Radical Islamism and Jihad
K. Anis Ahmed
The Bengali letter “o” used to stand for “ol,” a yam; now it stands for
“orna,” a scarf worn by women for modesty. Texts by non-Muslim writers —
including some revered as part of Bengali heritage, like the classical poet
Gyandas or the contemporary novelist Sunil Gangopadhyay — have been removed.
Also gone are a small excerpt from the Ramayana, a Hindu classic that Islamists
reject as foreign to the Muslim canon, and songs of the Sufi icon Lalon Shah,
whose syncretic faith is anathema to Muslim conservatives....
“I’m going to explain something to you,” Bashar said, with chilling
composure. He was the only man I had not seen touch either Ahmed or Mohammad.
It occurred to me that Bashar possessed the same uncanny self-command that
Salem had shown in his execution video. “If Adnan had joined ISIS, I would
have, too,” he said softly, as if to a child. “When Adnan joined the swat, I
joined the swat. How many times did you and Alawi go to jail together? You were
never apart! And now he’s ISIS and you’re a prophet?”....
More than a hundred thousand soldiers, policemen, and
government-sanctioned-militia members were expected to participate in the fight
to liberate Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq. It had been occupied since
June, 2014, and was now home to about six thousand militants from the Islamic
State, or ISIS. The swat-team members were desperate to join the battle. They
called relatives in Mosul, chain-smoked cigarettes, and excoriated the war
planners, from Baghdad, who seemed to have forgotten them....
In Quebec, Islamophobia manifested itself in a series of sensational
cases, in 2007 and 2008, over the “reasonable accommodation” of religious
minorities, Muslims in particular. The provincial soccer federation barred
Hijab-wearing girls on the pretext of safety. It took an official commission to
calm public nerves. Its 2008 report, which had the eminent philosopher Charles
Taylor as an author, found there was no crisis: Sensationalist media coverage
had distorted perceptions, but Muslims were not making unreasonable demands....
What Rose has done is to highlight three specific traits that
characterise the “engineering mindset”: first, it asks “why argue when there is
one best solution?”; second, it asserts “if only people were rational, remedies
would be simple”; and third, it appeals to those with an underlying craving for
a lost order, which lies at the heart of both Salafi and Jihadi ideology. But
they will need something that cannot come from western cultural experts. What
the report omits to point out is that students will require input from others
within their faith – to open up to them the richness of the Islamic traditions
that constituted the religion before the arrival of oil-rich Salafi
Maududi thought that a state could either be religious or irreligious.
Therefore, he did not agree with the view that secularism was just the
separation of religion from a state’s affairs, but strongly argued that
secularism gives rise to atheism, or a lack of belief, in society. He saw
religion as the ultimate source of morality, and, so, when people became
un-Islamic, society would also become unethical.....
Jihadism is no longer a metastasis which is endemic to a select few
Arab and Tuareg clans dwelling in Mali's northern fringes; it is on the move
and it is "jumping" ethnicity, finding a home with new groups –
Songhai, Fulani and others....
Harakat-ul-Mujahideen, a Pakistani jihadist group that is closely
allied with al Qaeda, “operates terrorist training camps in eastern
Afghanistan,” the US government stated in 2014. The Turkistan Islamic Party,
the Islamic Jihad Union, and the Imam Bukhari Jamaat, an Uzbek jihadist group
that operates in both Syria and Afghanistan, have all claimed to operate camps
We were desperate for the world to hear and help us. I had been
frantically tweeting images and videos of destruction from eastern Aleppo. We
relied on local providers who used Turkish wireless networks and satellite
routers to keep Aleppo online. On Dec. 12, as Aleppo was close to falling, many
of us tweeted our last calls for help. I recorded my video inside a friend’s
house, my voice trembling. I feared a massacre....
The former tend to discuss the concept in a fleeting manner - usually
by not much more than identifying Salafism's theoreticians, such as Abdul
Wahhab and Ibn Taimiyah - and focus instead on the political, economic and the
social dimensions behind the rise of Salafi movements. There is, accordingly,
little interest in the conceptual genealogy but also the contested meanings of
the concept of Salafism in the Islamic tradition....
His death is “an irreparable loss for the entire Muslim world and
specifically for the followers of knowledge, Dawah [preaching] and Jihad.” The
Taliban thanked him for providing “Jihadi services.”Salimullah was one of the
founders of Jamia Farooqia, an Islamic university in Karachi, Pakistan known to
have “strong connections to the Taliban movement in Afghanistan...
