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From the July 2003 issue of World Press Review (VOL. 50, No. 7)

Iraq

Islamist Revival

Mahmud Farshidi, Resalat (conservative), Tehran, Iran, April 24, 2003

Shiite prayer rugs
Prayer rugs in Baghdad feature Shiite Muslim saints, May 19, 2003 (Photo: Patrick Baz/AFP).
Historians believe that the resort to violence and militarism is a sign of the downfall of a ruling system or a civilization, an indication that they have become unable to use other means. As it is written in ancient Persian literature: “When man becomes desperate, he will resort to useless means.”

The attack on Iraq by the promoters of democracy can be analyzed in this historical context as well. The statements by American officials during the war revealed that the aggression against Iraq was not an isolated act by an irrational U.S. president. On the contrary, it was carried out on the basis of a 10-year-old strategy. The evidence shows that occupying Islamic countries will not be limited to Iraq. The occupation of Afghanistan, the threats against Syria, the statements by U.S. officials on the long-term war against so-called terrorism, and the previous statements by President Bush on the beginning of the modern Crusades, are all testament to a planned aggression against Islamic countries, decided upon by the flag-bearers of democracy.

The truth is that the U.S. economy, as the global domineering system, is backed by the exploitation of poor countries in favor of the rich. But imposing one-sided deals on other countries is proving to be increasingly difficult, and vigilant people in the world, especially in Islamic countries, are not willing to give up their national resources any longer to strengthen the colonialists.

For years, these colonialists were allowed to plunder the resources of Third World countries under the pretext of bringing democracy, freedom, human rights, elections, and women’s rights. But now, not only have people around the world recognized the underlying goals of these harbingers of democracy, they have also established their own democracies based on their own cultural norms.

They have come to the conclusion that liberal democ-racy has not only not fulfilled mankind’s biggest expectation, finding “justice,” it has actually gone the opposite way, leading to even deeper class differences between the rich and the poor. Thus humanity, disillusioned by the gods of liberal democracy, is seeking a way to establish a justice-oriented democracy. Disillusioned by earthly kings, mankind is looking to heaven. Humanity’s embrace of religion is spreading. Spiritual leaders become popular, and their stance in society is strengthened. That fake versions of religion, such as the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, are promoted by hegemonic leaders is proof of the panic they feel regarding the return to religious beliefs, and their fear of the spread of religion.

In the so-called democratic process, anyone who does not choose the White House as his Mecca will be included in the list of terrorists. Domineering hegemonic leaders believe that by suppressing, killing, and committing crimes they can suppress those who seek justice under the banner of religion by blinding their supporters. But the more the pressures grow, the more religion will spread among the people.

Following the example of the people of Iran, the Lebanese were the first nation that realized they had to resort to Islam to foster their identity and claim independence. By supporting Hezbollah, the Lebanese defeated Israel, the child of the domineering force, and achieved security and peace. The success of the Lebanese opened the way for the Palestinians, and now the religious undertones of the Intifada have frustrated Israel in such a way that it has asked the United States for help. But the whole world is watching.

Even the presence of U.S. troops in the region has caused the oppressed people of Iraq to unanimously find solace in religion, thus freeing themselves from the dominating force by defending their independence, their identity, and their existence under the banner of Islam. Furthermore, the U.S. attack on a Muslim country has strengthened the wave of religiosity in other countries in the region, so that even unpopular regimes feel they have to put on a show of religiousness in order to protect their shaky regimes.

By their presence and by their occupation, the harbingers of democracy are leading the Islamic countries into a dead-end democracy. A dead end that will bring about the successful establishment of religious democracies.

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