Published on Pambazuka News, by Horace Campbell, Sept. 16, 2010.
Following inflammatory remarks made by Florida pastor Terry Jones around burning the Qu’ran on the ninth anniversary of 9/11, Horace Campbell considers the resurgence of Islamophobia and attempts by powerful sections of the US conservative ruling class to stoke up the flames of conflict. At a time of acute economic downturn, Campbell contends, the forces of peace and understanding must complement one another in a bid to prevent discrimation, prejudice and conflict from gaining traction and cementing the position of the US neo-conservative establishment … //
… DECENT PEOPLE MUST STAND FIRM FOR PEACE:
The proposition by Pastor Terry Jones for the burning of the Koran was one more calculated act to promote war. The very fact that the idea was floated and was given wide publicity was an indication of how conservative the US media had become. This act was intended to strike a note of discord with 1 billion Muslims following news of Islam. The president of Nigeria understood the meaning of this provocation. He said firmly that burning the Koran would ‘assault the sensibilities of our Muslim brothers and sisters’.
This was a clear statement from a president who had witnessed the fanning of the flames of religious wars in Jos. These same flames of religious war are being fanned in Sudan. The US media is trapped by its support for militarism and the Wall Street barons who benefit from war. Those who support peace and tolerance must oppose the idea of burning religious text and oppose the furore over the so-called mosque at Ground Zero. Those in the peace movement should see this for what it is: an attempt to divide working people in the midst of a depression. Islamophobia is more than an empty propaganda term. It is an incitement for war.
The continued debates on the so-called mosque at Ground Zero serve the purpose of diverting energies from the peace and justice forces in the world. The announced plans for the burning of the holy book on the day of the sad events of September 11th pointed to an aspect of US politics that had been hidden from the rest of the world. This is the way in which the neo-conservative forces had worked to manipulate the divisions within Islam to serve the most conservative sections of the US ruling forces. That it took the Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to call this unknown pastor in Florida was revealing in one profound sense. Gates had to take care of massaging the new propaganda lines in the US military machine. This commentary is designed to alert all supporters of peace to stand up and be counted among those who are opposed to the virulent racism and Islamophobia which is being used as a weapon to bring the neo-conservatives back into the control of the executive branch of the United States. In this struggle to oppose a special type of militarism and conservatism, those sections of the Islamic world who are aligned to the conservatives in the United States must be condemned, exposed and if possible removed from political power. The struggles for peace and social justice, religious freedom and rights for all are interconnected in all parts of the world. (full long text).