The rise of American fanatics

Published: May 21, 2012

The hypothetical war was to be waged against the “barbaric ideology” that should “no longer be tolerated.” DESIGN: SIDRAH MOIZ/ZAHRA PEER

Revelations that the American military has been teaching its future leaders about the necessity for a total war on Islam have shocked the world.

The hypothetical war was not to be waged against the fanatical elements of the Muslim society, but a campaign against a “barbaric ideology” that should “no longer be tolerated.”

Students were taught that Geneva conventions were to be thrown out the window because they were no longer relevant and that lessons of Hiroshima were to be used, wiping out whole cities and targeting “civilian population wherever necessary. “ This included potentially nuking the Holy cities of Makkah and Madina.

In all essence, the course was calling for a total war against the world’s 1.4 billion Muslims.

To put this in perspective, you would be hard pressed to find even the most hardened of al Qaeda terrorists calling for the destruction of whole cities and all civilians.

What is most disturbing is that this was not just some nut case spouting off insane rhetoric, but a course that ran for a whole year at an established military school, Joint Forces Staff College.

The person running the course was Army Lt Col Mathew A Dooley, under the commandment of Maj Gen Joseph Ward. These are not low level players.

Dooley has since been suspended from teaching, but still maintains his position pending an investigation.

As distasteful as it may seem, these revelations do not lend credibility to claims that the United States is launching a war on Islam.

After all, it was only after a soldier filed a complaint that these courses came to light. After the uproar, it comes as no surprise that General Dempsey has ordered a full investigation as to how such courses have come to be taught at the army. Staff have been ordered to scour through all training materials to ensure that such incendiary and reprehensible documents are never used again.

As he put it, these courses were “counter to our values of appreciation for religious freedom and cultural awareness” and “just objectionable, academically irresponsible”.

What it does highlight is the emergence of a group of seemingly unhinged and bigoted so called counter terrorism experts that are gaining credibility amongst some of the uninformed and uninitiated ranks of the armed forces and society.

The reason why I use those terms is because a large number of them have never had any interactions with Muslims. All their exposure to Islam has come from second hand sources and the media, which is not always fair and balanced or very complimentary. This segment of the population is far more likely to be influenced by such hateful rhetoric from fanatics.

I believe it is the same case here in Pakistan as well.

The large number of population has never been outside the country or ever had any meaningful interaction with foreigners, be it westerners or Indians.

In the same way, the (distorted) perception a lot of them have has been largely due to stories and indoctrination by previous generations and negative media portrayal.

It is far easier to make someone believe that all Americans or Indians are evil, with the sole purpose of bringing down Islam, when they have never even met one of them.

And it is the same in the West. Any time there is a story of Islam online in a western newspaper, you will have a bevy of comments, both positive and negative.

It is often that I find someone defending Muslims and trying to debunk the myth that they are all terrorists because their best friend or someone they know is Muslim, or as once on occasion I read someone defending Muslims because the management at his local 7/11 were Muslim and “such lovely people.”

From the hard core ultra conservative Jews in Israel to the Westboro Baptist Church in the States, it has been evidenced that fanatics are not confined to any race or religion, and to pin the blame solely on Islam is in the least very irresponsible.

As such, it is apparent that America is no stranger to fanatic movements as well. It is not only confined to religion. Some would argue the case of Orly Taitz, the so called queen of the “birther movement” who has left no stone unturned to convince the general public that Obama is not a natural born citizen of America.

Whatever the case may be, there is no shortage of fanatics on both sides of the border. Not only are they dangerous, but if left unchecked, they also tend to poison the mind of the uninformed masses.

The only solution can be positive interaction, increase in relevant education and also raising awareness on all sides.

After all, as Nelson Mandela so eloquently wrote:

No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.

