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Radical Islamism and Jihad

Confront the idea of Jihadism, while dismantling Jihadi infrastructure

 Pakistan needs to dismantle not only the infrastructure of terror but also the ideas that built it in the first place, says Praveen Swami in this must-read article from The Hindu. He tells how the Jihadi ideologues of Pakistan have now gone even beyond their original inspiration, the founder-ideologue of Jamaat-e-Islami, Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi. The Maulana had clarified several times that Jihad cannot be fought by individuals or groups: it can only be fought by an Islamic state which will first have to sever all diplomatic, trade and other  ties with the country and declare that it was going to engage in Jihad. In Islamic tradition Jihad - in the sense of Qital that is the Jihad that involves killing - cannot be fought surreptitiously. He had specifically denounced the so-called Kashmir Jihad of 1948 as un-Islamic for this reason. As Praveen Swami details below in this study of the Jihadi literature of Pakistan, the Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith traces its formation to the mountains in the NWFP from where Sayyid Ahmad of Rae Bareilly (b.1786 d.1831) waged an unsuccessful jihad against Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s empire. But they conveniently forget to tell their readers and the Muslim youth they brainwash with their lies and false interpretation of the Holy Quran that Sayyid Ahmad of Rae Bareilly had established a kingdom there for the specific purpose of bypassing or going round the Islamic condition that a jihad in the sense of Qital can only be waged by an Islamic state.

It must be clarified here again, even if it is for the umpteenth time on this site and elsewhere, that the preferred Jihad, the Jihad-e-Aazam, the struggle to purify one’s soul and curb one’s ego (Tazkiya-e-Nafs) is a duty of every Muslim and it has to be performed consistently but the Jihad in the sense of Qital, the endeavour or struggle that involves killing, has some very stiff conditions and one of them is that it has to be defensive and another that it can only be waged by a state. -- Editor

Recent terror attack at Mumbai has reminded us once again that Pakistan Army, or one of its agencies Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) at any rate, is determined to change the very character of Islam, turning it into the pre-Islamic religion of the Jahiliya (Arabia in the Dark Ages). It had indeed given us ample evidence of its anti-Islamic character during the Kargil war by reminding us of the Battle of Uhud where a woman of Jahiliya, Hinda, had mutilated the dead body of Prophet Mohammad’s uncle, Hazrat Hamza. The Prophet [peace be upon him] had not only forgiven her but had made it a point to forbid the  practice in every Muslim gathering thereafter for fear that the Muslims, too, might do something similar in retaliation. Blood feud and vengeance was rampant in the Arab world of the Jahiliya.

One couldn’t help being reminded of that when reports came that one of the terrorists mentioned vendetta for Gujarat and demolition of Babri masjid by Hindutva forces as the justification for the killing of innocents at Mumbai.

 Pakistani “Islam” would indeed appear to be completely unrecognisable as Islam to a Muslim in any part of the world. Slowly but surely what appears to be a completely new religion seems to have caught the imagination of many people in Pakistan.  Its followers don’t, of course, consider it a new religion. Indeed this religion insists that it is Islam; in fact it calls itself true Islam or real Islam. But it can best be described as Jihadism, as its central belief system is based on a wilful misinterpretation of the Islamic concept of Jihad. It can also be called Talibanism, as the Taliban of Afghanistan, who studied in Pakistani madrasas run by the Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Pakistan are its most avid practitioners.

 By and large, the western-educated liberal Pakistani intelligentsia, as I found out during several visits, hates this religion and is frightened of it. But as one by one all institutions of governance are succumbing to its growing power and its capacity for evil, they are getting scared to death. Some of them are simply planning to migrate to some non-Muslim majority country. No one is really fighting this malignant force, though some journalists and human rights activists still have the courage at least to express their horror and outrage at grave personal risk.  -- SULTAN SHAHIN, Editor, NewAgeIslam.com

At the Shah Jamal shrine I couldn't feel further from puritanical Islam. The frenzied passion around me suggests that Pakistan's Sufi shrines won't be taken over by the Taleban any time soon. But whether Sufism can be used to actively resist the spread of extremist Islam, or even whether it should be, is another question. -- Barbara PlettSufi devotees in Lahore

Qawwali-listeners at the Shah Jamal shrine

Some believe that Pakistan's mystic, non-violent Islam can be used as a defence against extremism (Photo: Kamil Dayan Khan)

Political Islam draws its lifeblood from the ideology of fighting the oppressor, but has clearly become the oppressor itself. Though some Islamist groups have renounced violence, accepted the principles of democracy and marginally improved their stand on women and minority rights, they remain socially conservative. ... Muslims must stop blaming the problem of extremism on catastrophic policies of foreign countries. For, two wrongs simply do not make a right. It is primarily a Muslim problem, threatening both Muslim and non-Muslim societies. We need to acknowledge that there is a problem of theology when extremists talk of going straight to heaven after taking innocent lives.

The roots of all modern militant Islamic movements can be traced to one man, Abdul Wahab from Nejd in the Arabian Peninsula. He set out to 'purify' Islam, believing that Muslims had drifted away from true religion. Wahab's followers destroyed many sacred sites that he considered linked to idolatry.... The extremism now found in Mecca and Medina, the heartland of Islam, is the Wahhabi ideology that the Saudis have spent millions in promoting through their outreach programmes. There is no tolerance for Shias, Sunni Sufis or other Muslim traditions, leave alone non-Muslims. -- Sadia Dehlvi

FOR 20 years or more, a few of us in Pakistan have been desperately sending out SOS messages, warning of terrible times to come. Nevertheless, none anticipated how quickly and accurately our dire predictions would come true. It is a small matter that the flames of terrorism set Mumbai on fire and, more recently, destroyed Pakistan’s cricketing future. A much more important and brutal fight lies ahead as Pakistan, a nation of 175 million, struggles for its very survival. The implications for the future of South Asia are enormous. -- PERVEZ AMIRALI HOODBHOY

Dr. Zakir Naik sounds more sinned against than sinning

Quoting from Quran, Dr. Zakir Naik said that Allah has clearly ordained that killing of even one innocent person amounts to killing the entire humanity. How could then the attack carried out on World Trade Centre in New York have the sanction of Islam or be justified as a revengeful act against atrocities committed against Muslims elsewhere. He further said that killing is justified in self defense if one is attacked. He clarified that one should condemn those who participated in the attack and their perpetrators. He was however, not sure whether Osma bin Laden was behind the attack. He said that he was misquoted by the media that he supported Osama while the fact was that he only said that he cannot vouch for Osama being either Saint or Satan. He also pointed out that one could carry out a campaign of Jihad against corruption in the society. -- A.M. Jamsheed Basha

Husain stood for Islam and Islamic values and Yazid for power

The first casualty of transformation of khilafah into monarchy was battle of Karbala which is great tragedy of early history of Islam. It was greed for power on the part of Yazid, son of first Umayyad ruler Mu’awiyah that led to martyrdom of Imam Husain, the grandson of the Prophet (PBUH). Husain stood for Islam and Islamic values and Yazid for power. It was Umayyad greed for power which resulted in killing of members of Prophet’s family.

 It is unfortunate that these wars for power were often called ‘jihad’ and not only meaning of jihad which originally means struggle for truth was corrupted to mean war in the way of Allah. These wars were anything but war in the way of Allah. Qur’anic doctrine nowhere requires war with sword to spread Islam. So all conquests that took place had nothing to do with religion and were anything but jihad.

