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Nigerian Taliban and the Real Problem 10 August 2009

Posted by MOZAFFAR in Misc.
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As usual, some new news story is racing through the electronic gossip vines and that news is being spun to further denigrate Islam and Muslims.  Naturally, the self-appointed Terrorism Experts (who are nothing more than charlatans dressed in the garment of upright citizenry), and all those racist bigots claiming to be patriots, will jump on this story.

But, the model remains in place.  A material phenomenon is being mistakenly identified (or intentionally misidentified) as a religious phenomenon. 

This time, the alleged group is allegedly known as “Boko Haram,” which allegedly means “Western Education is forbidden.”  On a side note, the name reminds me quite a bit about what many Muslims have done with their Islam:  buku (or beaucoup) haram, meaning that they’ve made everything forbidden.

And, allegedly, these Boko Haram people are going around destroying everything.  In the name of Islam, allegedly.

And, again, this problem is being identified as yet another illustration of Islam’s savagery, compelling more enlightened savagery (mostly verbal — i.e. gossip — though some physical: expansion of war) to stop it.  And, again the core problem is overlooked.

Very rarely, if ever, does ideology or religion — on its own — compel a previously unorganized mass of people to organize on a mass scale act, especially violently, especially against their own people, for a long time.  The original Taliban (in Afghanistan) launched as a response to lawlessness across the country.  The current Taliban (in Afghanistan) — many of whom are the same people — is a resistance movement against American occupation, justified or not. They are not significantly different than the “Mujahideen” who fought the Soviet occupation, except that the question now is:  who is supporting them financially?  But, the point here is that Islam was a factor in the response, but not the starting point.  If there was no Soviet occupation, there would have been no Mujahideen.  Or, if the Afghans were Buddhists, then the resistance fighters would have been Buddhists, not Muslims.  And, of course, as historians, we know that so much of history is cause-effect, where the effect becomes the cause for the next effect.  But, the causes are repeatedly material.  The effects are repeatedly material.  Ideology — often packaged as a religion, and often packaged as a political or economic ideology — is a fan to the flame.

The core pr0blem is joblessness and its consequential hopelessness. Call it “lack of income.”  Call it “lack of opportunity.”  It’s the same material problem, again and again and again in so many parts of the world.  Masses might often tolerate occupation, when everyone has food on the table.

The joblessness has little to do with the presence of Islam, and many Muslim Utopians would like to assert that it is the result of the absence of Islam.  Regardless of the cause of the joblessness in Nigeria — and in so many other parts of the world — the problem is this material problem of joblessness.

Now that the problem is present, it is here that three things entire the picture:  the caller, the slogans and the ultra-simplistic, utopian, blame-based ideology.  That caller is capitalizing on the hopelessness.  In so many of these conflicts, the caller is calling to some slogan-based outlook on Islam, blaming “the West” for their material problems.  Now, it is irrelevant whether there is any truth behind this outlook, that the West is the cause of the problem.  The fact is that someone — in this utopian ideology — must be blamed, and that someone must be removed.  The result is simple:  chaos.

Note, that it is irrelevant that the people are Muslims.  The simplistic utopian ideology can be anything.  Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Paganism, Nationalism, Capitalism, Communism, Socialism.  It can be anything.  The problem is the same problem:  material.  In many cases in today’s world, it is joblessness, followed by hopelessness, followed by simplistic utopian ideology.

And, if that is not enough, remember that “Taliban” is not an Arabic word.  It is not Nigerian either.  “Taliban” is not the Arabic word meaning “two students.”  Rather, “Taliban” is the Farsi word meaning, “students.”  If the people who chose the title were going to use authentic Arabic, then the word would be “Tullaab.”

And Allah knows best.

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