Read more by Mani here

Mani Khawaja

Mani Khawaja

A musician and Business graduate from the University of Wales Lampeter, Mani currently works as Head of Development for a multi national security firm. He tweets @manikhawaja88 (twitter.com/manikhawaja88)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Public Defender

    Whatever the case may be, at least the west has a system in place that removes extremist elements once it comes to light. In Pakistan, a large segment of the population celebrates them like heroes, and they become untouchable due to the religious connection! Recommend

  • http://India Feroz

    This article seems to travel in circles. Yes there are fanatics in every Religion in every country. However the honest Truth wherever you are and whatever your beliefs – Religious fanaticism in Islam has reached crises proportions both in terms of violence and tolerance towards others beliefs. Recommend

  • BlackJack

    People in Pakistan need to understand that the Western countries are not going to get more liberal and accepting than they were a couple of years back – from here on, increasing Islamophobia is likely to become more prevalent unless it appears that you are genuinely wrestling with these same demons yourselves. Now you can wax eloquent about losing 35000 soldiers which should be ample proof of some serious wrestling, but is Pak society really condemning the source of the violence? Look at the Salala episode and the pressure that has been brought to bear on the PPP govt to shoot itself in the foot. Do you seriously think that the Taliban could last another month wherever they are holed up if a civil movement of the same intensity was launched to oust them from Pak sovereign territory? There would have been a full-fledged army campaign by now, with or without NATO involvement. And then you complain that the world treats you unfairly.Recommend

  • Sanity shall prevail

    What is presently being imparted at their war school is defiant of the American forefather’s ideology of peace and tolerance. Obama has managed to do nothing but intensify the conflicts and move towards the eventual aim of the New World Order. And I’m not kidding.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Not much weight in your argument.Recommend

  • curious

    AMERICAN TERRORISTS!!!!!Recommend

  • Serious Question

    @Parvez:
    The writer’s point of view that the class was an isolated incident that was immediately removed once brought to light or that there are fanatics in both countries who prey on the uninformed?Recommend

  • raw is war

    If they dont like America, Muslims should leave the country. The same kind of facilities are not available to minorities in Saudi, UAE, Iran or Pakistan. So do not throw stones from inside your glass building. Be happy millions of muslims are having a great life in USA, which most of them cannot imagine in their own countries.

    There are so many Hindus in India. Where is the discrimination against them?Recommend

  • Ali

    BlackJack gives some sane opinion. Recommend

  • Sad Truth

    @BlackJack:
    But we have fools and incompetents at the helm. What more do you expect?Recommend

  • rajabazeemi

    well written bro…. keep it up :)Recommend

  • Adeel

    “The philosophy of good muslim is a dead muslim” – wow… and WE are the extremists?

    HahRecommend

  • Hashmi

    Even the ignorant of the people acroos the globe realise the imperialistic designs of US, their illegitimacy in setting military foot in countries not capable of hurting them.. and this article in turn attempts to present sanity in US policies even after highlighting the obnoxious course material meant to brain wash…Recommend

  • http://mezaajedeen.blogspot.com Tribune Reader

    Overly sensitive Religious people have a problem with everything and everyone who is not upto their standard, end of story.Recommend

  • Baba Ji

    I am a Pakistani Muslim myself … but come on guys … do you expect them to teach Islam in their classes ?Recommend

  • Muslim

    This is the real ugly truth of America. Interestingly Pakistan or KSA have not even said a single word about this incident. Afterall USA is a supposed ally of KSA, and their army is planning to nuke Makkah and Madinah and Wipe out entire civilian populations of muslims.

