Bin Laden and the United State of Islam
- Super User
The day President (Barack) Obama announced the killing of Osama Bin Laden, I tuned in to Al Jazeera live in Arabic and it was enough to know the amount of support and sympathy that this man enjoyed among Al Jazeera viewers.
Most of the comments and voices were supporting him, glorifying his death and threatening revenge against the devil USA and Pakistan, the puppet regime, while refusing to accept his death and calling him a Martyr. Similar views were expressed in many articles, particularly in the Al Quds newspaper and on other religious sites . The other important way to gauge how much support he enjoyed was to see comments in articles written about his death, reflecting the general sentiment of glorifying the Martyr of Umma
However, while most Arab writers, academicians, experts and opinion makers expressed themselves in favor of his death and, with it, closure of a dark chapter in the history of Islam, they were concerned that his ideology may live for some time before the Arab spring revolutions sweep the entire Arab world, allowing a new phase of Islam to emerge among the younger, new generation of the Arab world, who have rejected the way of violence in achieving their aims of toppling corrupt and harsh regimes, and drawing a new path for their future.
The timing of the killing was the main concern in many Arab capitals, with analysts questioning whether it was timed to hijack the revolts across the region, or to accept the new Islamic forces that will emerge from the new arrangement and elections that will follow?
Many felt that USA and its western allies are trying to come closer to the rebels and supporting the masses in the Arab world, with their Islamic ideology, as an alternative to those regimes traditionally friendly to them with pro western policies, which are bankrupted politically. This drastic shift was apparent after the sudden fall of the Tunisian and the Egyptian regimes, and the rejection of US policy in the region that led US and the west to force changes in other Arab capitals like in Libya where they are openly supporting the rebels, and in Yemen, where they are favoring an exit plan for their man President Ali Abdulla Saleh, while allowing the Gulf Cooperation Council to settle the revolt in Bahrain, and widen the Sunni Shia divide by paying heed to the slogans of anti - Iran policy and interference with the Arab affairs. In Syria they have shown their inclination by pumping money and logistic support to the Muslim Brotherhood and other opposition groups to topple the only regime that still standing against the emergence of a new Middle East and North African Order in a new era of colonialism .
Therefore many saw the departure of bin Laden as a relief which would open a new page between the United States and the Islamic world. His killing and burial and NOT humiliating him like Iraqi president Saddam Hussein and his two sons, it was felt, would serve a better tie between both sides.
The contribution of Al Qaeda to radicalism in Islam was significant, but many felt the damage was more to Islamic values and teaching.
Although Al Qaeda lacked a moral strategy in its fighting, according to experts, its \'achievements\' harmed the believers in this faith all over the world and they were subjected to isolation, humiliation and deprivation and made them a suspect in the eyes of followers of other faiths. Its adoption of extreme Salafi ideology made more radicals and that explains the large support of Al Qaeda among the young Arabs who saw OBL as an icon who resisted American hegemony in the Arab and Islamic world. In fact many Arab Afghan Mujahedin flew to their respective countries after the fall of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in 2001 to avoid persecution by the US, while some suspected detainees were siphoned off to their countries to be interrogated under torture inside secret prisons. Others started to disseminate their ideology among young, deprived youth, since the ground was fertile to fight the corrupted regimes, and played with their religious sentiments to defy those in power. The Al Qaeda spread its wings in many Arab capitals and started targeting Western and US interests to destabilize those regimes.
They also played the card of anti-Zionist Israeli policies and their atrocities against the Palestinians under occupation, but they directed their guns against their own governments and not the Israeli government.
What is significant was the doctrine of individual Jihad, that bin Laden was able to persuade his disciplines to follow, to carry out attacks without going back to the master.
The killing of OBL is a big blow to the organization and this will set in motion measures to eliminate other leaders in the organization still at large.
The emergence of a new youth movement in the Arab spring revolution is an indication of the rejection of Al Qaeda ideology by the vast majority of Muslims all over the region. This generation which believes in freedom and democracy as a way of life, has chosen a peaceful way of achieving their aims and aspirations. It is difficult to provide a proper assessment to such a thesis as the final results are yet to be achieved and the transitional period is likely to be long. The Muslim Brotherhood organization enjoys wide support among the rebellious forces and this will lead to many drastic changes in the days to come.
In fact, in Egypt, the clerics have started talking of a new Islamic Khalifa (Caliphate) for Muslims and a new USI, \'United State of Islam\'. This suggestion has made people of other faiths raise concerns about their safety, and this is what has aggravated the situation leading to the sudden flaring of communal tension in Egypt, the prevailing tension and uncertainty in Lebanon, the ethnic cleansing in Iraq and the fears that the west is propagating about the safety of Syrian Christians.
While we in the Arab world will live with the ghost of bin Laden for some time, people in south Asia should be worried about the fallout of the killing of bin Laden, with some forces trying to project him as a hero in his death. This will raise the temperature among his sympathizers to unleash their anger against their own governments and neighboring countries that are still considered adverse, taking into consideration that the US will have a victory slogan to pull its combat forces from Afghanistan, on schedule, but retain military bases there and turn its focus to Pakistan to fuel the struggle within the military and intelligence establishments.
Let the show begin.
Dr.WAIEL Awwad is a commentator on affairs in the Arab world and a senior Arab journalist with Al Arabiya television. He writes this column exclusively for irgamag.com.