Is it Jihadi terrorism or the crusade of some Religion ?

Prof. Shankar Sharan
When Jihadis narrate the motive behind their activities, ignoring them amounts to encouraging terrorism and is like self-destruction !

1. Ignoring sectarian terrorist activities, amounts to encouraging terrorism

Once the famous author Salman Rushdie asked – When Muslims have so much faith in religion, what is creating violent tendencies among them everywhere ? Unfortunately, this question has not been answered yet. The perpetrators of all the terrorist activities in the past decade, from Algeria to Afghanistan and from London to Srinagar, Bali, Godhra and Dhaka, were all followers of the Islamic faith. Most of them have carried out these activities with pride in the name of Quran and Sharia. Therefore, ignoring them is definitely political-intellectual cowardice.
It is also unfair in terms of law and jurisprudence. The judicial system of the civilised world values the testimony of criminals and murderers, investigates it. It is not ignored; because it reveals the motive underlying the crime. When many Jihadis repeatedly claim that the Quran dictates their actions, to ignore it amounts to encouraging terrorism. How will it stop the formation of a new breed of terrorists ? How do Jihadi Muslims around the world turn themselves into suicidal human bombs ? And who inspires them ?

2. When the Jihadis call it their ‘Holy war’, it is wrong to term it as only ‘terrorism’

The attackers have been calling their actions war or Holy war; and yet, the world over, incidents of attacks carried out by Jihadis are called terrorist acts. Even its victims call it terrorism. This is a fundamental mistake. It is like terming pneumonia a seasonal fever. This is not a misdiagnosis, but a deliberately made mistake. So, how will there be a solution ?

One mistake leads to another. The attackers are ordinary people. As humans, there is no inherent characteristic or flaw found in them. Those dying, captured or speaking from their hideouts, publishing magazines, running madarasas, training for Jihad, as well as communicating and compromising with the ISI (Pakistani Intelligence Agency) and CIA (American Intelligence Agency) at every opportunity are all Jihadi Muslims who think, write and speak in a normal way. And yet, they are called mad or psychologically ill. However, they call themselves Soldiers, Commanders, Chiefs, Sheikhs, Khalifas, etc.

3. Ordinary Muslims support Jihadi terrorists

It should be noted here that millions of supporters of Jihadi Muslims around the world are also ordinary Muslims. Supporters of Osama bin Laden, Zawahiri, Mullah Omar or Omar al-Shashani are ordinary Muslims. Toys, posters, T-shirts, etc. with pictures of bin Laden have been popular in Pakistan for many years. Ordinary Muslims used to make, sell and buy these. Mind you, even the Pakistani Government and local authorities saw nothing wrong with it. (Now toys, T-shirts, etc. with the picture of Khalifa Baghdadi are not made and sold in Pakistani or Arab markets. The reason is that Baghdadi has declared all Muslim rulers to be kafirs [Infidels] and to displace them from their positions of power or kill them. Hence, Muslim rulers are neither enthusiastic about Baghdadi, nor is he treated with the same respect bin Laden commanded.)

So is the situation of the leaders, supporters and activists of groups in Kashmir such as Hurriyat, Lashkar, Hizbul, and so on. Everyone who met them saw that they were ordinary people and behaved like others. The people and supporters of SIMI and Indian Mujahideen are ordinary people too.

4. Calling Jihadi terrorists crazy or psychologically ill is just double-faced strategy

Zakir Naik’s name is in the news these days; because, the Jihadis of Bangladesh support him. In 2006, Zakir’s name came up mainly in the serial bomb blasts in Mumbai. Even then, millions of Muslims have been his supporters over the years. The terrorists had hatched a conspiracy while sitting in the office of his organisation – Islamic Research Foundation (IRF) and even succeeded. Zakir remains an open supporter of bin Laden. He has also conveyed to all Muslims the importance of becoming terrorists. For them, Zakir is not an ordinary individual but a popular Islamic scholar. So far, many Indian Muslim leaders, organisations and scholars have come forward in his support. And for sure, none of them is crazy or deranged. Yet, after every terrorist act, the attackers, their trainers and protectors, etc. are very politely called crazy or deranged.

Surprisingly, even those who support Osama or Omar call the terrorists crazy after a terrorist act. Calling Jihadis crazy is nothing but a double-faced-strategy. The targets of Jihad and its supporters, from time to time call them crazy. The simple agenda in calling them so is to hide the reality. When the truth is so very evident, it is utterly surprising that it is not recognised so, nor action taken accordingly.

5. It is necessary to identify the inspiration behind Jihadi terrorism and initiate corrective measures

Jihadis’ slogans, documents, books that inspire them have inscriptions in big letters that their aim is to wage a religious war against the kafirs until all the land of the world belongs to Allah. Not only are they inspired, but the Prophet Muhammad himself gave a perpetual command – ‘Muslims who forget this, are themselves kafirs and deserve death’. Hence, many Jihadi organisations, from the Pakistani Taliban to ISIS, have targeted Muslim administrators as well.

Jihad is a political war. This is easily seen in entire Islamic history and its original books. There is nothing incomprehensible in it, which one will be required to go to a certain institution or teacher to understand. There is no difference of opinion anywhere among its scholars at least about the basics such as ‘Islam is the only truth’, ‘Prophet Muhammad was the best Prophet and disobedience or disrespect to him is punishable by death’, ‘What Muhammad did is exemplary and is a decree for every Muslim’, ‘The Quran are the words of Allah and whoever doubts them, be put to death’, ‘Idol worshipers and believers of Gods-Goddesses are the most evil and ugly people’, ‘Want to bring the whole world under the banner of Islam; but the penalty for quitting Islam is death’, ‘Jihad is the most sacred duty of Muslims’, ‘One who dies for Jihad goes to Jannat (Paradise) that very instant, where all God’s bounties are sure for him’. What follows are interpretative differences about how, where and how much to apply these Islamic injunctions, examples, etc.

