Skip to content

ISIL: The “Bastard” Son of Muslim Brotherhood and Salafism

September 7, 2014

ISIS is the acronym for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, aka ISIL for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Levant is the ancient area covering Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel/Palestine, as well as some parts of Cyprus, in the past, and now the name is analogous to Syria alone. And recently, after the declaration of Caliphate in Mosul/Iraq, ISIL has been reduced to IS, denoting the Islamic State. The Arabic acronym for ISIL is DAESH.

Who are they?

ISIL consists of two Sunni Muslim Takfiri groups ((Takfiri is an Arabic term akin to a Muslim who accuses another Muslim (or a member of any Abrahamic religions) of apostasy)). These groups are located on the Iraqi/Syrian border; one on Iraqi side and another on the Syrian side. The two jihad militias originally defected from Al-Qaeda on the wake of the second Gulf War, precisely after the onset of the Syrian civil war and its chaotic aftermath. These two groups united to form a single power that shares an ideology based on the literal interpretation of the holy book, Quran, and the tradition of the Muslim prophet, Muhammad. The goal of this unity was to rebuild the Islamic Caliphate and resurrect the defunct empire system, walking on the footsteps of their ancestors, to pick up where they’ve left off in conquering the world and spreading the Islamic faith by the sword, as they religiously believe to be their duty.

Ever since the dissolution of the Ottoman empire in 1923, and its dissection into smaller regions with boarders drawn by imperial and colonial powers, and the establishment of  laws to govern the citizenry and  the sovereignty of each region, Arab and Muslim tribes who were used to the nomadic style of inhibiting a mainly vast land, where they roamed freely without any restrictions or laws, were constantly  prompted by their politicians, who saw opportunities of power and wealth, to rebuild their empire under a national flag or a common identity that united them, seizing every opportunity to become a world power.

In the process, the biggest two ideologies emerged; one was the Arab Nationalism, aka Pan-Arabism; a socialist movement that espoused the unification of all the countries that spoke the Arabic language, spreading from North Africa to West Asia; from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Sea. This movement gained gigantic popularity that exceeded all expectations in the 1950’s and the 1960’s among Arabs. The other movement was the Muslim Brotherhood (MB); a discrete, fraternity style, and religiopolitical group with a goal that extended beyond Arabism, seeking Muslim unity for the purpose of rebuilding the Islamic empire. And although the latter movement predated the former, where it was founded in 1928; a mere five years period after the fall of the Ottoman Empire, it didn’t resonate much with the Arabs, at the beginning, as did Pan-Arabism movement.

In comparison, there were also other smaller and more localized movements. One of these was the Arab Nationalist group, aka Arab Ba’ath socialist party or movement, which was founded by the Syrian activists Michel Aflaq and Salah al-Din al-Bitar in 1947. This movement espoused a unified Arab state with the motto, “Unity, Liberty, and Socialism.” Its main declared objective was to fight against imperialism. And although this movement found fertile grounds in Syria and Iraq, (Both Bashar al-Assad and his father before him, as well as Saddam Hussein, were members of this party), it never had the chance to spread beyond that region. A main reason for that, I believe, is because of the infamous reputation of the party in terminating its opponents; their history is replete with bloody assassinations.

Another movement was the Wahhabi movement, aka Salafism (literally translated as the ways of the ancestors); a radical, orthodox and religiously zealot Islamic movement, with an ideology based on the literal interpretation of the scripture and the tradition of Muhammad, handed down by Ibn Taymiyyah (1328-1263).  It was founded by a ruthless Jihadi warlord with the name of Mohammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, hence the name of the group, in the eighteenth century Arabian Peninsula. The objective of this movement was to subjugate all Muslims under the power of the sword to rebuild the Islamic Caliphate, imposing the Salafi cult’s ideology, and annihilating all who they deem dissenters of Islam, as they find ordained by their doctrine of faith.

