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Islam,Terrorism and Jihad

Can the ISI ever be reined in? There is no clear-cut answer to this question. However, for the foreseeable future, it would be naïve and indeed risky for any civilian leader to drastically curb its powers or try to render it accountable by a public diktat. The organisation, which a British officer Major General Cawthorne, the then deputy chief of staff of the Pakistan army, had created in 1948, has a substantial budget, with over 10,000 officers and men on its payroll and with organic ties to the Pakistani military establishment. It is believed that over two-thirds of its staff is drawn directly from the army, writes Sumit Ganguly, professor of political science at Indiana University.

 

Outlook newsmagazine’s publication of an edited version of the e-mail sent by the so-called 'Indian Mujahideen' and a response to it by an Indian Muslim academic teaching in the US has generated unprecedented interest in the issue. As promised, the magazine has published another response by another academic and the readers’ comments on it. We are reproducing the same courtesy Outlook on internet. Editor, NewAgeIslam.com

Waquar Ahmed, an Indian, a professor at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, USA writes: “Ideologies similar to those of the 'Indian Mujahideen' or criminals who masquerade as leaders should not have any space in Gandhi's India, in Azad's India. The time has come to work towards the prevention of disorder and catastrophe, and not merely towards their control.

 

It’s a moment of trial for Muslims, as also for the country as a whole. The letter sent by the so-called Indian Mujahideen, which may well be an arm of the Mafia - some experts suspect D-Gang’s involvement - shows the dangers to which our youths are exposed. Completely crazy arguments, written in what scholar C. M. Naim finds seemingly “rational” manner, apparently by educated people, calling for Revenge of Gujarat could lead some of our impressionable youths astray, as it perhaps already has. .....

Editor,

NewAgeIslam.com

 

India continues to bleed at the hands of jehadi terrorists, indigenous as well as from Pakistan and Bangladesh. Not only has the indigenous component been on the rise, the religious dimension of the jehad has assumed predominance over the political, economic and other elements. It seems the recently-initiated attempts of clerics and other leaders of the Muslim community to condemn the resort to terrorism is not yet having any impact on younger people. The blasts in Jaipur, Bangalore and Ahmedabad are a symbol of the failure to dissuade younger Muslims to give up the path of terrorism, says B Raman, a Chennai-based former intelligence officer.

 

An al-Qaida commander who escaped from a US prison has posted a web video urging Muslims to kill the Saudi king for leading an interfaith conference in Madrid earlier this month. Abu Yahia al-Libi, who escaped from Afghanistan's Bagram prison in 2005, says "bringing religions together...means renouncing Islam." Saudi King Abdullah sponsored the dialogue among Jews, Muslims, Christians, Hindus and Buddhists and encouraged all faiths to turn away from extremism. But al-Libi says "equating Islam with other religions is a betrayal of Islam." He calls for "the speedy killing of this tyrant."

 

In June, US Republican candidate John McCain's adviser, Charlie Black, invited a lot of comment when he said that a terrorist attack before the November US presidential elections could help the Republican Party. With the string of terror attacks spattering blood all over India, particularly in BJP-ruled states, a similar question is raising its head: are Islamist jihadis making themselves a part of the election discourse in India, just as they have attempted in other parts of the world, asks Indrani Bagchi of the TNN.

 

A virulent Al-Qa'ida website has issued a new call for followers to kill Canadians and other westerners and attack oil and economic targets. The message on the password-protected al-Ekhlaas.net forum was posted July 7, the third anniversary of the London transit massacre. The website is a favoured site of hardcore jihadists. Experts are debating the significance of the latest al-Ekhlaas threat calling for the targeting of Christians, especially those from Canada the U.S., Britain, Spain, Australia and Italy. IAN MACLEOD of Canwest News Service reports.

 

Officials Play Down Claims on Video, Which Includes Threats to Olympics

A group calling itself the Turkestan Islamic Party has released a video asserting responsibility for deadly bus bombings last week in China's western Yunnan province and other recent incidents, and threatening attacks during the Olympic Games.

