Steve Emersons nettside The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) intervjuer den indiskfødte, canadiske professoren og forfatteren Salim Mansur.

Den liberale og frittalende professoren i politisk vitenskap ved Western Ontario universitet skriver regelmessig for Toronto Sun og øvrige aviser, sitter i styret for organisasjonen Senteret for islamsk pluralisme og har blant annet gjort seg kraftig bemerket i den canadiske offentligheten med sitt konsekvente forsvar av Ezra Levant og Mark Steyn/Macleans under høringene i landets menneskerettighetskommisjoner. I 2009 ga han ut boken Islam’s Predicament: Perspectives of a Dissident Muslim, som er en samling av Mansurs artikler og kronikker i media.

– Den største trusselen mot verdens muslimer er ikke USAs eller Israels militæroperasjoner. Heller ikke er det brudd på sivile rettigheter begått av vestlige regjeringer for å møte trusselen fra jihadister. I stedet er det muslimers vold mot muslimer som forårsaker mer død og ødeleggelse enn noe annet, sier Mansur i intervjuet.

I følge den canadiske professoren ignorerer både USAs regjering og vestlige medier den virkelige faren for muslimer verden over: terrorisme, intimidering, undertrykkelse og folkemord begått av andre muslimer. Som et eksempel nevner han de 40 muslimske menneskene som ble drept da en selvmordsbomber angrep en bryllupsfest i Kandahar:

Like his anti-Islamist counterparts in the United States, Mansur is waging a fierce intellectual struggle against established Islamist organizations claiming to speak for the country’s Muslims. A prolific writer on subjects including Islamic history, interfaith relations and international politics – he has a column in the Toronto Sun and has written about Muslims in America. He has traveled widely in the Muslim world and has experienced such violence firsthand. As a teenager, he narrowly missed becoming a victim himself.

Like millions of other Muslims in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Mansur’s family moved from India to East Pakistan (now called Bangladesh). In March 1971, the Pakistani military invaded East Pakistan to suppress a popular independence movement there. By December of that year, hundreds of thousands of people were dead and almost one-fifth of the population (close to 10 million people including Mansur and his family) had become refugees. Mansur’s family moved back to India and he emigrated to Canada in 1973.

«For the Jews, the issue of genocide is not an abstract discussion. Jews and Israelis bear the imprint of the Holocaust. It’s an everyday, living issue in the sense of what you’re contending with the forces in the world. So, for me, the question about Muslim-on-Muslim violence is not some remote historical discussion,» Mansur said. «This crime has been an ongoing thing in Muslim history and Muslim politics. I am a personal witness to that.»

Mansur peker på det mer nylige eksempelet som pågår i Darfur i det vestlige Sudan. Der er Janjaweed-militsen, som har forbindelser til Sudans islamistiske regjering, ansvarlig for drapene på hundretusenvis av muslimer. Likevel er det taust om Darfur fra de store muslimske organisasjonene i USA og verdens muslimske regjeringer, som heller retter mesteparten av sin kritikk mot andre mål, som f.eks. FBI, Transport Security Administration og Israel.

USAs regjering og mediene bidrar til denne feilprioriteringen, som tjener islamistene på bekostning av ordinære muslimer, mener Mansur:

The Obama Administration is sending «a confused message,» by courting Islamist groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) while shutting out non-Islamist Muslims.

According to Mansur, these groups, frequently quoted in the media as representatives of American Muslims, are often linked with radical organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood. As a result, Americans haven’t heard «clear, unambiguous, categorical» denunciations of suicide bombings from U.S. Muslim organizations attacks since September 11. These Muslim groups have also failed to speak out clearly against Sharia and the repression of women in the Islamic world.

«Neither CAIR nor ISNA – nor any of the other [Islamist] organizations, as far as I know, have come out and said that we as Muslims in the West have a different perspective on the question of Sharia…and we’re going to revise it,» he said.

En bedre idè ville være å droppe sharia, mener Salim Mansur:

– Hvilken relevanse har synspunktene og meningene det 8nde-, 9nde- og 10nde århundredes menn for mitt liv som muslim i 21nde århundret?

– Disse organisasjonene opererer som PR-agenter for de statene vi har problemer med i Midtøsten, fortsetter han:

– Det største nåværende problemet for muslimer er ikke USA eller Israel, men deres egne regjeringer:

Groups like the Organization of the Islamic Conference(OIC) serve to deflect internal anger by manufacturing foreign policy grievances with non-Muslims on issues like Kashmir and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Mansur regards Islamist advocate Tariq Ramadan, grandson of Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna, as a representative of the dark forces in the Muslim world.

In April, Ramadan made a largely triumphal visit to the United States after the Obama Administration lifted a ban imposed in 2004 after he contributed money to an organization supporting Hamas. In Mansur’s view, the celebratory tone of Ramadan’s supporters during his visit serves to illustrate the naiveté of American elites’ approach to Islamists. Mansur said he was «surprised, shocked and dismayed» when he learned Ramadan was invited to speak at Cooper Union, a New York City landmark where Abraham Lincoln denounced slavery in 1860.

American organizations «were inviting Tariq Ramadan, grandson of Hasan al-Banna, associated in the deepest sense with the ideals that came together» in the 9/11 attack on the United States, Mansur said. Noting that Cooper Union is located just a few miles away from Ground Zero, Mansur likened the Ramadan invitation to inviting the grandson of Japanese strongman Hideki Tojo to speak at a location near Pearl Harbor.

