The Influence of Islam
The states of the Sahara Desert in North Africa – Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco – are all Muslim, and also the states south of the Sahara – Chad, Mali, Niger, Tanzania, Somalia, Eritrea, Kenya and Nigeria – are mostly Muslim or a large proportion of their population is Muslim. In these states, in addition to the tribal tensions, there exists a high degree of religious tension, because Muslims see themselves as believers of the true religion (“din al-haq”), while the others – Christians and Pagans – are infidels who adhere to a false religion (“din al-batal”).
During the past twenty years, in some of these states, struggles have developed over the status of Islamic religious law (Shari’a), compared to civil law, and the Northern sections – the Muslim sections – of Nigeria, where tens of millions of people live, are ruled today according to Muslim law. This is the direct result of the Islamic Wahhabi penetration by propagandists who were schooled in Saudi Arabia and work under its inspiration and funding. Struggles develop in these areas stemming from the existence and activity of non-Muslim houses of worship, modern schools, the sale of wine and other spirits, and the status of women and their presence in the public arena. In African Islamic countries, radical Islamic organizations are active which have adopted the generic name, or label, “al-Qaeda”. The processes of religious radicalization that the African Muslim societies are undergoing is described in an article that we published here a number of weeks ago.
This situation has poured oil on the fire of traditional tribal rivalries which are now quarreling and fighting with each other because of religion in addition to the previous reasons. As a result of this, the civil framework of the country is weakened still further, and additional sectors of its population have become economically, socially and politically marginalized.
The eternal conflicts in the failing African states cause many sectors to be lacking in basic necessities, and they search for any possible way to save themselves from the poor economic situation and the social, political and religious oppression that they experience. Many millions of Africans are on their way to the developed world, in order to find a new, peaceful and decent life. Millions have passed and continue to pass through the Northern Sahara desert, in a journey that for many of them will end in the the desert with a gathering of vultures hovering over their carcasses.
Some of them arrive to states in North Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Libya and Tunisia) and from there they sail in ships via the Mediterranean Sea or the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. Sometimes a ship sinks, and its passengers become food for the sharks. Others enter one of two Spanish enclaves – Sveta and Melia – which are located on the Northern shore of Morocco; from there some of them are taken to Spain, and some are sent back to their death in the Sahara. Some of those who reach Egypt continue to Israel via Sinai, and if the Bedouins do not kill them on the way to harvest their organs for transplant, they arrive – at the end of a journey of continuous torture and humiliation – to the border of Israel.
The phenomenon of the emigration of the poor and tormented Africans has stirred the peoples of Europe, and in a gesture of remorse for what they did in Africa, they drafted an international covenant demandןing from the modern states to treat the refugees in a fair way. The salient point in the covenant is that a developed country is prohibited from sending a person back to a state in which his life will be in danger. This rule applies to the great majority of Africans who arrived to Europe illegally, consequently there is no legal way to return great numbers of illegal immigrants in Europe back to Africa. Europe ruined their lives in Africa, and now they come in hordes to Europe, changing its character beyond recognition. This is history’s sweet revenge.
The UN World Conference Against Racism – Durban 2001
Toward the end of the previous millennium some African intellectuals initiated the claim that Europe should be made to pay damages to the African peoples for hundreds of years of economic exploitation, mass murders in the mines and the fields, slave trade and having established failed states. The amounts that were mentioned in this connection were in the hundreds of billions, and just having raised the claim aroused horror in the hearts of the European governments. They knew that the post-colonial discourse that developed in Europe in the previous generation would cause broad ethical support for the African claim.
About the Author: Dr. Mordechai Kedar (Ph.D. Bar-Ilan U.) Served for 25 years in IDF Military Intelligence specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. A lecturer in Arabic at Bar-Ilan U., he is also an expert on Israeli Arabs.
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