Saturday, March 19, 2011


Anis Hamadeh, March 19, 2011

Editorial Note The German version of the following piece
by Anis Hamadeh,
a German artist and writer, was published at
version, also written by Anis Hamadeh,is published here with
his permission.It may be copied/published/distributed freely.

There are far more than 100.000 Google entries for "Why do they hate us?". This question has engaged US Americans since 9/11 and Noam Chomsky provided some sound answers in a video shown on Youtube ( "Why do they hate us" gained new momentum with the beginning of the Arab Revolution, as certain discrepancies became transparent concerning our Western attitude towards Arab countries. Yet the hate question is of special significance for another reason, too, one that goes almost unnoticed: it reflects the discourse of the ruling in which hate is a sentiment exclusively reserved for the antagonist, i.e. the enemy. The underlying deeper question is: why do we hate them?

In the original German version of the article at hand, - published by the Neue Rheinische Zeitung ( on March 16 -, mention is made of Otto von Bismarck and his strategy of unifying the Germans by providing a common enemy to them - France. Later, Adolf Hitler continued the strategy and introduced a new object of hatred to establish a strong in-group feeling among his fellow countrymen, namely the Jews. Anti-Semitism was, in fact, a traditional European idea that came up in the time of the crusades. The Nazis carried it to extremes, and added the communists, the Sinti and Roma, free artists, homosexuals and genetically deviant people. All those were permissible to be hated. In this way, the Germans developed their national identity: 'we are not them'.

'Enemy thinking', both as a method and as an unconscious habit has severe negative effects on one's own society and on others, as it uses the notion of "we against them" to build an in-group feeling, a strong We.

Unfortunately, the story of hate continued even after the nightmare of World War II, and not only in Germany. As soon as the Nazi enemy was overcome, communism took its place, defining a new supra-national entity: the West or the "free world".

The issue of 'enemy thinking' did not reach the top of the school curricula, and politicians and media would not refrain from institutionalizing it. Of course, this behavior can also be found in non-Western societies, but this fact does not redeem our own behavior for which we are fully responsible. A bank robber will hardly convince a judge by asserting that there are far worse bank robbers around in other areas of the planet.

But what about 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union disappeared? People had discarded enemy thinking by then, abolished the NATO, and had gone back to reason, hadn't they? Not at all. It was not long until a new enemy was found, another dormant one, saved for a rainy day. Because we got hooked on the 'enemy', like a heroin addict gets hooked on the drug.

Similar to the case of anti-Semitism, the enmity toward the current antagonist, Islam and the Orient, has historical roots as reference points. And like in Nazi ideology, we have additional secondary enemies: this or that dictator, China, some internal suspects etc. Yet, after 9/11 (with all its open questions), the "free world" has zeroed in on Islam, covering the respective Arab and Muslim countries with wars of aggression (as opposed to defensive wars) and with threats, while Muslims in our own Western societies are being "critically" eyed.

So why do we hate them? Because, without an enemy we hardly have an identity. It is an expression of decadence by societies that persistently refuse to learn from history. The peak is reached with the phantasm of a "Christian Jewish tradition", a new fashionable term in the German discourse, probably not restricted to Germany. It is a kind of trick to get the former enemy into the boat against his successor. The context was understood even by the Central Council of the Jews in Germany, an institution that is not generally regarded as being progressive and one that much too often has appeared as an apologist for the state of Israel, a state seemingly obsessed by the use of violence.

In January 2011, CCJG Vice President Salomon Korn said in an interview that the emphasis on "Christian Jewish roots of the Occident" might be agenda-motivated, in the sense of integrating the Jews in a common front-line against Muslims. Such "embraces" should be regarded with caution, according to Korn. Another trick is to regard the genocide of the Jews as unique in a way that it leaves the historical frame, becoming an incomparable act, so that we cannot remotely be in danger of committing such a crime ourselves. What we do in our war zones could never be so cruel.

But do we really hate Islam so much? Is it not an exaggeration? Some insignificant or casual remarks on Fox News, CNN, and in the mainstream media? This won't make the world stop, will it? Isn't it rather like in sports? Be a sport! - The thing is that "Islam" and "Arabs" are only on-the-surface issues. It really is about the eternal and inevitable enemy that we create and maintain - and kill. We need him, because we have no identity without him.

Take Iran, a country that is targeted and threatened by us. Is it because of the bomb that Iran does not possess while Israel possesses it? Or is it because "they hate us"? In 1953, the CIA was instrumental in toppling Prime Minister Mossadegh and supporting the Pahlevi reign until the theocratic revolution which - closing the circle - has been serving as a convenient setting for Western enemy thinking ever since. And why has the USA to mess around in Palestine, in Iraq, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with a long trail of blood? Is it not an addiction? An obsession?

