Islam,Terrorism and Jihad
Westerners cannot begin to comprehend the devastation their armies and bombers have inflicted on poor people who have the flimsiest of political and economic structures to survive them. The idea that the Afghan people can sensibly “choose” between the west and the Taliban is nonsense. All they want is peace, and all the West has brought them is war. It will take decades for the wounds to heal, and they will never be healed by western arms. -- Simon Jenkins
The prospect of Saleh’s political struggle providing a boon to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is understandably producing anxiety in Washington, where U.S. officials have spent the past few months trying to envision what a post-Saleh Yemen would mean for U.S. counterterrorism efforts in the Arabian Peninsula. While fending off opponents at home, Saleh and his followers have been relying on the “me or chaos” tactic abroad to hang onto power. Loyalists argue that the dismantling of the Saleh regime would fundamentally derail years of U.S. investment designed to elicit meaningful Yemeni cooperation against AQAP or, worse, result in a civil war that will provide AQAP with freedom to hone its skills. -- Reva Bhalla
The northern District of Baramulla has been one of the worst militant infested Districts of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). It is the largest of 10 Districts in the Valley, both in terms of population and area. -- Sanchita Bhattacharya
Who could have imagined that a serving commander of the Pakistan Army in the Waziristan badlands would have consciously knocked the popular myth that American drone strikes in Fata are part of the problem and not part of the solution of terrorism? But that’s exactly what happened on March 8. Maj Gen Ghayur Mehmud, GOC 7th Div North Waziristan, did not mince words in his printed brief ‘“Myths and Rumours about US Predator Strikes” handed out to journalists from his command post in the area. He made two main points: (1) A majority of those killed by drone strikes are “hardcore Taliban or Al Qaeda elements, especially foreigners,” while civilian casualties are “few”. (2) But by scaring local populations and compelling displacement through migration, drone attacks create social and political blowbacks for law enforcement agencies.-- Najam Sethi
As President Ali Abdullah Saleh steadily loses support at home and abroad — including in Washington, DC and Riyadh — Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula seems increasingly poised to be a major winner in Yemen. The AQAP threat to American cities and to the other states in the peninsula is going to increase as Al Qaeda adapts to the new environment in the Muslim world. A crafty survivor, Mr Saleh seems to be more in a corner than ever before in his almost four decades in power. He faces growing opposition from within the military; the street protests against his regime are unprecedented. The two outside powers with the most influence, the United States and Saudi Arabia, apparently are looking for a political solution that sends Mr Saleh and his family out of the picture. AQAP has enjoyed a hiatus from Yemeni counterterrorism operations since the start of the country’s revolution. The group has reportedly consolidated its hold on its safe havens in the southeast, with the makings of a mini-emirate there under its influence. -- Bruce Riedel
A few years later came 9/11. Huntington was elevated to a second media apotheosis: Al Qaeda terrorism proved him right, many believed, as it demonstrated on the ground that Islam had an absolutist dimension, and that the mass of the faithful could become Osama bin Laden’s followers.
In the meanwhile, I had written another book, ‘Jihad’. On the other side, a growing amount of Islamists were converting to the creed of pluralism and democracy, as was already then the case in Turkey. That change would not take place without turmoil within their ranks, but at the end of the day their ideological purity would be corroded by parliamentary participation. Hence the movement would lose its unity and integrity. After 9/11 those views were not the most popular; some in the French press suggested I be fired from my university chair. To them, the theory of a decline was laughable. -- Gilles Kepel
It took the US seven years and a change in administration to abandon the use of a phrase that had been dropped by Britain even earlier. Several European countries had avoided it altogether preferring to view terrorism as a law-enforcement challenge rather than a war-like enterprise. In the Obama administration’s National Security Strategy announced in May 2010 the document explicitly stated that the campaign against terrorism “ is not a war against a tactic – terrorism, or a religion – Islam.” It redefined the effort as aimed to defeat Al Qaeda and its terrorist affiliates. Does using and discarding the phrase really matter? Is this just a matter of semantics or does it signify something more substantive and consequential? These are important questions especially as many people in Pakistan continue to use the term and the phrase has yet to be officially retired. -- Dr Maleeha Lodhi
Professor Ali has taken serious liberties with the facts and has tried to denigrate the Pashtuns by portraying them as a people inherently incapable of living under a democratic dispensation. He simply ignores the secular-democratic Khudai Khidmatgar Movement (KKM) that dominated the Pashtun polity in the first half of the 20th century. When Samuel Huntington and Warren Manshel co-founded the Foreign Policy magazine (FP) in 1970, they felt that “in the light of Vietnam, the basic purposes of American foreign policy demand re-examination and redefinition”. They pledged to do so through “an effort to stimulate rational discussion of the new directions required in American foreign policy”. ...
