Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Great Game: China, Islam and the West

It is too early to suggest with certainty that the West is forging close ties with the Islamists like it has during the cold war as a part of the Great Game. However, there is growing evidence that the western establishment wants to use the Muslims to contain China like it used them against Russia.

United States Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton has shown concerns about the reports from China of government harassment of Uighur Muslims. The western governments were also very sympathetic towards the Uyghur detainees at Guantanamo Bay. USA released five Chinese Uighur Muslims from the Guantanamo Bay detention center to seek asylum in Albania.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said, “the five people accepted by the Albanian side are by no means refugees but terrorist suspects … We think they should be repatriated to China … accepting the Guantanamo suspects as refugees violates the U.N. Charter and international law”. Beijing regards the Xinjiang based East Turkestan Islamic Movement as a terrorist group and alleges that the group has links with al-Qaeda.

The Western establishment has shown willingness to hold talks with the Taliban. From Hillary Clinton to Paul Wolfowitz and from Hamid Karzai to the former head of MI5, all they want is to negotiate with the Taliban and even with al-Qaeda. United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pushed for reconciliation with Taliban in her recent visit to Afghanistan.

The Western establishment is also becoming very cozy with the so called Muslim fundamentalists in the Middle East and North Africa. Libyan rebel leader, Abdul Hakim Belhaj says MI6 helped CIA arrest him and send him to Libya for torture but now he is an ally of the USA. Belhaj allegedly had links with al-Qaeda and other extremist groups according to the Western media.

Islamist party in Tunisia has claimed the victory in recent elections. However, the West is quite about these advances by the Islamists in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and other parts of the Arab world. The West is also supporting China's Muslim Uighurs.

There is a change of heart by the western establishment about the Islamists from Tunisia to China. The West wants to have close relationships with the Islamists in the Middle East and North Africa. It is also has close relationships with the Justice and Development Party (JDP) in Turkey. JDP's Chairman Recep Tayyip Erdogan was banned from holding any political office and sentenced to a prison term for reciting a pro-Islam poem in 1997. Erdogan became the Prime Minister of Turkey in 2003.

EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn criticized the Turkey’s chief prosecutor’s decision to ask the Constitutional Court to ban Justice and Development Party in 2008. Rehn said, “In a normal European democracy, political issues are debated in the parliament and decided through the ballot box, not in the court rooms … The executive shouldn’t meddle into the court’s work, while the legal system shouldn’t meddle into democratic politics”.

China's Muslim Uighurs have linguistic, cultural and religious links with Turkey, the Middle East and the central Asia. The West is trying to draw a wedge between the Muslims and China by supporting the anti-China groups. It is the duty of Chinese and the Muslims to have open and frank dialogue to resolve any outstanding issue. Chinese and the Muslims are descendants of the great civilizations of the Asia. They should resist moves by the neo-colonialists in the West to divide Asia.