Elite capitalist nations, such as America, UK and Canada, portray aid packages to Muslim countries as charity. But, in reality, this money is an investment that enables the colonial powers to maintain their influence in the Muslim lands. Foreign aid is a tool of control. We must call on the Ummah to reject the continued subordination of our affairs to these colonial nations. We must call on the people of influence in the Muslim lands to reject foreign aid and set a course that is subordinate to none but Allah (swt).
In October, US President Barack Obama signed into law the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009. The bill, also known as the Kerry-Lugar Bill, promises to send $7.5 billion in “aid” over a period of 5 years. However, the conditions attached to the bill are a cause of concern for many, including the Pakistani army, who see the bill as an infringement on national security.
Foreign Aid: “No Free Lunch”
When analyzing the actions of nations that adopt the capitalist ideology, such as America, it is important to recognize that they do not provide assistance – monetary or otherwise – for free. A closer look at the Kerry-Lugar Bill will reveal that the aid package comes with the following conditions:
1. US can inspect Pakistan’s nuclear programs on demand.
2. Washington must confirm military promotions and appointments made by the Pakistani civilian leaders.
3. Pakistan must accept American and British blame – without dispute – for their failures in Afghanistan.
4. Pakistani military must cease support for extremist and terrorist groups – which include Muslims who resist occupation in Kashmir and Afghanistan – and prevent them from undertaking any operations in neighboring countries.
5. “Pakistani national, regional, and local officials and members of Pakistani civil society and local private sector, civic, religious, and tribal leaders” must implement projects as dictated by the US.
6. Pakistan must change its curricula for Madrassas.
Pakistan is also expected to sacrifice its troops – the sons of this noble Ummah – for the sake of America’s brutal occupation of Afghanistan. This is in addition to the lives that will be lost from America’s bombing campaign conducted by its unmanned drones.
The Kerry-Lugar Bill is not the first foreign aid package sent to Pakistan. According to the U.S. Agency for International Development, the US alone has sent $16.7 billion from 1946-2007 in economic and military assistance. Despite this “aid” being sent, the situation in Pakistan has not improved.
Where does the money go?
The money sent by the US, UK, Canada and other capitalist nations mostly ends up in the pockets of the multi-national corporations. According to the New York Times, 45% of the aid sent by the Bush administration to Pakistan eventually reached the hands of American private contractors. A similar trend exists in Afghanistan. According to Action Aid, as much as 60% of aid is considered “phantom aid”, which does not even make it to Afghanistan. Instead, it is funneled directly to the bank accounts of American corporations. Aid is also a means to support the puppet government: it was reported in the Telegraph that the Karzai government depends on foreign countries for 90% of its revenues. The bulk of this comes from the US (who pledged about $10 billion in 2008). The article notes that without this money, the Karzai government would not be able to stand against the Taliban. The aid money is used to fund the local puppet government, who in turn implements the foreign policies of the sponsor country. In other words, this money is not intended to help the poor people of Afghanistan. Rather it is being used to prop up the puppet government that is a tool of America.
The arrangement of “paying-off” the local ruling class is routine amongst the colonial capitalist nations. Take, for example, the submarine deal between Pakistan and France. A French company was hired to build submarines for the Pakistani army. In 2002, 11 French engineers who worked for this company were killed in a bomb blast that occurred in Karachi, Pakistan. Initially, the blame was put on Al-Qaeda. However, an investigating judge from France claims that the bombing actually traced back to a deal-gone-sour between the French government and the Pakistani government. The judge alleged that the Pakistani army killed the French nationals because France stopped paying “commissions” to Pakistani army officials on the sale of submarines.
In Egypt, a comparable relationship exists between the country’s ruling elite and their American paymasters. A 2006 article in Al-Ahram Weekly noted that Egypt received $1.3 billion in foreign military financing and $1.2 billion in international military education and training. By paying the army directly, its dependence on America is ensured. Through its training initiatives, America can also recruit agents. The article noted that David Welch, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, saw Egypt as a key tool in America’s foreign policy in terms of exerting American influence in Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Sudan, and Iran.
America is not alone in using aid to wield their influence in the Muslim lands. Canada partakes in this game as well. In Afghanistan, Canada funnels the aid through non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including Oxfam and CARE Canada. The Canadian government does not want to give the aid money to the Karzai regime and prop-up America’s puppet. Furthermore, Karzai is mired in so much corruption that the money will be “diverted” before it is used in the manner that would achieve Canada’s interests in Afghanistan.
Colonialism: Emanating from the Capitalist Aqeedah
The Western nations vying for influence in the Muslim lands is colonialism in disguise. The colonial policy emanates from the capitalist aqeedah, which maintains that the sole criterion for action is “benefit and harm”. According to the capitalist formulation of foreign policy, nations conduct foreign policy by furthering their interests and protecting them abroad. Of course the main interest of the capitalist nations is economic. This means that these nations will compete with each other to access cheap natural resources at the expense of the weaker nations. The Ummah witnessed this policy with the American invasion of Iraq; the invading American army protected the oil ministry, but left the people to fend for themselves. Furthermore, the capitalist economic system depends on the procurement of cheap resources and cheap labor to pad the bottom line of its corporations and drive the stock prices and the stock market indices higher.
