Terrorism in Brussels: A Challenge We don’t deserve!


Moeed Pirzada | FB Blog |

The terrorists of the so called ‘Islamic State’ that struck in Brussels on 22nd March have created a crisis for almost everyone. Governments, institutions,  political parties and civil societies all will be transformed one way or the others. But no one will be more adversely affected than the Muslims. And that is why it is important for us not only to condemn this barbarism, but also to make sense of what is happening to the ‘Muslim mind’.

First, let no explanation, whatsoever in your mind, interfere with a clarity that this act of attacking innocent, unrelated men, women and children of a country and a city – Belgium and Brussels – that has nothing to do with the contemporary or even historical conflicts of middle east, or the world at large, is simply an act of barbarity. Period. Narratives of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Israel Palestine and Kashmir etc etc are not attracted. Not relevant here. The supposition that ‘Muslims’ somehow are one; a monolith that feels like a wounded Goliath has no place here. This was perhaps never true but now more than ever before we need to open our eyes and realize that something totally different is happening which has nothing to do with Islam, its history and Muslims at large.

We can discuss, and dissect the issues of Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan, Syria etc etc, list is endless; to understand the mayhem and chaos of modernity but something far more different is happening here and it is important for all Muslims to understand this. These ‘Euro-Islamists’, these ‘Neo-Fascists’ – as beautifully summed up in Olivier Roy’s “Search for a new Ummah” have nothing to do with us, with our identity, our feelings, our grievances against west or America or Israel. No connection whatsoever. These are confused ‘products’ of Europe’s secularism, its fierce individualism and are searching for an identity that can define them, empower them; give them a ‘meaning for their lives’. Islam and traditional Muslim identity is their principal victim. Their parasitic reliance upon ‘an imagined Islam’ a ‘Khilafah’ that never existed, could not exist, provides them and the rest of the world a pretext to connect these ‘idiots’ to us. These ‘fascists’ are our biggest enemies, in all sense of the word; given their definitions of ‘Islam’ they will gladly bludgeon us to death and their rash actions are making our lives more and more difficult – more and more miserable – irrespective of whether we live in the west or the east.

What have these ‘neo-fascists’ achieved for us on 22nd March? They have suddenly reinforced, suddenly multiplied and in a massive fashion, the existing historical faultiness, fears, prejudices and paranoia against ‘normal muslims’ from all over the world. They have provided justification for European governments, right wing political forces and all kinds of neo-Nazis to turn Muslim communities into ‘surveillance ghettos’. They have made it enormously difficult – as if it was easy – for Muslims of the real world to travel, to study, to do business, to integrate and to be part of the wider world shaping around all of us. They have closed the doors of Europe on the hapless migrants from Syria. And worst of all: they have multiplied the pressures upon our governments, our politicians, our media and our civil society to accept ever more doses of non-sensical, nauseating dictations from the western governments and institutions.

You might be wondering: has he forgotten about an unncecessary brutal war in Afghanistan, those ‘daisy cutters’ raining from the skies, destruction of Iraq imposed in the name of WMD’s, pillage of Libya for oil but in the name of democracy; suppression of Egyptian democracy in the name of liberalism and above all ravaging of Syria, creation of ISIS and other rogue groups to rid region of Israel’s last surviving credible threat: Bashar al Asad..?

No, I have not. These wars have created zone of chaos and instability. Doctors and Engineers from India and Pakistan, from Egypt and Philippines used to seek highly paid jobs in Libya and Iraq. Now educated professionals from these once prosperous middle income societies are struggling for their lives in camps across Turkey and Jordan. Once  proud men and women, along with their children, are begging for entry at the ports of Europe. Yes! these wars have exported and injected hatred all over the Muslim world. But the likes of Salah Abdesalam are not migrants, or children of these recent refugees. Those poor souls – countless Aylan Kurdi’s – are struggling to enter Europe. Salah Abdesalam and the fascists like him are not products of these wars; these are offsprings of a different crisis: Crisis of Identity.

First generation migrants into UK and Europe arrived for economic reasons. They were treated ‘second class’ – if lucky. But they were grateful for finding means of livelihood, of earning in Pound, in Frank and mighty German Mark. They derived empowerment by sending money back to their relatives in ancestral villages and towns. Their sense of importance lay in their ability to raise their families, educate their children, buy modern gadgets – Sony TV, Panasonic VCR, Rodo Watches – and driving black or silver Mercedes Benz. But their identity, their world and their place in it was still being defined by their points of origin. What I describe is the story of ‘economic migrants’ from South Asia. But it  fits more or less for migrants from middle east and Turkey and other parts of Muslim world.

For first generation migrants, docile subservient loyal Mohammedans, SP and DC Sahab Bahadur remained their anchors and recipients of their expensive gifts. But no more. The generation of Salah Abdesalam and all  others of his kind – from London to Brussels – piss on the images of Raj or Europe’s past. They are confused, rudderless children of Huxley’s ‘brave new world’. They seek identity – and above all equality – from within the political conventions of modern Europe. A Europe that lectures the world and wants to believe in ‘Liberte, egalite and fraternite’, but fails to practice it. Unable to fit in Europe’s neat racial definitions – English, German, Flemish, Swedish and so on – and rejecting the ‘second class economic migrant status’ of father’s generation, they turn first to their ‘roots’ and finding these ‘pathetic’ they turn to Islam for empowerment.

But their Islam is not the Islam of their fathers; their’s is an imaginative Islam, a classic Khilafah – pure and prescient that allows them to connect with a history that is mostly fantastic or overly exaggerated to say it mildly. But this imaginative Islam – a rejection of father’s faith and conventions – is laced with the concepts of ‘liberty, equality and fraternity’. These ‘fascistic-Islamists’ are a classic physical manifestation of Benedict Anderson’s ‘imagined community’. A community in search of meaning, in search for a cause. Yes! Wars from Afghanistan to Syria provide them with a cause. But lets be clear: they are not products of these wars. They are products of a Europe that – unlike the egalitarian United States – fails to absorb them.

