I was surprised when reading the article “Questioning Saudi Control of Mecca and Madinah” by Anisa Mehdi, a Muslim American. Mecca and Madinah are two cities in Saudi Arabia, but Mrs. Mehdi asserts that the two cities should be treated similarly to the Vatican on Rome because they are for all Muslims and not for Saudis.
But, who are the Saudis?
As a native person from Al-Hejaz region—where Makkah and Madinah are located— my tribe with other Arabic native tribes united to fight against the Ottoman Empire when they colonized our region. Yes, the Ottomans—the Turkish—were an Islamic Empire, but we did not care, because when people are changing your culture, language, and identity while watching you suffer from poverty for centuries, I do not think their faith is enough reason to let them rule.
So yes, some of the Saudis are Hejazi natives who used to live in this region before the discovery of oil and before Islam. However, I am not sure what Mrs. Mehdi thinks of the native people unless she proposes to turn them into refugees. Mrs. Mehdi’s view of ISIS’s state as a non-Islamic because it’s so extreme and not Islamic enough like the old Islamic caliphates such as the Ottoman Empire that invaded Vienna!
However, is not ISIS’S leader the one who said, “Therefore, rush O Muslims to your state. Yes, it is your state. Rush, because Syria is not for the Syrians, and Iraq is not for the Iraqis . . . The State is a state for all Muslims. The land is for the Muslims, all the Muslims.”? and is not Johan Galtung, a researcher on cultural violence, that one who wrote: “Combine the ideology of the nation-state with a theologically based Chosen People complex and the stage is set for disaster.” referring to how the idea of the Aryan race, influenced by Norse and Viking mythologies, became rooted within the German society and developed into the casus belli for Hitler and the Nazis to start World War II?
Thus, the truth is that neither ISIS nor any Islamic empire is Islamic because there is nothing in Qur’an that says Muslims should invade other people’s lands. All the so-called Islamic empires in history were just families trying to rule the world. So, let us all stop using our religion for any political claims.
Let us teach our kids that we live under the international law, and it does not justify any act of aggression. Let us stop teaching our kids the myth of the great Islamic caliphate or the Islamic Golden Age. That was a time that has passed, and we should learn from what was right about it and what was wrong as well. And we should not forget to teach our kids that the prophet of Islam immigrated to Madinah after he received an invitation from its natives, and he went back to Makkah because he was the son of the city.
Mrs. Mehdi is correct that the Vatican is an independent city-state. However, she forgets that the land belongs to the Popes who refused to recognize the authority of the Kingdom of Italy. So, if Mrs. Mehdi and other Muslims believing in the same ideology are pro-democracy and looking for justice and peace, they should ask only “the natives” what we want. Otherwise, they are just ISIS’s brothers.