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June'20

Muslims and Modernity, The Western View

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The recent propaganda has been kick-started by a New York based think tank, Gatestone Institute

While the world is trying hard to find ways to manage and counter the deadly novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) and its aftereffects on their economies and population, the anti-Muslim agenda setting at the global level continues unabated.

This agenda setting with the help of the international media houses and selected think tanks and analysts is nothing new for the western powers. In the past too, they have been successful in creating such an anti-Muslim rhetoric.

The recent propaganda has been kick-started by a New York based think tank, Gatestone Institute, which on its website professes to be a non-partisan, not-for-profit international policy council and think tank, dedicated to educating the public about what the mainstream media fails to report in promoting, and focuses on: Institutions of Democracy and the Rule of Law; Human Rights; a free and strong economy; a military capable of ensuring peace at home and in the free world; Energy independence and Ensuring the public stay informed of threats to our individual liberty, sovereignty and free speech.

However, in between the lines it continues with its anti-Muslim narrative building, in the garb of promoting free and impartial reporting. Also its focus on the issues, such as a military capable of ensuring peace at home and in the free world besides energy independence, shows its commitment to further the western agenda on issues critical to it. Can anyone explain why is it concerned about a military capable of ensuring peace at home and in the free world? This is a clear US-mandate, which allows it to interfere in any country’s internal affairs in the name of peace building or peace keeping.

The latest covert campaign by Gatestone is to analyse the response of the Muslim countries to the Covid-19 pandemic. It treats the question in the background of Muslims all over the world embracing modernity. Its report begins by saying:

“… Even though Modern Science will prove the only path to prevention, millions have approached illness and fear of death through faith, prayer, and ritual.”

The report, uses a view expressed by Pakistani journalist Khaled Ahmed in his article published in The Express Tribune of Pakistan dated 15 August 2010, and quotes him as writing:

“It is often said that Muslims in the 21st century have rejected modernity. What they are in fact rejecting is the process of suiting themselves to changing circumstances. There are two kinds of thinking: one that seeks to change in order to relate to times and one that seeks to change the world to suit its tenets.”

However, the article is focussed on the theory of a nation-state as espoused by some extremist Muslim thinkers and its practical shape in the formation of Pakistan, and it has nothing to do with Muslims’ adapting to modernity and embracing it in every walk of life, besides the current situation.

Thus adapting a view expressed by a much read journalist and taking it completely out of context, the report by Gatestone continues to build a case against the Muslims all over the world and their refusal to adopt any of the modern techniques to fight Covid and its after-effects and instead focuses on faith, prayer and ritual.

The report also tries to assuage the Muslim sentiments by acknowledging that many Muslims, thinking responsibly, have closed mosques in the West or, cancelled their pilgrimage to Makkah for Hajj. In northern England, for instance, the Newcastle Central Mosque has set up a support group for vulnerable people in the wider community, complete with aid packages and shopping for people in isolation.

The report further carries out edited excerpts from a report of the Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), The MEMRI has carried out an ‘investigation’ running in two parts, in which it gives statements by 32 Muslim leaders on their response to Covid. It has posted a video of Canadian Islamic Scholar Younus Kathrada, as saying that: 

“We Take Coronavirus Precautions Seriously, and Should Do the Same for Allah’s Commands; We Must Not Ally with Jews, Christians, Infidels – This Matter Is More Dangerous than Covid-19”.

Now this statement too, is taken completely out of context and needs an insight into the Muslim mindset to understand its logical meaning. Shyakh Kathrada begins by saying that we should take Coronavirus precautions seriously and then leads to the next part relating to Jews in a completely different context.

The inclusion of this second part reveals the real intent of the Gatestone report. Down the line the report traces the spread of the Muslim empire from 634 onwards and its subsequent disintegration or downfall, which it refers to as responsible for “an increasingly outspoken resentment of the West”, and further analyses it by concluding:

“It may well have been within this context that radical and traditionalist Muslim preachers and politicians leaped on the coronavirus pandemic as a new modality of their crusade against the West.”

The report then continues to list the so called campaign on the social media against the west, in particular the US by people of Iranian or Arab origin.

This describes the real intent of the report, which in the garb of taking precautions, highlights the true voices of Muslims around the world, given expression on the social media without any state interference, in a twisted and abridged manner.

Even in these stressful times the western ideologues, analysts and the media have not stopped their campaign against the Muslims. Twisting and taking the statements or views expressed completely out of context, portrays their dogged commitment to furthering the anti-Muslim campaign, which tries to paint them as villains everywhere and responsible for all ills facing the mankind. At the same time they are unwilling to give a patient thought or hearing to the feelings of the minorities particularly the Black people in their own countries.

Hopefully, Muslims all over the world will continue taking precautions at their homes and religious places, as they have done in the past. One fails to decipher what more does the west wants from the Muslims. The Muslims forego their time honoured and greatly looked forward supplications during the holy month of Ramadan at the two great mosques besides lakhs of mosques all over the world, celebrated Eid al Fitr at homes quietly, and are in the process of deferring their Hajj travel plan this year, all in addition to taking the so-called ‘modern’ precautions, which were mentioned in the holy Muslim texts 1400 years before!

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