Are the violent extremists winning everywhere? A closer look offers ample of evidences to suggest that indeed they are winning, esp. in war-torn countries and in countries that are engaged in war. This trend is somewhat understandable given the fact that war seems to bring the worst in human beings. In
Iraq, e.g., hardly a day goes by
when the extremist Sunnis are not killing Shi’a Muslims. This time of the year
is a free-hunting season for these murderers when millions of Shi’a come to
and other religious sites to mourn and celebrate the death and birth,
respectively, of their Imams. Taking advantage of a dysfunctional government,
these criminals obviously want to start a civil war that would surely turn the
country into a failed state in the post-Saddam Hussein era.
Even in countries like the USA, which is at war in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, and fighting either covert or overt wars elsewhere, since at least 9/11, Americans frustrated by either a failing economy or a slowly recovering economy seem to be gravitating more towards political candidates that sound extremists.
Israel, which has been at war with
all its neighbors since its illegitimate birth of illegal land-grab, which has
led to the largest eviction of indigenous people from their ancestral homeland,
extremists have been in power for ages. Truly, each subsequent government has
been more extreme than the one it replaced. Thus, peace in the holy land
remains an illusion!
In the post-9/11, governments everywhere were hooked up on potential terror from radical Muslims. And they had plenty of reasons to be paranoid of. After all, there were the so-called terrorist attempts by a shoe-bomber, a dirty-bomber, an under ware-bomber, and subway bombers. In that process of racial and religious profiling, the western governments, however, ignored the danger of ultra-right extremists within their own societies. They forgot that there is no shortage of home-grown terrorists like Breivik of Norway who are premeditated mass murderers.
Take for instance the recent revelation about
which has a sizeable Muslim population of Turkish origin. For years, no one
within Germany was
able to explain the killings of several Turkish Muslims on its soil. The
relatives of victims said police tried to pin the murders on organized crime,
drugs or ethnic rivalries, but never examined the possibility of right-wing
terror. Only when two suspected founding members were found dead last November
after a botched bank robbery did the activities of a small band of
neo-Nazis -- the so-called National Socialist Underground -- come to light. We also
learned that Germany's
domestic spy agency may have been covering-up the crimes of these neo-Nazis
that were responsible for those killings of ethnic Turks and Greeks in a
seven-year terror spree. An official with the spy agency reportedly destroyed
files relating to the investigation of this criminal group. The case
prompted the government to announce this week that Heinz Fromm, the
agency's head for the past 12 years, will take early retirement.
This German report once again highlights how racial profiling of a minority can backfire by bringing the worst within its own society where not only home-grown extremists from the majority group emerge but they thrive with tacit approval of the very law enforcing agencies that are supposed to be color- and race-blind. The end result can be quite toxic, devastating and suicidal.
Now the German government is embarrassed by the episode. Thus, the regional government in
– the home state of the alleged group members – recently announced the removal
of the head of its own intelligence agency. Thomas Sippel "no longer has
the confidence" of the state legislature, regional interior minister Joerg
As expected, the Bamars have ruled the country since its independence from the
Great Britain in January 1948. (Aung
San Suu Kyi, the current leaders and past military rulers all have come from
the Bamar race.) To them, a Burmese is synonymous with being a Bamar and/or a
Buddhist. There is no room for non-Buddhists in this country of 55 million
people. Through its 1982 Citizenship Law, enacted during Ne Win’s military
rule, the state has nullified citizenship rights of millions of minorities,
including the Rohingyas of Arakan (now conveniently named Rakhine) state (situated
next to Bangladesh).
As a result of many such aberrations from the very spirit of the Panglong
Agreement (1947), Aung San-Attlee Treaty (1947), Burma Independence Act 1947, Nu-Attlee
Agreement (1947), the 1947 Constitution and the Union Citizenship Act (1948)
several ethnic groups feel cheated and are at war against the central
government. Interestingly, although the Rohingyas are the most persecuted
people in our world, they are not one of those groups who are fighting against
In recent months, although the Thein Sein government has promised reform and dialogue with the opposition, none of these promises has materialized yet. He has released hundreds of political prisoners in recent months, but still there are many who are left behind the prison walls. His government institutes and forces remain hostile to non-Buddhist minorities everywhere (even to non-Burmans). His regime has neither done anything towards reinstating citizenship rights of the affected communities, nor has it created an environment of inclusion away from bigotry and racism that run very deep all over
Burma. Human rights violations in
ethnic and religious minority regions are, therefore, a fact of life.
