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Who is Responsible for the Atrocities in the Muslim World?

If colonialism were the main problem, Muslims, too, still are, colonizers -- and not particularly "humanitarian" ones, at that.

Islamic jihad and Islamic violence; the sanctioning of sex slavery; dehumanization of women; hatred and persecution of non-Muslims have been commonplace in the Islamic world ever since the inception of the religion. Deny everything and blame "the infidel."

But is it America that tells these men to treat their wives or sisters as less than fully human? If we want to criticize the West for what is going on in the Muslim world, we should criticize it for not doing more to stop these atrocities.

Trying to whitewash the damage that the Islamic ideology has done to the Muslim world, while putting the blame of Islamic atrocities on the West, will never help Muslims face their own failures and come up with progressive ways to resolve them.

Every time the ISIS, Boko Haram, Iran, or any terrorist group in the Muslim world is discussed, many people tend to hold the West responsible for the devastation and murders they commit. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Blaming the failures in the Muslim world on Western nations is simply bigotry and an attempt to shift the blame and to prevent us from understanding the real root cause of the problem.

When these Islamic terrorist groups abduct women to sell them as sex-slaves or "wives;" conduct mass crucifixions and forced conversions; behead innocent people en masse; try to extinguish religious minorities and demolish irreplaceable archeological sites, the idea that this is the fault of the West is ludicrous, offensive and wrong.

Western states, like many other states, try to protect the security of their citizens. What they essentially need, therefore, are peaceful states as partners with which they can have economic, commercial and diplomatic relations. They do not need genocidal terrorist groups that destroy life, peace and stability in huge swaths across the Muslim world.

Western states also have democratic and humanitarian values, which Islamic states do not. The religious and historical experiences of the Western world and the Islamic world are so enormously different that they ended up having completely different cultures and values.

The West, established on Jewish, Christian and secular values, has created a far more humanitarian, free and democratic culture. Sadly, much of the Muslim world, under Islamic sharia law, has created a misogynistic, violent and totalitarian culture.

This does not mean that the West has been perfect and sinless. The West still commits some appalling crimes: Europe is guilty of paving the way for the slaughter of six million Jews in the Holocaust, and for still not protecting its Jewish communities. Even today, many European states contort logic to recognize Hamas, which openly states that it aims to commit genocide against Jewish people.

The West, however, accepts responsibility for the failures in its own territories: for instance, not being able to protect European women from Muslim rapists. These men have moved to Europe to benefit from the opportunities and privileges there, but instead of showing gratitude to European people and government, they have raped the women there, and tried to impose Islamic sharia law.

If we want to criticize the West for what is going on in the Muslim world, we should criticize it for not doing more to stop these atrocities.

The West, and particularly the U.S., should use all of its power to stop them -- especially the genocides committed against Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims in the Muslim world.

We should also criticize the West -- and others, such as the United Nations and its distorted Gaza War report -- for supporting those who proudly commit terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians, and we should criticize the West for not siding with the state of Israel in the face of genocidal Jew-hatred.

We should criticize the West for letting Islamic anti-Semitism grow in Europe, making lives unbearable for Jews day by day.

We should criticize the West for having accepted without a murmur the Turkish occupation of Northern Cyprus for more than 40 years.

We should also criticize the West for leaving the fate of Kurds, a persecuted and stateless people, to the tender mercies of Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria -- and now the Islamic State (ISIS). On June 25, ISIS carried out yet another deadly attack, killing and wounding dozens of people in the Kurdish border town of Kobani, in Syrian Kurdistan.

And we should criticize especially the current U.S. government for not being willing to take serious action to stop ISIS, Boko Haram and other extremist Islamic groups.[1]

The list could go on and on. Moreover, it would not be realistic to claim that these groups or regimes all misunderstand the teachings of their religion in exactly the same way.

It would also not be realistic to claim that the West has created all these hundreds of Islamic terror groups across the Muslim world.

The question, then, is: Who or what does create all these terrorist groups and regimes?

In almost all parts of the Muslim world, systematic discrimination, and even murder, are rampant -- especially of women and non-Muslims. Extremist Islamic organizations, however, are not the only offenders. Many Muslim civilians who have no ties with any Islamist group also commit these offenses daily. Jihad (war in the service of Islam) and the subjugation of non-Muslims are deeply rooted in the scriptures and history of Islam.

Ever since the seventh century, Muslim armies have invaded and captured Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Buddhist and Zoroastrian lands; for more than 1400 years since, they have continued their jihad, or Islamic raids, against other religions.

Many people seem to be justifiably shocked by the barbarism of ISIS, but Islamic jihad does not belong just to ISIS. Violent jihad is a centuries-long tradition of Islamic ideology. ISIS is just one jihadist army of Islam. There are many.

All of this is an Islamic issue. The free West has absolutely nothing to do with the creation and preservation of this un-free culture.

The West has, on the contrary, been the victim of Islamic military campaigns and imperialistic pursuits: Christian peoples of Europe have been exposed to Ottoman invasions and subjugation for centuries. The fall of Byzantine Empire marked the peak of Islamic Jihad in Christian lands. Many places in Europe -- including Greece, Bulgaria, Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Hungary, Serbia, and Cyprus, among others -- were all invaded and occupied by the Ottoman armies. Other targets, including Venice, Austria, and Poland, had to fight fierce defensive wars to protect their territories.

The historical and current troubles in the Muslim world are not, therefore, problems "imported" from an outside source; they are internal cultural and political problems, which Muslim regimes and peoples have reproduced for centuries.

Some of the things that women in Saudi Arabia may not do were listed in The Week magazine: Saudi women are not allowed to "go anywhere without a male chaperone, open a bank account without their husband's permission, drive a car, vote in elections, go for a swim, compete freely in sports, try on clothes when shopping, enter a cemetery, read an uncensored fashion magazine and buy a Barbie and so on."

Of course, there is nothing specific in Islamic scriptures about cars, fashion magazines or Barbie Dolls. But there is enough there that indicates why all of these abuses, and more, are widespread across the Islamic world, and why the clerics, imams and muftis approve them.

The central issue is to see how the lines that the Islamic theology draws seed the soil in which this kind of discrimination systematically buds, why it is extolled and how it is advocated.

Saudi Arabia is not the only Muslim country where women are dehumanized. Throughout almost the almost the entire Muslim world -- including Turkey, considered one of the most "liberal" Muslim countries -- women are continually abused or killed by their husbands, ex-husbands, boyfriends, fathers, brothers or other males. [2]

Is it America that tells these men to treat their wives or sisters as less than fully human?

Is the West really what stops them from respecting human rights or resolving their political matters through diplomatic and peaceful ways? Are Muslims too stupid to make wise decisions, and act responsibly? Why should Americans or Europeans have evil wishes for the rest of the world?

Demonizing Western nations -- even after all of their cultural, scientific and rational progress -- is simply pure racism.

"The belief that the West is always guilty is among the dozen bad ideas for the 21st century," wrote the Australian pastor, Dr. Mark Durie. "This irrational and unhelpful idea is taught in many schools today and has become embedded in the world views of many. It is essentially a silencing strategy, sabotaging critical thinking."

Another term that prevents one from understanding the root causes of the conflicts in the Muslim world is "moral relativism" -- a politically correct term that really means moral cowardice.

Defending "moral relativism" and saying that "all cultures are equal" really means saying a culture that encourages child marriages, beating women and selling girls on slave markets has a value equal to a culture that respects women and recognizes their rights, and which renounces wanton violence.

Another popular target of blame for the failures in the Muslim world is historical British colonialism.

If colonialism were the main problem, however, Muslims, too, were, and still are, colonizers -- and not particularly "humanitarian" ones, at that. The Muslim colonizers do not even seem to have contributed much to the culture of the places they invaded and colonized. In fact, they have actually delayed the progress of the areas they colonized. The printing press, for instance, came to the Ottoman territories almost 200 years later than to Europe.

"Books... undermine the power of those who control oral knowledge, since they make that knowledge readily available to anyone who can master literacy," wrote Professor Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson. This threatened to undermine the existing status quo, where knowledge was controlled by elites. The Ottoman sultans and religious establishment feared the creative destruction that would result. Their solution was to forbid printing." [3]

"European Empires -- the British, French and Italians -- had a short-lived presence in North Africa and the Middle East compared with the Ottoman Empire, which ruled over that region for more than 500 years," said the historian Niall Ferguson.

"The culture that exists in the greater Middle East and North Africa today bears very, very few resemblances to the culture that Europeans tried to implement there, beginning in the late 19th century and carrying on through to the mid-20th century.

"You can't say it is the fault of imperialism and leave out the longest living empire in the Middle East, which was the Ottoman Empire, a Muslim Empire, which went back much farther than any of the European Empires mentioned in that piece."

Muslim states continue to occupy and colonize various territories -- including Kurdistan, Baluchistan and the northern part of Cyprus, an EU member state.

"One of the most tragic consequences of the 1974 Turkish invasion," according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Cyprus, "and the subsequent illegal occupation of 36.2% of the territory of the Republic of Cyprus, is the violent and systematic destruction of the cultural and religious heritage in the occupied areas.

"Hundreds of historic and religious monuments in various regions of the occupied areas have been destroyed, looted and vandalized. Illegal 'excavations' have been carried out and cultural treasures have been stolen from museums and private collections and were sold abroad."

Muslim groups and regimes continue to persecute indigenous peoples such as Assyrians, Chaldeans, Mandaeans, Shabaks, Copts, Yezidis, and Bedoon, among many others.

"A substantial segment of the Bedoon population lives with the constant threat of deportation hanging over it," according to the analyst Ben Cohen. "Around 120,000 Bedoon live without nationality and with none of the rights that flow from citizenship."

