Jason Burke, chief reporter for the London Observer and author of “Al Qaeda the True Story of Radical Islam” suggests that Osama bin Laden’s journey did not start with radical Islam. “Bin Laden’s views grew out of a continuing tradition of dissent in his native land and the Islamic world generally. Since 1996, bin Laden call for, among other things, the withdrawal of American troops from Saudi Arabia, tax, currency and sanitation reform in the kingdom”. He had historically criticised the USA for its use of the atomic bomb, its development of weapons of mass destruction, its destruction of the environment and its refusal to ratify the KYOTO protocol. Realizing that legitimate social change was improbable and despotic Arab regimes were protected by imperialists, bin Laden turned to revolution.

Consequently, had the illegitimate regimes at least provided work opportunity and municipal services to its citizens, there would have been less reason for revolt? Had Arab regimes been less corrupt, not supported by imperialism and had democracy been allowed to flourish naturally, the current global war against Muslims would be superfluous. Burke suggests that Al Qaeda will continue to exist as it was independent of any individual or grouping. Burke defines Al Qaeda as a principle or a precept which could be based on a political or economic ideal. What it is not, is an organisation, limited to a specific time and place. Since Bin Laden wrapped his political ideology in religion, the “war on Islamic terrorist” is nonsensical as terrorism is a tactic often cloaked in religious, political and patriotic garb.

In “The Time of the Bedouin”, Ian Dallas deliberates on the power of politics and suggests that  revolutions are primarily concerned with the transfer of property and power from one set of ruling elites onto another. In Western states, democratic revolutions at least advanced a middle class to buffer the gap between rich and poor. This is not the case in Africa and the Middle East.  Colonialists ensured that they institutionalized conflict by developing edifices which favoured minorities. That Arabs and Africans are unable to free themselves from this poisoned chalice is another story.

Today, we witness the violent result of an historical deed where a minority Shite rules a majority Sunni in Syria. A minority Sunni who ruled a majority Shite in Iraq etc. created a recipe for future conflict. Furthermore, deep within this sectarianism are added theological anomalies which are complicated. What is clear is that for Africa and the Middle East to succeed, constitutional democracy must be embraced. Minority rights and a bill of rights similar to the South African version must be considered.

One of the many missions of the last prophets of Islam 1434 years ago was the eradication of racism. He also forewarned that disaster and humiliation would shroud the Muslim world should Arabs and Africans return to their pre-Islamic behaviour of tribalism and sectarianism. That Arab leaders in the Middle East and Africa have failed to follow this prophetic command is the main reason why ordinary Muslims continue to suffer. Zionists and Materialist {western styled capitalist} have merrily utilized an existing opportunity to further exploit and humiliate Muslims. While this may be morally reprehensible, Muslims have to assume some degree of responsibility for what is happening in the Muslim World.

Cllr Yagyah Adams

Cape Muslim Congress