I have to admit that I get a little tired of hearing Muslims say how they are not treated well in the West. The Council on American-Islamic Relations (“CAIR”) often emphasizes how unfairly Muslims are treated across the United States, rather than showing the great contributions Muslims have made to America and emphasizing how over 4 million Muslims live in the United States in peace and with Freedom of Religion. Many more millions live in Western Europe, in most cases with little interference with their culture and lifestyle.
Since I often give Islam and Muslims the benefit of the doubt in my writings and interviews, I feel entitled to point out some significant hypocrisy that cannot be rationally denied. CAIR quoted the Quran in a recent e-mail, so I feel justified in using the same quotes as my scripture for this article:
“Be steadfast in your devotion to God, bearing witness to the truth in all equity, and never let the hatred of others to you make you swerve to wrong and depart from justice. Be just: (for) that is closest to piety…” The Holy Quran, 5:8-9
“God will never change the condition of a people until they change that which is within themselves.” The Holy Quran, 13:11
Who Suppresses and Oppresses Muslims? The answer is patently obvious for the world to see: other Muslims! Let’s recount some of the examples we’ve seen in the last three decades:
The Ayatollahs of Iran took over their country and murdered tens of thousands of their opponents, as recounted in Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi’s book, Iran Awakening. The name of Neda will live forever in Iran as a symbol of this oppression. She is the young woman shot dead by government gangsters when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad won reelection under suspicious circumstances. To this day, more than three decades after taking power, the Ayatollahs suppress their people by letting their thugs beat them up for dissent. Do they actually think they can crush a thought? How do they think God guides them in this?
Saddam Hussein suppressed the Shi’a majority in Iraq for decades. George W. Bush was not wrong about Saddam Hussein’s crimes against his fellow Muslims. Regretfully, he opened the floodgates for a Sunni/Shi’a civil war, which killed far more Iraqis than Americans ever did. Muslims killing other Muslims!
Hosni Mubarak’s goons controlled Egypt for three decades, suppressing what became 80 million Egyptians. The intelligentsia could do nothing about it. It took a few twenty- and thirty-something techies adopting American style rhetoric and tools to shame him so much he finally quit. It took 2 million Egyptians finally shouting the truth. It remains to be seen whether the new army-controlled Egyptian government will actually facilitate free elections. Or, will they follow the lead of their predecessor and continue to suppress the will of their people? I don’t know!
Muammar Gadhafi is notorious for oppressing and suppressing his fellow Libyans. He’s murdering them in plain sight, where the world can see. When the approbation of the world is brought down upon him by the international media, he simply shrugs and kills some more. He seems to have trained his children to the same murderous pattern.
And then we have the royal families of the Arabian Gulf, whose suppression is widely accepted by their populations suffering from an advanced case of Stockholm syndrome. You remember, that’s the mental affliction where the prisoner begins to bond emotionally with his jailers. His emotional stress is so high that he loses his sense of self. Hostages who develop Stockholm syndrome often view the perpetrator as giving life by simply not taking it. Captives often misinterpret a lack of abuse as kindness and may develop feelings of appreciation for this perceived benevolence.
I used “his” in the previous paragraph, because in some of those cultures there is no feminine principle evident. The rulers and religious leaders suppress half of their populations outright—their women. They suppress women from holding jobs, driving cars, and they force them to walk around in black shrouds with their faces veiled. They have most of the men thinking this is sexy, and countenanced by Allah, even though a superficial reading of the Qur’an clearly suggests that Allah had no such intention. And even though the men themselves are suffering other forms of oppression from their leaders.
CNN’s Ben Wedeman reports from Libya that the Gadhafi opponents in eastern Libya are saying, “Where is the world?” They’re hoping we’ll send the Cavalry to their rescue, like an old American “western” movie. But they’re really conflicted about our help. They want us to put American lives and aircraft at risk with a “no-fly zone,” but they don’t want our help on the ground. What are they thinking?
The long espoused canard that Americans are trying to steal their oil is nuts. Their oppressive leaders stole it long ago. We Americans, with the exception of a few oil companies, could care less who sells us the oil. The truth is that the oil producers cannot drink their oil, so they must sell it on the world market, where we Americans can buy it for more or less the same price, regardless of the political and religious beliefs of the people who pump it from the ground.
I have never once pumped a gallon of gas where I had any clue about the source of the crude oil that made it. The so-called “Oil Embargo” of the early 1970s clearly proved that the primary effect of an oil embargo is to reduce the cash flow of the people trying to enforce it. I do remember being in a line for gas one time in about 1973, but that seemed a small price to pay for OPEC to learn that lesson.
I say again: We have 4 million Muslims in the United States, and they largely live in peace, with no suppression or oppression from our government. Yes, they are asked to answer a few questions, from time to time, which are often justified by Muslim ambivalence about fighting the very forces within their own faith who would rather blow them selves up than find a way to live in peace. At the same time, they are no different from Congressman Peter King, who has been asked over and over by the media about his hearings. That’s the American way!
Injustices do happen to Muslims in the United States, but I doubt that they are in greater proportion than the population at large. A few Muslims are killed in hate crimes, but so are police officers murdered by white supremacists on the highway. I think the numbers will probably confirm that there are proportionally more police officers killed by hate crimes than Muslims.
I’m only saying that if Muslims want to experience less hate in the United States, they would do well to emphasize the positive aspects of their culture. More Americans will thereby be persuaded of the positive values of Islam. Suppression of Muslims globally is largely executed by other Muslims, not by Americans. This is an undeniable fact. A large part of the reason most Americans do not trust Islam and Muslims is informed by the inhumanity we see Muslims visit upon one another, and by the hypocrisy of expecting Americans to fight for Muslim Freedoms when what most Americans hear from Muslims is criticism of our culture.
Like most Americans, I pray that our government will send in the Cavalry and save innocent lives. Very few of us like to see Muslim rulers take it upon themselves to kill their fellow Muslims so they can continue to rip them off. Murder is murder! Like most Americans, I would be even more enthusiastic if I thought the oppressed and suppressed Muslim masses would respect my culture, my spiritual beliefs, and me when we’re done. The 4 million Muslims in North America expect and get that respect from most Americans most of the time, despite what you might think if you listen to CAIR and Fox News—two sides of the same coin.
Skip Conover is an International Executive, Author, and Artist. He has written a novel, a published current affairs book, and a published journal. He turned his long time interest in Jungian Archetype into the Archetype in Action Organization.
Article first published as Who Suppresses and Oppresses Muslims? on Blogcritics.