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Islam and Sectarianism ( 17 Jun 2013, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Let’s Give Peace a Chance



By Mohammad Abdullah Al Mutawa

June 14, 2013

While some Arab and Islamic countries have come to be under the scrutiny of international media, where any incident is blown out of proportion, other issues are ignored on purpose — such as the goings-on in the Occupied Territories, where human rights are violated and Palestinians stand in defiance in their land.

It all started with dismantling Iraq and planting sectarian differences in a society that lived in harmony and peace for several centuries. It is also a well-known fact in Iraq that families of different sects were linked through by marriage, however, the policy of “divide and conquer” — Britain’s well-known strategy, dating back to the 18th Century — returned to the country after many people believed it had ended in museums.

The Shiite-led coup in Iraq took place with Iranian funding. This coup drove a nail in the coffin of Iraq’s national unity, which led to the displacement of Iraqi Christians who fled the country in search of security and safety, where they may perform their religious rituals without pressure or fear of turbaned clerics.

What made matters worse in Iraq were the ethnic, sectarian killings based on one’s identity. It was as though the Persians were taking their revenge of Arabs for vendettas of centuries ago when Islam prevailed around the world, despite the Islamic spirit of forgiving and acceptance of the other that existed since the days of Caliph Omar Bin Al Khattab.

Iraq, that was a secure and stable place for a long time, has become a refuge for terrorists who carry out their murderous terrorist acts against all those who oppose them. Moreover, their motto is: Whoever is not with me is against me and will be exposed to the most horrific criminal and terrorist practices.

Egypt — “the mother of the world”, as it is called throughout the Arab land — has been turned upside down by the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule, led by Egyptian President Mohammad Mursi. Under Mursi, the country has been transformed into a raging inferno.

The Brotherhood government is trying its best to erase the modern history of Egypt, as though they are running trials against those who are long-time dead, which reflects their bad feelings over the years. Moreover, they believe that the time is right to degrade others who disagree with them in their political vision, which uses religion as a shield against others who do not share their point of view.

They even try to degrade the late Egyptian president, Jamal Abdul Nasser, forgetting his great contribution in making education available to all Egyptians and his assistance to other Arabs in the field of education, his building the Aswan High Dam and his restoration of Arab self-esteem. Abdul Nasser’s merits are even greater than all that, but he passed away before applying many of his development plans in Egypt and possibly other Arab countries as well. I do not believe that the Islamist trend will continue in power in Egypt, because the nature of the Egyptian people is simple and forgiving which stands against turning them into people who hate others.

Libya, on the other hand, is disintegrating on every level which has led to the regression of the people in a country that was living in relative peace. However, those who had other designs for the country made a point of making the country reach its current situation.

Sudan is another story. The country has been partitioned thus ending its national unity. The Arab bread basket is no more, as the Sudanese people are roaming the land in search of sustenance and a life of dignity. It is known that the Sudanese people are highly educated and have great scientific and practical expertise in many fields. They are also known for their acceptance of the other and living in harmony — with Muslims, Christians and Jews.

The sufferings of Arab and Islamic people are a warning bell for them to understand the importance of maintaining humanitarian values and respecting all religions.

Last but not the least, we find that Turkey has also entered the dark tunnel of differences.

Those responsible for the current chaos have forgotten the reforms achieved by the Justice and Development Party which integrates Arab, Islamic and western cultures, thereby becoming the link between East and West.

All hope now lies in the awareness of Arab people regarding their interest in maintaining security and stability.

Dr Mohammad Abdullah Al Mutawa is a professor of sociology.