The Chinese government, which has warned that terrorism is the biggest threat to the Olympics and has mounted a massive security effort, played down the group's claims, some of which were inconsistent with details of the incidents, reports Jill Drew of the

Washington Post Foreign Service.

 

The serial bombings in Ahmedabad and Bangalore, which have taken a toll of over 50 lives and injured more than 150 people, form part of a sequence of attacks that have demonstrated just how dangerous the terrorist threat to India’s major cities continues to be. Even by the macabre standards we have been compelled to become accustomed to, the character of the violence is horrifying: after all, it takes a special kind of savagery to bomb a hospital: An  Editorial in the Hindu, New Delhi.

 

As Pakistan’s shadowy Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) faces growing accusations of backing terrorist activities from Afghanistan to India, the civilian government has tried but failed to take control of the ISI in an ongoing power struggle…. “The ground reality is that the ISI is a law unto its own,” M.K. Bhadrakumar, a former Indian diplomat, who dealt with Pakistan for years, told HT. “There’s just no way a serving general can report to the Interior Ministry.” Amit Baruah of The Hindustan Times reports.

 

With the Indian Mujahideen claiming responsibility for the Ahmedabad blasts - its third "success" after the UP court blasts and the Jaipur mayhem - questions are being asked about its pedigree.Sleuths are wondering whether it is the proscribed Student Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) or a loose coalition of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, masquerading under a new name….The intelligence community believes the serial blasts of Bangalore and Ahmedabad were executed by a network of Wahabi fundamentalists masquerading as Indian Mujahideen. This terror network started by organizing blasts at holy places of rival Barelvi Muslims like the dargah of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer, Rajasthan. Over the past five years the Wahabis, who are heavily funded by religious puritans in Saudi Arabia, have been conducting a high-intensity propaganda war within the Muslim community against so-called un-Islamic practices. Pradeep Thakur and S Balakrishnan of TNN report.

 

The Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has traced the terror email sent to media houses, minutes before the blasts in Ahmedabad, to a residential flat in the Sanpada area in Navi Mumbai. The 15th-floor flat is occupied by an American family that has rented it for over six months. The ATS team, led by Hemant Karkare, reached Gunani Cooperative Housing society in the posh Sector 16 area of Palm Beach road early Sunday... However, there was no human bomb involved in the serial bomb blasts that rocked Ahmedabad on Saturday as had been reported earlier by some media outlets.

G. Mohiuddin Jeddy of The Hindustan Times reports.

 

ON THE OPPOSITE page today, we publish the views of a federal judge who argues that terrorism cases can and should be handled within the traditional federal trial court system. Advocates of such an approach often point to successful prosecutions of those responsible for the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Centre in New York as evidence of the federal court's ability to process such cases in a fair and relatively smooth manner. They cite expansive laws, such as the material-support statute, that apply both to domestic and overseas acts and give law enforcement officers the ability to arrest someone who aids the enemy. An editorial in The Washington Post.

 

The recent bomb attacks come at a time when the Pakistan-India peace process is under strain. Amid one of the sharpest exchanges between the neighbours since they launched peace talks in 2004, Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon said that "elements" in Pakistan were behind a resurgence in militant activities, including the recent bomb attack at the Indian Embassy in Kabul that killed 58 people, including two Indian diplomats.

Many believe that Islamabad retains links to militant groups, although the degree to which it remains operationally in control is unclear, especially at a time when Pakistan itself is suffering from an upsurge of Islamic militancy. Pakistan, meanwhile, denies backing any Islamic militants, including those operating in the disputed Himalayan state of Kashmir.

 

With most of the country’s security and intelligence focused on tackling terror in J&K and the northeast, there is an alarming absence of security vigil in peninsular India. This makes it easy for sleeper cells to mushroom. It may not always be possible to prevent such attacks on ‘soft’ targets. But there is little excuse for the police and the intelligence apparatus not to develop adequate technical intelligence capabilities to monitor the activities of suspect networks. And even the police and intelligence authorities know that, says an editorial in The Hindustan Times.