"Its members cannot obtain birth or marriage certificates, or identity cards, or driving licenses. They are banned from access to public health and education services. Their second-class status means they have no access to the law courts in order to pursue their well-documented claims of discrimination. And on those rare occasions that they summon the will to protest publicly—as they did in 2011, when demonstrators held signs bearing slogans like, 'I Have a Dream'—the security forces respond with extraordinary brutality, using such weapons as water cannons, concussion grenades, and tear gas with reckless abandon."

It is not the West or Israel committing these crimes against the Bedoon community; it is Kuwait, a wealthy Islamic state, which treats defenseless people as if they are slaves.

In Qatar, another wealthy Islamic state, Nepalese migrants building a football stadium, "[h]ave died at a rate of one every two days... This figure does not include the deaths of Indian, Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi workers.... The Nepalese foreign employment promotion board said that 157 of its workers in Qatar had died between January and mid-November" last year. In 2013, the figure for that period was 168."

The family of a Nepalese migrant worker, who died in Qatar, prepares to bury him. Nepalese laborers in Qatar are forced to work in dangerous conditions, and die at the rate of one every two days. (Image source: Guardian video screenshot)

"In Libya, naturalisation is only open to a man if he is of Arab descent," reported the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). "And many Akhdam in Yemen, a small ethnic minority who may be descendants of African slaves, are reportedly unable to obtain citizenship."

Is that not apartheid?

In Kuwait, only Muslim applicants may seek naturalization, while Libya's nationality law allows for the withdrawal of nationality on the grounds of conversion from Islam to another religion."

Is that not apartheid? Apartheid laws seem to reign over many places in the Muslim world.

Trying to whitewash the damage the Islamic ideology has done to the Muslim world, while putting the blame of Islamic atrocities on the West, will never help Muslims face their own failures and come up with progressive ways to resolve them.

"All the world's Muslims have fewer Nobel Prizes than Trinity College, Cambridge. They did great things in the Middle Ages, though," wrote the evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins on Twitter, after which other Twitter users piled on to criticize him.

It seems that having oil reserves, per capita, that dwarf anything available to Western countries does not create leading scientific nations.

What holds Muslims back when they have unmatched advantages of underground treasures? Why did the scientific revolution not happen in the Muslim world? Why has much of Islamic history been marked by aggressive jihad?

Islamic jihad and Islamic violence; the sanctioning of sex slavery; dehumanization of women; hatred and persecution of non-Muslims and homosexuals; suppression of free speech; and forced conversions have been commonplace in the Islamic world ever since the inception of the religion.

Many teachings in the Islamic scriptures, as well as the biographies of the founder of the religion, set up the parameters where these abuses not only occur but remain protected on a gigantic scale. These are the teachings that have become the culture of the Muslim world.

Sadly, most Muslims have wasted much time, energy and resources on killing and destruction, but -- with the exception of some civilization's most dazzling artistic splendors -- not on scientific and cultural advancement.

Recently, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani, the former Prime Minister of Qatar, said that claims that Qatar paid bribes to win the hosting rights of the 2022 World Cup were "not fair" and stemmed from the West's Islamophobia and racism towards Arabs.

Recent events indicate that he was, at best, "misinformed."

Deny everything and blame "the infidel" for your shortcomings. Nothing is more important than your honor, and nothing worse than your shame.

If Muslims wish to create a brighter future, nothing is stopping us but ourselves. We should learn to analyze critically our present and our past.

Human rights activists and academics in the West are lying to Muslims about their culture, and bashing and threatening America, Europe or "Zionism" for the problems of Muslims; this can never lead to any positive developments in the Muslim world. It is the Islamic culture and religious ideology that are responsible for these problems

If there is ever going to be an enlightenment, reform or renaissance in the Muslim world, only a hard look and hard questioning can be its starting point.

Uzay Bulut, born and raised a Muslim, is a Turkish journalist based in Ankara.

[1] Also the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic Republic of Iran, al-Qaeda, Al-Badr, al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya, Islamic Jihad, al-Nusra Front, Hizb-ut-Tahrir, Al Ghurabaa, Al-Itihaad al-Islamiya, Al-Mourabitoun, Abdullah Azzam Brigades, Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar, Jamaat Ul-Furquan, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, Jamiat al-Islah al-Idzhtimai, Great Eastern Islamic Raiders' Front, Al-Shabaab, Abu Sayyaf, Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi, Supreme Military Majlis ul-Shura of the United Mujahideen Forces of Caucasus, to name just a few.

[2] See: "Gender Equality Gap Greatest in Islamic Countries, Survey Shows", by Patrick Goodenough, October 29, 2014; "The Treatment of Women In Islam," by Rachel Molschky, October 7, 2013; "Women Suffer at the Hands of Radical Islam", by Raymond Ibrahim, January 9, 2014; "As Muslim women suffer, feminists avert their gaze", by Robert Fulford, National Post; Ayse Onal, a leading Turkish journalist, says in her book, Honour Killing: Stories of Men Who Killed, that in Turkey alone honour killings average about one a day -- 1,806 were reported in the period between 2000 and 2005.

[3] Daron, Acemoglu & Robinson, James (2012), Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty, Crown Publishing Group.

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