Pat Robertson Said It Again, But What’s With Bob McDonnell??
Abdur Rahman Abid
After the shooting rampage at the Fort Hood Army post in Texas by Major Nidal Malik Hasan, a Palestine-origin Muslim American serving the U.S. military who was critical of U.S. military activity in Iraq and Afghanistan, Pat Robertson, a renowned Christian evangelical leader, said on his TV show on November 9, “Islam is a violent, I was going to say religion, but it’s not a religion. It’s a political system.” He then further added, “It’s a violent political system bent on the overthrow of the governments of the world and world domination. That is the ultimate aim.”
What percentage of the U.S. Muslim population supports the brutal act of Nidal Hasan on the U.S. soil? – Barely any. If one read the follow up news containing the interviews of some of the news anchors (Wolf Blitzer of CNN for instance) with several Muslim clerics in Maryland, D.C. and Texas who personally knew Nidal Hasan, has surely learned how vehemently those clerics disapproved Nidal Hasan’s extreme views and the brutal acts. Although few of Nidal Hasan’s friends and family members learned from him about his discontent in the U.S. Army for being treated differently and taunted for being a Muslim, yet none of them could believe that he could ever carry out such a brutal act and they were equally shocked like any common American was.
Although many suggest that while treating the war-afflicted, traumatized returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan, Nidal Hasan may have had developed his own psychiatric problems and the lone life that he led and the series of taunting and banters that he endured since 9/11 from his fellow soldiers for being a Muslim may have had triggered some sort of frustration and desperation in him which may have led him committing this brutal act eventually, let’s assume for the sake of argument that he nurtured for long an extreme religious view in him and eventually committed this brutality as an act of that.
Surely, there are some people in the Muslim populated countries around the world who nurture the same extreme religious views like what Nidal Hasan did. Although, the number would possibly be negligible for an existence of people like Nidal Hasan in the American Muslim community, but one can possibly not be able to root out such possibility since such an incident occurred right in front of our eyes.
Having admitted that, I would like to finger-point to the existing socio-economic situation in most of the Muslim populated countries around the world. Torn by wars for decades, ruled by blood-sucking kings and dictators, most of these Muslim populated countries are rightfully labeled as the 3rd world developing countries which suffer from severe corruption, lack education and face economic hardship. The education systems in most of these countries are so weak and so back-dated that Madrasas (purely religious schools that completely lack modern education and technology and methodically teach religious extremism) have taken over a sizable place in their education systems over the time. It’s an irony that these religious extremes killed thousand folds of more fellow Muslims in their own countries than they did overseas in their so-called religious missions. The ongoing killings of fellow Muslims in Iraq and Pakistan through suicide bombings, the countrywide series bombings in Bangladesh, or the suicide bombings in Indonesia are just few examples to mention.
The Muslim immigrants in the U.S. are living here for only last few generations and often time it’s their very first or the second generation. We are still in the process of learning social broadness, valuing diversity in belief and preference and blending in the mainstream American core culture. The more the time will pass, the more we’ll share and uphold the same collective American value rather than what many of us individually uphold today. This is a continuous process and it requires passion and support from every corner of the society. These days, for every terror act that occurs on the U.S. soil, for every shooting rampage that takes place somewhere in the U.S. or even for any accidental plane crash, most of us (I mean the Muslim Americans) eagerly pray to God not to see another Muslim name as a responsible party for each of such incidents makes us further look bad, makes us feel more embarrassed and eventually triggers tougher scrutiny against us. So, when the Islamic extremists are terrorizing the west, when the governments in most of the Muslim populated countries are fighting their own home-grown jihadists, and when every peace-loving ordinary Muslim is against these religious fanatics, it’s not segregation, finger-pointing or the blame game against Islam or the Muslims that would solve this growing problem of this present era; rather it’s a collective work that we all need to participate in and defeat these religious extremists collectively.
Now, is Pat Robertson helping in that process or is he rather harming it? When Ariel Sharon, the former Israeli Primer, went into coma in early 2006, Robertson declared in a speech that Ariel Sharon’s affliction was God’s wrath since Sharon pulled out some Jews settlements from Gaza and West Bank in favor of the Palestinians which was an insult to the holy state of Israel. Later on, Robertson apologized to Sharon’s family for his comments. And now, following Nidal Hasan’s shooting rampage, Robertson didn’t waste any time branding an organized religion with more than 1.3 billion followers ‘a violent political system’. Wow, what a mind-set! He said it earlier. And now, he said it again.
I mean, honestly, if someone esteem like Robertson, who owns CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network), which broadcasts his evangelical messages to some 180 countries in 71 languages and whose American evangelical devotees number anywhere between 40 and 60 million, nurtures this type of ill-attitude or to put it into even a clearer word, ‘hatred’ towards a religion or its followers, how can there be a peaceful coexistence of the people of different faiths on this earth? I mean, honestly, if I ignore the jihadist part of Anwar Awlaki’s mind-set, the exiled Yemeni-American Muslim cleric and the religious guru of Nidal Hasan and the similar-minded, I don’t see much difference between his attitudes towards Christianity or Judaism and their followers and for that part, Robertson’s attitude towards Islam and the Muslims.
But again, religious leaders like Ayatollah Khomeini or Pat Robertson can often be overly zealous and religiously blind. I mean, although that is surely unacceptable but not necessarily is unexpected. But, what’s with Bob McDonnell, the governor-elect of Virginia, politically an important state of the richest and the most democratic country in the world? If he refuses to disavow Pat Robertson’s derogatory remarks about Islam for his earlier tie with CBN University (now Regent University), founded by Robertson, where he went to study law or for accepting thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the televangelist, how can we expect for that part that the Muslim leaders of the nondemocratic, socially backward, developing countries could possibly disavow their bigoted, blind, religious leaders?
Abdur Rahman Abid
November 23, 2009