Arab rulersand their opposition both claim Islam as their source of legitimacy
by Talal Al-khoury
Throughout history, the tyrannical rulers have used religion as a means ofcontrolling their people and leading them like herd animals. The most importantreason that totalitarian rulers depend on religion is that it is a successful,cheap and guaranteed way to stabilize their regimes and to ensure theirlongevity by divine orders that cannot be discussed at all, but obeyed, andwhere any one who opposes this would be considered as an infidel and would beintimidated and threatened to be judged in the afterlife, not to mention thesociety’s perception of him as a outsider to the majority culture. In suchregimes, a mutual interest arises between the religious establishment andthe ruling regime, where a tyrant provides the clergy with power, moneyand infrastructure, and in return, the clerics exploit religious sentimentof the people to give the ruler divine authorization and justification to hisrule, including enslaving his people.
In the Middle Ages, the totalitarian kings used the Church in order to make thepeople give blind obedience to the king and the monarchy. European peoples gotrid of the authority of the church and the monarchy together. First, theyseparated the church from the state and established secular civil laws, wherethe title of monarch remains mostly ceremonial, without political power, and the people governed themselvesthrough their representatives, chosen in free democratic elections.
Unfortunately,the Arab states have been governed by religious totalitarian racist rulers forthe last 1430 years, when the first Islamic state was born. We can say that theapparent form of governance in Arab countries has changed during this period,but in terms of content, it has retained the same style of governance ofreligious totalitarian dynastic racial and sectarian rule. One of these phonychanges is the creation of a sort of opposition, since it is required for everygovernment nowadays. The Arab opposition, in their turn, also used the religiouscard to play politics because the religious card could make them popular and enablethem to play on the same political playing field as the government in power, usingthe same tools and tricks. Andthus, both the rulers and their opponents started to compete to claimlegitimacy using the Islamic religion in order to put Islam on their side andthus to use the advantages of this religion in order to gain a majority by theexploitation of religious emotions. In this article, we will address theproblem of claiming legitimacy through Islam among the Arab rulers and theiropposition through the following points: exposing the ways of using theIslamic religion by the rulers of the Arabs, exposing the methods of using theIslamic religion by the opposition, exposing criminal competition between Arabrulers and their opponents in the exploitation of the Islamic religion, and weend the article with a conclusion.
Exposing theways of using Islam by the Arab rulers
Arabrulers insist on having in theirconstitutions an article that says that the constitution isderived from Islamic law and also they assure that their constitutions do not violate Islamic Sharia. They do the same thing when they sign international treaties where they add acondition to any international treaty which says that itwill be obeyed if the articles do not conflict with Islamic lawand thus they avoid obeying international law. This item in theconstitutions of Arab and Islamic countries forces a racial discriminationagainst non-Muslims citizens. The seriousness of this item comes from thefact that it codifies the discrimination against those non-Muslim citizensand makes their persecution legitimate and constitutional. In spite of the factthat these regimes claim that they consider all citizens equal, they keep thisitem in the constitution just as a playing card to claim legitimacy through Islamagainst their Islamist opponents and thereby pulling the card of Islamfrom the their hands and to attempt to monopolize this card to serve their owninterests only.
Assassinated ex-president of Egypt Sadat took on the title of the”Believer President, for a Muslim state” and had television coverageof his attendance at daily prayers, pushed for increased Islamic programming inthe media, as well as established religious classes in schools. The Sadatgovernment funded the construction of new mosques, used Islamic rhetoric inpublic statements, and promoted the formation of Islamic student organizationsin schools and universities nationwide. One of Sadat’s famous political gamesis that he exploited Islam and Islamists and launched their hand againsthis leftist and nationalist opponents since these groups are the opponents ofthe Islamists also. Islamists responded to Sadat’s favor with a favor and theysupported the well-known peace treaty between Egyptand Israel.Even though this peace treaty is 100% against the Sharia and Islamic cultureand values, the Islamists still were able to justify it divinely because the Shariatext can be easily taken out of context and manipulated to serve their ownpolitical interests and agenda.
The rulers of Saudi Arabia havemonopolized the title of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and they governtheir country without a written constitution, where the Saudi Arabianlegal system is based on Islamic law, the Sharia, with the Quran providing themost important source. The rulers of Saudi Arabia tried to spread Wahhabism inthe world in general and the Arab countries in particular. TheSaudis would have stayed obscure Bedouins and Wahhabism little more than acult. But because of their oil wealth, the Saudis were able to spreadWahhabism’s seed worldwide, making it far more mainstream than it would havebeen otherwise. The reason for spreading Wahhabism was to respond to Nasser’sambitions of ruling the entire Arab world, since Nasserthreatend their thrones by adopting Arab nationalism. They have invested forthis purpose billions uponbillions of dollars of oil, known as petro-dollars. This has resulted in Wahhabism taking control of thebiggest Islamic school in the world, Al-Azhar, and so they were able to recruitEgyptian Islamists and fool them into accepting al Qaeda, from whose terror theworld in general and the Arab world in particular still suffer.
