Have you read the official constitution issued by the Palestinian Authority? This was during Yasir Arafat’s leadership, and, to the best of my knowledge, it is still in force, and Mr. Abbas has pledged to honor and protect this constitution.
I cannot remember where I came upon the English version of this document, however, what I remember was being quite shocked that it nowhere purported to be a document by or for Muslims. This constitution was completely secular in the governance it promoted and the governmental structure it mandated.
Knowing this, we can see why the western world (USA and Israel in particular) cannot accept the democratically-elected Hamas Muslim rule in Gaza. And we can understand the desire of Israel, without protest from the USA, to destroy Hamas completely, even if it means destroying Gaza. Westerners can always rebuild destroyed territories, as they have proven time and again, and at no small financial gain to themselves.
The West also has a history of forbidding democracy if elections result in clear Muslim rule. Algeria and Somalia are cases in point. The West intervened in both cases, when confronted by the will-of-the-people to be ruled by Muslims under Islamic law. Some Muslim intellectuals try to argue that Huntington’s “culture clash” thesis is wrong. So what do we call Muslim challenge to western hegemony everywhere you look? Well, almost everywhere.
The West’s most treasured Muslim ally is the Saud oligarchy sitting on all that oil. This “country” can only be described as a neo-fascist, “off-with-your-head” monarchy. There was a full-page newspaper ad that came out in 1982, in which the “Saudi people” gave “gratitude and thanks” to their “beloved monarch” for “giving them” a parliament. Parliaments do not serve at the pleasure of kings. Rather, kings serve at the pleasure of parliaments, or at least by constitutional mandate, as here in Malaysia.
Looking at that Saudi parliament in a mass photo at the time, one could be struck by the clone-like appearance of all of its members. Indeed, one of the main methods of protecting Saudi rule is first-cousin marriage, outlawed in most of the civilized world due to its increased risk of genetic malformation. And yet, first-cousin marriages are a handy way to keep power in the hands of family members.
So this anomaly, like many, many others, is overlooked by the western powers as long as they can build military bases and extract oil. Is the Saudi constitution secular or Islamic? Well, those clever desert nomads will tell you their constitution is Al Qur’an itself, so how could anything be MORE Islamic?
Indeed, how could anything be LESS Islamic? The Qur’an is neither a monolithic political system in itself, any more than it is a document providing proof of scientific principles. The Qur’an is a divinely-revealed GUIDE to these matters, and no less! By refusing to write a constitution, the Saudis kings do pretty much whatever they wish. And western interests can do pretty much whatever they also wish, as long as the Saudis get their money.
Is it some tragic accident that nowhere among Muslim monarchies is any basic scientific research being funded? For example, a project recently inaugurated in Europe is looking for something called “Higgs’ boson”, a theoretical particle that might hold the key to unlimited free energy for the rest of forever. Twenty countries are participating in funding for this huge facility, not one of them Muslim. Then what ARE those Muslim kings doing with their huge profits?
Well, immediately surrounding Masjid Haram in Mecca, hills are being excavated and leveled in preparation for huge property developments — five-star hotels, time-share condominiums, and the like. Eventually, all poorer Muslim visitors (like you and me?) will be banished to the Meccan outskirts, since no one will be able to afford accommodation near the Holy Mosque.
This past Hajj season, our rich Saudi “brothers” even refused to halt construction during the visit of millions of pilgrims, whose faces and lungs were full of dust and cement particles much of the time. Why? It is “winter” in Saudi. It would cost too much to stop the builders during their most efficient season of work. And so my friends were even hospitalized with breathing difficulties after returning from their Hajj this year.
Dubai is installing cooling coils underneath the sands of its beaches, so that the rich visitors to that monument to ostentation will not burn their precious feet. This is not to mention thousand-dollar-per-night rooms in hotels built on completely artificial islands off the Dubai coast. So far, one group of islands is shaped like a world map, another is shaped like a palm tree. The world eagerly awaits the shape of a beauty queen.
The bottom line is, control. Whether a government calls itself a monarchy or a secular republic, as long as the western powers can control them, there is no problem. It is clear that the difference between Abbas and the Palestine Authority in the West Bank, and Hamas in Gaza, is that Hamas cannot be controlled.
And so Gaza citizens join those Muslims who have no wish to live under governments and powers held by the secular. They resist. Do not be surprised if Mr. Abbas (darling of the secular West) and his government end up in power once again in Gaza, if there is anything left. And in Gaza today, it seems very much as the American patriots from Vermont used to say, and which they still consider their state slogan – “Live free or die!”
And Allah knows best.