Islam,Terrorism and Jihad
But newly democratic Maldives is up against a serious challenge - religious extremism. Maldivians are Sunni Muslim and adherence to Islam is required for citizenship. Historically, religion has been an important part of the daily lives of Maldivians, but the Islam followed here was never rigid or puritanical. Maldivian Islam is suffused with local cultural practices and faith in Islam has co-existed with the belief in spirits - djinns. Alongside praying to Allah, Maldivians turned to magic and spells for protection against evil spirits. Traditionally, women did not veil their faces or cover their heads and men did not grow beards. Interaction between men and women was allowed and arranged marriages, practiced in most Islamic societies, was never the norm here. -- Sudha Ramachandran
As a result of sustained operational successes, many areas of J&K are now free of terrorism. On January 3, 2011, Director General of Police Kuldeep Khoda had claimed that five out of 10 Districts of the Jammu region - Jammu, Kathua, Samba, Reasi and Udhampur - were completely free of militancy. Doda District had been cleared of all foreign mercenaries. Again, on August 19, 2011, Inspector General of Police (IGP, Jammu) Dilbagh Singh had declared that militancy in the Reasi District had been completely wiped out. Out of a total 153 terrorism-related fatalities in the State in 2011, 112 - including 69 militants, 27 SF personnel and 16 civilians - occurred in the Valley, while the remaining 41 - including 29 militants, seven SF personnel and five civilians - were located in the Jammu Division. The dramatic decline of militancy is visible in available statistics.-- Ajit Kumar Singh
Co-operation with the US is the only strategic option we have. The US is now as concerned as we are over Pakistani machinations in Afghanistan. It could be more amenable to feelers from India for joint moves by India and the US to prevent a return to power of the Taliban with the ISI’s backing. Till now, the US has been hesitant to let India play any major role in training and equipping the Afghan security forces due to a fear over its adverse fall-out in Pakistan. We should persuade the US to get rid of its hesitation and let India play a more important role in this regard. This is the first step that would be called for. Others have to be identified. India and the US should not hum and haw and wait till the events overtake them. -- B. RAMAN
While the most famous leaders of the LeT networks, Hafiz Mohammad Saeed and Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, are under house arrest and in jail awaiting trial, respectively, LeT still poses a significant threat. Thus, brand names like Lashkar-e-Taiba (which means Army of the Pure) will continue to be used in public discourse while the planning and execution of high-profile attacks grows ever more complex. The first stirrings of militancy within this network began in 1982, when Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi travelled from Punjab, Pakistan, to Paktia, Afghanistan, to fight with Deobandi militant groups. Lakhvi, who is considered to have been the military commander of what was known as LeT and is awaiting trial for his alleged role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, adheres to an extreme version of the Ahl-e-Hadith (AeH) interpretation of Islam, which is the South Asian version of the Salafist-Wahhabist trend in the Arab world. -- Sean Noonan and Scott Stewart (Photo: Scott Stewart)
People tend to view the future in the prism of the past. Having but recently emerged from a worldwide conflict, analysts and historians were scrambling to find a new two way rivalry that would allow them to define the world in familiar terms. Used to a bipolar world, they wanted to find another conflict that entailed two ideologies and two camps. The result was a narrative built around the west and Islam or the West and radical Islam (for the politically correct westerners and Muslims who did not want to accused of Orientalism). In other words, Pakistan just got a ten year breather to ignore all of its problems. But this is all that 9/11 was about — Pakistan and Afghanistan. -- Arifa Noor
On a hot Saturday afternoon (31st May 2008) New Delhi’s historic Ram Lila maidan witnessed a huge turnout (between 10,000-15,000) of Muslims at a peace-conference organised under the aegis of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind and Darul Uloom, Deoband. This meeting was supported by leaders of different faiths and sects. The aim of this anti-terrorism and peace conference was summed up by Darul-Uloom’s deputy rector Hazrat Maulana Qari Sayed Mohammed Usman, “Terrorism is the gravest crime as held by Quran and Islam. We are not prepared to tolerate terrorism in any form and we are ready to cooperate with all responsible people.” The Deoband fatwa might do little to change the mindset of groups indulging in terrorist activities. Nonetheless, the fatwa might prove to be crucial in guiding scores of youngsters as it, in a way, gives a directive against taking the path of violence to achieve one’s goals, writes academic Salil Kader.
Aside from suspicions of Israeli involvement in instigating the unrest, some Egyptian commentators see the hand of HAMAS behind the disturbances in the Sinai (al-Akhbar [Cairo], August 10). However, there seems to be a general reluctance to discuss the specific grievances of the Sinai Bedouin or their place in Egyptian society. Thousands of years of Egyptian occupation have failed to integrate the native peoples of the Sinai Peninsula into Egypt, whether socially, politically or even economically. The persisting sense of alienation provides fertile ground for the growth of militancy, conditions easily exploited by Salafist-Jihadi groups that see themselves as fighting two enemies in the region – the apostate regime in Cairo and the Zionist regime in Israel. --Andrew McGregor
Photo: Flames rise over a targeted gasline near the town of al-Arish, Egypt in the Sinai.
