Again I hear talk everywhere that Islamist terrorism is a reaction to Western imperialism. It’s supposedly got nothing to do with radical Islamists. I have to wonder if why Korea and Vietnam didn't start pumping terrorists into the world as an aftermath of the horrendous wars there, why oil producers in South America and Sub-Saharan Africa didn't start pumping terrorists into the world in reaction to western meddling there.
The world didn't know of jihad till after WWII when it became evident that future security of states would henceforth depend on the security of their oil supplies, whether to power their economies or to fuel their militaries. There is oil all over the world and there has been competition and conflict to secure that oil, but only the oil of the Middle East drives global terrorism. The cause is Saudi Arabia, which has used its oil revenues to drive fundamentalist radicalization of Muslim societies all over the world, infesting them with mosques and seminaries that disseminate Saudi scripted fundamentalist, hateful perspectives. Every major Muslim terrorist organization in the world is connected to a web in the center of which sits Saudi Arabia. This social re-engineering and radicalization of Muslim societies by the gold-laden, oil-drunk Wahabbis is so successful that even the liberals of the West run to blame their own governments entirely for the rise and spread of Islamist terrorism.
So many Muslims died in the Iran/Iraq war, but the slaughter of Muslims by Muslims is never mentioned by the Chomskyites. They go straight to, and only to, the American involvement. Janjaweed Arab militias conducted genocide against blacks in Sudan, killing about 300,000 people, to say nothing of rape, but nothing is said about that either. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan committed genocide in Bengal and killed, at most conservative estimates, 300,000 people in just a few months, and now carries on a slaughter of Muslims in Balochistan, but that’s not heard about either. Most of those who died in the second Iraq war were killed not by American GIs, but by Muslim militias intent on preventing the establishment of a state that left them out of the loop, and by the mutual slaughter of each other by Shias and Sunnis. But we put all the blame on America's shoulders.
In every case where the West can be blamed, it is blamed totally, including for the behaviors and actions and brutality of barbarians who were savage to begin with. In any situation where the West can’t be blamed, the whole thing is swept under the carpet and forgotten (as Darfur and East Pakistan have been) and the drumbeat of blaming the West for barbarism practiced by Muslim fanatics carries right on.
The West is not without fault. But it is dishonest to assert that the Islamist terrorism is merely a backlash to Western foreign policy. The other party at the table is radical, oil fed fundamentalist Islamism.
In the West, after every instance of slaughter by a crazed Islamist, liberals run to call for tolerance towards ordinary Muslims innocent of the crime. It is the West that welcomes immigrants from Muslim countries and guarantees their freedom to practice their faith and to live their lives without persecution. It is the West that makes peace with its former enemies at the first opportunity. See the relations of Germany, Japan, Italy, Vietnam, and South Korea with the US. The West welcomes immigrants en mass from enemies, both former (Russians flooded into the US after the collapse of the Soviet Union) and present (so many Iranian students in the US). It is the West that takes in Muslim refugees escaping from slaughter by Muslims as has been seen by the flow of Syrians into Europe.
Meanwhile Saudi Arabia and the Emirates have not opened their own borders to the faithful fleeing the slaughter. There is no call in the Middle East for understanding and tolerance towards the West and non-Muslims. There is no voice allowed to call for moderation of Islamist hatemongering, to curtail the raging hatred that constantly spews out against the West. Those who disturb this order are subject to arrest, lynching, torture, and execution. Infidels are not welcome to come and live as equals, even while every kind of savage hatemonger runs around galvanizing the world of Islam into uncompromising hatred towards the infidels.
And yet we hold that Muslim terrorism is the West’s fault. The killing of Salmaan Taseer and the slaughter at Charlie Hebdo we are told was the fault of those who were killed, not those who did the killing. “They deserved to die for what they said” is the essential radicalism that is unique to the Islamic world. It illustrates that Islamist terrorism is not merely a reaction to “western imperialism.”
It’s not a one-sided situation of course. Western failures in policy are real indeed, some unforeseeable, some shortsighted, some shockingly amoral, others indefensible. Global compulsions on energy security are also real. The villainy of despots, tyrants, and clerics across the Muslim world is also real.
But it is also a fact that from Pakistan to the Northern Mediterranean, and on into the Muslim ghettoes of the UK, there is widely present bigotry, hatred, and contempt for the non-Muslim that is beyond reason, moderation and human decency. It spans across leaders, community organizations, and public sentiment. And it is both ignorant and dishonest to trivialize this while harping on about Islamist terrorism being merely a backlash to "western imperialism”.
Here in India we have Saffron fanaticism against Muslims that falls into the same trap of blaming imperialism, this one Muslim and from long ago. It is depressing indeed to be arguing on one hand against the unjustified bigotry against Muslims in India, and about radical Islamist terrorism to those who insist that it’s all America's doing.
The key here is secularism: the basic premise that people of diverse faiths can coexist in harmony thanks to a dispensation that makes a person's faith irrelevant to the purposes and objectives of society. Secularism is almost non-existent in the Muslim world and besieged by Hindutva in India, radicals of both faiths united in opposition to any social arrangement that humanizes people without regard to their faith.
Theocratic radicalism and barbarism has to be expected from societies that are hostile to the ideal and promise of secularism.