent jihad. We're clearly at war with Muslims who understand their faith in the latter sense. As such, there is actually little difference between the enemies in Iraq and in Darfur.

It can be said that a sophisticated reading of both Islamic religious doctrine as well as Islamic historiography reveals that Islam could not likely have blossomed into a powerful world civilization in its genocidal, jihadist form. This lends a certain weight to the notion that Islamists don't fully grasp the scope and depth of their own history or religion. They would appear to be, on many counts, incorrect about the spirit of their own professed faith. It's too bad the likeness of these foes seems to be escaping folks:

While the United States has accused Khartoum of committing atrocities in Darfur and imposed economic sanctions, President George W. Bush faces criticism that he is soft-pedalling to avoid losing Sudanese cooperation on terrorism. 'The US is conflicted,” said Colin Thomas-Jensen, an analyst for the International Crisis Group think tank. 'On the one hand, there’s sincere concern in the White House, certainly a lot of pressure from the US Congress to deal with the atrocities in Darfur, but the overriding strategic objective of the US in the Horn of Africa is fighting terrorism and so these two issues are now clashing.'

This does seriously undermine any pretense that the War on Terror is a war against genocidal tyranny. But interestingly enough, it parallels the claims made by many critics of the Iraq War–that the U.S. should focus only on bin-Laden, al-Qaeda and abandon its supposed lofty-headedness regarding human rights and democracy. Apparently, if you want to know what that looks like, you need only look toward Darfur:

Once home to Osama Bin Laden, Sudan is an invaluable ally in the US-led war on terror but the cooperation may be allowing Khartoum to resist pressure to end the bloodshed in Darfur, experts say. Sudan bowed to US demands to expel the Al Qaeda leader in 1996 and has since offered vital assistance to fight extremists, prompting the US State Department to label Khartoum 'an important partner in the war on terror.'

In any case, the fight shouldn't be articulated so that it pits the white man, the Christian, the Jew, the Crusader, the European or the Westerner against Islam, the East, or Muslims. This is the jihadist reading (as noted above, they aren't the most savvy scholars). Many Muslims are engaged in this struggle as well. American, Kurdish, Sudanese, Iranian, and Bosnian Muslims are engaged in the battle against the Islams of hate. And that's just the short list.

You have to admit, if any American president could pull off declaring war on Poseur Muslims, George W., with his adolescent I-just-did-a-bump-in-the-bathroom snigger, probably could.

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