Thanks to Wikileaks, it is now well known that that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia had repeatedly urged the US to destroy Iran’s nuclear program and “cut off the head of the snake” by launching military strikes . More recently, on 8 June 2011, the influential former head of Saudi intelligence and ambassador in London and Washington, Prince Turki bin Faisal, spoke to an audience from the British and American military and security community at Molesworth air force base in England. It was a long speech that covered all aspects of Saudi security doctrine. Only a part of his speech was reported in the international press; some other parts are worth a careful listen. Once upon a time the Bomb was neither Sunni nor Shia, just plain “Islamic”. Appending “Islamic” to “Bomb” would sometimes cause some Muslims to take umbrage; how could the weapon of ultimate destruction be associated with their religion? Others welcomed it as a sign of power. Regardless, the concept of Islamic Bomb was first introduced by a Muslim leader rather than any westerner. Addressing posterity from his death cell in a Rawalpindi jail, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the architect of Pakistan's nuclear program, wrote in 1977: “We know that Israel and South Africa have full nuclear capability. The Christian, Jewish, and Hindu civilizations have this capability. The communist powers also possess it. Only the Islamic civilization was without it, but that position was about to change.” -- Pervez Hoodbhoy for NewAgeIslam.com
A bizarre part of the programme is when its female anchorperson, sitting in a topless military vehicle, veiled herself as the vehicle entered Wana bazaar. “This is the culture here and we have to show respect to this culture,” she pronounced from behind the face veil. The fact is that not all women in the tribal area wear the face veil. Rather than showing respect to the tribal culture, the journalist displayed insensitivity to the tribal norm that accepts that casual female visitors to the area, like this journalist, are exempt from the local pardah (veil) norms. But, let us not forget that the journalist was reporting in Wana bazaar, an area close to the centre of the Punjabi Taliban. Most probably, it was fear of the Punjabi Taliban rather than respect for tribal culture that made her wear a face veil in Wana bazaar. FATA has been converted into a black hole where reality is created and presented to the world in a manner that suits the security establishment of Pakistan. -- Farhat Taj
Killings like ramming explosive-laden trucks into crowds, as in Kashgar - a 2009 picture shows worshippers outside a mosque after prayers - have been carried out with intent to precipitate a civilisational rupture between Muslims and non-Muslims. Xingjian's Uighur community is estimated to make up eight to 10 million of the region's 21 million population — a population that includes a welter of ethnic groups, including other Chinese Muslims like the Hui, as well as clusters of Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, Uzbeks and Tajiks. Large-scale communal riots broke out in Xinjiang, the worst ethnic-sectarian violence China had seen in decades — a sign. More than 192 people were killed, about two thirds of them from the country's ethnic-Han majority; thousands more were injured. -- Praveen Swami
Beijing has said Uighur terrorists involved in recent attacks in Xinjiang Province were trained in Pakistani terror camps. Islamabad has acted with alacrity to mollify its all-weather friend. But Pakistan’s duplicity stands exposed once again. The Chinese mission subsequently informed the Pakistani authorities in a letter that some members of the IMET had already reached Islamabad and planned to kidnap their staffers from the Federal capital. The letter reportedly pointed out that terrorist groups located in Pakistan, including Al Qaeda, had been providing support to the IMET activists for the likely kidnappings.-- B Raman
On Aug 15, 1947, two editions were issued simultaneously, one from Delhi and the first-ever from Karachi. The latter edition carries the headline “May Pakistan prospers always”, quoting Lord Mountbatten. A little lower, “Qaed-e-Azam assures minorities of Islamic tolerance and regard.” The banner headline in caps reads “Constitution abrogated”, progressing in smaller lines of type to “Martial law all over the country”, “Political parties abolished”, “Parliament, legislatures and cabinets dismissed” and “Gen Ayub appointed supreme commander”. Here. -- Hajrah Mumtaz
” The genesis of the IM dates back roughly to the same time that the Hindu right-wing terror outfit Abhinav Bharat was formed. Hate is the trigger. While Abhinav Bharat wanted a Hindu Rashtra, the IM, going by its mails, wanted to avenge the atrocities against Indian Muslims. A spate of dreadful terror strikes between 2005-08, starting with the 2005 Delhi Diwali blasts and ending with the 2008 Delhi serial blasts, were carried out by a motley crew of college students, software engineers, mechanics, doctors, educationists and small-time criminals. After every blast, all of them used to return to their routine work — students back to colleges, professionals back to their salaried jobs and businessmen back to trading in commodities. Their only glue was their alienation from the Indian society and disaffection towards government agencies, largely due to some real and some imagined complicity of the State in the anti-Muslim riots.-- Rana Ayyub, Tehelka
Oslo police have confirmed the source of the blast that damaged the prime minister's offices in Oslo was a bomb. The question now is who is likely to be behind it. The most obvious conclusion would be a jihadist group. It has been known for some time that al-Qaida and other related "franchises" – including the most active groups in Yemen – have been trying to develop operations. Which leads to a second question: why Norway? The answer is threefold: In the first instance, with increased levels of security and surveillance in the UK and the US as well as other European capitals, Norway might have been seen as a softer target despite the recent breaking up of an al-Qaida cell in Norway.
A more detailed explanation of Norway's problems with al-Qaida were supplied a year ago by the Atlantic magazine in an article by Thomas Hegghammer, a senior fellow at the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment in Oslo, and Dominic Tierney . The article followed the arrest of three men in Norway and Germany for allegedly plotting a terrorist attack involving peroxide explosives. All were Muslim immigrants to Norway. -- Peter Beaumont
Photo: Cleric Mullah Krekar whose Norway home was attacked
In April 2006, bin-Laden himself spoke of a “Crusader-Zionist-Hindu war against the Muslims.” His deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, warned Pakistanis in September 2003 that General Pervez Musharraf was plotting to “hand you over to the Hindus and flee to enjoy his secret accounts.” In the wake of 26/11, al-Masri himself released a statement warning India of attacks if it struck against Pakistan. Locked in a competition for legitimacy as authentic representatives of the jihadist movement in Pakistan, both the Lashkar and al-Qaeda have reason to escalate their operations against India. That could mean the five attacks seen since 26/11 could prove precursors to further horrors. -- Praveen Swami