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The Absurdity and Morality of Arms Race in Muslim World

By Rashid Samnakay, New Age Islam

10 October 2017

39, 65- And for sure you are inspired by your Lord Sustainer as were those previous to you: if you associate others (masters) with the Lord, all your good deeds will come to naught and you will be grossly at a loss!

Recently in the media reports abound of arms deals made collectively by Middle Eastern Muslim countries with United States, Russia and other suppliers of the world, amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars. This includes twelve billion dollars’ worth of fighter planes to be supplied to Qatar by USA, which… …strangely enough only few days before had accused Qatar of high level sponsorship of terrorism, that is, terrorist inflicted violence on others. From earlier times the US has been accusing their biggest buyer of arms, the Saudi Kingdom of the same crime; obliquely raising the issue of morality of terrorism. “America has no friends, only interests” said Henry Kissinger! That must hold true of all arms dealers.

In the context of Quran that these Muslim countries profess to follow, and its emphases on Zakat it is fair to ask; what fraction of those billions if distributed would eliminate poverty in the third world?

The small nation like North Korea now allegedly in possession of nuclear bomb and its testing of intercontinental missiles is loudly condemned by the world and quite rightly so, but hardly any noise is made by the Muslim world and its Ulema leaders on the issue of immorality of such large stockpile of destructive arsenal and extravagant expenditure.

When MOAB – the mother of all bombs was deployed in Afghanistan recently, it was quickly pointed out by US military command that it was for a strategy against the terrorist operating there from caves and not for any political purposes. Could not North Korea too claim its nuclear capability for its defence strategy against its terrorist enemy(s), the so called others? But who are these others?

Is every country of the ME an enemy of the other in the region? Is this not similar to every citizen in the US being an enemy of the other citizen, hence constitutionally every citizen must bear arms to defend against the other? A mindset as propagated by the National Rifle Association NRA there? This mindset has spawned a multibillion dollar gun industry not only in America alone but worldwide!

Such is the complexity of ‘Morality and Strategy’, the business of Commerce and Profit and of military imperatives. The irony always comes to mind of Nobel Peace Prize, which this year deservedly was awarded to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear-weapons ICAN. But what is the Nobel industry?

The latest cacophony that is raised, on the mass killing in Las Vegas USA by a person often referred to as a deranged individual, … …no, not proved a terrorist as yet, as it is not established if he is Muslim, although the terrorist ISIS immediately claimed him as their Mujahid; is interesting when compared to other events.

The total destruction of countries and mass killing by the use of armaments purchased and sold by various States in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen to name a few and then the Myanmar’s atrocities against Rohingya people there.

Yet the purchase of enormous arsenal of destructive weapons by the Middle Eastern countries and sold to them by arms dealers is supposed to be just a normal trade, devoid of any semblance of morality and ethical responsibility on their part in considering the terrorizing effect on humanity as a whole.

Why are Muslim Ulema the religious brigades, the Fuqahaa the legal eagles always silent on this issue? Is Muslim States terrorism not terrorism.

 “Terrorism” is not something that can be defined ordinarily and precisely, however the Encyclopædia Britannica Online defines terrorism generally as "the systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective", and states that "terrorism is not legally defined in all jurisdictions." It adds that "establishment terrorism, often called state or state-sponsored terrorism, is employed by governments – or more often by factions within governments – against that government's citizens, against factions within the government, or against foreign governments or groups."

In the Muslim countries such as in Pakistan for example, where on Fridays particularly, scores of innocent people are slaughtered in houses of worship by terrorists, does not rate a mention in the international media more than once, if at that and no fatwa is issued.

It seems that generally mass killing committed by non-Muslims of non-Muslims, non-Muslims of Muslims and Muslims of Muslims is not defined as terrorism, State or non-State sponsored, but if Muslims commit the same on non-Muslims, it is definitely defined as Terrorism.

North Korea’s acquisition of nuclear weapon is just a political transgression and non-terrorism crime, for it threatens mainly non-Muslim neighbouring countries. But Muslim-Iran acquiring nuclear energy capability is defined as potential terrorism because Iran may develop nuclear weapons and threaten Israel, a non-Muslim country (and may be Saudi Arabia too). In spite of the following two significant and glaring facts:-

-One, Iran has stressed that it is against its religion to acquire nuclear weapons and had issued a Fatwa in the name of its highest authority to that effect.  The Fatwa dates back to early nineties.

-Two, non-Muslim Israel possesses Nuclear weapons (Remember Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu?) and is surrounded by Muslim countries. Iran a Muslim country cannot be ‘Trusted’ either on its religious Fatwa or on possession of nuclear energy technology, but non-Muslim countries must be trusted explicitly with weapons of mass destruction. Yet, it was a non-Muslim country that used weapons of mass destruction first, not once but twice on a non-Muslim country Japan.

Is atomic bomb not a weapon of mass killing? Is tons of ‘agent orange’ dropped on another Asian non-Muslim country not mass killing “terrorism” on human, animal and plant life? No it seems it is not.

Hence Muslims’ connection with their Religion is an important factor in defining the term “Terrorism” whether State, State sponsored, non-State sponsored or by deranged individuals. The other factors given in the above definition are not considered important.

The absurdity of arms sales and their deployment is deliberately made complex and unfathomable for strategic purposes. These are national interests and are essentially outside the ambit of morality and ethics. Even religion which in common language is touted to be the source of morality and its custodians as the guardian angels, are confused and only pontificate with statements during holy festivals such as Christmas etc. Even those sermons are more often than not regurgitated and reworded year after year.

What if a paradigm change was made in the mindset of every National Rifle Association; Militarist, Capitalist, Communist, Socialist and even Theocratic, to argue that if no one on earth possessed a GUN—nuclear, depleted uranium, chemical weapons, agent orange and others; there would be NO necessity for anybody to carry those guns in order to defend against the other. And then the hypocrisy and cacophony against North Korea and Iran by those who possess them would be unnecessary and the two countries too will not have the moral stand to claim: what is good for the Goose is good for the Gander.

As Bertrand Russell is supposed to have said long ago, when asked what WWIII would be like, he said he can’t say but he can predict how the WWIV will be fought-- with bows and arrows. Surely that would be preferred by all. “War does not determine who is Right- but who is left” he also said.

A regular contributor to New Age Islam, Rashid Samnakay is a (Retd.) Engineer


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