viernes, 3 de febrero de 2012

The fundamentalist ideology of Islam

“This war is an ideological war”
President Bush

In order to simplify and at the cost of giving a schematic view more than is due, we will restrict ourselves to four thinkers, two Sunnis: Quotb and Mawdudi; and two Shiites: Shariati and Jomeini. Two Arabs, one Pakistani and a Persian. Their theories were developed through the semantic transformation of a number of Koranic terms, which they boost with new meanings, some with a Marxist sense and all with revolutionary intentions as a reaction against the imperialism of the West and against the pro-Western Arab and Iranian Governments.

The Islamic theorists start from the concept of jahiliya, ignorance. The Koran uses this term to refer to the polytheist situation previous to the preaching of Mahomet, but they update the term to refer to the current situation of ignorance and the failure to practice the Koranic rites and laws by non-practicing Muslims and by impious foreigners. An important conceptual binomial is the pair: hakimiya-ubudiya. Hakimiya is the sovereignty which, according to the Koran, belongs only to God, and ubudiya is the obedience due to this sovereign, which must be total. Islam is the voluntary and absolute submission to the divine will.

The political problem arises when this “sovereignty” is in the hands of an ignorant jahili, in which case, the sovereign is evil, kafir and those who obey him are worthless talin. Both the evil and the worthless are perverse and eliminable takfir.

Two other relevant concepts in fundamentalist and revolutionary political thought are the mostadafine, the disinherited and the mostakbirine, the arrogant. The Koran refers to those who have a right to alms and the rich who do not exercise charity. However, in the fundamentalist, revolutionary literature, the two terms are charged with the Marxist concepts of capitalists and proletarians. Finally, another two terms are the wada, to propagate good, and jihad, to combat evil. There are two sure ways to paradise: to propagate doctrine and combat the kafir. This spirit of combat has a private version of ascetic struggle and a public version of collective struggle as part of the asabiya the union of Islam in solidarity.

With these few terms we have sufficient ingredients to ideologically arm an Islamic revolution. Jomeini justified his revolution on the grounds that the Shah was guilty of jahiliya (ignorance) and, as he held sovereignty (hakimiya), he is a kafir (evil ad impious), consequently, perverse and eliminable, as were his followers. Moreover, those who occupied posts in the Government of the Shah were “arrogant/capitalist” and the rest of the people “dispossessed /proletarians”. With this, he managed to unite the middle class and the proletarian revolutions, those with businesses, the members of the bazar, with no political power, dispossessed of power, joined the young people with no work and no hope in the future, economically dispossessed. The consequence was the Iranian revolution. It is understandable that, after Jomeini landed in Teheran on February 1, 1979, neither the army nor the SAVAK (secret police) opposed him, nobody wanted to be labelled as “worthless at the service of an evil power”. There is a similarity between the lack of resistance to Jomeini in 1979 and the unopposed advance of the Talibans towards Kabul in 1996. There were two good reasons: nobody wanted to appear to be talin and the people associated Islam with Justice.

However, the Shah was not the only kafir in this world. There are other rulers in Islamic countries, who are eliminable, and revolution against these is legitimate, and they are “worthless” like those who back them, among others, the United States. However, the worst was the USSR, the invader of Afghanistan, against which the jihad was declared with the support of Pakistan and the United States. The defeat of the power of the Shah in the name of Allah demonstrated that the power of the evil one, however great it may be in material terms, could do nothing against the invincible spiritual power of Islam. The defeat of the USSR went beyond the most optimistic expectations. The Muyahidines returned victorious to their respective countries: Algeria, Morocco, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, ready to continue the revolution within and beyond the borders of their own countries. Who will be next? Who is the epitome of arrogance, unrepentant in its ignorance, the most powerful and the greatest kafir (ignorant and impious illegitimate holders of power), the richest of the “arrogant/capitalists”, the worst of the “eliminable”? The United States. It is only necessary to repeat this over and over again in the Koranic Schools and in the Friday sermons, reproduce it in cassettes and in pamphlets in order to divulge it widely so that Muyahidines might arise among the “unprotected /proletarians”, with victory assured and ready to enter paradise as martyrs, ready to attack the symbol of the epitome of “capitalism and the usurper of power”: the Twin Towers. Is it possible to assume that a materialist infidel can assume world hegemony?