But when this movement, for many reasons, failed to sprawl beyond its boundaries, it remained localized in Saudi Arabia, especially after the alliance of Muhammad ibn Saud, the first king of Saudi Arabia, who was then the head of one of many tribes in the area, with Abd al-Wahab. Realizing the power of such ideology in recruiting members of other tribes, Ibn Saud grabbed the opportunity to establish his kingdom, hence the name. In return Abdb al-Wahab got to enforce the Hanbali school of Fiqh, which is the laws of Sharia according to Ahmad Bin Hambal, in Saudi Arabia (Sunni sect is governed by four schools of Figh; Hanbali, Shafi’i, Maliki, and Hanafi.) This unity formed the basin that cultivated the vanguards of faith out of each and every citizen, whose first duty became to forbid any sign of modernity, like smoking cigarettes, or practicing “mythical rituals” such as visiting cemeteries, and consider them blasphemous or even idolatry.

All these ideologies held a natural resentment to colonialism and imperialism, this hate was later extended to include capitalism. Or in other words, everything that the West represents. And although the Arab Nationalism, or Pan-Arabism trend, was short lived, especially after the invasion of Kuwait by the Iraqis, and the controversial opinions it raised amid Arab and Muslim peoples, the Islamic movements gradually prospered, mainly because of the region’s monarchs’ alliance with the Islamist groups, not as much for the ruler’s orthodoxy or reverence, but to ward off the threat of socialist power that was stretching its limbs beyond the boundaries of these countries. The alliance with Islamist groups was the monarch’s mean to stop the crazy spread of the Pan-Arabism as an ideology in their countries; they assessed, rightly, that nothing can defeat an ideology but a counter ideology.

This alliance proved ruthlessly effective in sustaining political Islam in the region particularly when the GCC countries ( acronym for the Gulf Cooperation Council, consisting of the six oil-rich countries on the Arabian/Persian Gulf; Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, and Qatar), gave safe haven to MB members who fled Egypt in the sixties, after being hammered down by the then Pan-Arabism leader and Egypt’s president, Gamal Abdel-Naser, who fiercely fought to weed all his MB opponents out by killing some, imprisoning some, and causing others to flee for their lives. These countries, upon their monarchs’ orders, not only gave the fleeing MBs money and lodging, they also widely opened the doors of all government institutions for them. This included state education facilities and school curriculum, jurisdiction and courts, finance ministries, oil and banks (Islamic banks became the tycoons that threatened other banks), the official media of the State, as well as successive  endowment ministries, through which welfare is monitored and distributed, without any auditing by its part. And before they knew it, their locally sowed seeds of MBs, grew and climbed the social ladder to the second class in these countries after the monarchs, competing with the merchants’ class.

But up until the Afghan War against the Soviet Union, the MBs and Salafis were kept under control, especially because they are considered the traditional opponents, in competition within the same Sunni sect. Their rivalry is so fierce that if left alone, they’d sure annihilate one another. But the war in Afghanistan united them against a common enemy that both had no doubt about its infidelity, and whose destruction as kafir (atheist) is ordained by Quran, regardless of the sect or faction. And so the MB members, led by Ayman Al-Zawahiri, joined forces with the Salafis, led by Osama Bin Laden, and the two groups formed a power that got military training and logistics from the United States, financed by the GCC countries to wage wars by insurgents from all Arab and Muslim volunteers, who were steered to become Mujahideen, before being veered from their path to attack their mentors.

There is an Arabic proverb that goes like, “An intelligent foe is better than a dumb friend.” And when the United States used the Islamist groups to fight its proxy war between the then two super powers in Afghanistan, and drafted the Arab and Muslim Mujahideen (who most of them were losers in their countries), in cooperation with the GCC monarchs and GCC people’s donations to fight the atheist Russia, neither she, nor the GCC leaders, or even the well-meaning peoples of the region knew that the world has to pay a dear price at the consequence of creating Frankenstein, who’d soon turn against them and cause much more misery to humankind.