Pashtuns are outraged at FP for allowing its pages to be used not just to disparage a proud people but also to propose creating a terrorist haven. FP calls its flagship blog, ‘Passport’. But with this new low in geopolitical discourse it seems more like a passport to a barbarian dystopia, where new techniques of torture and terror would be perfected. Sam Huntington had said in an NPR interview: “I think clearly the US, as well as other western nations, should stand by their commitments to human rights and democracy and should try to influence other to move in that direction.” This is precisely what Barack Obama has decided to do in the rapidly unraveling situation in the Arab world. But apparently, Professor Ali has opted to stand on the wrong side of not just the Pashtuns but also the history itself. As for FP, it ought to revisit its first editorial. -- Dr Mohammad Taqi
This year the spring offensive by the Taliban and other insurgent groups has a new and terrifying face: the insurgents are using suicide bombers who create high casualties to sow terror and are planning an assassination campaign as well, Afghan and American military analysts say. The Taliban in the past have been careful not to single out civilians, although civilians are often killed in attacks. American and Afghan officials now believe that Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the group that planned the attacks in Mumbai, India, in 2008, has been working with the Haqqani network, which is based in North Waziristan. Lashkar-e-Taiba specialises in planning complex suicide attacks. “The suicide bombings are, we believe, predominantly requested and funded by Haqqani but facilitated by LeT and AQ,” said a senior American military official, referring to Lashkar-e-Taiba and Al Qaeda. “The latter groups provide bombers and material in exchange for money. Haqqani chooses targets.” -- Alissa J. Rubin
Two Americans; in 2002 a US diplomat and her daughter were killed by a terrorist attack on a church in Islamabad; the US consulate in Karachi was attacked in 2002 and 2006, leaving 16 dead, including two Americans; in 2003, the US embassy in Islamabad was attacked, two people were killed; in 2008, a restaurant in Islamabad was bombed, killing four US diplomats; in 2008, the US Principal Officr in Peshawar was attacked; in 2008, the Marriot Hotel was bombed and two foreigners were killed; an aid worker was killed in Peshawar in 2008 and the US Consulate was attacked, leaving 8 dead. In addition, Iranian diplomats have been killed or kidnapped by sectarian terrorists since 1990, UN and Chinese workers have been kidnapped and the Sri Lankan cricket team was attacked in 2009, apart from the 17 French Naval technicians who were killed in Karachi in 2003. And so on. Under the circumstances, Mr Davis had every right to fear he might be kidnapped or killed by the two gunmen. -- Najam Sethi
These silent people never hesitate to condemn and protest every time there are allegations of excesses by the security forces. They never hesitate to come out in their hundreds and thousands and demonstrate in the streets against the security forces….
Silence in the face of barbarity amounts to complicity in the commission of barbarity. Not only is the cold-blooded murder of these two girls barbaric, the cold-blooded silence of these people is equally barbaric. Those who murdered these girls are guilty of barbarity in action. Those who remain silent are guilty of barbarity in mind.
One has not yet seen any strong reaction from roof-top liberals such as Arundhati Roy and her ilk to the barbarity perpetrated at Sopore. One should not be surprised if they come out with double-edged words to rationalise the act of barbarity while seeming to deplore it. – B Raman
There is a fascinating passage in the Book of a Mujahid; fascinating because of the murderous actions to which it must be compared. The mujahid, Basayev wrote, “recalls the words said by the Prophet Isa [Jesus]: ‘Love your enemies,’ and he obeys this precept, for a mujahid knows that any person, until the very moment of death, has the chance from Allah to get on the Straight Way. And by the mercy of Allah, your worst enemy may happen to become your brother.”
I’m guessing the man who blew himself at Moscow’s airport had read the book, though he quite clearly had an unusual interpretation of Jesus Christ’s message.
From this, the lesson is simple: pious lectures about religious tolerance, or understanding the real message of Islam, whatever it might be, will do nothing to stop jihadism. Not one word of this message will be disputed even by the most crazed suicide-bomber. The suicide bomber chooses to die not because he hates his enemy, but because he sees himself as an altruist: his blood and that of his victims, he believes, will bring redemption.
