(ANTIMEDIA) Following a string of recent, brutal terrorist attacks claimed to have been perpetrated by ISIS, the focus of corporate media will undoubtedly turn once again to the role radical Islam plays in terror — and ultimately, how the West should respond to such threats.
Though they claim to be polar opposites of each other, presidential hopefuls Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have both proposed the same response to terrorism: bomb the Middle East. Donald Trump went one step further, notoriously vowing to ban all Muslims from entering the country, though he recently backtracked, indicating his proposal would not include a blanket ban on all Muslims.
Hillary Clinton took the supposed moral high ground, calling Trump’s original suggestion racist and dismissing it as “bizarre”—despite the fact her own policy record shows a keen willingness to systematically kill Muslims with no remorse. In an apparent contradiction, when it comes to Islamic terror groups, Clinton has gone so far as to refuse to place deadly groups on the official U.S. terror list, even in the face of repeated CIA requests.
However, despite this political circus, Islamophobia has spread across the globe because of terrorist attacks—and the hateful ripple effect these traumatic attacks have generated.
In the small Pacific island nation of Samoa, for example, the National Council of Churches has called for a blanket ban on Islam. The calls have come in the midst of the prime minister’s plans to amend the nation’s constitution to make Christianity the official religion of the country. Approximately .03 percent of the country’s population identifies as Muslim; close to 100 percent of the country is Christian. Where does the extremist threat lie, exactly? This fear of Islam is echoed throughout the Pacific region.
One of the world’s most prestigious Samoan athletes, Sonny Bill Williams, is a devout Muslim. Would they ban him from their country, too? When Donald Trump said he would not allow Muslims into the United States, did he mean he would he also ban Akon, T-Pain, Lupe Fiasco, Shaquille O’Neal, Dave Chappelle, and Mike Tyson if they were migrating from a nation he deemed unworthy? Would he have banned Muhammad Ali?
Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world—whether we like it or not. There are currently over one billion Muslims globally. If they were all suicide bombers, we would all be dead. It might be the case that one can interpret the Quran in a manner that leads to violent practices and holy war, yet most Muslims do not subscribe to this practice.
In all likelihood, radical Islam would not be the problem it is today without the devastating actions of NATO countries and powerful regional players in the Middle East like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey.
Case in point:
Iraq has a long and dark history of being subject to interference from other nations—one nation in particular—and this interference has led Iraq to the chaos it finds itself in today. Even the recently published British Chilcot Report, which cost millions of pounds and took over seven years to complete, has acknowledged the deadly group known as ISIS rose to power following the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. This is no surprise considering ISIS fighters were previously referred to as al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), a group that only took a stronghold in the country after the U.S.-U.K. invasion in 2003. It would, therefore, be impossible to understand the current situation in Iraq without understanding the history of its subjugation by external nations.
Who drew up the artificial boundaries of Iraq in the early 1900s, forcing diverse groups in a sectarian society to identify themselves under one nation? The British. Who supported Saddam Hussein’s initial rise to power? According to the New York Times, it was the CIA. Who supported Saddam Hussein in his war of aggression against neighbouring Iran while also secretly arming Iran to maximize the death toll? The United States. Who then gave Saddam Hussein the green light to invade Kuwait, turned their back on him almost immediately, destroyed the country’s infrastructure with advanced weaponry, and then immediately placed sanctions on the Iraqi regime, which in turn resulted in the deaths of over 500,000 Iraqi children? The United States.
Who then forcibly invaded again in 2003, overthrew the regime—despite the fact Dick Cheney offered sound reasons for not doing so in 1991—and completely disbanded the police and military, including over 500,000 former servicemen, some of whom now hold senior positions within ISIS ranks? The U.S.-U.K. establishment.
The current death toll in the deadly terror attack in Baghdad last Sunday was at least 300. If there is a nation in the world that can endure such a torturous history without turning into a hotbed of radical violence, it would be performing an amazing feat. Muslim nations are expected to be able to handle the level of intervention that Iraq has been subjected to and to remain entirely peaceful. Iraq has been nothing but decimated for decades, and this has resulted in the situation we see today. It is not as if the Viet Cong fought against the American invasion in Vietnam using songs, prayers, and non-violent protests; surely, there is a recurring dynamic between the extreme, violent behavior of terrorists and the military activities of foreign nations that ultimately incite it.