Fortunately, although most Muslims accept the above concepts in principle, they are not interested in practicing them literally. Their time is spent in earning a living, having children, enjoying themselves, working hard, etc.; but, for a Muslim who takes these things to heart, Al Qaeda or the Islamic State become very important. Teenagers and youth are idealistic. So, if they like these things, they follow the path of Islamic State or start helping them.

The lack of recognition of this condition, even when it is evident, is what has led to the deterioration of the situation over the past 3 decades. Some fanatics have waged war against non-Muslims and to impose the rule of Quran on the whole world. These warring organisations, commanders and activists keep changing; however, there is no change in the declaration of war, its target, method, etc. If the whole process or disease was clearly identified and treated, the treatment would have been very simple.

6. Terrorism is a tool to achieve Islam

If someone starts a war, it is necessary to fight him. Aggressors, as well as their external and internal supporters, should be treated as enemies. Reasons given by them, distractions, drama of compromise or pause, etc. must be properly identified. Try to identify the true and false among them and win. Remember, in a war the one and only goal is to win. Apart from winning, having another goal is self-immolation. The character of this war is mainly psychological. All Jihadi leaders have united their cadres along ideological lines. All have one book; other reasons are secondary. They cannot be weakened without finally shaking their foundation. Therefore, even after the destruction of large Jihadi organisations and their leaders, new ones keep emerging. They have tools such as bombs, guns, ships, cars loaded with explosives, etc. So, the real problem is not terrorism; it is only a tool to achieve Islam, meaning, terrorism is only strategy and tactics, not the main enemy.

Just as in a war between two countries, missiles, bombers, etc. are the instruments, terrorism is only a tool in the name of Islamisation. It is a weapon to subvert the neutral amongst the non-Muslims and Muslims towards their own will. They also have other weapons, which are used for the same purpose. Issuing different types of fatwas and having Taliban-like states, insistence of Sharia law everywhere, courses in madarasas and shifts between them, opposition to Taslima Nasreen, opposition to Jews, population pressure, Islamic banking, migration policy, etc. are weapons used for the same purpose. It is very easy to see that those who do and believe in all these things are sympathetic to Jihadis and never condemn them.

7. Courage is required to call the ideology and purpose of Islam incorrect

Basically all this fighting is about Islamic beliefs. We will have to fight them. The stories in Quran, the work of the Prophets, their commands, examples, law and Jannat are all human ideas. This story and debate keeps coming back and forth. These were the qualification norms of the Quran matters even when they were first revealed. They were never once accepted willingly by the Arabs.

Muhammad’s contemporaries were quick to question his Prophethood and to call his claims mad or the imagination of a poet. There are many references about this in the Quran itself. The Prophet was victorious only because of the force of the sword, and not the least through acumen and evidence.

Similarly, even in the 7th Century, no one accepted the Islamic doctrines as appropriate. This is revealed through most of the Prophet’s biography and history itself. So what is wrong in calling such thinking, ideology and purpose inappropriate today ? If it is not wrong, then keeping silent in the name of feelings is simply stupidity. This is like falling to the tricks of a war-monger. Also, what is inappropriate in calling the religion false that terms other thoughts, creeds, faiths, Gods and Goddesses false ? Whatever was said and done, there was no evidence of any claim of Islam in the 7th Century and they are not any even today. It was the sword, trickery, oppression and war then that did the work; even today the sword and threats seem to be the answer to everything. Not only non-Muslims, but Muslims too are given death threats if they question any aspect. There is but one answer to the doubts raised by Rushdie to Wafa, Ayyan, Tariq, Taslima, etc. – Destroy or weaken the roots of ‘Kill them’ ideology. Counter thoughts with thoughts and healthy debates, and not with death threats.

8. It is necessary to challenge the ideological and religious dictatorship to win the religious crusade

Before talking about our feelings, we should unequivocally reject all the excruciatingly false aspects mentioned in the original Islamic books about Jews, Christians, Hindus and Buddhists. Declare the co-existence of different opinions not in helplessness, but as a matter of fact. This should be the demand from those who believe in Islamic ideas. In fact, there is a large number of Muslims who think so; but they are not allowed to come forward. They also need to be given an open concession to leave Islam. Islam has one-way entry; it has no exit. This dictatorship has to be done away with. Letting the insistence of the 7th Century continue into the 21st Century, and that too on the strength of violence, is the biggest mistake of all. Ultimately, openly challenging as well as disproving this entire ideological-religious dictatorship is the first weapon to win this war. It is only because of our failure to do so, that more and more children are taking to Jihad. This is crystal clear from their statements. Islamic ideology is very weak and can be broken easily. Violence is used as a tool when there is fear of the truth getting exposed. Therein lies the secret of threats ! Both the sides of this war need to understand this.

– Prof. Shankar Sharan, Professor of Political Science at the NCERT and Senior Columnist, New Delhi. (Courtesy : Weekly ‘Vivek’, in Hindi)

  • Just as in a war between two countries, missiles, etc. are instruments, terrorism is only a tool in the name of Islamisation !
  • Openly challenging and disproving the entire ideological-religious dictatorship is the first weapon to win this war !

Leave a Comment