by Salina Khan (News & Analysis, Crescent International Vol. 53, No. 9, Rabi' al-Thani, 1445)
As people across the world mobilize to support the Palestinians’ struggle for liberation after the launch of the surprise Al Aqsa Storm operation, it is not only the zionists who are “scared to death,” as former US Intelligence analyst Scott Ritter put it. Illegitimate regimes everywhere are terrified that their own people will take inspiration from the ingenious people of the Gaza Strip in Palestine and rise up against them.
If a besieged people locked up for nearly two decades in an open-air prison can shock and awe an extremely fortified, high-tech power, so can anyone anywhere else.
The bombing rampage that the Israeli army launched immediately afterwards and the media’s focus on the death and destruction in Gaza is meant to crush and dishearten the Palestinians as well as dissuade any other groups around the world from fighting off their oppressors. Additionally, the power structures have resorted once again to an even more powerful and destructive tool to arrest the global awakening: divide and conquer.
It is their tried-and-tested trick of exploiting natural differences among people to distract them from their common goal, turn them against one another, and, most cunningly, divert their energies to further the establishment’s own agenda. Stoking the usual powder kegs like minor differences in religious understanding, sects, nationality, and race works without fail to railroad awakening movements.
During the Islamic Awakening movement (aka Arab Spring), for example, people in West Asia (referred to as the Middle East in west-centric discourse) rose up against their western-backed puppet regimes. Unfortunately, many were manipulated into abandoning that project and turned their guns on the government of Syrian President Bashar Al-Asad. He is a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause and an essential piece of the resistance movement who the west insisted “must go.”
Similarly in 1979, when the people of Iran overthrew the UK-installed and US-propped monarchy and replaced it with an Islamic Republic, Muslims in other countries aspired to emulate Iran’s example. Soon thereafter, however, they were recruited to go off to Afghanistan to fight America’s rival superpower at the time, the Soviet Union.
The Islamic Republic’s leader, Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei has repeatedly warned Muslims to be aware of traps at these critical junctures.
“I would especially like the young people to pay attention to this point. When major transformations take place or begin to take place in the world, the people and officials of countries have a duty to be much more vigilant. If they have this kind of vigilance, people won’t be deceived, and they won’t be forced to act against their own interests. If they don’t have this kind of vigilance and if they’re neglectful, long-term harm will be inflicted on them.”
Just a week into the launch of Al Aqsa Storm operation, oppressive regimes—while still shaking in their boots—wasted no time in sowing the seeds of division among the pro-Palestine global community. Like in the past, they are utilizing official statements of regimes, media personalities, Internet influencers, academics, and even some Islamic scholars to knowingly or unwittingly create strife and affliction within the movement. Pro-Palestine activists need to recognize these potential traps and find ways of overcoming obstacles to stay united and on purpose.
Here are some criticisms and accusations being leveled at the Palestinian resistance that could derail the movement:
-Goal: Palestinians should not demand a complete end of occupation; they should accept a two-state solution.
-Leadership: The resistance movement is not authentic because some of its leaders live outside Palestine.
-Method: Palestinians are committing war crimes and the operation is causing too many Palestinian deaths. They should lay down their arms and employ “civil disobedience.”
-Weapons: Palestinians should not fight until their weapons are at par with their zionist enemy.
-Agency: The Palestinian leaders are traitors and started the operation to give the zionists an excuse to kill, destroy, and displace the Palestinian people.
-Religion: Palestinians commit “shirk” and should understand the oneness of Allah before fighting for freedom.
-Allies: The Palestinians have formed alliances with groups belonging to a different School of Thought in Islam, so they can’t be supported.
-Actions: Global days of fasting, street protests, or boycotts of businesses with ties to Israel should not be employed because they are bid‘ah, or innovations in Islam.
These are some of the controversies raised in just the first few weeks of Al Aqsa Storm operation and many more potential schisms are likely to arise.
While some politically-minded people who spend day and night keeping abreast of the latest developments of the Palestinian liberation struggle may be able to separate the wheat from the chaff, most people will get confused and used by the enemies if left to their own devices. Mercifully, Allah has provided Qur’anic enlightenment on how to stay on the right side of history.
In two separate ayats (verses) of the noble Qur’an, Allah tells us to turn to the ulul amr for guidance and direction. The verses are: “And if any [secret] matter regarding peace or war comes within their awareness, they go public with it; whereas if they would but refer it to the Apostle and from those among the committed Muslims who have been entrusted with authority (ulul amr), such of them as are engaged in obtaining intelligence would indeed know [what to do with it], and but for Allah’s bounty toward you, and His grace, all but a few of you would have certainly followed Satan” (4:83). In another ayah, the Qur’an says: “O you who are securely committed to Allah! Pay heed to Allah and pay heed to the Apostle and from those among you who have been entrusted with authority (ulul amr); and when you are at variance over any matter, refer it to Allah and the Apostle, if you are [truly] committed to Allah and the Last Day; this is the best [for you], and best in the end” (4:59).
Next: discussion of the attributes of ulul amr.