When Jomeini accused the Shah of being “the evil and impious usurper of legitimate power”, he did have historical reasons, the Palavi family had usurped the throne of Iran. Reza Khan acceded to the throne through a coup d’etat when he was War Minister with Qavam Saltaneh (the eternal Praetorian revolt). He did so with the help of the United Kingdom, which wanted to ensure its oil interests in Masjed Soleyman. The new Shah, imitating Ataturk, promoted lay education against the monopoly of the madrassas of the mosques, he created 2,500 schools and, between other modernising changes, he prohibited the sardari (the typical male suit) and the chador or women’s veil. But it was the last Shah who committed the great sin of nationalising the large properties in order to carry out an agricultural reform, when the large landowners were the ayatollahs. The first public assassination committed by a religious fundamentalist was the killing of the Prime Minister Persa Razmar, on Wednesday March 7, 1951, when he was on his way to the mosque, on the eve of accepting the renewal of the oil contract made by Iran and the British AIOC. Added to the religious motives of the fundamentalists were the economic and political reasons. The attacks in Madrid sought to change the government in Spain.

Actions such as the occupation of Iraq stoked the fundamentalist bonfire and the longer the occupation lasts, the greater will be the fundamentalist capitalisation of the situation as the United States is not only the most “arrogant and powerful”, but has invaded two Muslim countries, has usurped sovereignty and insists on maintaining this in its own interest through puppet governments; while each day its troops publicly show the population their “ignorance” and lack of respect for the norms and customs of Islam, with actions such as searching women in the street or breaking down the doors of private houses breaching their sanctuary, knocking down doors at midnight; consequently, it has shown that it is unrepentantly “perverse and eliminable” and must be combated and a jihad declared against it. The attacks against the occupation forces will be permanent, and threatens to spiral into violence similar to what was unleashed in Palestine with the intifada, but with more resources and with no possibility of solution while the occupying army remains in the zone.

However, the revolutionary objective is not the United States, but Saudi Arabia. A state which cannot be accused of being “impious”, as was the Shah of Persia, nor “arrogant and not attending to the poor”, when it finances a large part of the mosques and madrassas all over the world and does not lack dynastic legitimacy and puritan Wahabi orthodoxy, but it can be accused of being “worthless servants of an impious power”, insofar as it is a vassal of the great “impious one illegitimately holding power”, the United States. To accuse the U.S. Government of being “impious and powerful” is to declare that the Saudi Arabian Government is “a servant at the service of an impious one”. The shots are being fired against the United Stats, but the target is Riad.

The invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq confirm the usurpation of legitimate sovereignty by the United States in the fundamentalist mentality and justify jihad against it. The photographs of Abu Ghrib and the scenes in Guantánamo are not precisely arguments for the defence. If the materialist soviet empire was defeated with the help of Alah, the Islamic militants have no doubts that U.S. materialism will be defeated in a similar way. The attacks against the Westerners who participate in the invasions are justified as these are “impious and illegitimately obtain power as invaders” and the attacks against the local security forces at the service of the governments imposed by the invaders are justified as these are “evil servants at the service of an impious power”. What is certain is that each day more and more persons are ready to sacrifice themselves in order to “execute” the kafir. The most extremist are not satisfied with eliminating the invaders of Iraq and Afghanistan and to resolve the Palestinian conflict, but they also aspire to set up an Islamic Empire in the world, a Caliphat, with the aid of God as “success is for the believers” and, as a first stage, the recuperation of territories that were once islamic, beginning with Jerusalem.

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