For the first time in the Islamic history the two fronts of MB and Salafis unite to fight side-by-side as Mujahideen, enjoying power, money, men and military-gear, as well as the universal approval and heroic cheer. If by this freshly acquired power they were able, in no time, to dissolve a superpower and break it down to its smaller components in 1991, what can, then, obstruct their path to fulfill their prophecy of rebuilding the Islamic Caliphate, especially that they got legitimacy from the Islamic scripture to fight evil, impersonated by the West and the GCC leaders, who allowed for the existence of the unclean American military bases on the holy land of the Arab Peninsula, in the first Gulf war to liberate Kuwait in 1991?

After their initial dispersion upon their victory in Afghanistan, some of the Mujahideen returned back to their countries and created small cells preaching the Salafi ideology and the military strategy of jihad in the footsteps of Bin-Laden.  Others migrated to the West, who adopted them in its philanthropy programs after being expelled from their own home towns. Although in diaspora, these ex-Mujahideen managed to create their own cells, using mosques and madrasas (Islamic schools) that the Saudi Arabian king built for them in Europe, mainly to get them occupied in preaching, and to ward off their danger. Soon these cells regrouped again under the organization of Ayman Al-Zawahiri and the rhetoric of Bin Laden, hence, Al-Qaeda was born.

This power had its mastermind on Afghanistan/Pakistan Boarder, and its cells all over the world (Shabab in Somalia, Boco Haram in Nigeria, Al-Nusrah in Syria, and so forth.) But it gained more strength after the end of the second Gulf War in 2003, when some Sunni individuals in the defeated Saddam Hussein’s armed forces and republican guards joined Al-Qaeda.

Finding themselves suddenly without jobs or lodges after an eight year war period with Iran (1980-1988), and seven months invasion of Kuwait (2 Aug.1990- 28 Feb. 1991), the Sunni troops in the 100 thousand Iraqi armed forces under the toppled Saddam Hussein regime became easy prey for Al-Qaeda. Al-Qaeda presented a tool for the Sunnis of Iraq, through which they hoped to regain power in Iraq, after being systematically excluded by the Shiite authoritarian Government. It also gave pro-Saddam individuals the chance to avenge the West that defeated them. And the opportunity was up for grabs, especially after the break of the civil war in Syria and the chaos it created, facilitating the recruitment of the Syrian insurgents to join Al-Nusrah from the bordering Iraqi cell in their battle against the rebels as well as the Alawites.

These murky waters in Syria provided the fertile ground for ISIL to grow. The unity of the Iraqi and the Syrian Al-Qaeda cells created a power that prompted them to dissect from their mentors and form a sovereignty, especially after seizing the northern areas bordering the two countries and pillaging more than 500 million dollars from the Iraqi Christian-dominated city of Mosul. ISIL then removed the borders, declared the onset of the Islamic state, and announced the Syrian historical city of Al-Rigah as its capital.

What facilitated this union is the fact that both the Iraqi and the Syrian cells have common natural roots in Al-Bath ideology, sharing its bloody ways in terminating their opponents. And when the leaders of ISIL felt that they could dispose of Al-Qaeda, they did, but not before acquiring its strategic style in world-wide organization and blatantly using religious rhetoric to subjugate people and drag them in their lust for acquisitiveness.

Why do these movements succeed in raising public support?

Today we witness the ISIL flags on streets all over the world; Arab networks and social sites are replete with the symbol of Raba’a (a black colored hand, raising four fingers with the thumb resting on the palm, against a yellow background. It was popularized after toppling Morsi, in support of his party, the MBs of Egypt). Saddam Hussein’s pictures as well as Osama Bin Laden’s can still be seen in some demonstrations, as were the pictures of Gamal Abdel-Naser and Abdel-Kareem Qasim before them. What gives these iconic figures such popularity when almost everyone knows that most of them cunningly exploited people’s natural propensity for patriotism and faith for personal gains?

