November 5, 2008
An interview I found with Shaykh Hamza, on PBS- from Dec. of 2007.
Always a pleasure to hear this man’s words.
Q: Linden MacIntyre: What are the roots of Muslim rage?
A: Hamza Yusuf: If you had one word to describe the root of all this rage, it’s humiliation. Arabs in particular are extremely proud people. If you look at what happened in Lebanon recently, the Arabs kind of raised their head– they think it’s a big victory, the fact that their whole country was destroyed and over a thousand people were killed, many of them children. Why is it a victory? Because they fought back. That’s all. “OK, you can crush us into the Earth, but you’re not going to get us to submit.” And I think that’s deeply rooted in Muslim consciousness, the idea of not submitting to anything other than God. “You can abuse me, but you’re not going to win me over. But if you treat me with respect and dignity, I’m going to fall in love with you. I’m going to sing your praises all over the world because you’re powerful and you treated me with human dignity.”
Q: Where do they see the proof of the humiliation?
A: It’s everywhere. You don’t think it’s humiliating to have a foreign force come into your land? You see, Muslims don’t have this nation state idea. There’s a tribe called Bani Tamin. It’s one of the biggest tribes in Saudi Arabia and in Iraq, and they’re intermarried. The West doesn’t seem to understand that. The Moroccans feel the Iraqi pain as their own. It’s one pain. So when you see some American soldier banging down a door and coming into a house with all these women in utter fear who’ve done nothing, that’s humiliation, and it’s going to enrage people. And what are we doing there? There are no weapons of mass destruction. They were never a threat to us. You know, Shakespeare wrote a play called Julius Caesar, and it was all about the danger of pre-emptive strikes. Brutus is convinced by Cassius to kill Caesar. Why? Because Caesar’s ambitious, because he might declare himself king. And the end of that play, everybody dies; it’s just disaster. That’s the tragedy of pre-emptive strikes.