The European Union finds itself locked in a confrontation with ‘radical Islam’ when ISIS and Al-Qaeda are just two facets of a much deeper problem: tacit Western support for regimes such as Bashar Assad’s, Saddam Hussein’s, Hosni Mubarak’s, Ayatollah Khamenei’s and many others across the Muslim world, from Pakistan to Saudi Arabia. For decades, an enormous citizenry has been persecuted for being secular, for being female, for being gay or for being activists, dissidents and journalists.
Beyond the persecution, totalitarianism and corruption of these dictators, they have turned a blind eye to and even promoted Salafism and Wahhabism in their countries for over three decades, allowing, if not encouraging, the implementation of the harshest Sharia principals, which distinctly contradict secularism and the advancement of women.
Across these three decades, countless activists have been imprisoned, if not killed — the luckiest among them have been forced to flee their homelands. Three decades of youth growing up in a corrupt environment, without freedom, where the only mercy they’ve known has come from mosques and madrassas full of radical, anti-humanist discourse. Across these three decades, the EU has been more interested in maintaining close relations with these dictators and has not had the courage of Margot Wallström’s rationality.
Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström stood up earlier this year and described the Saudi judicial system and its methods as “medieval” when Saudi courts sentenced Raef Badawi to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for “insulting Islam.” She also denounced the subjugation of women — the kingdom doesn’t allow women to travel or marry without the consent of a male guardian, or to conduct official business, and girls are often forced into child marriages.
Saudi Arabia’s reaction to Wallström was immediate: it withdrew its ambassador and ceased issuing visas to Swedish businessmen. The United Arab Emirates joined the Saudis. The GCC condemned Wallström for “interfering in the internal affairs of the Kingdom.” I notice that the GCC didn’t condemn Wallström for interfering in Israeli internal affairs when she recognized Palestine last year. In March, when Wallström was to address the Arab League on women’s rights, Saudi Arabia blocked her from doing so.
These events were barely reported in the Western press, however, and while the Swedish foreign minister wasn’t criticized by her EU colleagues, neither did she receive any support among her European colleagues in Brussels.
This lack of solidarity among EU leaders laid bare a repugnant reality: the EU has a two weights, two measures policy when human rights issues interfere with its economic interests.
Some voices including voices both on the left and right in America have been calling for more Tyranny in the Middle East. They imagine the Tyrants keep things under control when in reality they are part of the poison. The Tyrants often rule by sectarianism and condition the society with brutality. Opinion piece by Kahina Bouagache: