An interview with Tariq Ali by Mara Ahmed and Judith Bello, in CounterPunch:
Mara Ahmed and I were given the opportunity to interview Tariq Ali when he spoke at Hamilton College in Upstate New York on November 11, 2009, during his recent speaking tour of the United States. Tariq, a native of Pakistan who lives in England, is a well known writer, intellectual and activist. He has traveled all over Southwest Asia and the Middle East while researching his books. Mara, who is working on a film highlighting the opinions of the Pakistani people regarding the current situation in Pakistan and the Western initiated 'Global War on Terror', had a lot of questions for Tariq about the internal state of Pakistan. I wanted to ask Tariq for his opinion about the effects of American foreign policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and what alternatives he thought might be available. –JB
Mara: What is the role of Islamophobia in the Global War on Terror. Many American war veterans have described the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as imperialistic, racist and genocidal. Your comments?
Tariq: Well, I think Islamophobia plays an important part in things, because it creates an atmosphere in which people feel, “Oh, we're just killing Muslims, so that’s alright.” And this situation is becoming quite serious in the United States and in large parts of Europe, where people feel that the fact that a million Iraqis have died is fine because they're not like us, they're Muslims. So, Islamophobia is becoming a very poisonous and dangerous ideological construct which has to be fought against.
It sometimes irritates people but I do compare it to the anti-Semitism that existed in the 20s and 30s and 40s of the last century. And I do wonder whether all the education that people are being given, and rightly so, about the killing of the Jews and the Judeocide of the Second World War is having an impact. What sort of education is it if they can't relate what happened then to some of the things that are happening now. Education which just centers on one atrocity and that's all, where people feel very opposed to that [one atrocity], but they can support other atrocities, is in my opinion not a proper education. And some of the level of ignorant comment on Islam and the Islamic world in the United States is deeply shocking. That's all it is. It's ignorance.
More here. [Thanks to Yousaf Hyat.]