Of course, not everybody subscribes to enemy thinking. Even the mainstream media at times broadcasts and publishes sophisticated and fair contributions within its limits. So there is hope. Yet the problem remains: we hate systematically, up to killing. Today we lead and support wars of aggression, jettison our own values and fail to adequately acknowledge our responsibility. Even after Hitler. This is the real issue. We call it "freedom", but it is not freedom. Free are those who are sensitized, who know the value of life and who do not need an enemy. Those who recognize self-realization to be the meaning of life, the pursuit of happiness. Those who understand that art has a meaning and that culture enriches the world. Those who have a self-identity and are proud of it.

It is a long way there, still. For the schools, the parental homes, the cliques, the media, the political parties, and the corporations.

In Egypt, tens of millions of people stood up for change. We can learn a lesson from that.

Anis Hamadeh is a German artist with Arab roots, MA in Islamic Studies, author of "Islam für Kids" (345 pp, in German), website:


By Gulamhusein Abba

Principally the US, UK and France have started taking “all measures necessary” to stop Libya, a duly constituted, independent, sovereign nation from, in effect, putting down a rebellion by a few Libyan tribes who were determined to effect a regime change.

At time of writing, according to news reports, 112 Tomahawk cruise missiles were fired from American and British ships and submarines. French fighter jets fired salvos, carrying out several strikes in the rebel held east. RAF Tornados, flying from Norfolk, bombed targets near Tripoli. Tomahawk missiles fired from a Royal Navy submarine hit targets around the coastal cities of Tripoli and Misrata.

This pounding of Moammar Gadhafi’s forces and air defenses with cruise missiles and air strikes hit 20 to 22 targets leaving targeted tanks and jeeps burning and causing “various levels of damage”. Libyan state TV reported that civilian areas of Tripoli as well as fuel storage tanks supplying the western city of Misrata hat been hit. A Libyan government spokesman claimed that many civilians had been hurt and ambulance crews had been doing their best to save as many lives as they could.

The overriding reason for this essentially western military intervention is claimed to be saving the lives of innocent Libyans being “massacred” by Gadhafi. The justification was that the world could not stand idly by when such a massacre was being carried out.
No figures are available as to the number of people that have been killed by Gadhafi forces.

This military intervention raises questions about international law, more particularly as to how far can a government go in putting down a rebellion and when any outside power or coalition of powers or even the UN can throw in its weight to support one side or the other in what is essentially a civil war raging in an independent sovereign nation.

Without going into the legal and political implications, a couple of puzzling and disturbing questions arise.

If the intervention was because, as president Obama said, Gadhafi was shooting at his own people, what about Yemen and Bahrain? Are not those governments also firing “on their own people”? Strikingly absent is any real harsh denunciation or even criticism of these two governments.

And where were these “world leaders”, who today are carrying out strikes against Libya, when China was subjugating and colonizing Tibet or putting down the uprising in Tiananmen Square, shooting their own people? And why did these powers not intervene when Israel was firing mortars and missiles and dropping mega bombs, in wave after wave of “operations” bearing fancy names against Gazans who were trying to overthrow Israel’s long running, illegal and brutal occupation of their land?

Also, Obama has warned Libya that it will face the wrath of the combined forces of US, UK, Franc and several other members of the latest “coalition of the willing” if it prevents humanitarian aid reaching Libya. Fair enough. But why was such a warning not given to Israel when it prevented ships carrying humanitarian aid from reaching Gaza?

Is it any wonder that the rest of the world (5 countries - Russia, China. India, Germany and Brazil - abstained from the UN vote) looks with suspicion about the real motives of this selective concern for the rebellious tribes of Libya?

Further, the claim that the reason for and purpose of the intervention is solely to protect the ‘innocent Libyan civilians’ who are being “massacred’ by Gadhafi becomes suspect when persons like the former British ambassador to Libya, Oliver Miles says it was clear that the long-term aim of the military action by the latest ‘coalition of the willing’ was to overthrow Colnel Gadhafi, and the British Foreign Secretary, William Hague says he cannot see a future with Colnel Gadhafi in charge. He told Sky News bluntly “We want him to go”.

The US will do well to remember that not all enemies of our enemy are necessarily our friends and that sometimes the one chosen to replace an undesirable ruler turns out to be worse!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Time for Muslims to save the essence of Islam

By: Gulamhusein A Abba

I am a Muslim. I hold Prophet Muhammed in high esteem and have great admiration, respect and regard for him. But that cannot and does not prevent me from condemning in the strictest terms possible the murder on Wednesday, February 2, of the only Christian federal government minister in Pakistan for allegedly blaspheming Islam.

