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RAGE ACROSS MUSLIM WORLD

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By Farooq Sulehria

Anger surges in Middle East, reported Reuters on March 21.Would have been even comprehensive news had Reuters used the word Muslim World instead of Middle East.

Spontaneous demonstrations, turning violent at many places, across Muslim world were the immediate reaction. Angry protestors in Cairo clashed with police and eight demonstrators sustained injuries at the hands of police. Cairo witnessed more clashes next day and this time clashes between police and demonstrators left two dead.

These clashes were not limited to Cairo only. In Yemen, charged protestors clashed with police on March 21.Four people were reported dead in the wake of clashes. A fairly successful strike was observed in Pakistan on March 21 against the US attack on Iraq. The strike call was given by MMA, an alliance of religious parties. The reaction in Pakistan has been so strong that Pakistani Prime Minister, Zafar Ullah Jamali, had to call off his scheduled US visit. The Pakistani regime also announced to call off a SAF games, major sports event in South Asia.

These reports suggest merely tip of the iceberg. The strong reaction among masses has forced the rulers across the Muslim world to oppose the war. It was for the fear of mass reaction that Arab League, in its meeting held in the last week of February, took a united stand against war. It was first time in years that Arab League was seen united. Again it was the same fear that not a single Arab country has joined the so-called US coalition against war. Of all the 40 countries, supporting US war, there is not a single Arab country. Even Kuwait did not dare join the coalition despite Kuwait is the only country where some support for this war could be found. There are only four Muslim countries--Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan and Albania--that one may find in the list of 40 countries, issued by the USA that is supporting the war. One does not need wasting space commenting on the regimes in these countries and why they have joined this coalition!

However, on March 23 a protest demonstrations were held even in Afghanistan.

In Nigeria, the government has put a complete ban on public demonstration following the outbreak of war. Nigerian government was perhaps fearing Muslim-Christian riots. Nigerian police chief confirmed the reports that Nigerians were enlisting themselves with an unidentified group that is recruiting 'soldiers' to be sent to Iraq.

According to Daily Times, a leading Pakistani newspaper, the regime in Bangla Desh has imposed censor on state media restricting the coverage of Iraq issue. Reportedly, the censor has been imposed following a 'request' by the US ambassador in Dacca. According to the report, the US ambassador called on the Bangla Desh's foreign minister and requested him that the demonstrations against US war shouldn't be highlighted.

The US governmnet has closed down its embassies in 13 different countries for the fear of attacks. Eight of these 13 countries are Muslim countries including Saudi Arabia and Pakistan where the USA has most loyal regimes.

By the time of filing these lines, more reports of protests, demonstrations and sit-ins outside US and British embassies across Muslim world are pouring in: Million March in Pakistani town of Lahore, one protestor shot dead in Sudan by police, 22 000-strong student demo in Cairo etc etc.

The anger, by now, has been expressed mainly through demonstrations and so on. However, the anger may translate into other forms. The resistence shown by Iraqi Republican Guards at Umm Qasr and the embarrassment inflicted on US forces may motivate a new mood across Muslim world. Inspired by Iraqi resistence, this mood possibly generate a situation where many volunteers will try to reach Iraq to fight against the USA. The Jihadi groups across Muslim world have networks and possibilities to organise such resistence militias. However, it depends how events unfold in next few days.

Meantime, a friend from Pakistan sent an email last week to this scribe that sums up the mood!

It says that the US flag is selling like a hot cake these days so that it can be burnt on demonstrations....

 
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