 In fact the series of conquests begin with the 2nd Caliph Umar and Sassanid and parts of Roman Empire were conquered…. It was certainly not for spread of Islam or spread of truth. The text of treaties … indicate that conquered people were not asked to convert to Islam but negotiated with them the terms of jizya, supply of military provisions, slaves etc. Nowhere are they invited to convert to Islam. If some people convert it was purely a voluntary act. -- Asghar Ali Engineer

Mumbai, Mawdudi and the Indian Mujahideen

India’s police and intelligence forces have an important role in preventing the Indian Mujahideen. from succeeding. But the real challenge involves politics, not policing: defeating Mawdudi’s ideas involves demonstrating that democratic struggles against communalism can succeed. Bar a few honourable exceptions, no politician appears either able or willing to take up this challenge. -- Praveen Swami

Will somebody wake up, please?

What Pakistan does or does not do with regard to terrorists operating within its national boundaries is not going to affect Pakistan alone, it will hurt the whole world particularly its neighborhood. It is clear that Pakistan lacks both capability and moral authority to rein in the terrorists whom it has bred and reared. Now it is for the world community to intervene to contain the scourge of Pakistani Taliban who are no less dangerous than the Afghan Taliban. -- Arif Mohammed Khan

Confusion over basic facts

The history of ‘Islamisation’ of Pakistan must be understood before forming an opinion on the contours of the Swat deal . General Yahya Khan, the military dictator of Pakistan of the late 1960s-early 1970s, reformed family Laws in Pakistan. He made it extremely difficult for a Pakistani man to have a second wife. They had to take the Court’s permission and the application had to include the first wife’s written permission along with the compelling reasons for marrying a second time. This encouraged Pakistani feminists and they soon became a strong force to contend with. They even resisted General Zia’s attempt to scuttle the gains extracted under Yahya Khan. -- Irfan Ali Engineer

A double game financed by Uncle Sam

Last week America professed shock at the ‘peace deal’ but this week Sen. John Kerry said Pakistan deserves extra billions to fight the same Taliban -- Will the real Uncle Sam Please stand up? -- Khwaja Ekram

Band Of Fanatics: The Zakir Naik Show
Band Of Fanatics: The Zakir Naik Show
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury

According to some experts, while Al Qaida serves the armed segment of religious terror, Dr. Zakir Naik´s PeaceTV covers the media segment of the same agenda. For example, Dr. Zakir will first attract the attention of people towards his lectures by giving similarities between Islam and other religious beliefs, while at the next step, he comes up to prove all other religions to be fake and Holy Scriptures false through a number of programs like ´Crossfire´, ´Truth Revealed´ etc. Some even opine that, while Al Qaida´s existence is mostly in hiding, Zakir Naik is continuing his offensives openly, which is a much greater threat to global peace and harmony. ... Dr. Zakir Naik, on a number of occasions, defended Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaida. His remark on Osama bin Laden had created quite a controversy some time back. "If Osama bin Laden is terrorizing America or the enemies of Islam, every Muslim should become a terrorist. I can't call Osama a terrorist because his involvement in the dastardly act of 9/11 is not proved,'' Naik had said, defending the most wanted man in the world. -- Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury

While the majority of Muslims is critical of jihadists, there is still a significant minority in various Muslim-dominated countries where jihadists are getting full support. How can one explain the martyr type of respect shown to the killers of Bali bombing in Indonesia after they were put to death recently? ...

There is no use in some affected countries like the US, India or Spain going and bombing the jihadi terror camps. Killing a few jihadists physically will not help much. In Hindu mythology there was a demon whose each drop of blood falling to the ground created hundreds of his clones. Similarly as it happened in Iraq, killing of Al Qaeda or LET will give rise to more of them instead of eliminating them as predicted. What is needed is for the followers of moderate Islam to condemn jihadism in no uncertain terms. Only they can put the genie of jihadism back in the bottle. -- By Bhamy V. Shenoy, IANS

