Tuesday, June 16, 2009

To the Leadership of North Korea: the Worship of Power is a Form of Shirk

By MAS Freedom Civil and Human Rights Director, Ibrahim Abdil-Mu'id Ramey

As one of 16 members of a delegation invited to visit the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) some 20-years ago, when it was under the leadership of North Korean state founder President Kim II-sung, I was keenly aware that as a U.S. "peace" activist, I had been invited to undergird North Korean opposition to U.S. nuclear weapons that were, at the time, deployed in South Korea. I supported the withdrawal of these nukes from the Korean Peninsula, and considered them to be a grave provocation and potential threat to the North.

Although not allowed to speak with political dissidents or visit the notorious labor camps in which they are confined, myself and my fellow delegates were treated to lavish receptions in villages and cities throughout the country as the DPRK strove to impress us with their accomplishments in science, architecture and industry.

That was then, as they say, and this is now; the nuclear threat on the Korean Peninsula today is far more ominous – the DPRK has now embarked on its own nuclear arms race.

The U.S. government officially confirmed on Monday that in addition to a long-range ballistic missile test conducted in April this year, North Korea carried out an underground atomic test on May 25, reportedly larger than its first test conducted in 2006, which resulted in U.N. sanctions against the country.

In addition to testing long-range missiles capable of striking targets in the Pacific, U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn told lawmakers on Capitol Hill Tuesday that North Korean missiles could also conceivably threaten the continental United States.

North Korea's de facto leader, Chairman of the National Defense Commission, Kim Jong-iI, son of Kim iI-sung ('Eternal President of the Republic'), has grown increasingly intransigent and belligerent on the issue, vowing to continue the country's nuclear program and threatening war on any nation that attempts to intercept shipments of strategic materials to Pyongyang.

On Friday, June 12, the U.N. Security Council unanimously voted to impose additional security and economic sanctions, including a trade and arms embargo on North Korea, also supported by two DPRK allies, China and Russia. Tens of thousands North Koreans rallied in the nation's capital on Monday denouncing the U.N.'s sanctions and Pyongyang responded by vowing to "weaponize" all its plutonium, further asserting that any blockade would be considered "an act of war".

On Tuesday, Japan announced its decision to impose fresh sanctions on North Korea, to include a ban on all exports, followed by a joint declaration from President Barack Obama and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, calling for pursuit of a "sustained and robust effort" to implement the U.N.'s resolution.

It now seems almost inevitable that some kind of military showdown between the DPRK and much of the rest of the world is almost inevitable; and in a significant shooting war, the short fuse of a nuclear weapons exchange could very well be lit.

The DPRK is hardly the first nation to threaten to use nuclear weapons against another country. The United States, with more than 7,000 in its arsenal, along with Russia, China, and Israel, have threatened to use these weapons in the past; America being the only nation to carry out such a threat against an adversary in war time.

But none of these historical precedents excuse, in the least, the bellicose saber-rattling of the regime in Pyongyang.

Many political analysts offer the opinion that the leadership of Kim Jong-il borders on psychopathic, and that the pursuit of a North Korean nuclear deterrent is a grave danger to peace and stability in Asia and the world. And the fact that two former military allies of the DPRK are supporting the U.N.'s sanctions against his nation should be a clear indicator that he has few, if any, political friends left in the outside world.

My own interpretation of these events, however, is a little different.

The North Korean pursuit of nuclear weapons is not only grave and dangerous, but it also represents the worship of a false god; in this case, the god of the all-powerful dictatorship that is marching an entire nation to potential annihilation.

I believe that the massive adoration of political leaders and the power of the political state, is not a characteristic of Socialism, but actually a form of idolatry; and nuclear weapons in this reality, are nothing more than dangerous props supporting an immense, malignant ego that thrives on the energy of false worship and mass adoration focused on the Kim dictatorial dynasty.

Remove the idolatry, and the North Korean rationale for building and possibly using nuclear weapons would dissolve.

North Korea is, officially, an atheistic society functioning as a theocracy centered on the worship of state ideology and the elevation of its political leader to the status of a god; and when a false deity desires limitless power and adoration, the consequences will almost certainly be catastrophic for that leader and the nation that follows him.

I don't believe that there should be any type of U.S.-led pre-emptive military attack against North Korea.

It would be better, for now, to rely on international economic and trade sanctions as an instrument to push for ending North Korea's nuclear weapons ambitions, while the other nuclear weapons states get down to the serious business of working for abolition.

D├ętente with the DPRK could be possible in the future, but only if and when it stops threatening to annihilate other nations with atomic warheads.

In the meantime, let us keep in mind the conviction of all Muslims, that there is no deity worthy of worship but the One Lord of Creation.

Possessing the ultimate weapons of mass destruction will not make the North Korean people happier, more prosperous, or freer; and these weapons will not transform Kim Jong-il into a deity.

The worship of power is a form of shirk (idolatry). That is a truth that the North Korean dictator must submit to – either in this life, or in the life to come.

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