It should be noted that the perpetrator of the recent attack in Nice, France was not deemed to be religious and has no known links to radical Islam. Some reports suggest he yelled “Allahu akbar” while perpetrating the attack, but at the time of this article’s publication, they have not been widely substantiated. Regardless, religion alone cannot explain what is happening in the world today. As Osama bin Laden said himself:
“…according to Bush’s actions the equation won’t be solved until the swords fall on their heads…We renew our pledge to Allah, our promise to the nation, and our threat to the Americans and Jews that they shall remain restless, shall not feel at ease, and shall not dream of security until they take their hands off our nation and stop their aggression against us and their support for our enemies.”
What about Syria, Yemen, and Libya? What’s their excuse?
In Syria, the U.S. alone has contributed and allocated billions of U.S. dollars to the Syrian opposition with the intent of toppling the Assad regime. Since 2012, this support has been benefiting jihadists—and the political establishment has been well aware of this fact and its repercussions. Even the Free Syrian Army has been dominated by extremists for a long time now, yet Western countries have openly supported that group since the start of the Syrian war.
In 2015, the Obama administration launched a plan to train a small team of “moderate” rebels who would fight against ISIS, a program that cost approximately $580 million. The fighters were decimated in battle and handed most of their weaponry over to al-Qaeda. Following this debacle, Obama proposed increasing support even further; radical and fanatical extremist groups such as Jaish al-Islam and al-Sham have been allowed to participate in the Syrian negotiations. These groups openly work with al-Qaeda and have been documented carrying out atrocities. Apparently, gun control is one of Obama’s top priorities—unless, of course, you are a radical jihadist fighting in Syria.
Turkey is another group that has facilitated the growth of ISIS in more ways than one, including operating an illicit oil trade, providing medical support to fighters, and allowing an open border to smuggle fanatical jihadists into Syria. These fighters have referred to the Turkish border as “the gateway to Jihad.”
When Hillary Clinton supported rebels in Libya—the prosperous North African Nation with a high standard of living—in order to topple the Gaddafi regime in 2011, she was well aware that al-Qaeda and other radical jihadists made up the bulk of the opposition she was overtly supporting. This is according to her own emails. Following the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has become a failed state trapped in a perpetual cycle of civil war. Radical violence has become the norm. Does Hillary Clinton care about the spread of radical Islam—or have her policies facilitated it?
One cannot talk about radical Islam without confronting these facts. It is also not appropriate to lay the blame on the United States, alone, for every single problem the world has, given that brutal regimes such as Saudi Arabia play a crucial role in spreading extremist ideologies and providing funding and weaponry.
The fact remains, however, that the U.S. and the U.K. have given Saudi Arabia unfaltering support despite their brutally unsafe policies—and have been providing assistance to the Saudi-led coalition as they bomb civilians in neighbouring Yemen to death. Yemen is the most impoverished nation in the region and is home to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the branch of al-Qaeda Washington has been deemed the most deadly—despite the fact Washington kills more civilians than AQAP does on a regular basis. Is Saudi Arabia bombing Yemen to decimate AQAP? No, they are intervening on the side of AQAP.
All of this is barely scratching the surface. However, if these factors were simply removed, how much of a problem would we be left with when talking about radical Islam? Why is it that Clinton and Trump both propose policies that have only ever exacerbated the problem?
Einstein famously said the definition of lunacy is attempting the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
The only difference in results we can expect to see is a difference in the severity of the terror threat we are forced to face because of the disastrous policies our governments have pursued in the Middle East and Africa.
This article (Why Everyone Is Wrong Regarding Radical Islam) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons licence with attribution to Darius Shahtahmasebi and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11 pm Eastern/8 pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, please email the error and name of the article to firstname.lastname@example.org.