Frederick P. Isaac

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Articles and book information on Assyrian issues including contemporary history, experiences under Islamic rule, leadership and Assyrian aspirations to nationhood.


Indigenous Peoples

Under the Rule of Islam

 

by Frederick P. Isaac

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Compassion and Justice  

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The Will to Right the Wrong

 

 

Dishonest Deals and Betrayal
 

 

Like the Arab invasion of the Middle East in mid-7th century AD, the Ottoman Turks invaded Bosnia in 1386. After many battles and 77 years of continued warfare, Bosnia fell to the Turks. It became a Turkish province in 1463. Bosnia-Herzegovina being one of the poorest countries in the Balkans was sold by the Turkish government and annexed to Hungary in 1908. In the process, Austria-Hungary gained control of Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Monarch’s mentality of the medieval ages believed in ownership of the serf, bound to the land of the feudal lord, considering the surf as a commodity.

The European and Turkish elite considered the peasantry part of the land that the landlords owned. The serfs on the farm were bought and sold at will, with the land, as domestic animals. Similarly, the Turks sold Bosnia-Herzegovina to Austria-Hungary lock, stock and barrel in defiance of the Serbs and disregard to their sentiment. The foolhardiness of Austria-Hungary did not admit its guilt of buying Bosnia and Herzegovina for “30 pieces of silver” and treated its native people as subservient.

In the wake of World War I, Ottoman Turkey began to withdraw from part of its colonies. Recently, the West, headed by Germany was committed not to let Bosnia-Herzegovina fall back into the hands of the Serbs but to keep it separate and give it to other ethnic groups, rather than return it to its historical owners, the Serbs.

Their intention was to balkanise Yugoslavia by dismembering Serbia. Later in 1991, after the collapse of communism and break-up of the Soviet Union, NATO emerged as one of the strongest undisputed world powers. It rewarded its ally, Turkey, with a long time dream of helping Bosnia-Herzegovina re-emerge as an independent Islamic state. First, the West, urged by Germany and headed by the U.S., would see Bosnia in the hands of the old Turkish surrogate rather than return it to its rightful owner, the Yugoslav Serbs. The same game was played by the Anglo-French against Assyria, and to a certain extent, against Israel.

Here, NATO obliges. An old pledge comes to fulfilment. To legitimise ownership of the territory, the West bestows on them the name Bosnians. The Bosnian Muslims insist that they be identified purely as Muslims, while the Muslims keep on calling the Catholic Christians: Croats, and the Orthodox Christians: Serbs, implying that they have no part in Islamic Bosnia and that they have no stake in Bosnia as full citizens.

Recently, the media went ahead and coined the name: “Kosovars” for the ethnic Albanians that occupy Yugoslavia’s Kosovo. By doing so, they imply that Serbs no longer have the right of jurisdiction over Kosovo, or residence within the said territory. The Serbs in Kosovo have diminished in number. The international community cannot guarantee safety of the Serbs living among the ethnic Albanian Muslims in the Serb city of Kosovo. Ethnic Albanian ‘Kosovars’ are demanding that Kosovo be declared exclusively Albanian protectorate, with a view to creating Greater Albania in the not too distant future.

Except for the embattled Israel, Islamic Abode of Peace States have already swallowed up the whole of the Middle East. They have now turned their attention westward, focusing on the Balkans.

Like its counterpart Islamic states of the Abode of Peace, the Bosnian government will adopt strict measures to curb the influence of the Christian Bosnians, be they Croats, Serbs or gypsies. In recent years, the Bosnian government imposed a total ban on eating and drinking in public from dawn to dusk, during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan. The government closed all restaurants during that month. It designated only a couple, allowing them to operate during daytime for the non-believers. It narrowed entertainment schedules on Radio and TV stations to programs of religious nature. It introduced Islamic religious teachings in public schools and directed students of all other religions to observe them as part of the curriculum.

How could Bosnia survive, integrate and prosper if it continues to resent Western culture and live in isolation of the European lifestyle? Bosnian Muslims go to Western style entertainment and amusement centres, yet criticize them publicly. In Islamic countries, such businesses and centres are rare. Those that exist are licensed and allowed to be operated by Christians or non-Muslims only, in particular, liquor stores and bars. It is against the Islamic (shari’ah) law to drink, serve or handle alcoholic beverage. Yet, generally, they turn a blind eye, not because they respect the Western culture but because people of all cultures consume it, as is qat to others. (Qat, Khat, Quat – are leaves of the shrub Catha that are chewed like tobacco or used to make tea; has the effect of a euphoric stimulant; excitant, intoxicant).

By tradition, Islam looks at such practices as profane and labels them sacrilegious. Muslim females are forbidden to set foot in such public places. Yet Muslim males, especially adults frequent them for lack of such facilities by the Muslim communities when by themselves at home or abroad. They criticise them publicly and attend them surreptitiously.

Government policy promotes its own Islamic values and practices. It does so in order to retain and constantly enliven the image of its traditional Islamic virtues. Muslims are given the freedom to engage in any fanciful venture, provided they retain their faith and work in the interest of Islam, when engaged in a given task. They are conditioned to draw others into their culture rather than integrate with other cultures.

No wonder Islamic states in the Abode of Peace condemn multiculturalism, while in the Abode of War they go along with it and use it as a smoke screen to machinate their schemes. Muslim Albanians in Kosovo seem to be adopting the same policy as that of the Bosnians. Their ultimate aim is to remove all Christian influence and cleanse Kosovo from Christian imagery, by building new mosques and closing down unattended churches. The same policy is being currently applied to the Assyrian and other Christian communities in the Middle East, North Africa, Indonesia and the rest of the Islamic states.

By their uncompromising attitude and traditional social behaviour, Muslims raise suspicion among other community groups. As a result, certain ethnic groups become ill at ease. Dismayed, people tend to mix less and eventually withdraw, each into their own social circle. Finally, the Muslims by continuing to remain callous and maintaining a hostile stance cause the atmosphere to become filled with mistrust and animosity. Such a tension-loaded atmosphere leads to provocation and abuse. Often, government of Islamic states do not miss the opportunity to indicate to the natives that if they did not adapt to the inevitable Islamic lifestyle and refused to abide by the Islamic law, they could pack up and leave. People, of different ethnic backgrounds become distrustful of one another and withdraw.

A satisfactory form of merger, into a unified secular system of government, for such different groups in culture, religion and language, be it in Bosnia or any other Islamic state, would be nothing less than a miracle. Without secular constitutional protection and safeguards, the weaker ethnic groups would not be able to coexist. Non-Islamic ethnic groups fall victim to the domineering Islamic majority. Since the international community does not take the plight of the Christian minorities seriously, they stay away, or try to immigrate to escape maltreatment.

Emergence of countries like Bosnia, as an independent secular state, resembles a difficult childbirth, overwhelmed with complications. It is hoped that the labour and efforts of the international community, headed by the UN and led by the United States (NATO), will bring forth a healthy and normal model of a parliamentary system, acceptable to all parties concerned. Its success will set the example of an acceptable model to other countries of different ethnic mix, that need to live as equal before the court of civil law, protecting the rights of each and every individual of either gender as equal.

Success of Bosnia’s territorial integrity will become a model to be emulated by other Islamic countries. It is hoped that Bosnia's ethnically divided secular government will let go of its fanaticism. That it will exercise tolerance and understanding to bring enduring peace among its subjects and stability in the region. Otherwise, any misrepresentation or deviation from a democratic rule will heighten tension and lead to imminent breakdown of the governing system, plunging the country into another relapse.

 

 

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