A History Lesson For Dawkins

I am a proud Muslim Pakistani American, and hate it when am made to feel inferior for being either of the three. Recently, while watching an episode of Real Time With Bill Maher on HBO, I was made to feel my status is questionable, and that made me question myself.
Bill Maher insisted that Islam and Muslims are the problem, and his guest Richard Dawkins gave his own version of Muslims and Islam in Britain. The three other guests on the panel – Academy Award-winning director Michael Moore, former CIA operations officer Valerie Plame and Reverend Al Sharpton – defended Muslims and Islam. While that was heartening to see, Bill Maher’s rhetoric was nonetheless offensive and myopic. It painted an entire religion and its followers to as agenda-driven, trigger-happy, west-hating clansmen, ready to annihilate the entire planet.
TV hosts and journalists have a responsibility in the current world climate. It would be wise to get an honest history lesson on the relationship of the east and the west, Islam and Muslims before embarking on an anti-Islam rampage. The focus needs to be on the long history of the faith, rather than current events, exploitation and distortion when discussing the complexities of Islam and the west.
To the likes of arrogant Dawkins who brands the entire Muslim youth in Britain responsible for creating strife and terror in his country, it was the gora sahib or the Crown that ruled the world and went forcefully into countries – conquering, plundering, killing, raping, looting, drawing unjust and unprincipled lines as boundaries and the world is paying the price for that till today.
There was no British Dream like the American Dream in the twentieth century, hence the mass migration of entire villages from the third world to Britain in the last century was because cheap labour was needed by the British since an entire generation of British men had been lost in WWII.
Entire villages migrated. Villages with uneducated, simple, uncouth and rustic populations were set up as tight communities, treated shabbily, and the expectation was, and is, that their descendants should behave like intellectually evolved citizens. Magic?
There was a debate on the treatment of women in Islam, the most favourite topic of the west to brand Islam with. Yes, women are mistreated in the east, they do not get equal rights, but that is the east, not Islam. Countries like India, China, Japan, Korea and the entire continent of Africa treat woman with inequality.
This is not to imply that it is right, but simply that it is not synonymous with Islam. Until less than a hundred years ago the west treated women like property – was that Islam? But then their approach changed, they took a step ahead, for that I applaud them, but will not allow them to brand my faith for their misguided blame-game.
George W Bush destroyed Iraq and killed more than a million Muslim Iraqis for no reason. There was no nuclear bomb and the Republican administration, casually shrugs its shoulders and says, ‘My bad for killing over a million Iraqis, but excuse my callousness, I assumed you had a bomb’, and then wonders why the world hates them. The weak do not hate freedom, malls or cinemas, they hate arrogance.
When one creates generations of orphans and takes wars to countries, and is the greatest ally to Afghanistan and Pakistan in the 1980s and then abandons them, there are consequences for using, divorcing and abandoning without child support. I was in Pakistan when an ammunition dump in Rawalpindi/ Islamabad, called the Ojri Camp, was deliberately destroyed post the Russian Afghan War. Who decided to destroy it can be read between the lines, but for a moment ponder the arrogant disregard for the people of that country, of that city.
A normal workday became a war zone, with missiles flying all over the city. My grandfather’s house, miles away from the dump, was hit. I had at least fifty to seventy extended family members in that city, running for their lives. We have short memories, but history is made with decades and centuries of atrocities, the exploited, the weak, the mistreated, the war-torn, the underdogs. The victims remember, unlike you and me whose lives are for the most part untouched by war.
The Malalas of this world are applauded, and they should be, but remember the part played by the 80s’ war and politics and the hand it played in the freedom fighters’ journey to become fundamentalists, fanatics and eventually terrorists.
There are liberals and fanatics in all religions, the Crusaders, Hitler, Mussolini, Chenghiz Khan, the KKK, the Spanish Inquisition, Bashar, to name a few, all mad men from different races and religions. But that certainly does not mean that we brush all Christians, Germans, Italians, Mongolians, Caucasians, Spanish, Syrians with the same stroke.
Is the entire faith or race guilty? The moderates believe the jury is still out on that, now and forever.