The rest of the Arableaders such as Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, King Hussein and others are foolingtheir people by claiming that they are descended from the family of the Prophetof Islam and consider themselves superior to common people. Saddam Hussein forcedMichel Aflaq, the founder of the Baath Party, to be converted from Christianityto Islam so that he would not look bad in the eye of Islam and to avoid thepotential criticism of the opposition of joining the party that is founded by anon-Muslim. In addition, he ordered a copy of the Quran to be written using hisown blood as the ink and he added an Islamic slogan taken from Quran, “No godbut Allah”, on the country’s national flag. The worldstill remembers him pretending that he was a sort of Islamic holy saint and pretending that he had beenvisited by an angel in a dream and he had been ordered by God to wage war for eight years against Iran, inorder to satisfy his ego and paranoia.
Another aspect ofclaiming Islam is demanding that Muslim clerics pray for Arabic leaders andpraise them at Friday sermons. At the same time, they close their eyes on the insults,in the Friday prayers, to non-Muslims and particularly Christians by the Islamicclerics through their Mosques’ amplified speakers that hurt the ears of passers-by, including Christians, in the street, because Islam encourage insultingChristians. Not to mention, of course, that these preachers have been ordered tourge the faithful to download all their economical, political and socialproblems onto the shoulders of what they called their enemy Israel, imperialism, and America and thewest, whose people they call “sons of apes and pigs”, as it is stated inIslamic culture.
This generosityin financing the building of mosques, Islamic universities, the ministries ofAwqaf (religion) and Islamic affairs and the salaries of imams is a specialpolicy of the Arab rulers and it is given a high priority in their politics. Thereligious police, or what is called the “Commission of the Promotion of Virtueand Prevention of Vice”, is the cheapest and lowest way that used by Arab dictatorsto terrorize and intimidate their own people and to keep them under control andlead them like a herd.
In other words, ourrulers are the ones who cause underdevelopment in our countries, and promote ignoranceand superstitions, and despit this, they dare to boast in closed rooms, when they meet theirpeers in Western diplomatic circles, that their people are still backward andthey have precedence over their own people in terms of modernization andurbanization, and thus persuade the West to deal with them and not to deal withthe backward and closed opposition, andthereby mislead the West and keep them away from supporting their people’s real issues such as freedom, democracy andhuman rights.
From all the above,we see that the Arab rulers do not give development, education and human rightsthe attention they deserve, but the bulk of their focus is on the stability oftheir rule and the enslavement of their people by claiming the legitimacy ofIslam.
Exposing theways of using the Islamic religion by the opposition
The Islamic opposition and their adopted Islamic values and hidden agendafrightened the secular, nationalist and non-Muslims and caused them to preferto support their current authoritarian regimes than to fall directly under thebackward rule of Islam.
We believe thatthe corrupted systems that use religion to ensure the continuity of their rule wouldneed even a form of opposition that would be seen as even worse, so that thegoverning regime would look good compare to their opposition. Thus, the Islamicopposition provides, intentionally or not, the ruling regimes with an enormous favorby adopting Islam, so that we suspect that the Islamic opposition is constructedby the authoritarian regime itself, even though we do not believe in theconspiracy theory.
Even theleft-wing oppositions that usually have atheistic values and whose members are non-religiousare allied with the Islamists, and furthermore, they try to islamize theirprinciples and ideology in order to comply with Islam. The researcher Ahmed Alqadhydid excellent research on the subject of islamization of leftist ideology. His articlecan be found on the ahewar.org website, in Arabic.
Instead of bettingon the electoral platforms of each party and competing on their electoralprograms that include development and improvement of the economy, education andrespect of human rights and freedom, the opposition is betting on Islam by encouraging islamization of all aspect oflife including transportation, banking and all kinds of media, not to mentionthe islamization of fashion such as wearing veils and headscarves and Islamic robes.Unfortunately, these styles of Islamization are the most important politicalslogans and symbols that characterize the Islamic opposition. This, along with thepreaching of Islam in public squares and facilities, and praying during workinghours, excessive prostration and even prostrating in stadiums after every goalscored by a Muslim team are also political symbols of the Islamic opposition.