Increasingly, Mr Zardari resembles a man with a begging bowl in one hand, and a gun in the other pointed at his own head. The reality is that for decades, Pakistan has sacrificed the bulk of its resources to support a vast defence apparatus it could ill afford. The extremist menace that threatens to destroy Pakistan was largely a creation of its own military establishment. And now that Pakistanis need the Army to defend them, they find it is not up to the task. Pakistan needs to face up to the fact that a lack of money is not the problem. What it really needs is the political will to fight the monster confronting the country today. Despite the concern of millions of Pakistanis, a vocal section of the establishment and the media are either in denial, or are cheering on the militants. Some have argued that the deal signed recently in Swat is actually good for the people. -- Irfan Husain

The Swat valley’s steady descent into chaos, from a bustling leisure tourism destination up until the ’90s to a cultural wasteland now controlled by a bunch of medieval-minded Taliban, tells a sorry tale of state complacence, as it continues to fail. Monday’s agreement signed between the Government and the local Taliban in Swat will change little for the wronged people of the valley; it only puts a stamp of approval over the sealing of their fate. The mullahs have won this battle as the government buckles under pressure. – A long winter in Swat - Murtaza Razvi

Islamic Law Instituted In Swat Valley - Pamela Constable

Deal will affect entire country - A.H. Nayyar

Pak’s surrender dismays liberals - Badar Alam in Lahore

Sweat over Swat -- Sheren Zada | Mingora, Pakistan

Swat Valley: The story so far - B Raman

From Pakistan, Taliban threats reach New York - Kirk Semple

Islamic law in Swat not ‘concession’ to militants: Pakistan

Swat valley locals happy to buy Sharia peace --, Nandita Sengupta,

Taliban a common threat, says Holbrooke

Pak’s truce with Taliban rings alarm bells in New Delhi

Compiled by Urfi Anjum

New Age Islam has been asking Muslims and particularly Ulema (religious scholars) to come forward with their views on the issue of bellicose Quranic verses and firmly declare that while they constitute valuable historical evidence of the growth of Islam and the mammoth problems it faced in its initial stages, they do not provide guidance to us in our conduct of affairs today and that they are no longer relevant for us in the present context. It has become necessary to do so in view of the fact that a new religion that can be called Jihadism, but goes in the name of Islam or true Islam and is called by many Radical Islam, is brainwashing our youth and leading them astray in the name of these combative and confrontational verses asking us to kill all Kafirs wherever we find them. New Age Islam has been of the view that it is not enough for our Ulema to denounce terrorism in a general way and call it against the tenets of Islam while continuing to teach belligerent Quranic verses to our people and telling them simultaneously that all Quranic verses, every comma and full stop, is of universal significance and provides us guidance in all circumstances and all times. These enemies of Islam, the Jihadists, are using these verses to turn our youth into suicide bombers and killers of innocents, acts that are clearly and patently un-Islamic. New Age Islam has been campaigning for some time now that we set our own house in order before others start demanding that we do so.

Please see the following article among others:

Indian Ulema have no time to lose, must call warlike Quranic surahs obsolete

The US definitely should do something to stem the rot and save Pakistan from its impending take-over by the savage and barbaric forces that are out to ruin the humanity. The hurt is so deep that the world would probably not sympathise with the Pakistanis if they were to be annihilated from the face of the earth. In any event the world cannot afford to just watch the mayhem that is being unleashed by these barbaric forces from time to time. The attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team was not a one off event but a recurring one happening so nonchalantly in the region. This region has therefore become completely unsafe. It is now up to all peace loving people of the world to unite and bring Pak authorities to senses. -- Jamsheed Basha Abumohammed

Is this end of a beautiful friendship?

The Taliban and Al-Qaeda have enjoyed a long alliance in Afghanistan. Their relationship, based on a seemingly shared brand of severe and militant Islam, even survived the U.S.-led toppling of the Taliban in 2001, which came after leader Mullah Omar famously refused to turn over to the Americans his Al-Qaeda ally, Osama bin Laden.