These ‘European fascist Islamists’ may venture into the father’s homeland – like the murderer Omar Sheikh – but they come here in search of ‘something’ an identity. They may even feel comfortable here, the way Omar Sheikh did initially, but they don’t belong here. Generation of Salah Abdesalam are a European monster. ISIS – briefly put – is an unintended ‘frankenstein creature’ a failure of imagination of all those intelligence agencies who helped create it to overthrow Bashar al Asad. These two monsters have joined together. Surveillance state -as being advocated even more forcefully after Brussels bombings – is only a symptomatic treatment. World needs to get together to reflect, to discuss and find solution. Blaming Muslims and Islam is only a game of semantics. It won’t help. Hillary Clinton was every inch presidential when she pointed this out in her response to Brussels bombings. If I had a vote in the US elections, I would give it to her. But as subject of her empire it hardly matters.

Moeed Pirzada. Director@media-policy.com & Twitter: MoeedNj

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  1. I personally think When the criminal thugs gather around ISIL’s banner and commit atrocities around the world, they present it as acts of revenge against “Western aggression”. These are not acts of revenge and retaliation. These are identical acts of murderous violence targeting identically innocent people in different sites, irrespective of their religion and affiliation.

  2. Fear is the name of the game. Inflict pain to gain more power as said by G. Orwell. People blinded and in the midst of fear, under the shock, accept any doctrine, more police protection, more surveillance. These children of Huxley’s “Brave New World” will say “we give you our civil rights and remaining ‘freedom’, but please take care of us”. Military regimes will be installed at the demand of the people. Where and what horror will be next? Germany, Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, or rather a lesser known place needing attention?

    To what are German leaders amenable to please the Masters in Washington? Geneva may be next target, the home of the UN and UN agency headquarters. Geneva, hosting currently the ‘Syrian Peace Talks’ might be particularly attractive for the ‘so called jihadist’or else, Vienna and It would give Washington and their vassals more arguments to invade Syria, Iraq, Yemen, to fight the very evil people they have created, trained, funded and armed – and to bomb what’s left of these countries into oblivion. Or think about Iran that is main agenda point of discussion in Trump and Clinton speeches to AIPAC.

    The rise of radical Islamic extremism itself has its origins in the policies of U.S. imperialism to overthrow the Afghanistan in the 1970s and 1980s. Muslims were recruited, trained, and armed by the U.S. Islam was used as a tool, then under the control of Zia ul-Haq, an authoritarian, US supported military dictator with a radical Islamic agenda, and Saudi Arabia, still controlled by one of the most corrupt and oppressive regimes in the world with an extreme interpretation of Islamic law, in camps and madrassas on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Whenever a terrorist attack is committed, Western politicians and the media try to capitalize on the anger and fear of the masses to implement pre-planned agendas, while deliberately ignoring the history of these very states in committing terrorist acts themselves.

    We must remember that the tragic and despicable attacks on Paris and now Brussels are the inevitable consequence of Western imperialism’s destructive policies of exploitation and terrorism abroad. Further restrictions on domestic civil liberties and more military interventions will not keep working people safe. To fight terrorism Western imperialism must first stop engaging in it and recognize the fundamental right of the people of the Middle East to live in peace and to self-determination.

    • LaFem, there was a brilliant documentary made by Chris Adams or someone like that name for BBC, some years after 9/11; it was called, “power of the nightmares” you must watch that; what is happening now is very much the same ….

    • That’s all fine and dandy as an explanation for Islamic terrorism related to a very specific time-frame and related to only a select few countries. But unfortunately the method of conjuring up whichever causal relationship you find most convenient and casting it as you would a large fishing net in order to cover as diverse a range of values/actions/motivations as possible, while avoiding the complexities and intricacies of reality, is a fundamental error. There’s a deeper problem within Islam and it wont be fixed until we have Muslims deeply questioning their own faith and values. Until such a time, the rest of us have to decide what probability of being blown up by violent extremists and what levels of fear we find acceptable in our daily lives. Unfortunately until we see a large number of muslims questioning why they feel such a strong, imaginary connection to their far away “brothers” and start to violently sever this perceived bond of their own accord, the probability of zero (or close to it) will be out of reach without a police state or mass deportation/exile. Also you ignore that because the West is in such a position of relative power, we also have the burden of our non-choice or non-action actually being a choice or action. You can always find something to criticize based on any choice or even any refusal to choose. However, by jumping to the conclusion that we made a long string of unwise choices you are making a very bold claim that with all of our intelligence, advisers, etc, that we have still somehow managed to end up on the side of irrationality for the majority of them. We actually provided a lot of Middle Eastern countries with the rights to self-determination and in every single case it lead away from peace and towards extremism and violence. So poof, there goes your solution. Regardless of what happens, I’m sure future generations will be talking about this period of time in history books 100 years from now in the same sense that we analyse the ethics of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Ethics is an unimaginably thorny issue and neither you nor the author seem to grasp this. It would just be nice if Muslims themselves could one day find a way to change the way they and their “brothers” perceive the world and join the mass exodus towards atheism and secularization. This would eliminate all the ridiculous motivations for blowing oneself up. Its not just a problem that some people think this suicide bomb garbage is justifiable, but it is an infinitely greater problem that SO MANY people can actually see where these idiots are coming from and label this behavior as an inevitability!!!

      • This was meant for LaFemme by the way, a response to the author’s paradoxical ideas and mental/linguistic gymnastics is more effort than I am willing to expend.

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