 

Indian Muslim Council-USA (IMC-USA: http://www.imc-usa.org), an advocacy group dedicated towards safeguarding India's pluralist and tolerant ethos, denounces in strongest possible terms the bomb blasts in the Indian cities of Ahmedabad and Bangalore and expresses solidarity with the victims.

 

Over the last few years the Islamic obligation of jihad has been erroneously turned into a cottage industry. Individual Muslims and the tiniest of "organisations" (often containing no more than the family members of the  "founder") have taken upon themselves the duty of waging jihad most likely against the Muslim state itself in which such persons and groups are based, writes Mohammad Zeyaul Haque.

 

Close on the heels of Bangalore serial blasts, six blasts rocked Ahmedabad on Saturday evening. All the explosion were low intensity blasts. At least twenty people have been injured in the blasts, they have been taken to Maninagar hospital. Reports say two other blasts have also occurred. The Prime Minister has condemned the Ahmedabad blasts and appealed for calm. Rediff.com exclusive feature on The Lashkar-e-Tayiba: Reportage: Sheela Bhatt

 

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani will discuss with US President George W. Bush at the White House on Monday the rising Taliban-led militancy in areas bordering Afghanistan, officials said on Friday. Islamabad has failed to curb the increasing influence of Taliban in the restive North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and was forced to hold talks with some of the militant leaders to convince them to have a ceasefire… Meanwhile, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has been warned by his coalition partners that Pakistan could lose its restive North West Frontier Province (NWFP) to the Taliban because of Islamabad’s "blind following" of the US-led global war on terror. "

 

At least two people have been killed and 20 people wounded in a series of blasts in Bangalore. Seven blasts have been reported so far. According to Bangalore Police Commissioner, Shankar Bidari, seven blasts rocked Bangalore. The SIMI and LeT may be behind the serial blasts that rocked Bangalore on Friday afternoon, the Intelligence Bureau sources said, adding "they could be retaliatory in nature.” It has also been reported that Sensex slumped further after the blasts.

 

The seven blasts that rocked Bengaluru on July 25 point to high orchestration, but low intensity. … After 9/11, the Americans got into the habit of blaming Al Qaeda for every act of terrorism happening anywhere in the world and then collecting evidence. As pointed out by me in my previous articles, we seem to have got into the habit of blaming the Lashkar-e-Tayiba or the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami every time an act of terrorism takes place even before we have sufficient evidence.We should get rid of this habit and keep an open mind regarding the perpetrators. It is important to probe thoroughly into the activities of Al Ummah, which used to have cells in Bengaluru, the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and other angry elements in the Indian Muslim community. Security analyst B. Raman comments.

 

The capture of Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb leader responsible for horrendous war crimes during the Bosnian war, is welcome news. It is a victory for justice, for the UN tribunal in The Hague which sought his arrest for 13 long years, for the people of Bosnia and, most poignantly, for the people of Srebrenica where at least 8,000 Muslim men and boys were massacred by his forces in 1995. An Arab News editorial.

 

Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf has said that terrorism is an extremely complex issue and the neighbouring countries are required to workout a common strategy to deal with the menace. He said that Pakistan is a victim of terrorism and is key ally in the fight against terror.

 

The seizure of one of the two most wanted fugitives from the wars of fomer-Yugoslavia may become part of a process that lifts the burdens of the past in the region, says Dejan Djokic.

 

Tribesmen deserve all the rights and privileges guaranteed by the constitution. However, it is highly unlikely that any political reforms will succeed without a compatible economic package. In reality, the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of Pakistan needs something on the scale of Marshall Plan to be implemented on urgent basis. If our government can get it right, reforms and development in FATA will not only transform Pakistan but the entire South and Central Asian region, writes Ayaz Wazir, a former Pakistani ambassador.

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