After September 11, the world has become a strange place, especially if you are a Muslim. The rising wave of terrorist attacks carried out by fundamentalist Muslim is being attributed to the Muslim community and to Islam as whole. The community is being held responsible for the perverted few. This collective blaming is strange because this is the first time it is being carried out. Looking at the history, the Pope Pius XII (1876-1958) was asked again and again by the Jewish people to help stop the persecution and killing of Jews by the Nazis. He did nothing claiming to be neutral. In 1941, when asked by the American delegation to condemn the atrocities committed by the Nazis, the Pope said that he believes that saying anything against the Germans might affect the Catholics living in German controlled areas, so he declined. Have we blamed the Catholics for failing to save the Jews, have we blamed the community as a whole? No. The Pope was criticized, but that was it. So why single out Islam?
Popular belief says that the poverty and lack of opportunity in Muslim nations, especially in the Middle East fuels the hatred and terrorism against the US and the West, actually it is the anger and confusion among the people which leads them to violence.
The Islamic civilization which enjoyed world wide influence, which was the world leader inn Science, medicine, Mathematics began to decline after the fall of the Ottoman Empire While they were in the decline; the West was experience a Renaissance. Its influence and wealth was rising, so was its military power. The Islamic empire’s response to its decline was to seek answer in the religion.
The Muslims became more and more hard-line, distanced themselves from development in the West. This lead to the Islamic nations lagging behind in development, education and military power. By the time state if Israel was created and they saw the people of Palestine without a nation of their own, the bottled -up anger was ready to come out.
After the Second World War the petro dollars started coming in into the Middle East, but that did nothing to the regular people. The rulers controlled the revenues with an iron fist, spending it on the well-being of the people was not the priority.
The people of Middle East saw the West’s campaign for democracy in world around but they were excluded, for the most part. While US and its allies advocated for democracy in nations, their commitment for democracy in Middle East was not quite there. For example, Saudi Arabia has one of most repressive regimes in the region, but the US government has said that discreet dialogue with the nation is the best way to go. This has allowed the regime to almost turn a blind eye to carry out reform in the country. The people in the Middle East were confused to see this double standard.
Now mix this confusion and anger, what you have is a population which believes that the West and US is their enemy. Among them there are few who see this as an opportunity to rise up and get into power, be influential.
They use Islam to get validity to their violent tactics, they use the religion to get support from their community, to capitalize on that feeling of anger and betrayal the community had had for generations. So now you have a violent movement which uses religion, which plays with people’s beliefs.
This is how terrorism captured Islam and used it for their benefit. Islam has nothing to do with it.