The Muslim world's inferiority complex
Posted: 11 May 2011 05:54 AM PDT
From Hudson-NY, translating an op-ed by Khaled Montaser in Al Masry al Youm late last year:
We Muslims have an inferiority complex and are terribly sensitive to the world, feeling that our Islamic religion needs constant, practically daily, confirmation by way of Europeans and Americans converting to Islam. What rapturous joy takes us when a European or American announces [their conversion to] Islam—proof that we are in a constant state of fear, alarm, and chronic anticipation for Western validation or American confirmation that our religion is "okay." We are hostages of this anticipation, as if our victory hinges on it—forgetting that true victory is for us to create or to accomplish something, such as those [civilizations] that these converts to our faith abandon.
And we pound our drums and blow our horns [in triumph] and drag the convert to our backwardness, so that he may stand with us at the back of the world's line of laziness, [in the Muslim world] wherein no new scientific inventions have appeared in the last 500 years. Sometimes those who convert relocate to our countries—only to get on a small boat and escape on the high seas back to their own countries.
The dilemma which we Muslims imbibed from one end of the earth to the other—by way of our sons, our intellectuals, our youth, our elders, our men and our women—regards the German writer Henryk Broder. We celebrated him through our media and Internet sites, saying that he had converted to Islam, because he said "I have been saved from misguidance and have come to know the truth, returning to my natural state [fitriti, i.e., Islam]." Our writers and intellectuals portrayed Broder's statement as a slap to Germany's face, since he was one of the most critical opponents of Islam, but now he had announced his repentance.
Then the truth was immediately revealed and the embarrassing predicament which we imbibed of our own free will: for Broder is not to blame; he merely wrote a sarcastic article—but we are a people incapable of comprehending sarcasm, since it requires a bit of thinking and intellectualizing. And we read with great speed and a hopeful eye, not an eye for truth or reality. Some of us are struck with blindness when we read things that go against our hopes.
We actually imagined that the man was speaking truthfully and sincerely! Thus we drank from the bitter cup of failure and shame, products of our chronic ignorance and contemptuous feelings of inferiority and detestability.
How come the Buddhists don't hold the festivities we do for those who convert to their religion? And some of these converts are much more famous than Broder. Did you know that Richard Gere, Steven Seagal, Harrison Ford—among Hollywood's most famous actors—converted to Buddhism? What did the Buddhist countries of Asia do regarding these celebrities? What did the Buddhists in China and Japan do?
Did they dance and sing praise and march out in the streets, or did they accept these people's entrance into Buddhism as a mere matter of free conviction? When Tiger Woods, the most famous golf player and richest athlete in the world, discussed his acceptance of Buddhism, did China grant him citizenship, or did Japan pour its wealth on him? No, being self-confident, they treated him with equality, not servility.
It is sufficient for the Buddhists that these celebrities purchase their nations' electronic goods—without any beggary or enticements.
I have discussed the Arab and Muslim inferiority complex in the past, and some of the stuff is worth revisiting.
May 2005: Why Israel's creation is a "naqba"
July 2005: The flip-sides to Arab "honor"
December 2008: Mixing up importance and impotence
US Defense Dept. analysis of the Muslim world, 1946
Anecdotal but convincing: Pakistan knew where Bin Laden was
Posted: 11 May 2011 04:26 AM PDT
A fascinating article in Hudson-NY by Anna Mahjar-Barducci:
Abbottabad, Pakistan, where Usama bin Laden was killed last week, is the same town I lived in for five years – in a house 800 meters away from his villa.
...All these roads were already heavily patrolled before 9/11, and more so after the Taliban took over the Swat valley: it is unthinkable that the most wanted man tried his luck in reaching Abbottabad at the risk of being stopped at a checkpoint. To avoid this danger, according to experience, there is only one way: to use an official car. No soldier will ever dare to stop what he supposes to be a high-ranking officer.
Abbottabad is considered a "cantonment," or a military town, with many military institutions: the Frontier Force Regiment (popularly known as the "Piffers"), an infantry regiment, and a batallion of mountain artillery. The most remarkable institution, however, is the "Pakistan Military Academy" (PMU), the Pakistani equivalent of West Point, from which Bin Laden's hideout was only a few hundred meters.
In such a place, the presence of security forces and secret services is everywhere. Everyone is under observation, particularly foreigners and newcomers.
Once you gain the confidence of the local officers they may even reveal themselves to you. Some officers of the so-called "secret police" were not exactly the movie image of James Bond. Rather, they were badly dressed and probably having some problems making ends meet. However, this ramshackle police managed to give an American aid-worker suspected of espionage 24 hours' notice to leave the country, It did not take much to raise their suspicion, and for them to take the subsequent action.
Bin Laden's compound was located in Bilal Town, a not very elegant area of Abbottabad. ... The presence of more than 20 people living in the compound, however, could not have passed unnoticed.
...In a country where gossip is a national sport, how is it possible that the presence of people from Waziristan, who were buying food for scores of persons, was never signalled to the police? When I lived there, everybody seemed to know me and my whereabouts. I even received anonymous phone calls although my name was not in the telephone book. I did not know these people, but they knew me.
...Pakistani officials are now protesting that the country's sovereignty has been violated. It probably was. But more importantly, Pakistan's credibility -- if there was any left -- as a reliable partner in the war against terrorism, is now completely gone.
Until now, many thought that Pakistan's double game was due to some deviated sectors of the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence); now we understand that there is more to it than that. Americans knew full well that Pakistanis could not be trusted, so they took action without informing the country's authorities -- they were right.