Minister of Magic and the Voldemort effect
Harry Potter’s creator would indeed be proud of the twists and turns that the Saudi-led Gulf nations have given to the Qatar tangle. Clarity on containing terrorism is missing
As security forces in the United Kingdom (UK) swing into action against terror merchants of the Islamic State (IS), it would be premature to read the collective action of some Gulf countries’ joint action against Qatar as the beginning of a collective Islamic assault on the ongoing terror emanating from the heart of jihadi Islam.
Qatar has been isolated by the Gulf countries on finding that with its enormous sovereign wealth, the gas-rich island country has been a financier of the IS’s self-styled Islamic caliphate. Some reports emanating from the region hold that this collective action claim that it is the ‘Voldemort effect’ after the new US ‘Minister of Magic’ ended his tour of Saudi Arabia, Palestine and other Gulf countries.
The anti-terror claim for the collective isolation of Qatar is only a ruse that pleases the Minister of Magic Voldemort, who is increasingly under domestic pressure for a quite different reason and needs to show that he means business — of a different kind. The line-up of the countries behind the Saudi action is as follows: Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain led to begin with, and Yemen, Libya and the Maldives joined later.
Egypt at present is facing a close threat from the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood and the Islamist wave is held in check by the Army-led coalition of liberals and the military. Hamas, the Palestinian extremist outfit, has been for long identified with terror events in the area and is strongly opposed to the American-led peace accord in Palestine between Israel and the Muslim-majority part of Palestine.
That such action as the anti-Qatar group has already taken and is likely to take, will not deal a deadly blow to the core of the Islamist threat worldwide, should be sought and understood in perspective to achieve the internationally accepted goal against Islamist jihad.
The mindless, almost barbaric killing of thousands in the name of religion, is condemned even by Iran, one of the handful powers in the region that strongly opposes the IS even as it promotes its own version of aggressive Islam, both domestically and internationally.
The fact that the United States has too much at stake in Qatar to be allowed to be caught in a Gulf crisis, calls into question the interpretation of the action against Doha as a anti-terror strike despite Minister of Magic Voldemort’s claim that the joint action of leading the Gulf states against Qatar was the “paying off” of his visit to Riyadh and conferring with some 50 Gulf countries.
According to some media reports, Qatar has a 6,000-strong military personnel posted there as it is an operational base for the US surveillance of the oil and gas rich region. The base is the “largest US air base in West Asia”. It is also the US’s largest staging ground against the Syria-Iraq IS set up of jihadi Islamist extremism.
Reports also expose the deep financial linkages between the US and Qatar due to high-level of gas deposits in Qatar. In addition it is also well-known there are large US investments in Qatar in every activity from military, airline, education and other American interests that have contributed immensely to the prosperity of this Gulf island country as a major centre of US business in the Gulf and continues to add to the enormous prosperity of the Arab country.
It is difficult to believe that America would have waited so long for action to switch off Qatar money financing the IS worldwide terror. The swift intervention of another American ally, Kuwait, to quell the Gulf crisis and restore the Saudi Arabia-Qatar linkages further blows a hole in the claim that the isolation of Doha was the first step in the international response against the IS-drivenjihadist assault on human civilisation.
A plethora of killings in European countries, including the UK and in the US, have exposed the vulnerability of human civilisation to a Nazi-type outgrowth in large parts of the world of ruthless terror with the Islamic cover. The fact that this is attracting young followers of Islam and the spread, is now an international reality.By all logic, it has to be eradicated like a plague. This plague wants to subdue the entire mankind with a choice either to adopt its version of Islam or to submit to mass killings like what Hitler did to the Jews.
Scholars of Islam assert that this is not the true interpretation of religion wherein peace is the fundamental value. But the response of the youth and those attracted to that religion, who on conversion respond to brutal murder of others, does not support such defensive stand.
Several individual events of new converts killing innocent people in the clubs, sports stadia, airports and railway stations, even bystanders, ploughing trucks into crowds deliberately and such actions galore across many parts of the world as well as mass murders of innocents held as prisoners. The so-called Caliphate proudly claims Islamic theology as its inspiration and planning behind these sordid events.
The cult of such brutality has been upheld as sacred sacrifice (of others) and is compulsory practice to both, a recent convert as well as a traditional follower.
Clarity on how the IS call — that the other leaders of Islam and several regimes which call themselves as Islamic assert is un-Islamic — gets such eager response from the younger followers, is necessary to avoid the type of confusion that we have witnessed in the Qatar incident which is highly misleading.
It has to be acknowledged that the congenial environment for the brainwashing of the young to accept the propaganda about Islam as the only religion which either you accept or be ready to get killed, is created by the type of religious teaching in the madrassas, the Islamic religious schools. Unlike the schools that are run by many other religious or community denominations, madrassas follow an exclusivist agenda.
It is not education but brainwashing helped by years of the teenage Muslims meeting and interacting only with others like the of the same religion. The dangers of such exclusivity and isolation in the Islamic schools has been widely recognised and efforts have been made globally to insist that these schools also teach science, mathematics and history and other humanities also.
But an hour or two of such teachings would not de-crust the incrustation created by the constant stress of the exclusivist indoctrination. In their time, the Arabs even before Islam rose, were great navigators and global businessmen, and acted as a cultural bridge between the East and the West, taking such weighty subjects as Mathematics, Astronomy, Medicine etc from one to the other. Later they lost their catholicism and opted for a narrower exclusivity. The consequences were obvious.
(The writer is a Delhi-based commentator and former BJP Rajya Sabha MP)
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