DUBAI — The Rt. Honourable Lord Ahmed of Rotherham, Member of the British House of Lords, has vehemently criticised Western double standards in dealing with the Muslim world, saying that western intervention was always selective and self-seeking.
He pointed to the one million Afghans who were killed in the West’s war against the Soviets in Afghanistan and said it was a good example of how Muslims actually helped the West in dealing with its issues. "While we do not bat an eyelid before intervening in Iraq and Iran, why are we inert when it comes to the massacre of Muslims in Grozny, Kashmir, Palestine and other places?" he asked.
He also drew attention to the chaos and disorder that mark present day Afghanistan. "I am not a fan of the Taleban. When they ruled, there was order in 90 per cent of Afghanistan. They eliminated heroine crops from the country. But what is the scene today?" he wondered.He said it was indeed hypocritic to go ballistic against Iran’s nuclear experiments while wholeheartedly supporting Israel which sits on a massive atomic arsenal, posing a bigger threat to the security of the region. When Saddam Hussein is demonised, justifiably so, for his cruelties, Ariel Sharon is hailed as a man of peace, forgetting the macabre bloodshed of Sabra-Shatilla, he added.
Lord Ahmed emphasised the need for dialogue. But when blasphemous cartoons are published, what intellectual debate is being promoted, he asked. "When you insult each sacred symbol of Islam, when you write Quranic verses on naked bodies, when German, French, Spanish and Norwegian editors unitedly reprint cartoons found objectionable by one billion Muslims, what debate are you promoting, except provoke, incite and insult? Why don’t you take into account the feelings of 22 million Muslims living in Europe?" he passionately asked. Lord Ahmed proudly recalled his efforts in forming the ‘Inter-faith Inter-religious Dialogue Group’ in British Parliament. Presently, it boasts of 50 members and it has a Christian priest as its vice president, he added.
Lord Ahmed said Islam was democratic at its very inception, pointing out that the first Caliph of Islam, Abu Baker Siddique, was elected to the post. In his inaugural address to the people, he asked them to unseat him if he deviated from his primary responsibility of serving the interests of his people, he remarked.