There are many reasons indeed, but one of the most important reasons, I believe, is the fact that Muslims in general, and Arabs in particular, are naturally rooted in harsh, nomadic environments, endowing on them social dispositions to subordinate their personal interest to that of the group. In such societies totalitarian customs and traditions as a means of survival have the upper hand, therefore, aspiration for a leader to follow becomes natural. Being legitimized, canonized and indoctrinated earnestly by the Islamic scripture and religious orations, totalitarianism was strengthened even more. Following the lead of Muhammad, as one of the most important commandments of Islam, the hero figure became even more in demand after his death.

To add insult to injury, this tradition, in which the interest of the group preceded that of each individual, became even more intense in the past few decades with the dawn of what came to be known as the Islamic awaking era. Basic human rights, like the right to live, have a proper education, freedom of expression and so forth became, not only a threat to the community, but also took different meanings than its universal counterpart; wearing the “ordained” veil by women, for example, became freedom of choice; her right to decide her fate as a citizen (like driving a car in Saudi Arabia) became a shameful trait miring her people’s honor; individual creativeness in all fields of art became sin and vandalism; expressing personal opinion, especially if it diverts from the collective opinion became defection, treachery, heresy or even a blasphemy worthy of execution.

In fact, the intense exposure to religion in these societies made each individual a personal vanguard of faith. Life became so worthless that sacrificing it for a promised one in the hereafter became nobility and ascendancy; killing oneself or other innocent souls for a piece of land became highly valued as an act of gallantry and martyrdom. Examples of this are too many to even bother to present.

Islamic orthodox indoctrination and religious sermons and orations, as well as the bloody history, created miserable people plagued with boredom and despair on one hand, and opportunists quick with abuse on the other. It created societies that sanctify death, prompting individuals to keep on procreating and reproducing, not to live, but to presents sacrifices on the altars of their beliefs. Blinded by faith and the portrait of a savior, these people sacrificed themselves and their children as human shield to protect mercenaries, cloaked in the garb of religion.

Neither death nor torture moves them. Except when the torturer is an outsider, one doesn’t find much empathy from their side to the pictures of their own people’s tortured bodies when the offender is another Muslim group. On the other hand, they are quick to use those pictures as a media propaganda for gaining universal support when the offender is Israel or USA. Ironically, every war their leaders entrap them in, they hail victory, regardless of their death toll or the damage in their property! And instead of taking them to justice for the carnage they caused, these people revere their leaders even more! They ascend the terrorist, not only to the post of a hero, but also to the point of creating an emblem or an idol out of him.

It comes, then, as no surprise when a former debaucher – according to the Islamic definition of debauchery – like the Bathist Abu Bakr Al-Baqdadi, becomes a respected Imam and proclaims himself the new Caliph without any opposition from his followers. All he had to do is grow a beard, wear a cloak, climb a pulpit, stand under the “no God but Allah” flag, and declare war on the dissenters to convince the assenters that he’s worthy of obedience. For when he does that he is talking on Allah’s behalf, and they are no more than Allah’s slaves.

What is ISIL doing?

Islamist groups in general, and MB, which is currently the biggest politico-Islamic movement and the most organized worldwide, in particular, excel in fishing in murky waters and hijacking revolutions. If you notice, all Arab Spring revolutions were hijacked by MB cells. This group, as well as Salafi group on a lower scale, have succeeded in the past in directing the collective public opinion to their benefit, especially after the alliance of MB cells in the GCC countries with its rulers for decades. This alliance opened the doors of vast opportunities, allowing their intrusion into all walks of life, especially those that have long-term effects in reaffirming their ideology and loyalty in the society; like changing and auditing school curriculum, giving mosques sermons, as well as preaching through the official media, not to mention offering free summer camps for the youth at all levels, in a culture that is already accustomed to inculcation.

