COMMENT | At its annual general assembly, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan delivered an impassioned plea for intervention by the UN in Kashmir, and warned of the consequences of dehumanising an entire population because of its religion. The result, as he put it, will be a “bloodbath”.
While pleading the case for Kashmiris, he made the broader point of the pervasiveness of equating all Muslims with “Islamic terrorism”. The basic tenets of all religions promote compassion and justice.
But the global wave of Islamophobia has prompted marginalisation of Muslims which has led to the radicalisation of some Muslims to act against the spirit of Islam, and which in turn has fed Islamophobia in a vicious cycle that is all too endemic in the world today.
Dr Mahathir Mohamad exposed a possible cause for this abnormality as stemming from the veto rights accorded to the victors of World War II.
The prime minister has long maintained the singular truth that global terrorism can only be stemmed from addressing the causes and not the symptoms of the distress that spurs people on to commit violent acts.
Yet the never-ending “War on Terror” has exclusively targeted Muslims and the consequence is the creation of a global underclass. This insidious campaign did not happen by accident, rather it was curated with forethought to bring about this result, now a reality for 1.5 billion human beings on the planet today.
The conclusion of the Cold War precipitated the need for a new bogeyman, which started with individual Arab-state leaders but has proliferated unbridled across the Middle and Near East and affects all Muslims in every nation, whether they are minority communities or form the majority.
The seemingly endless string of military incursions in Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and now perhaps Iran has desensitised the world towards violence against Arabs and Muslims, so much so that it has become a trivial thing.
When an entire population is marginalised, crushed and demonised, then the upshot is that many will be demoralised and some will be radicalised, but all will be dehumanised - made into second class human beings - and ultimately when these children of a lesser God are attacked there will be less anguish over it.
Whenever there is a “bloodbath” amongst Muslims the world community largely stands by and watches from the sidelines. This is because the world has come to think of Muslims as something less than human, as less valuable than other people. While this is, of course, agonising for Muslims, neither does it serve the interests and well-being of non-Muslims.
Who after all would want to live in a society in which an entire population is separated as an underclass, with lesser rights, value, and merit? The force and effort needed to keep an entire people under oppression is immense and, ultimately, unsustainable.
Israel’s wall around Gaza is decried as inhumane and cruel around the world. Can you imagine if this is expanded a thousand times, affecting six billion people instead of six million? It would be an unthinkable nightmare for both the persecuted and the persecutors alike.
And yet this is the collision course that mankind is on today, with the end-goal becoming increasingly clear. Whether or not it was meant to be this widespread is irrelevant because this is what has in fact happened.
Worse, there is no sign whatsoever that this snowball is going to lose momentum on its own. Possibly, Greta Thunberg is right and global warming will melt all the snow anyway before the situation ever boils over.
Equally likely, though, it may only be resolved by a global conflict of apocalyptic proportions, another world war which in reality is already underway.
The “War on Terror”, launched in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks, is now in its late teenage years, longer than the duration of both the World Wars combined.
An estimated 70 million died in the last great war - three percent of the world’s population at the time. By contrast. Muslims account for 20 percent of mankind today, so given enough time there’s still plenty of rope left to hang us with.
RAIS HUSSIN is a supreme council member of Bersatu. He also heads its policy and strategy bureau.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.