When comparing the rulers of Muslim lands and their supporters to the Sahaba (ra), we see a stark contrast. The Sahaba (ra) were loyal to Allah (swt) and RasulAllah (saw). For example, when Ka’ab Bin Malik (ra) was boycotted by the Ummah – by the command of Allah (swt) – he received a letter from a pro-Roman King of Ghassan (who had deep hatred for Islam), inviting him to leave Madinah and live in “comfort and consolation” with the Christians. After reading the letter, Ka’ab (ra) simply burned it. However, today is a different story. We see the rulers and their supporters running after America and Britain in a manner that is void of any izzah (dignity). One wonders how the Ummah fell from such heights of honor and dignity to the current pitiful state.
Intellectual Slavery: How did we get here?
Although the intellectual decline had been in progress for centuries, it was the fall of the Khilafah and the onset of the European occupation that led to the emergence of these tyrants and elites that rule the Ummah today. Through this direct occupation, the Europeans were able to secure the institutions of power. They were able to change the ruling system, the judicial system, the education system, the eco-nomic system and the social system throughout the occupied Muslim lands. These systems – along with the common emotions and common thoughts of the people – are what bind the society together, and, through them, the Europeans were able to corrupt the Ummah. Any Islamic alternatives that were offered by the Ummah during these times of colonial rule were eliminated. For example, in Algeria, scholars attempted to preserve the Islamic culture, heritage and language. However, they were continually harassed, arrested, and persecuted by the French occupation until they were silenced.
The present rulers and intellectuals (e.g. civil servants, educators, etc) grew up in this environment. They were immersed in European thoughts and concepts. They were taught about European history and European wars, but were not taught the Seerah of the Prophet (saw) or the history of the Khilafah. Consequently, they knew more about European philosophers than about Mus’ab ibn Umayr (ra), Saad ibn Mua’dh (ra) or the other Sahaba (ra). The colonized personality became the model of their thoughts through the European education system. This vision for engendering a colonized mentality was articulated in 1854 by Mountstuart Elphinstone, who said ”we must not dream of perpetual possession, but must apply ourselves to bring the natives into a state that will admit of their governing themselves in a manner that may be beneficial to our interests…”.
As a result of this process, the ruling class within the Muslim countries today looks solely to America and Europe for solutions – because that is all they are familiar with. It has become natural for these people to have cordial relations with the very enemies that once occupied them! By extension, it is natural for this segment of society to accept the continued intervention of America, Britain, France and other elite capitalist nations, in the affairs of the Ummah – be it through foreign aid, economic assistance or direct intervention.
Political Independence: A Vital Issue for the Ummah
As demonstrated above, “foreign aid” is really a means for the capitalist nations to enslave the Muslim countries, and more importantly, it is haram for Muslim countries to allow themselves to become colonized by other nations. Allah (swt) revealed:
وَلَنْ يَجْعَلَ اللَّهُ لِلْكَافِرِينَ عَلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ سَبِيلًا
"And never will Allah grant to the disbelievers a way (to triumph) over the believers."[TMQ 4:141]
It is important to link the issue to halal and haram, as this is the only criterion that is valid before Allah (swt). Connecting the issue of halal and haram to Allah (swt) and the akhira is a core aspect of dawah as the hukm (ruling) of Allah (swt) is the correct way to measure the issues we face – as opposed to the criterion of “benefit and harm” used by the capitalists.
Once the correct criterion is established, we must also convince the Ummah that such an approach is politically disastrous. We must lobby the people of power and influence them to make themselves independent of foreign aid. We must raise the points and evidences discussed above and demonstrate how this policy leads the country to become subordinate to the capitalist nations. Alhumdullilah, Allah (swt) has blessed the Ummah with the Qur’an and Sunnah, offering comprehensive Guidance in all of life’s affairs and for all times – we do not need their “theories” or “solutions”. Allah (swt) has blessed our Ummah with good people and blessed our lands with tremendous wealth – we do not need their paper dollars that steadily lose their value every day.
Islam was revealed to be a beacon of light for all of humanity. But this cannot happen until the Ummah becomes intellectually and politically independent of the secular-capitalist system, and establishes its thoughts and systems on the guidance of Islam.
May Allah (swt) guide this Ummah, restore our izzah, and grant us a righteous leadership that will implement upon us Islam and rid us of the interference of the colonial powers.
وَنَزَّلْنَا عَلَيْكَ الْكِتَابَ تِبْيَانًا لِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ وَهُدًى وَرَحْمَةً وَبُشْرَى لِلْمُسْلِمِين
“We revealed the Book to you in explanation of every thing, and as guidance, mercy, and good tidings to those who believe.”[TMQ 16:89]