Friday, August 31, 2007

The colonial mistake

by Ayman El-Amir from The Al-Ahram Weekly

When the former US president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, had his historical meeting with Saudi Arabia's King Abdul- Aziz Ibn Saud aboard the SS Quincy in the Great Bitter Lake of the Suez Canal in 1945, one of his requests to cement US-Saudi partnership was for the king to use his influence to facilitate the settlement of Jews in Palestine. The king's answer was, "Give the Jews and their descendants the choicest lands and homes of the Germans who had oppressed them." He refused to cooperate. Jihad was part of the doctrine of early Islam but Muslims were enjoined by the Quran to use it only to repel aggression or a threat of it, never to convert non-Muslims or colonise other countries ... Maverick fundamentalist concepts are rife among many Muslim groups today and they entail many acts of unjustified, un-Islamic violence. But many would agree that it originated in Afghanistan through the manipulation of Muslim religious instincts as a potent weapon for political purposes -- to drive the Soviet Union out of that illegally occupied country in the interests of the US ... What political Zionism and the colonial West have yet to grasp is that the nationalist struggle has gained indomitable momentum when it was injected with fundamentalist religious fervour. Whether it is battled as religious fundamentalism or terrorism, the end is certainly not in sight yet.

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