Is Bush or for that matter the United States anti-Islamic? If one were to look at the anti-Bush demonstrations and violent protests in Lucknow during the American President's visit to India, you would believe so. Why does he inspire so much hatred in the Islamic world? And why this polarized Muslim opposition in India?
The secular press upheld the great tradition of not naming the violent protestors in Lucknow but hinted that trouble started after the 'Friday prayers' and soon turned into a communal fury. The police have described the situation as very tense. Ten people have died and many have been seriously injured. It is not unexpected that the majority of protests took place in a state that continues to be sharply driven over religion and caste even after 59 years of Independence. A state that ranks abysmally low on the literacy and per-capita income tables. A state where the Chief Minister and his opponents openly ask for votes in the name of your God or your gotra. Religion truly is the opium of the uneducated and hungry masses in Uttar Pradesh.
I do not believe that the United States is anti-Islamic. There is only one force that is anti-Islamic: the Muslims themselves. Their leaders never let go of an opportunity to announce a fatwa and issue inflammatory statements. Their secular majority is invisible and conspiratorially silent. Their liberals are quick to denounce any sort of fundamentalism but are suspiciously absent when it comes to criticizing their own. The politicians cutting across party affiliations fall over themselves to garner the Muslim vote and ministers are appointed by virtue of being Muslim.
It is amusing why we are roping in poor Mr. Bush in this chaos. He has come to visit - let him hug a few orphans dressed in bright traditional clothing, sign a few agreements of strategic importance, make the right noises about outsourcing and H1B visas for Indians at the FICCI and IACC gatherings and make that mandatory visit to Cyber Pradesh (please read Hyderabad).
The Americans have only one agenda and that is commerce. If there is one country where everyone is truly equal - it is the United States of America. Everyone is free to live by their own rules and this freedom is part of the Great American Dream. Everyone here wishes to make it big and success stories of such people are a dime a dozen. Enterprise is truly a virtue in this land. On the international arena, the Americans know that their hold on the world economy can only come with political and military strength. Remember the United States entered the World War II only after it was convinced by the British that its financial interests were in danger if Hitler had his way. The war on Vietnam and the covert wars elsewhere were against communism and not anti-democratic regimes. If there is anything that the Americans feared, it was not Islam, it was Communism. In the last decade, United State's continuous focus has been to gain unilateral control the world's most precious resource - oil. Bush is not anti-Islam, he is just for Oil.
The constant focus on democracy in Iraq is a ruse for ensuring the ongoing surrogate ownership of Iraq's oil reserves. Saddam is not the only dictator in the World. There is one right next door - General Musharraf! And there are many heads of states that are more autocratic and torturous than our poor man Saddam. Saddam's only fault was that he grabbed Bush's attention when oil prices were slowly edging upwards. Combined with the fact that in a few decades oil will be scarce, and an oil reserves crisis is imminent, the war on Saddam's Iraq fitted in perfectly with Bush administration's agenda against terrorism. Saddam stood no chance.
When will the common man take note that America stands for Capitalism with a big C. Wherever there is money to be made, there is America protecting the interests of its corporations and its citizens. Hence a Bush will visit Hyderabad - that is where Microsoft and Intel are. And that is where American profits are. Why is India getting its second presidential visit within six years? Because our 300 million middle class matters to the American bottom-line. They are queuing up for our pockets and they don't care whether we are Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians or Jains.
The writing on the wall is clear - It's our money Bush is after!