Canadian Politics from Canada's Centre

Monday, June 12, 2006

Canada's "Provocation" of Islamist Terrorists

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Canada's been "provoking" [Islamic] terrorists, according to all the self-flagellating luminaries writing letters to La Presse's editor. Having studied and read a bit more than these fools, I'm in a position to explain what's really "provoking" these terrorists. This will also serve to refute the noxious, nonsensical claim that somehow Canada's actions - and those of other Western countries where similar discourse on "provocation" applies - have made Canada "deserve" terrorism.

The first thing that needs to be understood is the Islamic terrorist's mindset. In his/her (yes, there have been female terrorists) view, the Koran must be taken literally.

Amongst other things then, jihad must be waged against non-Muslims with the final goal of imposing Islamic law, or Sharia, worldwide. This will convert the remaining non-Muslim part of the world that is Dar-al-Harb, the House of War, to Dar-al-Islam, the House of Islam.

In order to achieve this, non-monotheists must be killed or converted to Islam. Depending on which passages are highlighted elsewhere, monotheists such as Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians can either be tolerated as second-class citizens, or Dhimmis, or else they too must be killed/converted.

This all relates to Canada and the West's supposed "provocation" of Islamist terrorists as follows. Regardless of the West's treatment of Muslim or Arab nations, Canadians and the West truly provoke Islamist terrorists by the very fact of not adhering to the Muslim faith. It's that simple. Further Western non-alignment with literal readings of the Koran exacerbate this, the real provocation.

That Muslims are ruled by non-Muslim governments is a terrible thing, in terrorists' eyes, because they literally interpret passages of the Koran advocating the contrary. That freedom of religion (or lack thereof) exists in the West is another awful instance of Western non-alignment with literalist interpretation. If it were up to the al-Qaeda, Hamas and company, Islam would be imposed upon all non-monotheists, including Pagans, Atheists, Agnostics, Buddhists, Hindus, Taoists, Animists etc. When Osama and his ilk rant about Western decadence and the 'nakedness' of women in bathing suits, you're actually catching a rare glimpse into what really bothers these people. That is, Westerners not following a literal reading of Sharia.

So it doesn't really matter if Canada fights in Iraq, Afghanistan, or anywhere else that President Bush has been "provoking" Islamist terrorists. The Israeli-Arab conflict? That's a convenient bandwagon to jump on. These are all populist excuses that help with recruitment of new terrorists by showing the so-called "martyrdom" of Muslims at the hands of the West, their supposed "oppression" by vile "Crusaders" (notice the religious language sneaking out). It's easier to get someone inflamed at being attacked and then to gradually have them adopt an extremist, literal reading of the Koran, than to have them jump right into the whole international jihad ideology.

I'm just going to digress to point out that the "Crusaders" have done much worse in in Canada, Asia and elsewhere. The First Nations of Canada have been subjugated, humiliated and attempts have been made to commit cultural genocide against them. (Canada's government, in concert with various churches, operated so-called residential schools that Amerindian children were forced to go to, and which tried to eradicate their "indianness." The lawsuits are plentiful.) Britain waged war on China to be allowed to export opium to the Chinese, for crying out loud! Why aren't they strapping on belts of TNT to blow up pizzerias or piloting hijacked planes into buildings? They aren't reading the Koran literally.

The reality is this: Canada and the West provoke Islamist terrorists by not adhering to a literal reading of Sharia. Until we all convert to Islam (or the non-monotheists amongst us, at the very least) and do all the other things "required" by the Islamists' reading of Sharia, we will be provoking the terrorists. Truly provoking the terrorists.

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At 12:10 a.m., Canadian Politico Anonymous Anonymous said:

I find it quite depressing that you would write this, referring so uniformly to all Muslims, homogenizing a group that is very heterogenous. Many of your statements are patently false, and I do encourage you to study more in depth Islam and its history, as well as the misuse of the Qu'ran by extremists. More importantly, the terrorists you refer to are not interpreting the Qu'ran, but often, other writings, including the ahadith, and declaring their own leaders capable of creating fatwas. Please do your research, and read some academic literature.

At 9:09 a.m., Canadian Politico Blogger Scott said:

I find it disturbing that I linked to this post from a carnival that supposedly is anti-racist. What you are saying seems essentially to be that their lands being invaded, their families killed by Western bombs, their attempts at creating just societies destroyed by Western intervention over the course of decades, are not _really_ causing anger among Muslim people, the _real_ problem is this supposedly really messed up text they follow. Essentially this is painting Muslims as not reacting in the ways we would expect "normal human beings" (admittedly a problematic phrase) to react.

Of course there are reactionary readings of Islam, just like there are with any other faith, but do you honestly think that these readings would have any purchase beyond a tiny handful, that their proponents would see violence as a good means of recruitment, if it wasn't for Western complicity in the oppression and murder of Muslims around the world?

Suicide bombing began in Sri Lanka, and it was not done by was done as a tool of desperation in trying to address what those who did it saw as national oppression. It is the same in Palestine. It may be a horrible way to try and create change, but do you honestly believe it would be happening if the occupation were not happening?

One of the things that jumps out at me as indicating problems with this post is accepting unquestioningly the American construction of groups like Hamas as being the same as al Qaeda, when in fact their bases and goals are quite different. One of the ways that racism functions is by erasing our capacity to see diversity and heterogeneity among the group constructed as "Other", and I think that is going on here.

In any case, arguments like this function to distract attention from the very real harm that U.S.-led imperial intervention in countries with Muslim majorities is doing to the people who live there, and from the vile racism that people of colour experience in Canada. Seems to me that what is really "noxious" and "nonsensical" is the idea that making our world more just by fighting imperialism and racism will somehow _not_ make the world more safe for all of us.


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