Pontificating hypocrites

Where is condemnation when al-Qaida-affiliated thugs in Mali chop off people’s hands and beat women and force them to wear burkas?

French soldiers heading to Mali, January 2013. (photo credit: Reuters)
French soldiers heading to Mali, January 2013.
(photo credit: Reuters)
Islamists never cease to amaze and bewilder the world, and not in a positive sense. It’s little wonder that utterances from the mouths of so-called Islamist “leaders” are such great fodder for comedians and satirists worldwide.
But often their statements in reference to foreign policies, especially those of the West, are a serious matter, because they fuel the flames of anger.
They reflect and exacerbate the emotive grievances of young men like Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the alleged perpetrators of the recent Boston bombings. Moreover, their words are the source of manipulations diverting global Muslims’ attentions from domestic and regional ills, poor governance, underdevelopment and even the gross misguidance of Islamic religious leaders ranging from the micro to macro levels.
For example, take the comment Essam el-Erian, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party’s (FJP) vice chairman, posted on his Arabic Facebook page soon after the Boston bombings (reported by Al Arabiyya on April 17): “The events began with the sending of French battalions to Mali in a war against organizations that are said to be part of al-Qaeda.” Elerian expressed sympathy with the families of the victims, but said the attacks “do not stop us from reading into the grave incident.”
“Who interfered in democratic transformations, despite the difficult transition from despotism, corruption, poverty, hatred and intolerance to freedom, justice, tolerance, development, human dignity and social justice?” he asked.
“Who created Islamophobia through research and media? Who funded this violence?” From the other side of his mouth, he also condemned the attacks in Boston.
On behalf of the FJP, the English statement read: “[The FJP] offers heartfelt sympathies and solemn condolences to the American people and the families of the victims. Islamic Sharia [law] strongly condemns the attacks on civilians and the terrorizing of innocent people.”
So, where was such condemnation when al-Qaida-affiliated thugs in Mali chopped off people’s hands, extra-judicially stoned people to death, bulldozed historical heritage sites, beat women and forced them to wear burkas, and forced them indoors and installed cardboard over the windows, bullied men who didn’t pray, banned music and dancing, and in general “attacked and terrorized innocent people”? In one documented case, a man in Mali cut off the hand of his own brother, who was supposedly accused of stealing.
Did Essam el-Erian fail to hear the joyful cheers of local Malians when the French forces beat back the Sharia thugs? Did he turn a deaf ear to the locals pleading with the French not to leave Mali for fear of the terrorists returning and once again making their lives miserable? The hypocrisy is thunderously loud.
No one should ignore it. Whatever France’s agenda and national interests happen to be relative to Mali, the end result is that the people who were oppressed have been liberated. They no longer live in fear.
Therein lies the key word: “oppression.”
Hence, the other side of the same hypocrisy coin is revealed. It’s presumably acceptable to criticize the West for its perceived oppressive policies and actions in the Muslim world, however, it is not acceptable to call out Islamic leaders and societies for their own oppressive policies and behaviors toward one another, or toward others, like religious or ethnic minorities.
What nonsense is that? What exactly are they implying? That is, those who try to silence the critics and in the process betray their own hypocrisies? Are they saying Muslims are infallible? They are not capable of oppressing others? Even Islam does not teach infallibility of the “believer.”
All of the clerics and Islamists who preach to and manipulate impressionable people’s sentiments toward the sufferings of fellow Muslims in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine, always at the hands of the West or Israel, are pulling thick wool over their eyes.
No one is denying that people suffer in wars and conflicts. However, do these same voices bother to condemn Muslim- Muslim killings, which happen on a daily basis in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Nigeria, among other places, with varying degrees of frequency? I calculated the number of terrorist attacks and casualties in countries with significant Muslim populations from January until April 25, 2013. The grand total comes to about 1,413 dead, and this is not counting the number of people wounded and maimed. The most frequent attacks targeting civilians happen to be in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Nigeria, although the latter includes Boko Haram’s attacks against Christian targets as well, and not solely against Muslims.
These attacks consist of suicide bombings, bombings, shootings, grenade attacks, ambushes, rocket attacks, IEDs and motorcycle bombings, sometimes several of these together. In other words, militant Islamist terrorists have targeted and killed some 1,500 fellow Muslims by what is not even the fifth month of this year, and more than 70,000 have been killed in Syria since 2011. And the numbers will keep climbing as the year progresses.
Oppression is never one-sided. The pontificating Islamist hypocrites out there, like Mr. el-Erian, would like everyone to believe that only the West oppresses innocent civilians. We know that is far from the truth. Where is the outrage for their own crimes?
What exactly is he saying? That his “condolences” and condemnations aside, the Boston bombings have a justification? He implies it was France’s military campaign in Mali, in which the US assisted, that caused the two young brothers to plant bombs at an international athletic event in Boston, killing an 8-year-old child who wished for world peace, a young Chinese woman studying at university, and an innocent young American woman. Is he listening to himself? Plato once said these words of wisdom, that apply to everyone: “The highest reach of injustice is to be deemed just when you are not.”
The author is an associate professor in the National Security Affairs Department at the US Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Islan