April 12, 2006 Special Dispatch No. 1137

Kuwaiti Reformist: The Muslims – Not bin Laden – are Responsible for the Hatred Towards Them in the West

April 12, 2006
Kuwait | Special Dispatch No. 1137

Dr. Ahmad Al-Baghdadi, a reformist Kuwaiti intellectual and political science lecturer at Kuwait University, argues that the Muslims themselves - not bin Laden - are responsible for the rising hatred against them around the world. He says that Muslims living in the West have failed to repay the kindness of the countries that accepted them, and instead have followed the lead of the Muslim clerics and threatened to attack these countries from within. He adds that Muslims in the West must declare that they accept Western values and sever their ties with Muslims in the East, and with the religious clerics.

The following are excerpts from Al-Baghdadi's article: [1]

The Muslims are the Ones Who Failed to Present a Positive Image of Islam

"Osama bin Laden is a terrorist, criminal, murderer and villain, and every other inhuman description applies to him as well. However, he is definitely not responsible for the rising [level] of hatred towards Muslims in the West. This hatred is reflected in numerous new measures that have recently been adopted by Western governments in an effort to stop the stream of Muslims entering America and Europe. The governments also implement laws that limit freedoms and violate human rights as another precaution, to protect the safety of their citizens...

"Even though Muslims boast that Islam is the [fastest]-growing religion in America and in the West... it is [actually] the religion that is most incomprehensible to the Europeans and the Americans.

"What is truly saddening is that Islam is being associated with terrorism due to the terrorists' frequent use of Koranic verses and hadiths to justify their terrorist actions...

"Statements made by preachers in the mosques, in articles and on various media channels accusing non-Muslims of heresy, the [preachers'] curses, and their characterization of Jews as the descendents of apes and pigs - [all these] cause Westerners to perceive Islam as an intolerant religion that rejects religious pluralism.

"The Muslims, therefore, are responsible for the distorted image of Islam prevalent in the modern West, and they are the ones who failed to present a positive image of Islam. Thus, they are responsible for the problems experienced by the Muslims today...

"Among those who incite to jihad, have you seen a single one who set out [to wage jihad] himself, or sent one of his sons to wage jihad for the sake of Allah? On the contrary - while encouraging innocent people to wage jihad in Iraq and in Chechnya, they themselves take additional wives..."

"What Do You Expect the West to Do When it Sees its Citizens Being Murdered in the Name of Religion?"

"Osama bin Laden didn't force anyone to go to Iraq, murder its people and destroy its institutions. He didn't force anyone to murder innocent people in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, America and Europe. Bin-Laden did not tell the Muslims in the West: 'Hate the country that gave you shelter when you fled [from your homelands], made you rich when you were poor, fed you when you were hungry, gave you freedom after the bondage you suffered in your Muslim countries, and educated you when you were ignorant.'

"You caused all these catastrophes out of your own choice and your own free will... and failed to repay the kindness [shown to you]. So what do you expect the West [to do] when it sees its citizens being murdered in the name of religion, when it [experiences] hatred in the name of religion and suffers the damages of terrorism [perpetrated] in the name of religion? It is only natural that the West should hate you and tighten the rope around your necks, so you do not 'invade it from within' as you declare in your announcements and sermons...

"The truth that we must deal with today is that people in the West no longer trust Muslims in general. The Muslims in the West must therefore sever their ties with the Muslims in the east, and repair their relations with the Western societies by announcing that they accept the humane values on the basis of which they were received in the West. They must also sever their ties with the religious clerics and their fatwas...

"If they fail to do this, they must bear the consequences and the difficulties that will ensue. They must not blame bin Laden and Al-Zarqawi, but [only] themselves for being driven, in ignorance, by the views of the clerics..."

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