To this day, that relationship endures. But will it last? Rifts and tensions between the Taliban and Arab Al-Qaeda, as well as vastly different Islamic traditions, suggest that a basis for separation exists. Whether it occurs could determine whether peace negotiations between the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Taliban foes ever get off the ground.--- Jeffrey Donovan

Deobandi Islam: The Religion of the Taliban

A rejoinder to a series of booklets entitled "Johannesburg to Bareilley

(DEOBANDI-ISM CAUGHT UP IN ITS OWN WEB)

By Allamah Kaukab Noorani Okarvi Rahm.Translated by S.G. Khawajah

Pakistani Talibanism, as represented by Baitullah Mehsud in South Waziristan and Maulana Fazlullah in Swat, is a slightly different phenomenon. It may have originated as a side-effect of the Afghan war but it has now mutated into something with a personality of its own. With all its primitive and even barbaric permutations — the bombing of schools, the insistence on what amounts to female segregation, the slitting of throats — it is a revolt against the Pakistani state. Or rather a revolt against the dysfunctional nature of this state.

Every Punjab town, large and small, has a mosque, if not more than one, sympathetic to the Taliban brand of Islam. So at least there is a handy network — a Ho Chi Minh Trail, so to speak — down which the ideology of the Taliban can travel, whether we like this ideology or abhor it being a separate issue altogether. If this were Nepal this would be a Maoist uprising. If this were a Latin American country it would be a peasant or a Guevarist uprising. Since it is Pakistan, the revolt assaulting the bastions of the established order comes with an Islamic colouring, Islam reduced to its most literal and unimaginative interpretations at the hands of those leading the Taliban revolt. But then we know that with our Pakhtoon brothers there are no halfway measures. They are given to extremes. No wonder then if evangelicalism in their hands has descended to primitivism and barbarism.-- Ayaz Amir

 

Muslims from Azamgarh were merely exercising their democratic right to peacefully protest a perceived discrimination and voice their demands for justice and fair treatment. There is a general feeling in the Muslim community, and not only in Azamgarh, that after every terrorist act the police pick up innocent Muslim youth at random and even if they let them go after interrogation, their lives are already destroyed. They lose their jobs, marriages break down, their Muslim relatives and friends too start avoiding them, not to speak of their Hindu friends or employers. This has already happened to several Muslim youths in different parts of the country. ….  

It is easy to blame the police and the government. Not that they do not deserve that blame sometimes. But while we have to try and keep them on their toes, through peaceful protests, through political mobilisation, and so on, that is not going to solve our problems in the long run. Even the denunciations of terrorism, that some of our ulema are organising in city after city, while useful, are not going to solve our problems. We need to introspect deeply, if there is something that could be wrong with us, with our understanding of our scriptures, and if there is something we can ourselves do to ameliorate our conditions instead of merely hoping and waiting for others to pull our chestnuts out of fire.

Sultan Shahin, editor, New Age Islam

The Rationale of Terror -- Patrick J. Buchanan

What Is the Message of Terrorism --William Pfaff

Terrorist Attacks Rock Mumbai, Stun the World -- M.M. Ali

Hindus, Jews and Jehadi terror  - Andrew J Boston

Terrorists All Around, yet We Slumber -- Herb Denenberg

Terror suspects in contact with terrorist groups - Alan Travis

UK’s four- pronged approach to de-radicalise its Muslim minority holds important lessons for the Indian effort to counter extremism at home.

Recently, I had the opportunity to study aspects of the first strand of the Four P’s strategy — preventing the emergence of violent radicalism on the part of the Muslim youth in the UK. The plan addresses disadvantage, mis-perception, and alienation by putting money into a number of projects addressing inequality and discrimination. Targeted schemes have sought to improve the educational and physical infrastructure of the ghettoes, and even more boldly, to directly challenge radical theology by promoting moderate Islam as well as inter-faith dialogue. The approach has been to knit together various ministries, local governments, civil society, community institutions like mosques, gurudwaras and temples to attack the problem. -- Manoj Joshi

 

The international fight against terrorism will be a long, hard slog. After all, the problem and solution are linked: Terrorism not only threatens the free, secular world, but also springs from the rejection of democratic and secular values. Worse, terrorism is pursued as a sanctified tool of religion and a path to redemption. Thus, the struggle against transnational terror can be won only by inculcating a liberal, secular ethos in societies steeped in religious and political bigotry….Washington's proposal to triple non-military aid to Islamabad while keeping existing military aid flow intact, other than to tie it to concrete Pakistani cooperation on the Afghan front, will free Pakistan to continue its asymmetric war of terror against India. -- Brahma Chellaney

Kashmir not the issue, Pak-Afghan border is

The Kashmir conflict is a very small part of this larger dynamic and with two consecutive successful elections, the last one witnessing around 60 per cent participation by Jammu and Kashmir’s electorate, it is hardly the reason why Mumbai was attacked or why the West is losing the war in Afghanistan. To rationalise the terrorist attacks in Mumbai by linking them to the Kashmir issue not only defies logic and is devoid of any serious analysis but it is also profoundly irresponsible and dangerous. It ignores Indian attempts over the past decade to acknowledge the aspirations of Kashmiris with the liberal, democratic and secular framework of its Constitution as well as bilateral attempts by India and Pakistan to reach some sort of understanding on this vexed issue. -- Harsh V. Pant

Is Islam the Problem? My book <The Enemy at Home > says no, locating the problem in the way that liberal foreign policy and liberal values projected abroad have strengthened radical Islam and emboldened it to attack us. Robert Spencer's books collectively answer yes, the problem is with Islam itself.

But Islam has been around for 1300 years and the problem of Islamic terrorism is a recent one. How can Islam be to blame? For me the intelligent question is: what is it about Islam today that has made it an incubator of a certain kind of fanaticism and terrorism? -- Dinesh D'Souza

As happened in the case of the Nazis and Japanese militarists there is an assumption of racial and ideological superiority by Islamist extremists. They believe that it is their manifest destiny to bring the entire world under the dominance of their version of Islam. And this version of Islam has nothing to do with the glorious Islam of Baghdad, Samarkand, Delhi and Agra or that was preached by Jalaluddin Rumi, Omar Khayyam, Amir Khusro and Akbar. Just as the Nazis perverted the term socialism and degraded it as National Socialism, the followers of al-Qaeda and Taliban have degraded Islam and are using a perverted cult to advance their ideology. Just as the Nazi and fascist ideologies had their followers and supporters all over Europe, there are supporters of the perverted Talibanised Islam in various Muslim countries. -- K Subrahmanyam

The concept and practice of jihad have been critical in the history of Islam.1 From the rise of Islam and the creation and expansion of the Muslim community, jihad has played a central role in Islam. Jihad (exertion or struggle) is sometimes referred to as the Sixth Pillar of Islam. Throughout history, (as in other faiths) sacred scripture has been used and abused, interpreted and misinterpreted, to justify resistance and liberation struggles, extremism and terrorism, holy and unholy wars. --John L. Esposito

Doing the same thing again and again but expecting different results, goes an old saying, is a form of insanity. It is a maxim the new Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, might do well to consider. -- Praveen Swami

 
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  • Comment 6- The usage of Zulm in the Quran The Quran reads, وَإِذْ قَالَ مُوسَىٰ لِقَوْمِهِ يَا قَوْمِ إِنَّكُمْ ظَلَمْتُمْ أَنفُسَكُم بِاتِّخَاذِكُمُ الْعِجْلَ فَتُوبُوا....
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  • I agree with you GGS sahib, “What is important to note in today’s context is that those rights...
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  • India is a beautiful country. The only thing we need to develop in our sense is increase our own beauty of sight. How....
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )
  • War tactics and rulings enshrined in Islamic teachings are meant for Islamic countries, for the safety and security...
    ( By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi غلام غوث الصديقي )