These GCC government, where the MB financial center is located, showered the cells of this group with the petrodollar money by offering them free lands in best locations to build their welfare facilities. Some governments made them in charge of the official endowment authority, without any supervision on her part (when US government reports criminalized the MB and Salafi welfare organizations in Kuwait for financing terrorism, many prominent, some liberal, figures in the Kuwaiti government were quick in falsifying these reports.) And the new generation that was molded by the group grew through her mediation to climb the highest social ladder. This pampered generation formed later an important element in directing the politics and economy of the state.

And so MB became a giant octopus, with its head in Egypt, and its limbs scattered all over the world, including the United States (the so called “moderate” Swiss Islamic activist from an Egyptian background, Taiq Ramadan, is an MB member, and so is Turkey’s president, Recept Tyyip Erdogan and his party. CAIR –the Council on American-Islamic Relations in the United States is also another branch of MB…etc.)

As soon as some Middle Eastern rulers were toppled, mostly for their history of corruption and ill management of the resources, MBs, who had become the second power in these countries, naturally took control through democratic means. The very Western process that they detested in the past and called un-Islamic, democracy now appealed to them, after realizing that it too could be temporarily used until they settle down, seize control, then dispose of it, after gradually applying the Caliphate system of Shura. And that was exactly what happened in Tunisia and Egypt. And were it not for other factors that intervened, the same would’ve happened in Syria and the rest of the Arab countries through Arab Spring. In other words, MBs were much closer to the Islamic Caliphate than anyone would’ve imagined. A better name for this period would’ve been MB Spring, and not Arab Spring.

MBs’ success formula lays in their excellent organizational skills. This skill depends at large on its utmost secrecy. Like the Freemasonic movement of the fourteenth century Europe, most MB members work in small groups; the members of one group don’t usually know about the members in another group. And even when they know, none admit loyalty to the other.

Kuwaiti members of MB, for example, never admitted loyalty to the Egyptian group, but as soon as Morsi was toppled in Egypt, all their masks were shuttered. Hamas also never admitted its blind devotion to its master in Egypt. But when the first Palestinian/Israeli conflict during Morsi’s ruling period in 1913, with Egypt’s mediation, was solved within days, and rocket fires from Gaza into Israel sharply declined, the world was in awe to a point that the United States, naively assessed that the generation-long conflict is taking its last breath under the MB rule.

Gaining MB’s organization skill, and Bath’s excessive brutality in terrorizing and terminating their enemies, as well as fathoming Islamic history’s lessons in the feasibility of terror, ISIL was able to utilize the social media on the Net and YouTube in recruiting fighters from all over the world, including the Western countries (it has been estimated that 3000 Westerners joined the Mujahideen in Syria, of which not less than 100 are American and 500 are British). As a strategy, ISIL uses terrorism and rumors of grandeur and ruthlessness as a tool to cause the people it conquers to flee without a fight. Much like what it’s directed in the scritute (And prepare against them whatever you are able of power and the steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allah and your enemy… Al-‘Anfal, verse [8:60]). These rumors created a Godzilla that people feared it would crush all who dare to cross its path.

They did this in Syria when they conquered Al-Rigah, as well as in Mosul/Iraq, where they killed more than 1500 individuals and tossed hundreds of bodies into Tigers River, without proper Islamic or other burial rituals, to engender terror in the hearts of the residents (this is exactly what Saddam’s troops did to Kuwaiti resistant groups during the invasion of Kuwait, when they mutilated the corpses of the dead and tossed then in front of their family houses, banning any burial before they rots. It also can be clearly seen in the brutality of Saddam’s troops when they sprayed the Kurds in Helebce with Chemicals in 1988, killing more than 5500 people).

By using this fear inducing strategy, ISIL was able to scare away all adherents of other religions, leaving behind their land and property.  As for the Arab tribes who confirm to their ideology, ISIL recruited them by deception; it helped them clean their areas, share the booty from the stolen goods, and provide security at the beginning. And many Sunni tribes welcomed them, partly out of fear and partly to revenge the Shiite government in Baghdad which disappointed them. But soon the predator exposed its claws by applying the Sharia law to assure its hegemony and fulfill its member’s insatiable want of wealth and women. And the Jihad Fucking Fatwa (that is the literal translation of the name of the Fatwa, no pun intended) that was issued by their clergy, for forcing single women to be sexually consummated by the Mujahideen is only one example.