Exposing the criminal rivalry between Arab rulers and their opponents in theexploitation of the Islamic religion
In civilizedcountries, political parties compete based on their electoral platforms, wherethe parties present their economic policies written in scientific and economic language,in order to show their people that they would use all means available to theirhomeland to best serve their people and the interests of their country, includingeconomic prosperity, freedom, human rights and development in all fields suchas the economy, politics, science and national culture and heritage. Whereas theArab opposition’s duty is a lot easier than that because their main game is to fawn to Islamand to lay claim to the Islamic religion, even if that ends in committing unspeakablecrimes of cruelty against their fellow non-Muslims citizens, that would turn a newborn’shair gray. All the international independent credible media have documented thecrimes committed by the military wings of the Islamic opposition. Actually,there is a secret competition among these military wings for committingterrorist crimes against Christians, such as the bombing of churches and worshipers,the genocide of the small, peaceful Christian community, the intimidation of peacefulChristians and forcing them to emigrate, or the abuse and kidnap of their minordaughters and forcing them to be converted to Islam. Of course, the long-termgoal of the kidnapping of their minor girls is to minimize the opportunitiesfor Christians to marry and multiply their offspring, and this is another criminalway to eliminate Christians and clearing the regions of them even though the Christiansare the original residents and citizens of this region since ancient times.
Another action of the Islamic oppositionis the robbery of non-Muslim’s shops and workshops to eliminate their incomeand their ability to earn a decent living. In fact, there are many such crimesagainst minorities, which have become a daily routine.
In these situations, the governments, whose duty it is to protect its citizens,is in an awkward position, because if they were to arrest the criminals theywould lose their popularity among their citizens, because what the terrorists havedone is a basic practice of true Islam; to avoid this embarrassing situationand keep their appearance as a government that respects Islamic values and practicesmore than the opposition, the government tries not to arrest or to try thecriminals using misleading arguments and claims. One of these misleading waysto help Islamic terrorists avoid justice is to claim that the perpetrators ofthese crimes are mentally ill and thus avoid punishment. Another form of thesemisleading ways to help Islamic terrorists avoid justice is through theimposition of customary reconciliation sessions or so-called Arab sittingsessions of reconciliation, and thus the blood of Christians is wasted withimpunity. These are very dangerous acts because the state gives impression to therest of the people that killing Christians passes without punishment becausethe killing of non-Muslims is legal in Islam.
In order to increase their oppression against the Christians, then Muslimsopenly glorify the terrorists that killed Christians as Islamic Champions andtheir families are glorified also and thus the terrorists and his family becomeglorified holy Islamic saints, because their fate is to enter the afterlife inParadise, where they are promised to sexually enjoy 72 untouchedbeautiful virgins (houris) and pre-pubescent boys.
Thus, because ofthis competition to lay claim to Islam between the government and theopposition, the massacres against Christians in Arab countries became so cheap,such that the princes of Islamic terrorism just need to find a poor, unemployedMuslim man who is living in misery, and to brain-wash him with the Islamic commandmentto kill Christians and infidels as a holy virtue and to promise him paradiseand virgins and pre-pubescent boys. Besides these promises, they assure him that justice will not reach himand that they would hire, for his case, the best attorneys, and they wouldsupport their promises with examples of what happened in previous similar caseswhen crimes were committed against Christians. And indeed, they usually fulfilltheir promises and hire the best attorneys and the end result would be eitherthat he would be cleared or the case would last forever. Or, in otherscenarios, as we previously mentioned, the case would be settled by custom or amedical report about mental sickness would be fabricated. Thus, committingcrimes has become easy and cheap so that the criminal goes to theimplementation of the crime with a smile on his face and with reassurance that noharm would happen to him and not even one hair of his head would be touched.
Unfortunately, the Arab rulers do not treat Christians as citizens but as apolitical card for bargaining and negotiation to be used when needed. If theinterest of these regimes were to play the sectarian card for one reason oranother, they would not flinch at that. For example, these regimes can play thesectarian card whenever they want to send a message to the West that theopposition is the worst option, and dealing with their regimes are the bestoptions and thus they beg for the west to support their regimes. Anotherexample of the use of the sectarian card is to send a message to their peoplethat the options of the opposition are very bad and to remind them about theevils of the Islamists compared to their current regimes.
What happened and is happening in Egyptand Iraq could happen in Syria, Lebanonand Jordanbecause, as mentioned above, for the Arab regimes the Christians are politicalcards for playing as needed in order to stabilize and continue their rule, evenat the expense of killing Christians.
We see that the Arab rulers and the opposition in the Arab countries are, infact, competing in laying claim to Islam, and every party wants to adopt Islam astheir own franchise company and to use it for their service and interests and forpreserving power in the case of the party in power, or to come to power in the caseof the opposition. Unfortunately, they have succeeded with their mean policies.
The biggest losersof this criminal competition are the homelands, the people in general andminorities in particular, and especially the Christian minority. Thus, by this cheapway, our people are kept away from modernity, democracy, scientific progress,human rights and prosperity.
In conclusion,the religious issues that all other nations have put on the shelves of museumsand history, have quarantined within their temples, and have made a personalmatter for individuals by separating religion and state, are still the way ofruling and living and are popular and have highest priority and receive largeinvestments in Islamic and Arab countries.