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Where Are The Musim States When Muslims Need Them The Most?

By Mirza Arif Beg

11 September, 2015

The European continent is witnessing an unparalleled deluge of refugees from the strife torn countries of Middle East and North Africa. The Mediterranean Sea has already devoured more than 2500 refugees owing to the fragile state of boats which capsized on a regular basis. The misery of refugees continues as they were received with cold response on the borders of Hungary, Greece and other European states which thwarted their entry. However, the dead body of a Syrian toddler off the Turkish shores seems to have evoked widespread call for the humanitarian assistance for the asylum seekers.

On 7th of September, the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, David Cameron spoke in the UK parliament with utmost fervor and announced that his country would be welcoming at least 20000 Syrian refugees and provide them with asylum. On the other hand, France also took the initiative of welcoming 24000 refugees. Yes, it did take a lot of time for this move to arrive but it could also be regarded as a tight slap in the face of states like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain which kept their doors closed despite being in immediate proximity.

For decades, Muslim apologists and scholars from across the world have recognized the role played by imperialistic powers such as France and Britain which helped create fake borders on the Middle-eastern territory . However, what has been completely sidelined is the role played by Muslim states like Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran in further intensifying the deeply entrenched sectarian schism within Islam.

The current humanitarian crisis in the states of Iraq, Syria and the larger middle-east has uprooted millions and led to the killings of more than 210,000 people in Syria alone. The year 2011 brought unprecedented scenes not only at Tehrir Square in Egypt but also seeped into other North-African states including Libya and Tunisia.

The Jasmine revolution that took off from Tunisia engulfed almost every state that was a witness to the despotic regimes of tyrants like Hausni Mubarak, Muammar Gaddafi and Ali Abdullah Saleh. The specter of the Arab spring toppled the regimes in a number of states and brought to an end decades long rule of despots which was replete with persecution and suppression.

Ironically, it also paved the way for the current bloodbath that has transpired in the last four years. Yes, we always refer to the Sykes-Picot agreement of 1918 that demarcated the borders and provided Britain and France with the mandates over different states. We also talk about the Balfour Declaration of 1918 that laid down the foundation stone for an independent Jewish state on the land of Palestine but what has been completely subsided is that the states of modern Turkey and Saudi Arabia were also formed not long after. The continuous battle between Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey for the domination over the Arab world is also equally responsible for sectarian gulf in the war ravaged territory.

It is often asserted that the political vacuum in any state provides for a window to the extremist elements to take over and dominate the narrative against the government. Something of similar sorts happened in Syria in the year 2011. Bashar-al-Assad’s regime, a staunch ally of Iran and an inimical establishment for the larger Sunni world became nothing less than a thorn.

Sunni states like Saudi Arabia and Qatar along with US supported the cause of rebels in Syria and started arming them against Assad. A full-fledge civil war not only descended Syria into chaos but also culminated into the formation of a despicable and extremely bigoted terrorist organization like the Islamic State.

The Islamic state, based on its rigid interpretation unleashed a rampage on the civilians in Iraq and Syria. While all this was happening and is still happening Saudi Arabia continues to echo the call for the toppling of Syrian regime. Bashar-al-Assad has denied any possibility of leaving his post and indulged in a serious arm conflict with the extremists belonging to the Islamic State and Jabhat-al-Nasra, another terrorist organization that received support from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the US. To exacerbate the situation further Saudi Arabia also initiated an air onslaught against the Houthis in Yemen allegedly backed by Iran.

Another argument which should vindicate the utter hypocrisy of the Saudi Kingdom is the massive amount of money King Salman would be spending on his visit to US. While 80% of the total population in Yemen is on the brink of a famine, to a great extent because of the air assault inflicted upon them by Saudis, and the number of refugees welcomed that still stands at zero, the King along with his entourage of 600 people is busy on an extravagant visit to Washington DC.

Turkey, another state that has been repeatedly touted as a perfect embodiment of how a modern Muslim state should look like has historically blocked the creation of an independent Kurdish State. As a result of which the Kurds are divided across the borders of Iraq, Syria, Iran and Turkey. Not to forget that the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Northern Iraq have been instrumental in curtailing the movement as well as savagery of the Islamic state. However, during the same time Turkey didn’t leave any stone unturned to undermine the consolidation of Kurds on the borders of Syria and Turkey. The crushing of anti-Erdogan protests in Gezi Park in the year 2013 is another example of growing authoritarianism in Turkey.

For years, the Muslim world has criticized the US, UK and France led invasions into the middle-eastern territory and a slew of states in Africa but it has also remained ignorant of the fundamental division that remains deeply rooted and has been perpetually carried forward. Even Prophet Mohammad in the first constitution of medina had within the ambit of word Ummah included everyone irrespective of their religious association. What the Muslim world is witnessing today is a society that is fulfilling its interests at the cost of its own people.

Mirza Arif Beg is Doing his Masters in Convergent Journalism at AJK Mass Communication Research center, Jamia Millia Islamia. He takes keen interest in International Affairs. He tweets @arifmirza22


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