Why does it matter?

It’s very important to understand the mentality of ISIL, or their mentors to know how to deal with them properly, before they gain power in the Middle East area, use its oil and riches, collaborate with other traditional dictators to vanquish the world and civilizations, and drag everyone else into bloody wars. If allowed to have its way, ISIL would not settle until it conquers the whole world, for conquest and slavery are the backbone of the pirates’ economy. Also we have to keep in mind that ISIL’s ideology is not akin to Iraq and Syria; they have affiliated cells all over the world. And this geographical dispersal is a natural impediment for any attempt to tackle it if these cells assimilate and unite in supporting each other.

On the other hand, the Islamist groups, even under single Sunni sectarian division- not even mentioning the historical schism between Sunni and Shiite sects- are different factions with different political world view. Each faction holds the other to be inferior to themselves. Sunnis, for example, do not constitute a single group, but rather many groups of which ISIL is only one. And although all Sunnis agree on most of the basics of the Islamic rituals, they differ vastly in their moral codes, to a point of excommunicating each other, or probably even annihilating one another. And by putting these factions’ historical schism and competition for dominance into account, which was in fact the most important aspect in the dissolution of the Islamic Caliphate in the past, we would be able to discover ISIL Achilles’ heal.

In contrast, what strengthens ISIL and other Islamic factions is their unity against a common enemy. And nothing seems to be as powerful as the existence of an external enemy- even if that enemy was an imaginary one- that could make the populous avert their eyes from ISIL savagery to unite against that enemy. There is an Arabic proverb that goes like, “Me and my brother against my cousin; me and my cousin against the outsider”. In these tribal societies, where the Arabs are rooted deep into Kinship culture, which is reinforced and canonized by the holy scripture, survival is not measured according to the real inflicted danger, but rather to how close or distant is the offender.

Let’s look at the general situation of the MBs, the legitimate parent of ISIL, in the Middle East prior to the latest Israeli/Palestinian conflict in Gaza. This period marked the toughest period for this group in the Middle East (ME) region:

– Morsi was toppled in Egypt and his party members were brought to courts of justice.

-Turkish rebels carried a prolonged revolution against their MB government.

– MB cells in the GCC countries, were put under GCC governments’ close surveillance, and some of their age-old welfare businesses were brought into a halt.

-United Arab Emirates, one of the GCC countries, accused some prominent MB members (of which some are Kuwaitis) of treason and stressed on bringing them to justice.

– GCC countries turned against one of its six members, Qatar, ending their diplomatic representation and condemning its Al-Jazeera official TV station for its role in supporting MB members.

– ISIL dissolved back into two opposing cells, one in Syria and one in Iraq, fighting over the post of caliph, after Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s self-proclamation of the said post, and sending troops to fight its brother Al-Nusrah in Syria. This move prompted Al-Qaeda to disown ISIL, accusing it of “being a takfiri group” as if Al-Qaeda is not made of the same fabric.

– And most importantly, Hamas’ dire loss of Egypt’s empathy and support, after brutally killing Egyptians in Sinai, right after Morsi’s topple. This added to Hamas’ already lost support of other Arabs, especially in Lebanon, Iraq and Kuwait, for its historical misconduct towards the peoples of the said countries.

In a nutshell, this period awakened the delusional Muslim of the ME who was misled by Islamists’ logo of “Islam is the solution” to all their problems. It uncovered MB’s dirty exploitation of everything, especially religion, for personal gains. For others, this period tolled the bells of danger of Islamists’ rising to power, and the incompatibility of Sharia law that is extracted from the literal interpretation of scripture with life in the twenty-first century, especially when dealing with women’s rights, slavery, and tolerating other faiths.

