As hearings in the U.S. Congress on radical Islam and homegrown terrorism began in Washington, the effort of organized Muslim opposition to discredit them also gathered steam.
It is nearly a decade since 9/11 and there is too much accumulated evidence at hand to put to rest the self-serving insistence of most Muslims — but especially those in the West — that while Islam is peaceful, it has been hijacked by immoderate Muslims.
The reality is the malignancy of the Arab-Muslim world — as it sinks deeper into the morass of its own making, a broken civilization dotted with failed and rogue states and, perhaps, beyond repair — threatens the peace of others.
Inside the Arab-Muslim world, immoderate Islam is the norm. If this was not true, then immoderate Muslims, goaded by immoderate religious and political leaders, would not control the public square in most member states of the Organization of Islamic Conference, and in the name of Islam intimidate and kill their opponents.
Pakistan is an example of what is “normal” in a Muslim majority state. The recent murder in public of Shahbaz Bhatti, federal minister for minority affairs, in Islamabad speaks volumes about the nature of this failed rogue state with nuclear weapons.
Bhatti’s mistake, or crime in the view of immoderate Muslims, was his effort to repeal the country’s blasphemy law. He was a Christian in a state where minorities are an endangered people.
In May 1998, John Joseph, a Catholic bishop, took his own life inside a courthouse in the town of Sahiwal, Punjab. The bishop’s suicide was an act of total despair protesting the death sentence given under Pakistan’s blasphemy law to a member of his church, Ayub Masih, for allegedly slandering Islam.
Two months before Bhatti’s killing, Punjab’s governor, Salman Taseer, was gunned down in Islamabad by his own security guard. Taseer’s killer, 26-year-old Mumtaz Qadri, has been made into a hero and “martyr” for Islam by the country’s religious establishment, while government lawyers are unwilling to risk their lives by prosecuting him in court for murder.
Like a crimson arc, the region from Pakistan through Iran and Arab states of the Middle East and North Africa constitutes the heartland of the Arab-Muslim world, and here violence and terrorism in the name of Islam persists unchecked.
Here the situation of minorities, as with Coptic Christians in Egypt, is perilous. Here in compliance with the Shariah women are unequal to men, and beholden to their capriciousness. Here religion is a daily inquisition supervised by men holding power.
In the West, Muslims live under the most favourable conditions in their history. Here their organizations can repudiate immoderate Muslims and terrorism, and show how Islam genuinely means being at peace with the world.
Instead they engage in apologetics, blame others for the ills of the Arab-Muslim world, and indulge in the politics of victimhood.
My Islam teaches there is a Day of Reckoning. It means every living moment man stands before God for judgment, and without any escape faces those he wronged, praying that he finds forgiveness.