Steps Towards Muslim Cooperation

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Life is getting intolerably difficult for Muslims. They are under attack everywhere. While Western regimes led by the US wage wars dropping bombs on innocent civilians in Muslim majority countries, in Western societies, Muslims are attacked and killed by individuals and groups. Taunts in the street and discrimination at workplace have now been supplanted by attacks and murder in their places of worship. No other faith community is targeted in such a brutal manner. Most Western officials merely tut-tut these attacks; others dismiss them altogether. After all, the victims are Muslims — considered a subhuman species that does not deserve sympathy. Not surprisingly, there is not even a hint that Islamophobia should be declared a hate crime despite an alarming rise in attacks on Muslims. This is a green light to white supremacists to continue their murderous rampage. How should Muslims respond to these serious threats to their very existence? We are not referring only to Muslims residing in Western societies; our concern is much broader. Unfortunately, much of the Muslim world is ruled by an assortment of dictators and rapacious clowns. Lacking popular support, they depend for survival on external powers: the imperialists and Zionists, working against the interests of Muslims. We can safely dismiss the regimes that litter the Muslim East landscape. They are part of the problem, not the solution. There are, however, some countries that offer a glimmer of hope. While not perfect, they have several things in common: support of their masses and a modicum of independent thinking. Their leaders have, to varying degrees, expressed concern for suffering Muslims beyond their borders. These include the leaders of Turkey, Islamic Iran, Pakistan, and Malaysia. This is where a good beginning can be made. We have deliberately excluded the Arabian rulers because they are the greatest enemies of Islam and Muslims. They oppress, imprison, and torture their own citizens who dare to ask for basic rights. These rulers are also thoroughly corrupt and grossly incompetent. They have failed to solve any of their endemic problems. That leaves us with the non-Arab countries mentioned above. While they are not problem-free either and there are differences of opinion and policies between them that can be impediments to close cooperation, there is hope that they can overcome at least some of these challenges. On the positive side, Iran shares borders with both Turkey and Pakistan, making them contiguous. Malaysia may be further afield but its leader, Mahathir Muhammad, brings much experience having previously served as prime minister for more than 20 years. He has consistently taken a bold stand against Zionist aggression in Palestine.

The four countries — Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, and Malaysia — are also endowed with immense human and intellectual potential. They are strategically located and together can serve as an intellectual, technical, and financial engine for the entire Muslim world. Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan also have armed forces that have shown their mettle on the battlefield. Between them, they pack a mighty punch. Given new alignments in global politics with the eclipse of the US as the world’s dominant power, enormous opportunities have opened up for others. Both China and Russia are standing up to Washington’s hegemonic policies. Despite America’s $720 billion annual defence (offence) budget, the US military has been exposed as having feet of clay. It has lost the war to the Taliban in Afghanistan and is on the verge of defeat in Syria even if it still has enormous capacity for mischief. This can be mitigated if the four Muslim countries adopt sound and just policies and pursue them with wisdom. Turkey will have to resolve its failed policy in Syria as well as its membership of NATO and diplomatic relations with Zionist Israel; Iran must re-evaluate its policy vis-à-vis India that is squarely in the US-Zionist camp, and Pakistan must guard against the disruptive influence of Saudi Arabia. Pakistan has already paid a huge price as a result of sectarian violence instigated by the Saudis. The aforementioned countries need to operate at two levels: internal and external. Internally, they should establish mechanisms for closer cooperation among themselves. Externally, they should coordinate policies to establish mutually beneficial arrangements with Russia and China, keeping in mind that the latter will work for their own interests. Given the Muslims’ dire situation, there is little option but for some Muslim countries to work together to secure the larger interests of the Ummah. The alternative is totally bleak.

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