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Islam,Terrorism and Jihad

Terror returns
Vishwa Mohan

The bloodied streets of the Pink City are proof that this was no empty threat. Terror has returned, this time striking one of the country's hottest tourist destinations and virtually announcing its plan to bleed India by inflicting wounds at regular intervals. How long the lull in between will last is anybody's guess.

"I will not be surprised if terrorists are able to hit us once every month given the weak security scenario," says retired IPS officer and ex-BSF chief Prakash Singh. Of course, the remote control of this terror game lies in Pakistan where the ISI guides the timing of such attacks with Islamabad's internal power equations in mind. The current regime might have done a U-turn on aiding terror, especially since it has itself been at the receiving end of jihadi ire of late, but the threat from across the border has intensified once again.

 
Muslims Must Confront Islamist Terror Ideologically: An Islamic Reformation Required
Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam
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 contextual, particularly militant verses, in Quran are no longer applicable to Muslims;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. 

Recently the head of the CIA claimed it was winning the battle. Nonsense, argues Robert Fisk in the Independent UK. In fact he believes the extremists in the Middle East are growing stronger. He cites the following facts: Six thousand dead in Afghanistan, tens of thousands dead in Iraq, a suicide bombing a day in Mesopotamia, the highest level of suicides ever in the US military -- the Arab press wisely ran this story head to head with Hayden's boasts -- and permanent US bases in Iraq after 31 December. And we've won?

 

Their stories have the same beginning. "Once upon a time, there was a bomb blast..." But what follows is no fairytale. For the children injured in the serial blasts that rocked Jaipur, reality has hit home at a very early age. Some have lost limbs, others have multiple injuries. Some search in vain for family members who will never return. And all are permanently scarred, reports Anubha Sawhney Joshi of TNN.

 
Terror Cannot Fight Terror
An Editorial in Khaleej Times

Talk of waging war on terror is dangerous — witness the US's global war on terror. Since 2001, it has caused a sevenfold increase in terrorism globally and implanted religion-driven extremism where it didn't exist (Iraq). GWoT has entailed enormous human rights violations, with Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo Bay, and harassment of thousands of US citizens too, writes Khaleej Times in an editorial.

 

Al-Qaida is essentially defeated in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and on the defensive throughout much of the world, CIA Director Michael Hayden said in a Washington Post interview published on Friday. The upbeat assessment came less than a year after the CIA warned of new threats from a resurgent al-Qaida, the Post said. On balance, we are doing pretty well, Hayden told the newspaper this week citing major gains against Osama bin Laden's network and its allies.

 

A drone is a semi-autonomous, self-propelled system controlled by an external intelligence. Suitably equipped handlers guide it towards an assigned target. The MQ-1B General Dynamics Predator, connected to high-flying US military surveillance satellites, differs from the low-tech mullah-trained human drone produced in Pakistani madrassas. But they share a common characteristic. Neither asks why they must kill, writes Pakistani scholar Pervez Hoodbhoy

 
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