Sunday, July 4, 2010

Qanta Ahmed on the toxic impact of Jew-hatred in Islamic societies

Qanta Ahmed, a Pakistani doctor and author, reflects on the damage that obsessive Israel-bashing is doing to Muslims and Islamic societies.

"Israel and the Flotilla: On the Dangers of a Binary View," Qanta Ahmed. The Huffington Post. June 20, 2010.
Palestinians are now objectified political pawns, rather than a people. While we are comfortable with the longstanding objectification of Palestinians by Israelis as the 'other' in the form of a security threat (after all Israel must balance a constant struggle to determine the needs of a terrorized Israeli citizenship over the needs of an exploding ever-younger ever impoverished, increasingly radicalized Gaza population) we fail to encounter our own sinister objectification of the Palestinians which we accomplish so effectively all by ourselves. This objectification is not only held by their revolving, corrupt leadership, but also by an objectifying Muslim world. We the Muslims need the Palestinians to remain locked in their plight so that they might continue to serve as the Ummah's scotoma (a blindspot) which literally prevents us from seeing our own more immediate distresses, distresses which might demand our attention and perhaps even require societal interventions . We would be lost, disarmed, and stunned without an external locus for our rage which is so piercingly trained on Gaza and the West Bank, so piercing in fact that Darfur barely warrants a sidelong glance.

Does this exonerate Israel? No. Does this implicate Muslims? You bet.

Let me continue the self-flagellation.

During this same period of Flotilla Face-Offs with the IDF, Pakistan, my nation of matrilineal and patrimonial heritage has witnessed the extraordinary massacre of 120 moderate, pacifist Muslims, followers of the Ahmadiyyah movement that subscribes to peaceful, pluralistic Islam. Specifically, they embrace non-violence, condemning violent jihad. They were massacred, in cold blood, in worship, by fellow citizens, fellow Pakistanis, fellow Muslims. Most of the murdered were elderly, and male. Hundreds more were injured, some of whom are still dying this week. Emergency services did not arrive for over two hours. Pakistani police stood back, apparently allowing the carnage to occur, supposedly too afraid to engage. Awaiting special operations commandos to intervene, in their uncertainty, perhaps their tacit tolerance, Pakistani police became silent accomplices to the massacre. Many of the pacifist Muslim worshipers died of uncomplicated hemorrhagic shock within mere minutes of advanced medical care.