    Imagine if there was a leaked news that ISI or Pak army were running courses that planned to nuke US cities and wipe out American populations. What would America’s reaction have been?? They would have nuked us at once on hearing such a news. But here the muslim ummah is fast asleep and the few liberals keep on blaming muslims. Wake up muslims, the enemy is planning and they are NOT after Al Qaida…They are after Islam. I doubt whether an organisation like Al Qaida ever existed. Its a con made by USA to wage a war against Islam and Muslims under the pretext of Al Qaida (A ficticious organisation or probably an organisation funded by American CIA)Recommend

  • Musthaq Ahmed

    @Muslim:
    “imagine if there was a leaked news that ISI or Pak army were running courses that planned to nuke US cities and wipe out American populations.” Imagine , if they get to know we teach our children that non-muslims are fit to be persecuted /hunted , if they get to know that we kill co-workers and accuse him of blasphemy, if they get to know that we imprison school boys guilty of blasphemy !!!Recommend

  • cb

    Westboro Baptist Church spreads its hate through picketing in our streets, provoking attacks, with abusive language and flag desecration, attempting to create a confrontation. This is not a church, this is a hate group. This is not about protesting, freedom, or God. They are in it for the money and the press; this is a family law firm. They are not a “church.” It is a scam. They go after anything that can get them in the news. This is a family of lawyers using this “god hates you” thing to make money. It is time for this scam and the hate to end.Recommend

  • Fahad Raza

    @Muslim:
    Spot on.!!
    and @Public Defender
    at least the west has a system in place that removes extremist elements once it comes to light.
    O yeah.. ever heard of Pastor Terry oh yes they removed him .. one hour in jail. There are limits to pessimism but our lot of looser surpasses. The forever whining batch of demoralized critics. Recommend

  • Get a Grip

    @Muslim:
    I’m sorry but it has been proven time and again that there are anti western, anti liberal and anti indian classes being taught in pakistani institutes. What world are you living in? This was just one class being taught in one college. Im sure there were others as well, but as soon as it was brought to light it was immediately removed and the person suspended from teaching. What action has the pak government taken on madrassas that spouts hatred?Recommend

  • Parvez

    @Serious Question: If you could did it so well in two lines, why not the writer.Recommend

  • Cherish

    @Muslim:
    Another conspiracy from Pakistan Recommend

  • Confused

    It’s nice that you are defending Muslims, no one should be discriminated on the basis of their faith. You are also right about the reason being low global interaction, pretty much spot on everywhere I think. But we are in a worse off position, because Muslims pay the price for both Muslim and American fanatics, and unfortunately the Muslim extremists dominate the killings. For now, it is better to help our own people realize this as it could help us as well as our image, which as you pointed out makes a big impact :)Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/britpak Mohammed Abbasi

    So whats the surprise?Recommend

  • Imran Con

    @Adeel:
    Yes, you’re the extremists. If you think even what is mentioned here compares to the things Muslims do with actual consent of other Muslims is in a league of its own. Even the KKK and Hitler’s bigotry are falling behind.
    @Muslim:
    So you can only give it and not take it without a box of tissues.Recommend

  • John B

    In American sensibilities the course may be an anathema. But the course actually brought out the ugly side of what is happening in the Jihadi circles and made people to think differently.

    The jihad cry against America, India, and Israel are not new and for a long time American public were kept out fully understanding the source. Europe beginning 1970s faced the problem, and America was immune from the Islamic fanatic ideology until 9/11.

    It is not the rise of American fanaticism. It is the rise of Islamic fanaticism under the umbrella of religion that woke the world up and now islamists cry foul because they cannot fool any one that jihad is spiritual struggle.

    To understand the present world conflict one has to think like the Jihadis and that was exactly the course tried to do, which is a repugnant thought to American sensibilities.

    After all what Pakistan was born. Does not Islam offer several solutions in dealing with infidels-a few of them are invite to Islam or carry out jihad or ask poll tax. Who are we kidding here. Recommend

  • politically incorrect

    Newton’s third law is at work i.e. every action has got an opposite and equal reaction.
    Hate begets hate. Americans have been an object of hatred in much of the muslim world, may be they are not prepared to take it anymore.May be they are thinking of a preemptive action. Recommend

  • ALi

    Zaid Hamid has always been right about Americans. But inferiority complexed indianized Pakistanis are shameless as always.Recommend

  • Shyam

    From the hard core ultra conservative Jews in Israel to the Westboro Baptist Church in the States, it has been evidenced that fanatics are not confined to any race or religion, and to pin the blame solely on Islam is in the least very irresponsible.

