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  • Why Muslims Must Help Counter Totalitarian Islamism
  • Kabir Helminski (bio)

When almost forty years ago I naively set foot on the Sufi Path, inspired by its humanity, refinement, and love, I never imagined I would find myself on this battlefield. And yet now there is no way I can leave it, a battlefield on which innocents have been turned into enemies, religious discourse has been degraded, and where the ineptness and hypocrisy of Western Powers have caused millions to leave their homelands and seek refuge in foreign lands.

There are a hundred, perhaps a thousand facts that are not explained by the official narrative about 9/11. But most, as if hypnotized by the trauma of the event, accepted the story offered by an administration that lied about so many things. And the tragedy continues to unfold.

Anybody who knows a little about the Middle East, knows that in 2001 Islamist movements were failing both politically—rarely drawing more than 10 percent in elections—and ideologically, unable to provide solutions to social problems. Al Qaeda had a few hundred followers, and our government had a handful of people working on counter-terrorism. Quite suddenly a new enemy could be created to replace the communist threat: Islamic Terrorism.

Anyone should be able to reason that it is virtually impossible to defend a society from terrorist acts, especially if we have given terrorists good reason to want revenge. But America initiated a bogus War on Terror that has cost trillions of dollars, and the net result is … more terror. Oh dear, where did we go wrong? Why didn't our punishing attack on Afghanistan for harboring Osama, our pre-emptive invasion of Iraq, our "humanitarian" intervention in Libya, our support for "moderate rebels" in Syria, and our special operations in a hundred other countries end or at least diminish this threat to our freedom and existence?

And during this period, hundreds of millions of dollars have been poured into the Islamophobia industry. We are reminded every day of the threat of Islamic terror, portrayed as an evil, monolithic force bent on conquering the world, already established as a fifth column in our own countries, seeking to replace our democracy and rights with the barbaric shariah law. Learning about Islam from the internet has become like learning about love from a porn site.

What began as a kind of farce has become a self-fulfilling prophecy to some extent. There is now a growing movement of totalitarian Islamism and it is directly the result of our illegal and barbaric interventions, our hate-mongering, our disrespect of 1.5 billion people. But this "totalitarian Islamism" derives its rationale from the Wahhabi sect of Saudi Arabia, which was installed by the British early in the 20th Century, which benefitted from the riches of the kingdom was able to spread its toxic ideology, contradicting and opposed most of traditional Islam, propagandizing through all Sunni Muslim countries, and displacing the spiritually tolerant approach to Islam known as Sufism.

Let's be very clear. There are, broadly speaking, two forms of Islam: 1. a non-traditional totalitarian form, a Shia version of which can also be found in Iran, while the Sunni version is sourced in Saudi Arabia, and 2. the traditional Islam which has historically established multi-religious, multicultural societies, coexisting side by side with Christianity, Judaism, and Hinduism. It is this second form of Islam which is the greatest defense against the first, except that the West seems to be moving in the direction of further humiliating all Muslims, failing to see that traditional Islam is, generally, an ally in the project of establishing human dignity and social justice.

Two cogent examples of the Muslim attempt to extend a hand of friendship to the wider world are A Common Word and The Covenants Initiative, neither of which have been given nearly the attention they deserve by Western media. A Common Word was a document that originated with Nobel Peace Prize-nominated Prince Ghazi of Jordan and was signed initially by over a hundred Islamic world leaders and major religious figures and scholars. This document proposes that the more than 50 percent of the world's...


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