The Religious Domination Of World Affairs
By Sazzad Hussain
23 May, 2015
The domination of the religious authorities in the matters of the states is nothing new in contemporary history. Since long, the pedestals of religion—mostly that of Christianity and Islam have been at the helm of the affairs of many powerful empires and political territories. It was the Vatican which had ruled Europe with an ever pervading power and influence for a long period of time in the past and Islam too had the same since the establishment of the Caliphate after the demise of the Prophet. However there realm of influence was not that amount of clout to effect the affairs of the entire world of the modern times.
The Vatican or Christianity paved the way for modern secular nation states after the treaty of Westphalia and it concentrated more on charity works than any other expansionist agendas as seen in the glorious services by humanists like …Hanschel in Africa. But as the western world moved away from the influences of the religious establishments on the matter of state and governance, newly formed states in Asia, after decolonization, began to follow religion in their matters. Later, the western military powers strengthened them as a handy tool to fight Soviet communism. Now, much after the end of the cold war, religion has emerged and also promoted to serve the expansionist designs of various agendas—military, territory, cultural and economic dominations. And these are also echoed in India.
Though the Christianity, mostly the Catholic Church has often been accused of promoting extremism and armed separatism in may parts of the world—like in East Timor and among some ethnic communities of Northeastern India, it has been largely apolitical and non-military on its approaches so far. There were many instances in which Catholic priests led mass movements against corrupt and dictatorial regimes in Latin America, against MNCs destroying the Amazonian rain forests etc. In recent times the Vatican has been very vocal against the occupation and daily atrocities by Israel in Palestine. The Papal authorities have also been opposing the Iraq war and violence in Middle-East, mostly ignited by the west. On the contrary, many ultra-orthodox Jewish forces in Israel and in US have been pushing for more bleeding of Palestine and Hindu fundamentalist groups are gaining momentum India to disturb its secular and pluralistic credentials. Above all, it is the Islamists (say Sunnis) that has been destroying peace and harmony, economy and development, culture and politics of a vast region of the world with tacit approval of western military powers.
The Islamism as a global force was recognized by the west during the Saudi-led oil embargo of 1974 which prompted the oil-boom. It was applied first the thwart the Nasserite-Baathist Arab secular nationalism across the Middle-East and the Maghreb. The fall of pro-western Shah of Iran in 1979 and installation of Shiite Islamic Republic there made global Islamism to take a narrow sectarian perspective supporting Saddam Hussain for its long war with Iran (1980-88). The entry of Soviet troops in late 1979 to Afghanistan made the western powers to engage the Saudi founded Islamist force to Jihad. The Afghan Mujahedeen (1980-88) war the first globalized Islamist military campaign orchestrated by US and its allies. At the same time it was tested and forcefully applied in Muslim majority yet diversely populated democracies like Pakistan where Gen. Zia introduced Islamization with active Saudi involvement. Its effects were also felt in neighbouring India among some Muslims in a politically volatile atmosphere of the 1980s which saw communal programs in Meerut, Bhagalpur and the commencement of the Ayodhya movement. Bangladesh too experienced the same under the regime of Gen. Ershad. The end of Afghan Mujahedeen brought the Jihad to Kashmir, the Caucasus, the Balkans, the Horn of Africa etc and the fall of the Arab nationalism and its clubbing with US following Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 brought back the Jihadi expatriates back to Saudi Arabia with the arrival and stationing of US forces on this region for the Gulf War of 1991. The fall of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War hostilities led to the emergence of this Saudi led Islamism to a force to reckon with—to thwart and fight any efforts by any states or allies opposed to the western hegemony.
Empowered by huge oil revenues and protected by US military might, this Saudi led Islamist force, with a sectarian ideology called Wahhabism is now transforming the great Babylonian valley (Syria and Iraq) into inferno. They are not only killing and destroying but annihilating other communities—Yazidis, Christians, Armenians, Kurds and Shiites, the people who co-existed peacefully under the Baathist system. While these Islamist forces were unleashed to topple the regime of Gaddafi in Libya and Assad in Syria during the pro-democracy Arab Spring, Saudi Arab, Bharain and other Gulf allies crushed the popular demonstrations in their countries. The rich Gulf monarchies, all US allies, are not using their military power against the menacing IS nor they are pushing Israel to stop its atrocities, segregation on Palestinians—but pounding Yemen for its Shiite Haouthi militants and trying to derail the Iran nuclear deal. The Vatican is often accused of being influential on various MNCs and large corporations affecting the economies and lives of billions across the globe. But now it seems that the Islamist forces, led by Saudi Arabia, Qatar etc are in perfect sync with the global powers and business houses to run their functions unaffected. Likewise Turkey’s ruling party is also leaning towards Islmaism, transforming the Kemalite secularism to Sunni identity and supporting the Islamist forces fighting the Assad regime in Syria. Turkey’s present government is also very business and industry friendly allowing all types of capital to operate in their country.
In India too, a trend has been set to create a free world for big business houses while following a soft Hindutva policy of majoritianism. This internal hegemony within a larger external hegemony is what being characterized by in the contemporary world in the second decade of the twenty first century. The perfect rhyme of religion and business is what now is shaping the world affairs—a system which is definitely going to change our lives and society in the coming days.
(The writer is a freelance journalist based in Assam) E;mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
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