Cooper Union is a «sacred place» in American history «and you open it up to the people who want to subvert and destroy America; destroy freedom; destroy what America represents, » Mansur said. «It’s a very serious problem.»

Salim Mansur legger til at Ramadans besøk er symptomatisk for et større problem: Amerikanske eliter, inklusive Det hvite hus, akademia, New York Times og Washington Post og de store TV-nettverkene, er altfor opptatt av synspunktene til et smalt segment i den islamske verden, et segment som ikke representerer interessene til flesteparten av muslimene.

Nærmere 80 prosent av verdens muslimer er ikke-arabere, som er mye mer interessert i «brød- og smør-økonomi» enn islamistiske agendaer som den arabisk-israelske konflikten.

«I think there is a profound distortion taking place, and we are getting a very narrow view of what is a Muslim perspective on history and politics,» Mansur told the IPT.

«Underlying Grievances» and Blaming the West

Mansur was scathingly critical of comments by President Obama suggesting a connection between poverty and the attempted Christmas Day bombing near Detroit, and by White House senior adviser John Brennan, who suggested that dealing with «underlying grievances» is critical to defeating Islamist terror.

«I would say it’s a totally disingenuous argument. The fact that it is being said from the highest pulpit in a free society, a political pulpit of the President of the United States, is very troubling. The Christmas bomber was not a man who was living on a dollar a day; he was the son of a millionaire. Faisal Shahzad, who tried to blow up Times Square, was not some poor peasant from Pakistan; he was the son of a two- or three-star general in the air force,» Mansur said. «Most of…the people who did 9/11 came from Saudi Arabia, and they were not people working in the field barely scratching out a living.»

If poverty were the cause of terrorism, «why don’t we hear about Indian Muslims strapping on bombs» and carrying out suicide attacks? Mansur asked.

Et bredt spekter av islamister fra Tariq Ramadan og Det muslimske brorskap til Al Qaida bruker de samme falske argumentene for fremme deres egen agenda, fortsetter Mansur, som mener at islamistene bruker fattigdoms-argumenter for å tåkelegge og for å skyve skylden over på andre, for på denne måten å gjøre Vesten ansvarlig for å produsere omstendighetene som forårsaker terrorisme.

Mansur sier imidlertid at disse argumentene diskutable fordi de fratar muslimer ansvaret for deres handlinger. De gjør det mulig for muslimer å klandre USA og Vesten, i stedet for å kikke nøyere på sine trosfellers rolle.

Få amerikanere er klar over at flesteparten av ofrene for islamismen er muslimer, påpeker Mansur, og viser til borgerkrigen i Algerie hvor over 150.000 mennesker ble drept i kampene mellom landets militærregime og radikale islamister. Anslagene over drepte i Darfur varierer mellom 200.000 og 500.000, og flere millioner mennesker er drevet på flukt fra sine hjem.

I Øst-Pakistan (nå Bangladesh) ble mellom 500.000 til 1 million mennesker slaktet av den pakistanske hæren i 1971, noe Mansur refererer til som «et av de største folkemordene begått av muslimer på muslimer»:

In this case, «the Pakistani military was killing their own citizens, and none of these people, by the way, have been brought to [judgment.]» The perpetrators of these crimes are «still running around in the West,» Mansur said. «So you see the barbarity…the savagery, with which a Muslim state treats its own population.»

In Mansur’s view, The East Pakistan genocide bears disturbing similarities to today’s events in Darfur. «Half a million or more people have been killed in western Sudan, and there is not a peep about that,» Mansur said. «There’s a preoccupation, whenever the issue of violence or ethnic cleansing and war crimes…are talked about – the West is focused on the Arab-Israeli conflict.»

But groups like CAIR show little interest in discussing the mass murder of Muslims in Darfur, Pakistan or anywhere else. According to Mansur, when the topic is raised, Islamists typically assert that the figures have been «inflated» by «enemies of the Muslims» such as Hindus or Zionists.

«In all of these cases, there is not a whit of taking responsibility, » Mansur said. Instead of using the Arab-Israeli conflict as a way to put pressure on Israel, the international community should take action to bring to justice «these criminals who were responsible for the genocide, whether it is in Darfur or Pakistan.»

«There is no statute of limitation…for crimes against humanity,» he noted.

Salim Mansur mener å se noen positive endringer i Islamabads tiltak mot den nylige bølgen av terrorangrep begått av Taliban. Selvmordsbomberne i Pakistans største byer gjør det stadig vanskeligere for regjeringen og landets intellektuelle å argumentere for at terrorisme skyldes indiske provokasjoner eller frustrasjon over den arabisk-israelske konflikten.

– Pakistanske eliter er i ferd med å innse at deres jihadist-problem er hjemmelaget. Et økende antall stemmer erkjenner «at vi er nødt til å ta ansvar for det vi har dyrket og skapt», avslutter Mansur:

«I see that as a hopeful sign. I think that if Pakistan is going to be saved from its own tendency to self-destruction, that these voices have to be reinforced and given support, which means the building of a civil society and the downgrading of the military side.»

Intervjuet med Salim Mansur kan sees her: The Investigative Project on Terrorism: Mansur: Ignoring Muslim-on-Muslim Violence Undercuts U.S. Interests