    How many conservative jews or christians blow themselves up in public places? The Great Satan is just hinting what it CAN do if you continue to provoke itRecommend

  • kaffir

    Why Muslims are so offended? First look what is in your school textbooks, then lecture USA. Secondly, immediate corrective action was taken in this case. But in the great islamic fortress of Pakistan, it never happens. Recommend

  • Anthony Permal

    I read somewhere a wonderful quote:

    If Islam really taught that terrorism is legit, with 1.7 billion Muslims in the world we’d all be dead by now.Recommend

  • Are you kidding me

    @John B:
    As the article mentions, even the most hardened of al qaeda would not talk about blowing up whole cities with civilians in them. the day dropping a nuclear bomb on millions of INNOCENT people becomes acceptable is when the world has lost its humanity.Recommend

  • Right

    @Shyam:
    How many conservative jews or christians lose their family members to drone strikes or are living as prisoners on their own land?Recommend

  • Serious Question

    @Parvez:
    I actually side with the writer on this one :)Recommend

  • John B

    @Are you kidding me:
    Gentleman, in a civilized secular mind what you and I think make sense. But let us be honest: PAK fanatics have been crying to annihilate Billion people in India openly for two decades and no one in PAK ever spoke against this madness. What happened to the sensibility of humanity then.

    The course was an alternative view with no sugar coating answer to the famous question many in the west ask: why do they (Muslims) hate us? To understand that one should start from the Islamic history and its tenets.

    There is a fine line between analyzing hate(bigotry) and talking about it and being a bigot. In the name of political correctness no one in the west will speak openly in university lecture halls or in public for the fear of being branded as an “American fanatics”. However, the elephant is still in the room.

    Why the jihad against non Muslims when openly called for in political rallies supported by political parties and attended by thousands yelling with xenophobic slogans are acceptable whereas, such theoretical discussions in a military college in US is inhumane?

    The present conflict between Islamic Literalists (Fundamentalists) and contextualists (moderates) is an ideal conflict study. It is interesting that the Literalists come from schools after learning years of Islamic teachings and readings unlike contextualists.

    The Literalists had jihad against every civilization they encountered and they will continue it in the future. And currently the jihad epicenter is in Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Northern Nigeria, and pockets of Africa. Iran went on their own way and is staying away from jihad.

    Add international politics like Israel -Palestine conflict, oil embargo by OPEC in 1970s, Egypt nationalization of suez canal, CIA /MI6 orchestrated coupe in Iran, Hamas, Qadaffi, cold war politics-you can make an unborn child to become a suicide bomber.

    Either the contextualists are ignoring or ignorant of the looming threat posed by the Literalists.

    Please note that the Literalists claim contextualists are not following the tenets of Islam and hence the present conflict between these two and contextualists are making compromises –a dangerous slippery slope and women are becoming the first line of casualty in this compromise. Recommend

  • Muslim

    @John B and other mentally retarded Liberals

    Even the most extreme taliban government never planned to nuke USA or wipe out the entire american civilian population. Secondly the madrassas in Pakistan are not a state run institution, and even they do not advocate mass slaughter of the Americans nor do they say nuking American cities.
    This course was being taught by the most important state institution of America (The Army). There is a hell of a difference between a private madrassa saying that jihad should be done and a state Army running courses attended by senior level army personnel which teaches them to wipe out Islam and muslims. Any person who is not mentally retarded will get this and not argue any further. This is American State Barbarism exposed. The man who ran the course is no longer lecturing but is still in the Army. Another officer will take over the course or even a more barbaric course. Afterall over 800 senior USA army officials minds have already been poisoned.
    The fact remains that its America that wants to wipe out Islam and muslims and not vice versa. Hence they keep on conspiring against Islam. Today I am fully convinced that 9/11 was an inside job so that a war against muslims could be waged. Recommend

