Explaining Who We Really Are

Published August 1, 1990

By Ekramul Haque

The West’s Islamophobia never ends. As communism exiles itself into history; the West is tirelessly talking about “Islamic fundamentalism” as its new archenemy. In recent months, the Western news media have intensified their campaign: contain Islam or be ready for the extinction of the Euro-American civilization.

Now that the Cold War is over and communism Is collapsing, what more is there to fear? For many Western commentators, the answer is Islam. They see its rise as the new principal threat to Western security and values, a menacing force in an area extending from Yugoslavia to the deserts of Central Asia – the so-called “Crescent of Crisis,” writes Shireen T. Hunter in the Tampa Tribune.

“During the 1980s, the growing strength of Islamic fundamentalism and the in­creasing support for militant Islamic movements within the Middle East and parts of Asia have been of major concern to most Western analysts,” opines Avrum J. Gray of the Houston Post.

Vice President Dan Quayle was not far behind. In a commencement address at the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland in May, he said: “We have been surprised this past century by the rise of communism, the rise of Nazism. and the rise of radical Islamic fundamentalism…let us always be prepared.”

Islam in the category of communism and Nazism? Mr. Quayle must be out of his mind, or words. Or was he..?

Around the same time, the National Endowment for the humanities paid 10,000 of our tax dollars to Bernard Lewis, a British-born Jew, to lecture Americans on Why Muslims Hate America.

In one of the many speeches, called the Jefferson Lecture, Mr. Lewis declared that Muslim “hatred” of America was in part an outgrowth of their ” humiliation – a growing awareness, among theirs of an old, proud and long-dominant civilization, of having been overtaken, overborne and overwhelmed by those whom they had long regarded as their inferiors.”

North of the American border, a Canadian professor at Manitoba University was busy organizing a conference on Islamic terrorism in the 1990s and its Threat to North America.

Although Muslims succeeded in having the term Islamic replaced by Middle Eastern, the conference’s ire was still solely directed at the Muslims. Israel, the real cause, and often the practitioner of terrorism, was neither implicated nor criticized!

Given the frequent occurrences of anti-Muslim incidents, one wonders if it is a case of Muslims hating the West or vice versa.

Why are Muslims feared, rather than admired and emulated as they once were? Why does a community that once inspired the world with its indomitable spirit, enlightened achievements, religious confidence, and tolerance, invite all the negative attributes today?

That Muslims everywhere are going back to their natural roots and shedding alien, unworkable ideologies imposed on them, is reassuring. But what also needs a clear, if not greater, priority is the allaying of fears in Western minds that Islamic ascendancy would bring doom to non-Muslims.

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