The seemingly endless conflicts pitting brother against brother in the Muslim world has been a significant problem for years with no appropriate solution in sight.
Western countries disregard this internal turmoil and conflict to the extent that even the resultant casualties are essentially of less importance to them. Numerous media organizations that make the death throes of a beached dolphin or whale their main story in their news bulletins and even dispatch an army of reporters to cover it, regard the bloodbath in Muslim countries as falling into the category of third page reports.
These days Iraq is witnessing such a situation. Although the American occupation has ended, a climate of frenzied slaughter continues to prevail in this country. The almost daily occurrences of vehicles packed with bombs, suicide bombers blowing themselves up among large crowds of people and committing mass slaughter, body parts strewn left and right and rivers of brothers’ blood have literally turned the country into a smoldering ruin. However, this savagery never enters the world agenda and the means to a solution are never discussed. And now Iraq is facing what is tantamount to an invasion by the extremist organization the self-ascribed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which had added to the seemingly endless troubles of Iraq.
The number of people who died as the result of acts of violence in 2013 alone is almost 7,000; the recent ISIL invasion added another 1,000 to the grim equation according to a statement issued the other day by the United Nations (UN). The number of people who died during the occupation, which began in 2003 and ended in 2011, has not been fully recorded, although according to figures from the group Iraq Body Count cited in a BBC report, it is 4,61,000. According to a survey in a Guardian report conducted by the polling organization ORB, 1.2 million people lost their lives. Things were expected to calm down after the occupation came to an end, but acts of violence continue to take lives in the very same way.
In a report titled “How The World Forgot Iraq,” by Patrick Cockburn from The Independent described how Iraq, which is suffering a profound, economic and social crisis, has become increasingly fragmented. Cockburn went on to summarize the situation by saying that no matter what the objectives of the United States and the United Kingdom were when they invaded Iraq, the outcome has been disastrous. The results of this can be seen all too clearly now; the sectarian, economic, and social crises in the country have provided a breeding ground for radical organizations.
Looking at the violence and massacres in Iraq, not just of the last 10 years but also during and before the time of Saddam, it is estimated that 40 years of war and brother fighting brother have widowed no less than a million women. The situation of these women, with no safety net, is uncertain, to say the very least. In brief, Iraq has become self-destructive.
While it was partly possible to see signs of economic regeneration on the streets of Baghdad, which has climbed to second place among the Organization of Petrol Exporting Countries (OPEC), the ongoing violence is rapidly eliminating all possibilities of prosperity. The fact that ISIL has managed to seize the refinery at Baiji — Iraq’s main oil refinery — only further serves to compound Iraq's economic woes. Although Iraq has enough land and economic opportunities and means for everyone, no matter what their views, the violence — stemming solely from differences of opinion and ignorance — is turning the country into a sea of blood.
So, was all the suffering worth it, or has the country improved? War and conflict have never established security and stability anywhere in the world, so how could the situation be otherwise in Iraq? And especially now, as Iraq seriously faces the threat of being divided into three parts it is clear there can be no progress with such a mentality. It is essential for clear-thinking Muslims to take necessary steps in this regard on an urgent basis by issuing calming statements so as to help change the mentality of radical groups.
Why should holding different opinions be a rationale for fighting, killing, hatred and rancor? There is no reason for it.
On the other hand, conflict serves only to worsen conflict; violence only begets further violence and the accompanying deaths to deepen the cycle of hatred and rage. It must not be forgotten that such aggressive approaches are always a dead-end. As people die, a rage handed down from one generation to another dominates the region and that harms only Muslim countries and Muslims. Iraq can never attain peace and tranquility in such a climate, not in 100 years and the Middle East will, therefore, be badly damaged by these issues. There can be no question of anyone attaining peace or policies of love in a climate of devastation where brother is fighting brother.
In conclusion, everyone’s common aim must be to live in peace, tranquility and happiness in their own countries together with their respective countries’ natural resources that are enough for all. There is manifestly no valid and logical reason to fight.
Yet it is much easier to approach matters with love, understanding and tolerance than with conflict. Only education can be effective against the violence and sectarian hostility caused by radical groups like ISIL. It can be easily shown through the Qur'an that Islam is a religion of peace, love and brotherhood, and not of fear, anger or war. Moreover, if these values are properly espoused, nobody will have to pay such a heavy price. Nobody will suffer. Why should people adopt an approach that ends in suffering and oppression when there is a better and finer one available? That flies in the face of reason, logic and good conscience.
In this period in particular, Muslims must issue calls for moderation and emphasize that they want tolerance and understanding, not war because this is a common problem facing us all. If we cannot collaborate to produce a solution, the problem will inevitably continue to grow. In that context, the bureaucratic structure of the OIC must be radically overhauled and a union of Muslim countries — modeled on the lines of the EU — must be established. When that union comes into being, the problems in Syria and Iraq will, by Allah’s leave, be resolved without delay.
Adnan Oktar's piece on Arab News&Milli Gazette: