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Islam,Terrorism and Jihad

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.

In the wake of the recent upsurge in the activities of jihadi terrorists in the tribal belt on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, US military commanders have been talking of the arrival in Afghanistan via Pakistan of a large number of jihadis from Iraq, the Central Asian Republics, Chechnya in Russia and Turkey to step up the fight against the US and other NATO forces, writes India’s foremost strategic affairs analyst B Raman.

 

IN the din of condemnation by the opposition and false hopes held out by the government, the only distinct and unanimous voice heard (the prime minister being the sole dissenter) is about the grave threat to the security of the country. And the threat this time round is not external — not from India but from within, a part of our own country. Senior columnist Kunwar Idris writes in Dawn, Karachi.

 

The Jamaat-e-Islami  does not believe in the sovereignty of the people in running the affairs of the state, which is a core principle of democracy, and the interim government’s perceived dalliance with such an unabashedly anti-democratic organisation not only renders its self-professed commitment to improving on democratic governance hollow but also presents the people with a glimpse of its inherently anti-democratic attitude, says An editorial in New Age, Dhaka.

Time is fast running out. We should put our acts together without any further loss of time before these branded terrorists and religious zealots establish their hegemony on the sacred soil of our beloved country and do away with all that we ever so dearly stood for – democracy, secularism, international brotherhood, writes Shamsher Chowdhury.

 

They changed the way the world flies. Now the British-born men accused of plotting to blow a Toronto-bound jetliner to smithereens with liquid explosives are changing their plea. Five of the eight men facing maximum life sentences in the alleged 2006 transatlantic bomb plot targeting flights to Toronto and five other cities unexpectedly pleaded guilty to lesser charges yesterday, including "conspiring to cause a public nuisance" by publishing videos threatening attacks.

 

LONDON: An Islamist terror cell busted with details of bomb-making and suicide vests is said to have been plotting to kill the British Queen and some high-profile members of the Royal Family, including Prince Charles.

 

The European security agency, Europol, is sounding the alarm as more and more Europeans are turning up at Al-Qaeda training camps near the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Italian Corierre della Serra reports that newcomers, eager to join the Islamist terrorist organisation, come from the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Denmark, Romania, Estonia and the U.S.

Al-Qaeda recruiters operate in many European countries. They are looking for troubled youths, who are dissatisfied with their lives and have a high level of anti-American feelings, reports Russia Today.

 

The current mission in Afghanistan can succeed only if Karzai succeeds to isolate the Taleban and to mobilize genuine and effective Pakistani and Iranian support in depriving Mullah Omar and his fighters of access to a safe hinterland beyond the Afghan borders. Military force is never anything but a means in the service of political goals. These political goals must be set before NATO is asked to contribute more troops, writes Amir Taheri

 

Muslims Must Confront Islamist Terror Ideologically: An Islamic Reformation Required
Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

We seem to be living in an era of Islamist terror. Massacre of journalists in Paris has followed the massacre of children in Peshawar. Thirteen years after 9/11, the world is facing a more complex, more diverse and more dangerous threat.  While the world has focused on fighting the terrorists militarily, the challenge of their ideological narrative has gone essentially unchallenged. ...

The malaise of Islam is clearly far deeper. The problems are basic, fundamental to Islam. But ulema, the supposed custodians of faith, continue to be in denial.

What does the larger society do? I think the world needs to first inform itself of what is going on within the Muslim community. We should have credible surveys to find out the extent of radicalisation, monitor Friday sermons, study text books of different madrasas, and  confront the ulema with the fundamental questions raised here. If the ulema really want to save Islam from being considered synonymous with terrorism, they should at least make the following commonsensical declarations, which are also consistent with the faith:

 1. Quran is a created book of God, not divine as God Himself;

2. contextual, particularly militant verses, in Quran are no longer applicable to Muslims;

3. Hadees is not an Islamic scripture a la Quran.

4. Shariah cannot be considered divine.

 What the ulema, intellectuals and politicians have done so far amounts to nothing more than a cosmetic endeavour; they have been hoping and perhaps praying that the issues will go away. But radicalism is deepening and intensifying. It is attracting more and more converts. 

So clearly Muslim theologians will need to go beyond superficial statements, walk further in the direction of rationality, prepare a coherent theology of peace and moderation and propagate it among masses, if they want Islam to survive as a moderate religion, a moral standard, and a spiritual path to salvation rather than allow Islamic scriptures to degenerate into terrorist manuals.

If the ulema do not agree to walk their peaceful talk, the larger society should encourage and support those few moderate, progressive Muslims who are willing to go out on a limb, perhaps  putting their heads on the chopping block in this process. This section should be able to go to the community directly, bypassing the ulema and campaign for sanity. 

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