Books and Documents

Islam,Terrorism and Jihad

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.


While Mr. Bush vowed early on that Mr. bin Laden would be captured "dead or alive," the moment in late 2001 when Mr. bin Laden and his followers escaped at Tora Bora was almost certainly the last time the Qaeda leader was in American sights, current and former intelligence officials say. Leading terrorism experts have warned that it is only a matter of time before a major terrorist attack planned in the mountains of Pakistan is carried out on American soil. "The United States faces a threat from Al Qaeda today that is comparable to what it faced on Sept. 11, 2001," said Seth Jones, a Pentagon consultant and a terrorism expert at the RAND Corporation.  "The base of operations has moved only a short distance, roughly the difference from New York to Philadelphia." Mark Mazzetti and David Rohde report for The New York Times.


LAST night at a dinner party in London, I was seated next to a lady who is soon setting off on a road trip to Gilgit and Hunza in Pakistan, and then on to Kashgar, in western China. She is going with her journalist husband and three children. An 18-year old daughter is planning to teach English at a school in the Northern Areas for six months. Instead of telling her what to see and where to go, I found myself warning her of the dangers and pitfalls that awaited her and her family. A week ago, I tried to dissuade a young Brit, fresh out of the army, from venturing out on a solo trekking expedition to the same area, writes senior Pakistani journalist Irfan Husain in his regular column in Pakistan's most influential newspaper The Dawn.

The future of Turkish-Iranian relations has two bases. The first base is cooperation against the PKK. Given the fact that Iran badly needs Turkey in its struggle against PJAK, it would offer limited military support to Turkey against the PKK. Iran would not provide full support to Turkey to end the PKK problem permanently because the PKK problem is the only issue that keeps Turkey close to Iran. If Turkey could successfully end the PKK problem with U.S. help, then there is no reason for Turkey to harm its relation with the United States by seeking Iran’s support, writes Emrullah Uslu from Terrorism Focus


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 Pakistan Army has two kinds of officers: nationalist jihadis and Islamist jihadis”, says Arif Jamal, a Pakistani scholar at Harvard University and author of the forthcoming book, “Shadow War: the Untold Story of Jihad in Kashmir”. According to him, the nationalist jihadis would like nothing better than to snatch Jammu and Kashmir from India and see India break up. The Islamist jihadis, on the other hand, hate all infidels.


Following politics, it’s now the turn of terrorism to be competitive.

As Shahid Burney of Arab News reports The Lashkar-e-Taiba has threatened Mr. Bal Thackeray following the comments he made in the editorial of his party mouthpiece Saamana on Sunday in which he had called upon the Hindus to form Hindu suicide squads and to make better “Hindu bombs” to counter “Islamic terrorism. Responding to the utterances of Thackeray in the editorial, the LeT chief Qari Abdul Wahid Kashmiri was quoted as saying in the media that the Muslim community members would be protected from “Hindu fundamentalist terrorists” a reference to militant workers of Shiv Sena, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal.

It’s for Muslims to come out and say if they do want to be protected by the likes of Qari Abdul Wahid Kashmiri or want to trust the ability of the government to save them from the proposed suicide squads of Shiv Sena. -- Editor

And there is the seminal question relating to the terrorists’ indoctrination. If an extremist is ready to immolate himself, it becomes very difficult for the security apparatus to foil him. The question is how he turns into such a single-minded fanatic as to commit chilling inhumanities and that too with no regard for his own safety. The source of the mind-bending indoctrination must be examined – the curriculum, text, tutelage, training, lecture, audio-video, peer-group influence, fatwa which effectively dehumanised him, writes Zakeria Shirazi

"We committed Nazi acts."

Aharon Zisling, Israel’s first Agriculture Minister

"There is no doubt that many sexual atrocities were committed by the attacking Jews. Many young (Arab) girls were raped and later slaughtered. Old women were also molested."

General Richard Catling, British Army Assistant Inspector after interrogating several female survivors (The Palestinian Catastrophe, Michael Palumbo, 1987)


Wednesday’s air strike sent an unmistakeable message that the US will not allow Pakistan to threaten its interests. The latest deaths, however, will only intensify the mass opposition in Pakistan toward Musharraf and the US government. K. Ratnayake comments on WSWS.org.

Pakistan: The Real Threat
A Times of India editorial

The RAND study and Mullen's statement ought to focus minds on where the real terror threat emanates from. The US and the international community need to work with Pakistan's civilian government to isolate jehadi militants and deny them sanctuary. That would stabilise not just Afghanistan but Pakistan as well.


Years of war saw Afghanistan's forests levelled and its land polluted with fuel and mines, while more recent unchecked building and urbanisation is heaping new pressure on the environment, officials say. As countries marked World Environment Day on June 5, conservationists and officials say Afghanistan faces many and unique challenges.

Ceasefire in Swat
Khadim Hussain

Dialogue should be conducted to bring peace to the Pakhtun region and to save neighbouring countries from the fire of militancy and extremism. It should be ensured that the fate of the Pakhtuns is not at stake in the global geo-strategic drama. The Taliban, who consider themselves to be sons of the soil, should benefit from the offer of talks by the government and work for the peace and prosperity of the region. External forces that put unnecessary conditions to block the way of dialogue should be stopped from such acts of sabotage. There is every chance that these forces put such conditions for talks which will easily detract from the process of dialogue and peace in the region. Both parties have to be extra cautious in this regard.

Terror Most Imperial
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

For centuries the colonizers exploited and dominated the third world. Today, one of the more subtle tools of imperialism is the use of value-laden language that seeks to define the Arab and Muslim world. With labels such as ‘terrorists’ and ‘Islamofascism’, they wish to establish an ‘Orientalist’ perspective of otherness denoting barbarism as set apart from Israel and the West which represents admirable qualities. It is imperative to reject this imperial imposition of characterization and for each state, individually and collectively, to self-rule, foremost through self-definition


When U.S. soldier Corey Glass decided two years ago that he would rather be a criminal for fleeing the Iraq war than be a criminal by staying in it, there was one obvious place to go - Canada, a refuge for Americans who had fled the Vietnam War draft. But instead of being welcomed, he became the first deserter to receive orders to leave the country - and ended up a symbol of Canada's conflicted sentiments about the war, says Maggie Farley, The Los Angeles Times.


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


As a fallout of the Jaipur bombings, the Government of Rajasthan has launched a crackdown on the so-called Bangladeshi immigrants. It has become a pattern that soon after any terrorist attack, both media and political leadership embark upon fixing the responsibility on religious and ideological considerations. The Jaipur bombings are no exception, says Jamal Ansari

The experience of US law-enforcement agencies, including the FBI, shows that critical information can be obtained from detainees by tortureless methods. The Bush administration and some of its allies obviously do not agree and see torture not as a crime but as a necessary evil. In their view, Osama bin Laden and his ilk do not have basic human rights because they do not respect the rights of those they kill and maim. If the terrorists commit heinous crimes, goes the logic, so must Team America, writes Aqil Shah in The Dawn, Karachi.

We are victims too
Aijaz Zaka Syed

Even when an anguished Indian Muslim speaks his mind on issues like terror and the larger concerns facing the community and the country, the media has little time or patience for these sound bites. Because, let's face it, it's the bad news that interests the media. Some bearded mullah condemning acts of terror by "suspected Muslim terrorists" hardly makes for exciting reading and viewing, writes Aijaz Zaka Syed in his weekly column in Khaleej Times. He urges concerned persons looking for Muslim condemnation of and deeply-felt anguish at incidents of terrorism to read Urdu newspapers.

A rare moment of joy
An editorial in Dawn

IN these trying times, it was indeed heartening to see Pakistan’s ambassador to Kabul, Tariq Azizuddin, reunited with his family on Saturday after three months in captivity. He had been kidnapped from Khyber Agency in February as he headed back to his post in Kabul. His beaming and charming wife had clearly been counting the days since his disappearance as she didn’t need to pause even for a moment before telling a DawnNews reporter she was seeing her husband after 97 days.

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