In this post, I will talk about three recent incidents that show how radical Islam remains entrenched worldwide amid all the clamour for inclusiveness, tolerance and pluralism.
- The American clock boy’s meeting with Sudan President, a war criminal
- Sharia Court in Irving, Texas
- Disrespect for Australian national anthem
Disclaimer: This is not against any religion, just a factual assessment of some recent incidents that show a gap between Western and other cultures and lopsided reactions to aberrations.
Sanctions Against Sudan
I have at times had to contend with this factor at work, managing bids – sanctions against Sudan and a few other countries that will require special permissions for any submission.
American companies are not allowed to do any business with Sudan, a country headed by President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir, indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the mass killings, rapes and pillage in Darfur that he presided over.
- About half a million people are said to have lost their lives in Darfur under his stewardship during the last more than two decades.
- Al-Bashir also played host to Al-Qaeda leader, late Osama bin Laden, for five years in Sudan.
But these did not come in the way of clock boy Ahmed Mohamed (14) meeting Al-Bashir in Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, recently. Ahmed is the boy who shot to fame after his arrest when his school teacher in Texas mistook his home-made clock for a bomb.
As a reiteration, U.S. companies cannot engage in any form of commercial activity in Sudan. How then an American citizen and his father were allowed to travel to Khartoum and meet Al-Bashir who still has an arrest warrant against him on the charge of orchestrating genocide!
Is it because special rules apply for American Muslims, giving them the privilege of violating bans that impact ordinary citizens and businesses?
Ahmed’s father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed had been a politician in Sudan before he migrated to the U.S. in the 80s and is said to be maintaining political links with his parent country. He shows signs of being an Islamic fundamentalist and is said to be leading a Sufi house of worship in Irving.
After the school incident, American technology companies rallied behind him and there were attempts to portray the boy as the next whiz kid in town – merely because he brought to his class a home-made clock!
Malala and the Nobel Peace Prize
The 14-year-old boy does not appear as innocent as he was projected to be. Both he and his father have perhaps put some marketing machinery to work, going by the meetings the two have had with various leaders since the incident. The boy is reported to have spoken even about promoting peace between the U.S. and Sudan.
They are apparently driven by the Nobel Peace Prize that Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai won in 2014 when she was just 17. That made her the youngest Nobel Laureate ever. Hers, thought, is an inspirational story of courage bearing the brunt of Taliban terror.
On his return from Sudan, Ahmed got to meet US President Barack Obama who had invited him to the White House along with 300 students for an Astronomy Night session. If any American company had sought to do business in Sudan or any of the countries that has sanctions against them, it will have landed itself in serious trouble – slapped with a hefty fine running into millions, taken to court and even debarred from bidding for US projects. But here Mr Obama rewards the boy with a visit to the White House and a meeting with him! That, to me, is an interesting aberration!
US Harassed Fischer, Making Him a Fugitive
I can recall how the U.S. had hounded Bobby Fischer out of the country for defying a ban and playing a repeat match against Boris Spassky in Yugoslavia in 1992.
Because of Uncle Sam’s harassment, Fischer had to hop from one country to another before dying in 2008 in Iceland from where he had won his world championship title in 1972, breaking the Russian monopoly and popularising chess the world over. I took to playing chess inspired by his genius and I consider him the greatest player ever.
Sharia Court in Irving
Incidentally, radical Muslims in America recently sought to make their Sharia Court a regular and legal fixture, starting with Irving, Texas. But the Mayor there rejected it, stating that mosque leaders cannot be allowed to create separate laws for Muslims. It was a narrow 5-4 vote against the Sharia Court, going to show how Islam has its sympathisers in the U.S.
Disrespect for Australian Anthem
In another incident in Australia last week, a primary school in Melbourne allowed its Muslim students to walk out of assembly when the national anthem is played.
How long more will the world have to put up with the radical ways of a religion clamouring for inclusiveness and pluralism when its fundamental patrons show no respect for countries that generously accommodate them, welcoming refugees from terror-stricken countries knowing that they can cause ferment as they settle down?
There can be no end to the chaos we see everywhere unless those in their own community rise up against any kind of fundamentalism and the violence it spawns!
G Joslin Vethakumar