The jihadist cult of death will lead, inexorably, to hell. But the fight against it will not be won by guns alone. It needs the emergence of real political alternatives – and sadly, there just aren’t any in sight. -- Praveen Swami
From these conversations it is clear that Lt Col Purohit and other members of Abhinav Bharat were in fact trying to overthrow the Indian State that has been established by law. Jafferlot’s article quotes the report of Lt Col Purohit in one of the meetings that they have been able to establish links with the Israeli military establishment which has agreed to train 400 soldiers every year for Abhinav Bharat’s war and that he has sufficient equipment and resources. All Lt Col Purohit wanted from others in the meeting was proper selection of targets for maximum impact. The terror attacks were testing the military strength and capability of the group and keeping them fighting fit, Muslims being soft targets. How realistic were the objectives and how far they were is another issue but the group had a proper road map to their destination — Akhand Bharat — a militarised authoritarian State structure subsuming Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tibet, Myanmar. They were hopeful of support from the Buddhist Majority countries in South East Asia and Israel. --Irfan Engineer
The TwoCircles.Net article being posted below takes a disapproving look at the US proposal for appointing American teachers in Indian madrasas and smells a conspiracy in the proposal. It finds a similar conspiracy behind the recent Indian government proposal to appoint a central madrasa board to oversee reforms in the madrasa educational system. It summarizes views expressed in the Muslim Press and brings out the depth of Americophobia, Indophobia, self-righteousness and inordinate self-importance among Indian Muslims which is no less acute than among Pakistani Muslims. Like Pakistani journalists, Indian Muslim journalists too seem to know exactly what new conspiracies are brewing against them in the White House and CIA headquarters. This article also shows that President Obama’s outreach to world Muslim community through Farah Pandit and Rashad Hussain has been as much a failure in India as elsewhere.
Not only that, this write-up also shows that Indian Muslims too like their Pakistani counterpart are in a state of Jihad against both the US and India. Any proposal that the US or even Indian government – which I would have thought is our own government - makes for the welfare of Indian Muslim community and its educational needs is seen as a conspiracy against Islam and Muslims. Their merits or otherwise are seldom discussed with any degree of objectivity. A case in point is the Indian government proposal to set up a Central Madrasa Board, purportedly to oversee and improve the functioning of madrasas and see that they produce somewhat productive citizens and not only zombies unfit to adapt to the needs of the world outside the madrasa. This is almost universally reviled as a conspiracy in the same way as the American proposal to send some American Muslim teachers for Indian madrasas.
This does not mean that New Age Islam necessarily supports the idea of either a centrtal madrasa board or American teachers for Indian madrasas. While the former has a lot to recommend itself, the latter actually hit me as the most bizarre idea I had come across in a long time, something like somebody seeking to fit a jet engine in our bullock carts with their wooden wheels. But rejecting an idea, indeed smelling a conspiracy, simply because it is being proposed by America and being promoted by India, if it indeed is, seems to me like the height of paranoia which is going to do us no good.
If America wants to create terrorists among the madrasa-educated in India, as the author of this article surmises along with practically the entire Muslim media in India, reflecting widespread belief in the Muslim community, it doesn’t need to plant teachers or CIA agents in the garb of teachers into Indian madrasas; it can simply utilise the brainwashing the madrasa-trained unemployables have already received which has convinced them that the world they live in does not matter in the least. They only need to be told that the easiest way to redemption is through a suicide belt that would help them reach “Heaven” instantly without committing any further sins in the world in the course of looking for jobs and trying to eke out a living in this vile world.
The contempt for “other” Islamic sects and religions that has been already deeply instilled in their minds can always be utilised for inducing them to take the “others” also with them to the Hereafter. The army of suicide bombers in Pakistan has gone through the same books, the same education, the same brainwashing, that the ones in India have. No American teachers have induced them to become suicide bombers. The very idea that America wants to convert India’s madrasas to turn to terror is incredibly absurd, but this is what many of us believe, as does the author of this article. That Indian government also wants to help Americans in this venture to create mayhem in our own society is the absolute height of absurdity. But that we can believe in such nonsense tells us more about ourselves and the fate waiting for us than about Indian and American governments. – Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam
The terror attacks that shook America over 10 years ago left a scar on the face of world diplomacy and an obstacle hampering attempts to bring peace to our ailing planet through a much needed inter-religious dialogue. 9/11, the day on which 3,000 civilians were killed, marked the beginning of a struggle by Muslims to integrate into the world, particularly the West. The brutal attack, carried out by a few misled minds claiming to be fighting in the name of God, tarnished a great deal of the image of Islam. And as Muslims fight to crystallise the differences between radicalism and the noble teachings of Islam, western and eastern officials and commentators are baffled, wondering, “Where are the moderates?"
With only extremism highlighted, thanks to acts perpetuated by a few radicals, many are eager to see moderate representatives of the noble religion of Islam stand out in the Muslim world, and rise as partners for peace. Reconciling Islam with the modern world has been particularly imperative for Muslims in a set of continuous attempts dating back to the 19th century, when what became known as the Islamic reform movement sprouted within Al Azhar University in Cairo, the chief institution for Islamic learning in the world.—Ali Gomaa, the Grand Mufti of Egypt