This article was recently released via the Australian Prayer Network’s regular mailing list. It is thoughtful, insightful and well worth considering as it relates to Australia. What are our inherant values? What policies need to be rethought? It is reprinted for your consideration ….
By Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester, England.
(Australian Prayer Network Editor’s comments: This article written by an English Anglican Bishop draws on the experience of Britain. We reproduce it as the lessons learnt, and points the writer makes, are pertinent to our current situation here in Australia. Let us pray we as a Nation, learn the lessons spoken of in this article before we suffer the same fate as Britain. The writer was born in Pakistan where he studied Islamic History.)
Islamic radicalism did not begin with Muslim grievances over Western foreign policy in Iraq or Afghanistan. It has deep roots, going back to the 13th-century reformer Ibn Taimiyya, through Wahhabism to modern ideologues such as Sayyid Qutb in Egypt or Maududi in Pakistan.
The Soviet occupation of Afghanistan gave it the cause it was looking for, and Afghanistan became the place where Muslim radicals were trained, financed and armed. The movements that were born or renewed do not have any kind of centralised command structure, but co-operate through diffuse networks of affinity and patronage. One of their most important aims is to impose their form of Islam on countries such as Pakistan, Egypt, Malaysia and Indonesia. This may be why they were not regarded as an immediate threat to the West. Their other aims, however, include the liberation of oppressed Muslims in Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya and elsewhere, and also the recovery of the Dar Al-Islam (or House of Islam), in its historic wholeness, including the Iberian peninsula, the Balkans and even India.
In this cause, the rest of the world, particularly the West, is Dar al-Harb (House of War). These other aims clearly bring such movements into conflict with the international community and with Western interests in particular. So how does this dual psychology – of victimhood, but also the desire for domination – come to infect so many young Muslims?