Each of these events is important in its own right. It followed the occupation and dismemberment of the Middle East at the hands of British and French colonialists.
Several anniversaries fall in the month of March, both local and international but it is difficult to say anything positive about them. Let us review them. In March 1924, Mustafa Kemal abolished the khilafah, breaking the last organic link with the Islamic State established by the noble Messenger of Allah (s) in Madinah nearly 1,400 years ago. In March 1940, the Pakistan resolution was passed in Lahore paving way for the establishment of a separate homeland for Muslims in the Indian subcontinent. Also, in March 1983, Imam Muhammad al-Asi and his young family were physically thrown out of the Washington Islamic Center and the mosque was occupied by armed agents of the Saudi regime. March also brings the grim reminder of the US invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003.
Each of these events is important in its own right. Abolition of the khilafah in Turkey was a major blow to the Ummah. It followed the occupation and dismemberment of the Middle East at the hands of British and French colonialists. Arabian tribal chiefs, among them Abdul Aziz ibn Saud, and Sharif Hussain of Makkah, were instrumental in facilitating colonial occupation of the heartland of Islam. They were happy to become agents of the kafirs by overthrowing what they referred to as “Turkish colonialism”. This was preceded by the British promise in 1917 “to create a homeland for the Jewish people” in Palestine. A year later, the British occupied the Holy Land. These tragic events were followed by carving Jordan out of the province of Palestine. The British placed Abdullah, one of the sons of Sharif Hussain, on the throne. The other son, Faisal, was installed in Damascus but he was soon driven out. The British then made him “king” of Iraq. His successor, Faisal II was murdered by military officers in 1958.
Abolition of the khilafah in 1924 was followed in 1928 by launch of the Ikhwan al-Muslimun in Egypt, an Islamic organization that soon became a movement and has had profound impact on the thinking of Islamic movements worldwide. In 1941, a year after the Pakistan resolution was passed, the Jama‘at-e Islami was formed. While Pakistan emerged on the world map seven years later, its history has been marred by repeated tragedies and disasters. No Muslim ruling elites anywhere started with greater hope and potential and nowhere have they failed more disastrously than in Pakistan. Today, it is little more than a US colony. A majority of its educated class whether in the bureaucracy, politics, journalism, academia or military, is eager to serve the Americans for a fistful of dollars and eagerly betray their own people.
Before considering the plight of “American-liberated” Iraq, we must discuss the scandalous manner in which Imam Muhammad al-Asi and his young family were attacked in the middle of the night by hired US SWAT teams on March 5, 1983. They were dragged out of bed and dumped 20 miles outside Washington in freezing temperatures. His wife was seven months pregnant with their second child. What was their fault? Imam al-Asi had been elected Imam of the Islamic Center by the Muslim community that had financed and established the masjid. Fifty years ago there were not many Muslims, so it was suggested that they should perhaps create a board of trustees comprising Muslim ambassadors to ensure the Center was secure in case of financial default. In their innocence, the Muslims accepted this suggestion and made Muslim ambassadors their trustees. This was a blunder. Muslim countries, despite their enormous wealth, had made no contribution to the building or running of the Islamic Center. Yet, when Muslims took possession of their Masjid/Center and started to use it for delivering the message of truth, it aroused the wrath of these ambassadors, especially the upstart Saudi ambassador, Bandar bin Sultan who happened to be the rotating chair of the board of trustees at the time. It was Bandar who conspired with American authorities to deprive Muslims of their right to worship and to religious assembly. For 27 years, the committed Muslims have been forced to offer jumu‘ah salat in the street, come rain, snow or hail. In America, the supposed land of freedom of religion, American citizens, many of them born and raised there, are deprived of their fundamental rights at the behest of the most corrupt regime in the Muslim world.
It would be wrong to consider this a local issue. The denial of right of worship in the heart of Washington, DC has global implications and reflects the tight relationship between the US and the most oppressive regimes in the world today. The attack and occupation of the Islamic Center in Washington DC also signalled to other oppressive regimes that they could do likewise. Masjids in many Muslim countries, especially in the tyrannies of the Middle East, are tightly controlled today.
Iraq’s is an even more depressing case. During Saddam Hussain’s rule, as long as the ruthless tyrant served Western, primarily US interests, he was not only backed but financed by the West. He was encouraged to attack Islamic Iran. When he outlived his usefulness, he was lured into a trap to attack Kuwait. This he did in August 1990. Six months later, American and other Western forces invaded Iraq; Saddam’s forces were driven out of Kuwait and Iraq was subjected to the most brutal sanctions regime that killed more than a million people, many of them children. Then in March 2003, US forces launched a full scale invasion of Iraq based on a pack of lies: that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Seven years later and after murdering 1.3 million civilians, Iraqi society is on the verge of collapse. Its infrastructure has been destroyed, sectarianism, unknown before, is rampant and there is little hope for the future.
Muslims are rightly upset about the calamities that have befallen them. These would not end unless Islamic movements realize that the regimes and systems imposed in their societies, starting with the corrupt and decrepit Saudi regime, must be dismantled and replaced by one Islamic state. This will not be easy but there are no short cuts in Islamic work. Clarity of thought, however, is the first step to liberation.