Shahbaz Bhatti was a Minister for Minorities in the Government of Pakistan.. He was a prominent opponent of the blasphemy law in Pakistan that mandates the death penalty for insulting Islam and or Prophet Muhammed.. He is the second senior official this year to be murdered for opposing that law. Provincial governor Salman Taseer was shot dead by his own bodyguard just a month earlier, in January.

Neither Shabaz nor Salman blasphemed. They merely opposed the blasphemy law as it stood and asked for amendments to it.. Even if they had blasphemed, that does not allow private individuals to take the law into their own hands and kill them. There is the blasphemy law. They could have been tried under it.

I go further and say that even if they had been found guilty under that law, it would have been disgraceful, to say the least, to put them to death for that..

I understand that religion is a sensitive subject. People who will not ordinarily harm a fly will die, and kill, for religion!

But Islam is not served by putting blasphemers to death. I am certain that were Prophet Muhammed alive today, he too would have opposed the death penalty mandated under this particular law in Pakistan .

The self styled protectors of Islam who put Shabaz and Salman to death bring not glory to Islam but ridicule and contempt.

In this time and age, putting people to death by stoning, or in any other manner, for any crime, is archaic.

What Muslims need to do understand that the way to counter blasphemies is to make greater efforts to spread the truth about Islam and Prophet Muhammed. The weapon against untruth is neither guns nor the guillotine but truth.

When Gandhi started the Quit India movement to rid India of British rule, I supported and participated in the movement. However, I also supported and worked for the creation of Pakistan.

Just as my love and respect for Islam and Prophet Muhammed does not prevent me from condemning the assassins who killed Shabaz and Salman, my having worked for the creation of Pakistan does not prevent me for censuring the Pakistani Government for having a law that mandates death for insulting Islam or speaking ill of Prophet Muhammed, and more particularly for the way it has handled the cases of Shabaz and Salman.

Shabaz was very aware of the assassination of Salman. He had received death threats. He knew his life was in danger. He even made a video about it. The Government had been informed about the danger to his life. Yet he was shot eight times, in broad daylight, in his car near his home as he was heading to work in Islamabad .

The windshield of Shabaz's car had four or five bullet holes. Blood covered the back seat. According to his driver, Gul Sher, a white car stopped near the car carrying Shabaz near a crossing. One of the four people sitting in the car got out, came in front of the car and opened fire from a Kalashnikov.

Surely it was the responsibility and the duty of the Government to have seen to it that Shabaz had protection as he travelled to work. But there was no security there whatsoever. Just Shabaz and Gul Sher.

Chilling is the fact that Salman's killer was lionized in Pakistan. Huge processions were taken out in his honor. Shockingly, lawyers, in their black robes, joined in.

True that government officials condemned Mr. Bhatti's killing Wednesday. Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani condemned the killing and ordered the Ministry of Interior to investigate.

But, after the Punjab province governor was killed in January, Gillani and other politicians disowned advocacy of reform of laws that make insulting Islam a capital crime. In fact, Sherry Rehman, a ruling party lawmaker who had proposed legislation to reform the anti-blasphemy laws, withdrew the bill, saying the party did not support it. The government of President Asif Ali Zardari has repeatedly said it would not change the blasphemy law, and officials have distanced themselves from anyone calling for amendments

And, significantly, neither President Asif Ali Zardari nor Prime Minister Gillani attended Salman's funeral.

These two assassinations represent a severe blow to Pakistani liberals, who are increasingly being silenced by Muslim hard-liners willing to use violence against those who do not share their harsh views.

Farahnaz Ispahani, a spokesman for President Asif Ali Zardari, said in a statement, "The time has come for the federal government and provincial governments to speak out and to take a strong stand against these murderers, to save the very essence of Pakistan."

If the Government of Pakistan is serious about dealing with the Taliban and violent extremist and radical Islamists, it must do more than issuing formal condemnations of such killings and ordering investigations.

For starters, the government must systematically arrest those who incite and praise murderers.

For its part, Mr. Zardari's Pakistan People's Party (PPP), which has not championed the views of Shabaz or Salman, needs to mobilize its large voting base to take to the streets in support of tolerance.

Leaflets distributed as the scene of the shooting claimed responsibility on behalf of "Al Qaeda and the Taliban of Punjab," and read: "This is the punishment of this cursed man."

The note went on to say that "with the blessing of Allah, the majahideen will send each of you [anti-blasphemy law campaigners] to hell," according to The Guardian.

While who goes to heaven and who to hell can only be determined by God, the Government of Pakistan must do all in its power to arrest and send into jail those who distribute such leaflets.

This does not concern the Government of Pakistan or the Muslims of that country alone. Muslims all over the world must speak out on this issue, and, whatever their views may be on the blasphemy laws in Pakistan and other countries, they need to unequivocally condemn murders by private individuals who style themselves as protectors of Islam and go about committing mayhem in the name of Islam.