What is more problematic is the clear evidence emerging from Arakan that the latest pogrom against the Rohingyas of Arakan state of Burma couldn’t have been launched without the active cooperation and collusion between the Rakhine extremists and the government security forces. For years, Rakhine politicians and their intellectual frauds have only sold poison pills of hatred against the Rohingyas so as to cause their mass exodus. They have neglected nation-building tasks, starting with reconciliation efforts between various ethnic and religious groups. And they have succeeded in this criminal ploy to make the lives of ordinary Rohingyas a living hell inside
Burma. More than a million of Rohingyas
have already been forced to flee out of the country. Now with their homes,
businesses, mosques and belongings set on fire, looted or destroyed in this
year’s pogrom, more than a hundred thousand Rohingyas are internally displaced,
and face mass starvation. Internal reports suggest that a few thousand
Rohingyas might have perished also.
Through their colossal records of pure racism and hatred, unfathomed persecution and bigotry, the Rakhine Buddhists are giving a bad name to their religion which preaches non-violence. What an anomaly!
While racism has been a major cause of violence in our world, the Muslim extremists in
opening a new frontier in violence. Like their Taliban mentors a decade ago,
they are demonstrating that when ignorance is paramount, everything seems to be
halal or kosher. The Ansar Dine (meaning: helpers of the faith) extremists – or
more properly, the ‘idiots of the faith’ – are destroying treasures of
mankind in Mali. In
a matter of months Mali has
gone from one of West Africa's stable
democracies to a nation gripped by deadly chaos.
The March 22 coup eased the way for Tuareg separatist rebels -- descendants of those who founded the ancient city state of
Timbuktu in the fifth century --
to carry out the armed takeover of an area larger than France they
consider their homeland. However, the previously unknown Ansar Dine group,
fighting on their flanks, seized the upper hand, and has since pushed the
Tuareg from all positions of power.
These extremist Wahabis - members of the Ansar Dine - consider the Sufi shrines to be idolatrous and have wrecked seven tombs in two days. As published reports show, last week, these criminals, and that is how I see them, destroyed the tombs of Sidi Mahmoud, Sidi Moctar and Alpha Moya, and on Sunday attacked four more including Cheikh el-Kebir's mausoleum as residents stood by helplessly. The ancient city of
is also home to 16 cemeteries and mausoleums.
The attacks on Muslim shrines are reminiscent of the Taliban idiots’ (with less than adequate learning of Islam) blowing up the giant Buddhas of the Bamiyan valley in Afghanistan -- an ancient Buddhist shrine on the Silk Road and a world heritage site -- in 2001. Back then, I condemned such acts saying that they had made a mockery of Islam through their utter ignorance. As many students of history would know those statues had no problem surviving during the regime of the great Muslim ruler Sultan Mahmood of Ghazni (11th century C.E.) but sadly, they could not survive during the short tenure of ignorant Talibans of Afghanistan. Was Sultan Mahmood a lesser Muslim or less knowledgeable Muslim compared to those morons of the Taliban?
And, now the Ansar Dine extremists are following the footsteps of their mentors. Through their acts they are shaming their noble faith. I condemn their destructive activities and their brand of faith. I pray and hope that the people of
As can be seen, in our time, there is no shortage of such extremists in any race, faith and continent. Their acts are divisive, criminal and unacceptable. Unless checked severely, they are bound to make our world a living hell, much like what is happening in Arakan state of
Burmese and ethnic leaders must come to grip with the monumental hatred, racism
and bigotry that they entertain against ‘others’, and redresses these vices by
fairly treating all the residents as equal citizens. Otherwise, Myanmar is sure
to implode within and no change of government in the future will upset such a
If the Thein Sein government is serious about stability and peace, it must foster an inclusive agenda by restoring the citizenship rights of its minority Rohingyas and other affected communities, and harshly deal with preachers and practitioners of hatred. It must purge its rank and file of Buddhist extremists. It simply cannot allow ethnic cleansing of minority communities like the Rohingyas to continue.
As we have repeatedly seen, the Sunni extremists in
are a disruptive force; they are anarchists and must be dealt with firmly before
they make a living hell in the birthplace of human civilization. Since these
criminals could not have operated without some form of support from within
their own community, it is the responsibility of peace-loving people within
those sectors to stop their crime one way or another. Otherwise, the outcome
will be so terrible that they won’t be able to save their own skins from the
As to the extremists here in the
ordinary Americans can still make a difference through the ballot box. The
choice is theirs. They can either accept or refuse to be bought by the
merchants of violence. I hope they choose the latter option.
The same prescription is for the Israelis and others living under liberal or illiberal democracies.