  • loll

    @Muslim:
    Sir, do you even know what the twrm liberal means? Johnb is indicative of a right wing conservative ideology. In the west it is religous fundamentalists and right wing conservatives, your counterparts, who are calling for Muslim blood. It is the liberals who you are so fond of bashing that are opposing them.Recommend

  • loll

    @John B:
    There’s a difference between crazy fundies and the military of a country conducting civillian slaughter.Recommend

  • http://pakistani-edu.blogspot.com Usman Shahid

    @author: you are talking against west and his followers. You are modern day kafir, non believer (conspiracy theorist).

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=297213987034376&set=a.288659891223119.69897.288653557890419&type=1&theaterRecommend

  • http://Birmingham elementary

    @BlackJack: You really do have one point agenda and your vision fixed on a single point.There is more to pakistan and Islam than the terrorists hiding in our mountains supported by our army.You can trace all our ailments from common cold to tuberculosis to this one problem but there can be other things to consider.
    These Jihadis did not exist before Zia era ,they were created by America,Army and saudi Arabia they were good then and bad now.Common ,poor and illititerate man of pakistan is confused ,he does not understand international politics and their power games.But You my friend do. So if you see something wrong call it wrong,notwithstanding that it’s happening in America.Recommend

  • John B

    @loll:
    Perhaps you should know that I am one of the craziest liberals here who support the cause of PAK citizens right to burn US flag and effigies of US senators, right of muslims to build mosque where ever they want in US, right of the PAK citizens to tweet and watch porn,— well you get the idea.

    What you should also know is that I am also the same liberal who support the burning of Quran or bible, drawing, writing and speech, gay marriage (union), : … You get the idea here, as well.

    American public are naive with regard to the looming threat of the Islamic Fundamentalists and their ideology and many contextual Muslims are ignoring this fact because they are caught in the fear of criticizing their religious theology. The same fear that gripped several other religious theologians and followers for centuries through out the world.

    At least four major religious theological thoughts came about in response to Islam:- Bahai faith , Din -Ilahi, Sikhism and Ahmedian. All of these were either to reform the Islamic theology or in response to Islamic theological doctrine of the land where they emerged. What do they tell in religious history.

    The Islam preached by Mohamed and what emerged afterwards and propagated by his followers even to the present day is totally opposite. Akbar who was a scholar in Islam also had the benefit of understanding Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Zorastrianism due to his weekly court discussions clearly understood the conflicts of Islam with other religions of the land at that time and try to reform it within. The last of such effort was Ahmedian movement, and I can even say Gandhi tried that to some extent. The two world wars of European conflict and cold war put a lid on this conflict for a period and now it is resurfacing again.

    Am I a right wing nut or an analyst of the conflict without passion ?Recommend

  • BlackJack

    @elementary:
    Dude – I have no agenda, and genuinely wish to see a prosperous, peaceful and stable Pakistan (selfish interest – an unstable Pakistan is a headache for India), and one that is able to see beyond the blinders that they have had on for the past many years; I would not say this if there was nothing to this country beyond extremists. Do not search for reasons to continue on this paranoid trip indefinitely. I don’t care if the jihadis did not exist before Zia’s time, they do now, and they are YOUR biggest problem. Deal with it, that’s all I ask. Those who do not want to can search for any number of excuses, and this isolated incident (in the American army) is one of them.Recommend

  • leila rage

    @Muslim: the taliban and al-qaeda never wanted to nuke whole cities and entire populations, so apparently its okay if they kill a few thousands of people in the 9/11 attacks, and london bombings? Its okay that these INNOCENT CIVILIANS are killed, just as long as they werent planning to nuke entire cities?
    Thats what your inane comment suggests. How utterly inhumane, and stupid.

