How Arab Leaders Betrayed Islam

Evil is the absence of good. The advent of Islam once glorified Arab moral and intellectual cultures, transitioning from an age of ignorance to an era of human development, progress, and the Golden Age of scientific advancement that spanned 800 years in Al-Andalus, Spain.

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During Arbaeen Walking ( The most popular walking in Shia that collect about 20 million Muslim and go from najaf to Karbala (80km) by walk in memory of family of Imam Hussain [Photo: Unsplash]

War provides an outlet for every evil element in man’s nature. It enfranchises cupidity and greed, gives a charter to petty tyranny, glorifies cruelty, and places in positions of power the vulgar and base. ~ (C.E.M Joad. Guide to Modern Wickedness, 1936)

Leadership’s Failure to Foster Political Change and Peace

The Arab world is marked by a history of continuous wars, insurgency against authoritarianism, insecurity, and a lack of moral and intellectual leadership for the betterment of its people. For over a decade, countries such as Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Afghanistan have struggled to find stability after conflicts. This week, Mother Nature sent stark reminders to humanity through floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and raging wildfires across the globe. Do serious thinkers take note of these natural signs as calls for change, reform, and security? Please refer to my articles: “Global Peace and Security: World Leaders Betray the Canons of Truth, Wisdom, and Humanity,” “Peace and War: The Russia-Ukraine Conflict Urgently Needs a Dialogue for Peace” (Uncommon Thought Journal: 8/26/2023), and “Arab Triangle: How the Prosperity Bubble Destroyed the Arab Moral and Intellectual Culture” (Uncommon Thought Journal: 6/12/2013).

Militarization of the Arabian Peninsula: A Persistent Concern

Militarization remains a top priority in the policies and practices of the Arab region. European and American policymakers have sometimes dismissed oil-exporting Arab leaders, caricaturing them as “camel jockeys” and belittling their significance. As John Perkins points out in “Confessions of an Economic Hitman” (2006), Arab states have often been viewed as mere sources of wealth to be exploited. Many of the Arab leadership families have historical ties to colonial powers, hired by the British, French, and US Empires to control and manage the oil export business. They pay homage to their masters for the protection of their palaces but neglect the welfare of their people, leaving even ordinary citizens under the shadow of secret police.

Imperial Philosophy and Its Impact on Arab Nations

Imperial philosophy driving global economic development primarily values power over moral, spiritual, and intellectual virtues. The Gulf between power and wisdom has grown due to greed, militarization, and hegemonic control over the oil-rich Arab Middle East. Puppet rulers and imperial masters exhibit sadistic policies and cruelty in safeguarding their vested interests and strategic priorities for hegemonic economic development in the Arab world.

Betrayal of Arab Values

Evil is the absence of good. The advent of Islam once glorified Arab moral and intellectual cultures, transitioning from an age of ignorance to an era of human development, progress, and the Golden Age of scientific advancement that spanned 800 years in Al-Andalus, Spain. Marai Rosa Menocal’s work in “The Ornament of the World: How Muslims, Jews, and Christians Created a Culture of Tolerance in Medieval Spain” (2003) underscores the contributions of Islamic civilization. Arabs were referred to as the “Ummah of Khair,” signifying people of goodness and peace. The message of the Qur’an is clear, encouraging reflection and understanding. However, the contemporary Arab world stands in stark contrast, embodying a decadent moral and intellectual landscape. This marks a tragic departure from knowledge and truth, as superficial prosperity fueled by oil exports has led to interdependence and subservience to the West, with Arab nations focused on materialism at the expense of their humanity and accountability to God.

Arab Spring’s Disillusionment

The Arab Spring of 2011 raised hopes for systematic socioeconomic and political change, but authoritarian Arab leaders crushed the spirit of this movement. While Islam advocates human development and change, neocolonial forces opted for short-lived economic gains. Arab populations have become victims of their own rulers’ complacency in maintaining power, by any means necessary.

US-Led “War on Terrorism” and Its Impact

After the 9/11 tragedies, the US-led “War on Terrorism” and the War-Industrial Complex heightened the insecurity of Arab rulers regarding their survival. John Perkins outlines the link between economic and industrial development and Saudi Arabian money laundering schemes to modernize the Kingdom under Henry Kissinger’s coercive agreement. This scheme was aimed at promoting imperialism on a global scale. The Arab world now finds itself living under Western imperialism and war racketeering.

The Urgent Need for Change

Mark Sheffield aptly states, “War is a racket, then and now.” Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler (author of “War Is a Racket”) came to the realization that war was a racket after retiring from 33 years of service. Wars have sustained capitalist governance and turned millionaires into billionaires. War is a crime against civilization. How can we combat indifference and cruelty that threaten humanity? The 21st century presents complex challenges and opportunities that demand new thinking, leaders, and visions for conflict management and a peaceful future.

The Divine knowledge reminds us of the significance of creation and our role in it. The imperial networks export militarization and wars to destabilize the Arab Middle East, with the focal issue being Palestine and the Two-State solution. The contemporary Arab world lacks honest leaders to protect the sanctity of Masjid Al-Aqsa and to engage in meaningful dialogue with Palestine and Israel. The ongoing conflicts in Yemen, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and elsewhere reflect a troubling aspect of human thinking and military actions. Wars result in loss of life and environmental destruction, and those in power seem devoid of wisdom to envision a better future for humanity.

The ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict and the war-torn Middle East leave global citizens feeling helpless. We must find ways to save humanity from the scourge of imperial-led war racketeering and the consequences of our own indifference, triviality, and cruelty.

Mahboob A. Khawaja

Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in international affairs-global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: One Humanity and the Remaking of Global Peace, Security and Conflict Resolution. Germany

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