One thing can unite all these factions, Shiite included, as Hamas, the right arm of MB, infers, and that’s the start of a holy war in Palestine, where the conventional enemy already exists (and historically hated), on the land that is considered sacrThat in addition of the fact that Gaza is already an overpopulated city, where it’s very hard to target missiles without having some civilian casualties.ed for all the adherents of the three Abrahamic faiths.

To divert world attention away from all the brutalities taking place in Syria and Iraq, it was enough for Hamas to provoke Israel, the outsider, and put Gaza into the global focus of the media. This is not the first time that Hamas or other Islamist groups use this tactic (Hezbollah, the Shiites Lebanese did the same many times in the past) and here is how the repeated “scenario” goes:

-Provoke Israel.

-Use civilians as human shields.

-Post civilian pictures, preferably children’s (more now with the Internet), and create a media propaganda.

– Then seek an agreement for seizing fire after claiming victory no matter what is the cost.

And every time Israel falls into this trap by retaliating disproportionately (Gaza is already an over populated city, where it’s very hard to target missiles without having civilian casualties). And the Palestinians gain public sympathy that prompts GCC countries, represented by individual organizations, individuals or rulers to open their banks for and compensate for the losses, while Hamas uses this to reconstruct its war gears and rebuild its underground tunnels for future provisions, with the leftover after they fatten their leader’s bank accounts.

It is amazing how this scenario works every time. But surprisingly, not this time.

Albeit true that Hamas succeeded in raising universal sympathy for Gaza’s civilians and children, and in uniting the different religious factions against the disproportionate Israeli retaliation, but the world was in shock to find that the Arab populous who were by now accustomed to the conning of Hamas, seemed this time to have diverse controversy about Gaza, especially in Egypt, Iraq, Syria and the GCC countries. In contrast to the Westerners who rallied the streets in protest against Israel and despite of them, Arabs living in ME knew of Hamas’ tactics in exploiting everything to blackmail the ME countries into succumbing to its wishes, not for a just fight for the holy land, nor for the innocent lives that Hamas itself put at stake, but to empower their masters, MB leaders.

But in their wildest dreams, Hamas leaders didn’t expect this kind of reaction from the Arabs. This reaction that was so palpable in the rigid speech given by King Abdullah, the Saudi monarch, at the end of Ramadan 2014, when the Israeli/Palestinian conflict was at its zenith. In his speech, the king condemned the Islamist groups without directly addressing each group, shaming their actions and calling them a disgrace to Islam. Against all expectations, the king didn’t even give a slight hint to the said conflict, although the media was replete with the pictures of mutilated Palestinian children, and antisemitism rallies! In doing so, the king in fact brought world attention back to its rightful place, focusing on the danger of the expansionist ISIL next door, the very events that Hamas tried to overshadow.

But the king was not the only Arab who said “No” to Hamas. The universal pressure exerted on the Egyptian president, Al-Sisi, to open Rafah gates for the Palestinian refugees, as a humanitarian gesture, didn’t make him flinch. Moreover, Al-Sisi refused to mediate in any settlement as long as Hamas remained the sole representative of the Palestinians.

At the same time both cells of ISIL, in Iraq and Syria (now IS), continued their expansion plans, not giving any heed to what Hamas is doing. Fearing the backfire of the evil they created, MBs around the world were caught off guard with panic; Turkey, whose stand was clear against the Western intervention in the area, started blaming Obama’s government for not taking any action against ISIL. And Al-Jazeera TV station, which never spared any profane language, or even insolence, during the first and second Gulf Wars to humiliate the GCC leaders for allowing Western intervention in the area, did the same!

One lesson, at least, can be deduced from history, and that is the fact that Islamist group need to be left to confront each other alone without direct Western intervention in their internal affairs (aid them with arms, and air attacks, but no boots on ground). These groups are historically bred to hate each other. If left alone, they would make sure to annihilate each other in genocidal wars.

