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memri
October 15, 2004 No.
800

Leading Egyptian Government Editor's New Book: 'Hatred is a Western Export that has been Marked Return-to-Sender'

Ibrahim Nafi, editor of the Egyptian government daily Al-Ahram, has published a book based on articles he has written in Al-Ahram discussing issues of Jihad and terrorism, reform, and Arab-West relations. Titled 'The Road to Madness,' segments from the book were recently printed in Al-Ahram. The following are excerpts: [1]

'The West … are the Real Terrorists - it is they who have Unleashed Jihad'

"Barely a day goes by without news of the anti-Muslim hate campaign in the West. Opinion pundits have gone so far as to exhort the extermination of Muslims and the dropping of nuclear bombs on Mecca. Newspapers, radios, televisions, textbooks, and even some houses of worship are awash with proclamations equating Islam with terrorism and insinuations that Islam sanctions invasion, murder, and the perpetuation of untold other evils and that it is, therefore, a religion that cannot be tolerated…

"This latter-day crusade, a violent and coercive drive to compel Islamic nations to bow to values and systems that are inimical to their needs and history, constitutes the true terrorism of today. It is terrorism practiced by states and, as such, is qualitatively different to the terrorism practiced by individuals beneath the guise of Islam. The West, and specifically those that are at the helm of their empire of evil, are the real terrorists. It is they who have unleashed Jihad, or holy war, in its most horrific and lethal manifestations…

"In its most recent evolution, Western state terrorism has become a form of flagrant vandalism, as became obvious in the war that was unleashed against a country on the trumped up pretext that it possessed WMD, whereas the country that unleashed that war possesses the largest arsenal of WMD in the world and is the world's major supplier of this lethal weaponry. It is telling that the report Iraq submitted to the UN on the WMD question was filled with names of U.S. and European arms manufacturers and suppliers, which is why the U.S. hastened to suppress portions of the report."

Muslim Intellectuals Believe that 'the West is Engaged in a War of Annihilation against Muslims'

"… Meanwhile, many intellectuals in Islamic nations, including non-Islamists, maintain that the West is currently engaged in a war of annihilation against Muslims or, at the very least, in a drive to 'forcefully remove the Arabs from history.' This drive is perceived as the culmination of previous such attempts, beginning with the Crusades and Mongol invasions… However, these intellectuals predict that the campaign that is currently in progress to expel Muslims from history and, hence, from geography, will fail as dismally as its predecessors…

"One of Western colonialism's strategies for extending and consolidating its control over the Islamic world is the deliberate distortion of the image of Islam. It is a two-pronged strategy aimed, on the one hand, at blackening the reputation of Muslims and Islamic countries in the eyes of the Western public in order to garner support for aggressive policies against Islamic peoples and nations and, on the other, seeks to undermine the faith and creed of Muslims, instilling in them a sense of inferiority. The desired effect is to render Muslim populations more docile and acquiescent to the changes forced upon them by the ostensibly more civilized and enlightened West…"

U.S.-Backed Reform is Not Welcome

"... Against this background, increasingly strained relations between Muslims and the West were inevitable, made all the more so when the West overstepped the red line with appeals to change religious education curricula in Saudi Arabia and Egypt on the grounds that religious academies in these countries bred terrorists. Perhaps the most glaring example of this transgression is the so-called Powell initiative.

"… Powell pointed out that the perpetrators of the 11 September 2001 attacks on the U.S., which claimed thousands of American lives, had been nurtured on extremism in the Arab world. This situation, he argued, demanded that the U.S. approach the Arab world with recommendations for reforms to prevent the emergence of extremists…

"The initiative comprised many points covering issues from improving the life of women and children in the Arab world to economic and financial reform… Although I do not take issue with its general principles, the initiative nevertheless includes elements that caused many to question its true intent and the reasons why it was launched at this specific time…

"We are thoroughly aware that there are many areas of life that require reform: the subject has long been of concern in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world… But the areas that need attention have been clearly delineated by local, regional, and international institutions and what is now necessary is [not a new initiative but] the support of wealthy industrialized nations…

"… The timing of the initiative was entirely inappropriate. Coming shortly after the Quartet committee meeting scheduled to discuss the roadmap was postponed, it suggested that efforts to reach a settlement to the Middle East conflict would remain pending until comprehensive reform is instituted not only in the PA but across the entire Arab world…"

'Muslim Peoples have Come to the Conclusion that an Empire of Evil [the West] Threatens Them'

"… Nevertheless, in a deft slight of hand to draw attention away from the real sources of terrorism, the West has worked to obfuscate the boundary between terrorism and national resistance movements. Most notably, it has branded the Palestinian and Lebanese resistance movements struggling to liberate their territory from Israeli occupation as terrorist. Nor is it willing to allow any attempts to suggest the contrary, as is evident in the refusal to hold an international conference to discuss the distinction between terrorism and the internationally sanctioned right to resist occupation and in Western leaders' refusal to discuss the subject in international conferences…

"Diverse internal and external factors have interwoven to give rise to terrorist groups in Islamic countries. Foremost among these is the failure of political, economic, and cultural systems to meet the growing needs and aspirations of their citizens, a crisis that has been aggravated by the economic vice the new global economic order has clamped on these nations' economies. In addition, the models for socio-political organization taken from the West have proved inimical to the customs and spiritual needs of the peoples of these countries, whether based on capitalist or socialist principles. Simultaneously, the full spectrum of Arab nationalist ideologies has also failed to produce an alternative. As for the external factors, perhaps the most incendiary has been Israel's aggressive territorial expansionism and its genocide of the Palestinian people. The emergence of terrorism is also a response to the more general Western drive to re-subjugate independent Islamic nations, whether through the encroachment of rampant capitalism or by more straightforward acts of violence. In the face of the tyranny being unleashed by the West, and by the U.S. in particular, against the Islamic world, it is little wonder that Muslim peoples have come to the conclusion that an empire of evil threatens them and their countries with annihilation, marginalization and, ultimately, expulsion from history.

"… There is no doubt that the U.S. is deeply disturbed by the Islamist challenge to America's perception of the new world order and its hegemony over predominantly Muslim regions…"

'Hatred is a Western Export that has been Marked Return-to-Sender'

"The events of 11 September stirred up latent phobias in the West with regard to Muslims and Islam. The upsurge in anti-Muslim hate campaigns and the violence that has been unleashed against Islamic nations was bound to generate a commensurate counter reaction…

"… Muslims do not hate the U.S. and the West without reason. They hate the West because of its attempts to marginalize, oppress, and exploit them and to give Israel power over them. Hatred is manufactured in the West. It sprouted during the Crusades, matured during the colonialist invasion, and flourished with the drive to Americanize the world. Hatred is the engine driving domination and hegemony and it is the tool used to denigrate Muslims in order to facilitate this quest.

"While no one can deny the existence of anti- Western and anti-American sentiments in the Islamic world, it is equally impossible to refute that such hatred is a Western export that has been marked 'return to sender.' It is a response to the hate-filled invectives of the Western media, and official statements, political commentaries, and literary output directed against the 'other'…"


[1] Al-Ahram Weekly (Egypt), September 16-22, 2004.