Thursday, December 2, 2010

Towards Understanding Islam in the Postcolonial World Order 5/5



by Taj Hashmi

Calling all ethno-national freedom fighters “terrorists” does not resolve any issue but takes us all to a dark cul-de-sac. This is reminiscent of how European colonial rulers used to portray armed freedom fighters as “robbers” and “outlaws” and their armed resistance as “disturbances” or “problems of law and order”. Similarly, since the heydays of the Cold War we find Western policymakers, media and intellectuals denigrating all rebels and freedom fighters fighting Western interests as “terrorists” or “communists”.
Western ambivalence towards religion-based polities is noteworthy. While it despises the Islamic regime in Iran; the West is prepared to go to any extent to defend the Zionist state of Israel. An understanding of violent Islamist extremism hinges on the understanding of what the postcolonial Third World in general and the Muslim World in particular think of Western hegemony and arrogance. Evelin Lindner has beautifully explained it through her personal field work experience in Rwanda and Somalia in 1998. She conveys the perceptions of the downtrodden Rwandans and Somalis about the West in the following manner:
You from the West, you come here to get a kick out of our problems. You pretend to help or do science, but you just want to have some fun….You pay lip service to human rights and empowerment! You are a hypocrite! We feel deeply humiliated by your arrogant and self-congratulatory help! First you colonize us. Then you leave us with a so-called democratic state that is alien to us. After that you watch us getting dictatorial leaders. Then you give them weapons to kill half of us. Finally you come along to “measure our suffering.[25]

The writer [Taj Hashmi] is Professor of Security Studies at the College of Security Studies, APCSS, Honolulu, Hawaii. He is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and an editorial board member of the journal, Contemporary South Asia since 1996. Currently he’s working on a book titled Islam in Postcolonial Global Setting: Beyond the Muslim Heartland.
Concluded.  Previous 1, 2 3, 4
Source:  Wichaar
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[1] Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, Grover Press, New York 2005, Ch V, pp.181-234  
[2] Oliver Roy, The Failure of Political Islam, I.B. Tauris, London 1994, pp. 75-88  
[3] Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, “The April 6 Youth Movement”, September 22, 2010  (accessed November 22, 2010)
[4] Fawaz A. Gerges, Journey of the Jihadist: Inside Muslim Militancy, Harcourt, Inc. New York 2006, p.37  
 [5] Ibid, pp. 129-30  
 [6] Ioan Lewis and Anita Adam, Understanding Somalia and Somaliland: Culture, History and Society, C Hurst & Co, London 2008, p.5  
  [7] Oliver Roy, The Failure of Political Islam, I.B. Tauris, London 1994, pp.120-21  
 [8] Ibid, pp.172-3  
 [9] M. Reza Ghods, Iran in the Twentieth Century: A political History, Lynne Rienner Publishers, Boulder 1989, pp.192-230  
 [10] CNN, Fareed Zakariya GPS, June 27, 2010  
[11] Arundhati Roy, “Kashmir’s Fruits of Discord”, NYT, November 8, 2010
[12] Government of India, Ministry of Minority Affairs, Sachar Committee Report, New Delhi 2006  
[13] Harbans Mukhia, “Indian Muslims: One of a Kind”, Times of India, 20 December 2008
[14] See Greg Barton, Indonesia's Struggle: Jemaah Islamiyah And the Soul of Islam, University of New South Wales Press, Sydney 2005  
 [15] Oliver Roy, Globalized Islam: The Search for a New Ummah, Columbia University Press, New York 2004, pp.67-9  
 [16] Fouad Ajami, “The Clash”, New York Times Sunday Book Review, January 6, 2008;  
 [17] Kenan Malik, “multiculturalism has fanned the flames of Islamic extremism”, The Times, July 16, 2005
[18] Dan Ephron and Mark Hosenball, “Recruited for Jihad?”Newsweek, February 2, 2009
 [19] Rami Khouri, “Terrorists AreAlso Spawned by Humiliation”, NYT, June 29, 2010
[20] Evelin  Gerda Lindner, “Humiliation as the Source of Terrorism: A New Paradigm”,Peace Studies, 33(2), 2001, p.59
[21] Karen Armstrong, The Battle for God, Ballantine Books, New York 2001, “Introduction”
 [22] Edward Said, Orientalism, Vintage Books, New York 1979, passim
 [23] Akbar S. Ahmad, Discovering Islam: Making Sense of Muslim History and Society, Vistaar Publications, New Delhi 1990, pp. 117-40
 [24] Hafeez Malik, Moslem Nationalism in India and Pakistan, Public Affairs Press, Washington, DC 1963, pp.123-98
[25] Evelin Gerda Lindner, op cit, pp.62-3

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