The incident has revealed something supremely rotten in Pakistan’s
state and society. Instead of provoking unequivocal condemnation, the abduction
of several activists has spawned mass indifference, or much worse,
victim-blaming. Some days ago, I was informed by a gentleman in Lahore that
those missing were prominent ‘anti-state’ and ‘anti-Islam’ agents thus implying
they deserved their fate....
The attack in Kandahar this week seemed expressly aimed at breaking
down the cause that Mr. Shamsi and his colleagues were dedicated to: trying to
restore faith in government after years of devastating war and disappointing
When five armed Islamist militants stormed a restaurant in Dhaka,
Bangladesh, on 1 July 2016, 29 people lost their lives. Emerging from the
appalling, bloody debris are stories of immense courage. There are also
unanswered questions about what happened to some of those who died....
General Zia and President Erdogan both came to power after a coup
against the establishment. “Both strengthened their control over the government
by employing similar tactics: oppressing freedom of expression, arresting and
torturing political opponents, controlling educational and religious institutes
and harnessing the tides of global politics for their own benefit....
When the Islamic State (IS) group declared itself a caliphate, some
Indonesian students in Pakistan, especially those in the JI network (due to
their parents being members of JI), departed for Syria and became members of
the Katibah Nusantara (KN) meaning Katibah Archipelago. Who are they? None less
than the Southeast Asian military unit within IS. They are composed mainly of
Malay-speaking individuals and received notoriety as the perpetrators of the
2016 Jakarta attacks. Scary or what?....
He said he believed the presence of IS could pose a more dangerous
threat to Pakistan than the Taliban and other militants, because “it has
penetrated in urban educated youth through social media and has enough
resources too to lure them to Syria and Afghanistan in the name of jihad”....
“The staggering numbers also confirm a worrying trend: Afghanistan is
experiencing significant, year-on-year increases in the number of families
driven from their homes,” said Danielle Moylan, a spokeswoman from OCHA. “The
numbers of IDPs in 2016 are three-fold that recorded in 2014, and six times
more than recorded in 2012.” ...
The debate on what drives men, women and children to let someone strap
on a bomb has largely focused on poverty and misinterpretation of religion. The
indiscriminate use of suicide bombing continues to test the ability of states
and law enforcement agencies to come up with ways to prevent it. The academic
and lay public are still largely bewildered with how a person can choose to
“use their bones as bullets, their flesh as gunpowder and their blood as fuel”....
James M. Dorsey
So did many young women, bent on defending Ms. Nasser’s and their right
to enjoy life in the face of criticism that she had violated Islamic mores by
visiting a nightclub and celebrating New Year, a secular feast of the infidels.
Their struggle often marks a rejection of the more traditional social mores of
This is a worrying development. In the past two years most of the
so-called Islamic State’s planned or inspired terror attacks ended with the
attackers taking their own lives on purpose, by blowing themselves up or
fighting until they were killed. There is still no shortage of individuals
seeking martyrdom and the Islamic State leadership continues to use foreign
fighters in that role. But after years of conflict there is now a cohort of
savvy, battle-hardened fighters more interested in killing than being
Most of the militants of this generation are between 18 and 30 years
old and they have gone through a relatively shorter period of radicalisation.
While the motivational factors may vary from individual-to-individual and
area-to-area, they all seem to be obsessed with ideas of the so-called
caliphate, Hijrah and the end-time narratives. It is extreme in its methods,
unapologetically brutal and morally consequentialist. For them, the ends justify
There are at least some indications that ethnic Bangladeshi networks in
the UK, key to financing jihadist operations in their country of origin, might
have some role in Myanmar, too. In December, two AQIS-linked message boards
reposted messages “from a brother”, saying he was “personally travelling on the
20th of December to Burma with a few brothers to help” displaced Rohingya....
Just as there has been an explosion of parental resources on Internet
safety for children, so too should there be development of parental workshops
on prevention of radicalization, for parents are often the first to notice
subtle changes in their children. What should parents be aware of? How do they
speak to their children? What signs should they look for? And what resources
are available in case one’s child seems to have fallen prey?...
Weeks before New Year’s Eve, banners were hung by pro-government
Islamist organisations in Turkey’s cities, telling people that “Muslims don’t
celebrate Christmas”, followed by photos depicting groups of young men in local
dress, chasing Santa Claus with guns and knives...