As inhumane as these wars may sound, but it’s inevitable. They may take many years and sweep away many precious lives. But nothing can change status quo until the peoples of the region realize the importance of secularism and the vitality of implementing democracy that is built on institutionalized secularism. Building systems in which no clergymen are permitted to intervene in the political, social, educational, or any aspect regarding the internal affairs of modern state, is a tedious affair that requires hard work. But prior to that, it needs re-engineering of Muslim mentality.

Not until realizing the necessity of realizing the prerequisites of each occupation, i.e. preachers preach in the mosque and teachers teach in schools, can these people reach the social justice in protecting individual rights, regardless of their religion, sex, or ethnicity. These principles can’t be indoctrinated or inculcated. Nor can they be imposed by the West, who had to pay dearly for a bloody thirty-year war experience to achieve or adapt such moral codes (go figure why democracy failed in Palestine, Iraq and Egypt). Being imposed by the West, democracy was doomed to fail when applied by the people who are inflicted with myopia, that doesn’t allow them to see the dangers of applying it side by side with Sharia.

Democracy should go hand-in-hand with secularism and not with theology. Religious groups should not form political parties, nor have a say in the state policy. A clergyman’s place should be limited to the mosques, temples, synagogue and churches, not government agencies, schools, and official media.  Same goes to a physician whose place is a hospital and not an auto garage. If these basic principles are not well understood, then no hope of peace can be achieved in the whole ME area.

Democracy, secularism, and human rights are earned principles. They are inseminated gradually and naturally through human experiences, and not endowed as donations, nor imposed on others. Otherwise it’s susceptible to create a power that can be exploited, and abused to demolish its very essence of modernity, recessing into an atavistic throwback into ancient and preceded ways. The region, then, is doomed to continue its never-ending circle around autocracy and theocracy, inherited by those whom at the core are greedy dictators, no matter in what attire, clergymen cloaks or Western suits, they present themselves.

Modern countries requires modern management, based on human experiences, secularism and science, not on social circumstances, force, or the commandments of the ancient scriptures, even if the latter was suitable to its ancient times. It requires secular constitutions based on social justice, and written by locals, in which the crème du la crème of human experimental journeys are explored and included, and not cut to fit a specific religion, sect or ethnicity. Human being everywhere is the same, and their rights are universal. To fathom this, the long bereaved peoples have to pay a toll. And in the process they have to change their religious orations and mosque sermons, after realizing the danger in the literal interpretation of the scripture, and the dire consequences of applying them on the twenty-first century; not it in politics, nor in the media, and most importantly, not in school curriculum, the very tool that programs generations to come.

It takes ideology to fight ideology, not drones or war gears. Although the latter may facilitate winning a battle, but winning a war needs a long time planning and consistency.

* ((like this tradition: Nu’ man bin Bashir (May Allah be pleased with them) reported: Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “The believers in their mutual kindness, compassion and sympathy are just like one body. When one of the limbs suffers, the whole body responds to it with wakefulness and fever. Riyad Al-Saliheen))

MB: Muslim Brotherhood

GCC: Golf Cooperation Council

ME: Middle East


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Julie M. permalink
    September 14, 2014 6:32 pm

    This was a very informative article. Events in the ME are often presented piecemeal by the media, so that one can never see the whole picture. This article explains current affairs and the history behind these affairs. It begins logically from the birth of the various Arab and Muslim groups and explains how both infighting between these groups, as well as the support of various nations, has resulted in the present-day Islamic State. It reports on the unexpected change in the recent Hamas-led assault on Israel, wherein the GCC did not respond with their customary support of Hamas. This is something that has not been well-reported in the Western media. It also proposes that the only way to combat the rigid and murderous ideology of the Islamist groups is through the introduction of another ideology, that of secularism and social equality.

    • September 14, 2014 6:44 pm

      Thanks for taking the time Julie M. To read, I hope this article reaches a wide audience in the West.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: