At a crossroads

by Aasim Sajjad Akhtar 
IT is a virtual truism these days to assert that Muslim societies are at a crossroads.

For the disciples of Maulana Maudoodi and Syed Qutb — the globally acknowledged fathers of modern Islamist thought — Muslim societies have been struggling against ‘jahiliya’ for decades. [[[[[[‘Secular’ Muslims, on the other hand, have become conscious much more recently of the decisive battle unfolding in Muslim societies between those like themselves and anti-civilisation ‘extremists’. On both sides of this impermeable ideological divide is a conviction in the absolute righteousness of the cause. Notwithstanding casual references made to historical events, each antagonist clings to an almost timeless perception both of oneself and the proverbial ‘other’.]]]]]] 
In fact, the history of Muslim-majority societies is not all that different from all others; conflicts of various kinds have come to the fore but their nature, the protagonists involved, and their outcomes have all changed with time. In the current period the range and scope of conflicts within Muslim-majority societies is quite staggering. It is not possible to view all of these myriad conflicts through predisposed lenses. If we do so we risk compromising political principles that we otherwise claim to be immutable. We need look no further than the so-called Arab Spring to recognise the complexity of contemporary political developments. In Egypt, 30 months after the euphoric scenes that culminated in(secular) (zionist pagan)Hosni Mubarak abdicating his throne, we have just witnessed the spectacle of popular forces demanding and then celebrating a military coup against an elected government. 
That the government overthrown was led by the Muslim Brotherhood presumably lends legitimacy to the generals. But where does that leave us? [[[[[[In Syria, where the (secular(?)) dictator everyone loves to hate has not even been overthrown yet, the so-called ‘Free Syria’ rebel army has been paraded as a beacon of hope. In fact it is an unholy concoction of imperialist powers and includes a healthy dose of radical Islamists. It was even reported recently in this country that the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) (they have been and are there on the ground for a while) was considering sending some of its men to join the fight against Bashar al-Assad. A simple case of ‘good’ versus ‘evil’?]]]]]] Libya is not even in the news anymore, despite the fact that a low-intensity civil war continues to rage there. Why did being repulsed by Qadhafi and his antics translate into support for an incredibly short-sighted ‘humanitarian intervention’ led by yet another group of despicable characters fronted by Italy and other Western governments? In all of these cases, and others, we take political positions on the basis of caricatures of society proffered by the corporate(zionist)media. While there are exceptions, the press within Muslim(GCC media is NATO
see.. ) and Western countries both tells us nothing about the real social conflicts unfolding in Egypt, Syria or Libya. Ethnicity, sect, class, gender and caste do not merit even a mention. There is only ‘them’ and ‘us’, defined civilisationally by the respective media outlets according to their political preferences. The writer teaches at Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.

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