    this american ‘fanaticism’ is just the result of these bloody idiots going and blowing themselves up in public and killing others and claiming that this is ‘jihad’.what did you expect, that after all the things these so-called muslims have done, the americans will welcome us with open arms and feel very friendly?

    if we had united together as muslims, and declared these brainwashed cockroaches non-muslims and had actually had fatwas issued agsinst them, had closed down their brain-washing centres and SHOWN the world that we as muslims are NOT the same as these people, today we would not have to see this day.Recommend

  • Parvez

    @Serious Question:
    You have forced me to have another look and I concede that I was quick to judge possibly because of the aggressive title and picture, my apologies.Recommend

  • Muslim

    @Leila Rage

    You are a naive brainwashed person who mind has gradually been subjected to American state slavery. You try to say that this course was run in response to 9/11. What had happened when the Crusades against the muslims were done by Richard hundreds of years ago? Read this course in detail on wired.com. It has explained that America’s indirect strategy to destroy Islam has failed and as a last resort they will have to wipe out muslims and destroy islamic holy cities. Three days after 9/11 an American Analyst named Ann Coulter wrote that muslim countries should be invaded, their leaders killed and the masses converted to christianity or executed. Thats exactly what is happening. So 9/11 was only a pretext to wage a war against muslims.
    Recently there was a news that an ‘islamist’ militant captured in Northern Nigeria was actually a Christian! Does that point to anything? Do you remember Raymond Davis? His mobile phone had calls from TTP. Does that give a clue? When OBL was killed, no media was shown his dead body and he was hurriedly ‘buried’ in the sea. The neighbours in Abbotabad to date say that the man killed was not OBL. Does that give your enslaved mind any clue?Recommend

  • Vigilant

    Good readRecommend

  • leila rage

    @Muslim: I did NOT say that this COURSE was in response to 9/11 or even that it was justified. All i said was that the rising anti muslim sentiments in america are due to us muslims letting ourselves be branded as terrorists and not doing anything productive to stop it.
    And before you jump to judgements, lets talk about your equally bigoted and enslaved mind suffering from the typical ‘we’re victims and the world is out to get us’ syndrome.

    Have a nice day Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    Good thinking by the author? The dilemma that the USA is currently facing is how to get their stranded forces out of Afghanistan in an orderly manner and not to rerun the vietnam debacle on the American screens back home. Pakistan highway is urgently needed for the 100,000 odd military with log stock and barrel. The Taliban resistance is ready to pounce on the withdrawing troops when it starts, reliving the scene of British troops making a run out of kabul in the 19th century, when a single soldier somehow managed to return to the India base. The entire expeditionary force was massacred in the lush and snow covered valleys of Afghanistan.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • John B

    @Rex Minor:
    Did US troops take the highway to go to Afghanistan. They will leave the same way the came, via air.

    They will leave behind all the tanks, heavy artilleries and ammunition for AFG army, and AFG will purchase part of them at subsidized rate (depreciation) as India and PAK did when British left and will receive the remaining as gift, but for some critical pieces of equipment or they might even blow critical pieces up. After all, US blew the $30 million stealth helicopter on May 2 without thinking twice.

    No returning army ever took their field equipment behind. They are depreciated assets. NATO supply route is for the logistics of time, not cost.

    The on going drone strikes even before PAK plane landed in Islamabad made it clear that US has made contingency plans for NATO supply route.

    The success in dealing with a blackmailer of a hostage depends upon making the hostage irrelevant. This leaves no option for the blackmailer. The ongoing drone attack says NATO supply route has become irrelevant.

    There is a saying in the US: “if you can’t run with the big dogs, just stay on the porch”.

    If Iran can come to the table, how long would it take for PAK to come to the table?

    I sympathize with the civilian govt and the people of PAK who are powerless in the army decision. Recommend