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Radical Islamism and Jihad

Mr. President,

Islamophobia and Islamist violence are both growing and in the unlikeliest of places. Recent attacks on churches in Sri Lanka were as much of a surprise as the attack on mosques in Christchurch. And now copycat attacks are taking place elsewhere. A vicious cycle of xenophobic violence is in operation.

While the world suffers from Jihadist violence, Muslims in particular suffer the most causalities in sectarian wars incited by the Islamist Jihadist ideology. And yet, even almost two decades after 9/11, Muslim nations continue to be in denial. Islamist ideology based on the Islamic theology of consensus is absolved of any responsibility for violent extremism.

The result is that Muslim children continue to be taught in madrasas Islam supremacism and contempt for other religions. Even explicitly violent passages have not yet been weeded out from text books.

The terrorism it generates takes many shapes. If Hindu, Sikh and Christian girls are abducted and forcibly converted to Islam in Pakistan, this too essentially comes from contempt for other religions taught in religious seminaries. In several countries including Pakistan, some Muslims do not wait for courts to pass judgements to punish those they consider guilty.

 The Council should convince the offending states to establish the rule of law on the basis of the UN Charter and repeal unacceptable laws against freedom of religion and conscience.-----

Without a claim to physical territory anymore, the group’s information operations have become even more critical to its success. The nature and spread of ISIS as an organization have changed as a result....

 

In politics, as in life, the urgent always trumps the important. The urgent question about ISIS these days is the fate of thousands of foreign former fighters now languishing in limbo in makeshift prisons....

 

The modern scholars of Islam right from Muhammad Asad to Mohammad Iqbal and Murad Wilfred Hoffman believe that the Quran does not envisage any particular form of government and that it only gives an outline of the ideal Islamic government: it will be based on the Quranic principle of Amruhum Shura Baynahum and will be based on justice, equality and social and ethical values inculcated by the Quran and Sunnah....

SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks online activity of jihadist groups, reported that in a video released by the militant group, the 68-year-old al-Zawahiri also criticizes "backtrackers" from jihad, referring to former Jihadis who changed their views in prison and called the 9/11 attacks unacceptable because innocent civilians were harmed....

 

These circumstances are worrying, particularly for the religious minorities that were targeted by ISIS. Such minorities include Iraqi Christians and Yazidis, with women and children being the most vulnerable to kidnappings, torture, rape and being sold as sex slaves....

 

As terrorist groups increasingly deploy women’s participation to their strategic advantage, our government can no longer afford to ignore the ways in which women can strengthen our counterterrorism efforts....

 

“I want you all to speak up against militancy and terrorism, and highlight Islam as a religion of peace in the next Jumah Khutba in every mosque across the country.”...

 

The retired brigadier, who has already been granted American citizenship along with his family members, had also persuaded Shakeel Afridi, a Pakistani physician, to conduct a fake polio campaign in the Bilal Town area, Abbottabad to help the CIA hunt down Osama”...

 

This claim denies the truth established in the Quran and Sunnah that Islam is intrinsically a religion of peace and that the preachers (du’at) of peace are neither apologetic nor heretic because they serve Islam by spreading its teachings of peace....

Contrary to initial and subsequent assessments, however, the terrorist group, also known as Islamic State's West Africa Province (ISWAP), was not to be easily defeated…..

 

Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri, you should have sought to understand the philosophy of Kashmiriyat that reigns in Kashmir before writing your latest missive. The Muslims of Kashmir have traditionally understood the message of Islam much better than the fundamentalists and exclusivists who present Islam as a totalitarian, fascist, political ideology of world domination, which seeks to eliminate all the scores of religions sent by God before Prophet Mohammad. This is the reason why even those Kashmiri politicians who now advocate secession have contested elections for the legislative Assemblies constituted under India’s secular and progressive constitution. This is the reason why only a few Kashmiri youth have taken to the path of terror, which you call Jihad. Most of the terrorism seen in the state of Jammu and Kashmir has been part of a proxy war waged by neighbouring Pakistan for its own ends. Pakistan, of course, has turned export of terrorism to a fine art, affecting all corners of the globe....

According to various media reports, Saeed has, so far, been ‘arrested’ nine times (including the latest occasion) and released thereafter. He was last arrested on January 30, 2017. However, predictably, the Judicial Review Board of Pakistan’s Punjab province ordered his release on November 22, 2017, on the grounds that "the government was not able to present any evidence to justify [Saeed's] continued detention...

 

A blistering Pentagon report blamed Trump’s decision to pull troops out of Syria and cut diplomatic staff in Iraq for the resurgence of ISIS in Syria and Iraq....

 

Borhami has repeatedly sparked controversy in the past with the Fatwas he issues, including one barring Muslims from sending holiday greetings to Coptic Christians, another banning people from watching soccer games and one forbidding children from decorating their bedrooms with Disney character posters. ...

Since the last two decades, Pakistan has been in the eyes of storm due to the rampant rise of terrorism. This created continuous political turbulence, social fragmentation, and internal security disorder in society....

 

That threat is not the American-led NATO coalition. The Islamic State (ISIS) is a transnational organization with the objective of making Afghanistan one more province (their word is emirate) in a worldwide caliphate...

 

He has cynical reasons to sound apocalyptic. His formula for staying in power has two main parts: repression at home, and constantly warning foreign leaders that unless they support him, Egypt will fall into chaos...

 

The U.N. Human Rights Council passed a resolution, proposed by Pakistan on behalf of Islamic states, last March, condemning “defamation of religion” as a human rights violation. Speaking for the 56-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Pakistan said that “Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism.” It called on states “to deny impunity” for those exhibiting intolerance of ethnic and religious minorities, and “to take all possible measures to promote tolerance and respect for all religions and beliefs.”

However, Mr. President, news reports often emanate from Islamic countries, particularly Pakistan, of intolerance of and disrespect for minority religious beliefs. We also see free publication and distribution of Jihadi literature associating Islam with and indeed promoting human rights violations and extremist violence. Even school and madrasa text books are not free from extremist and exclusivist teachings, asking Muslims to stay away from religious and cultural celebrations of other religious communities. Pakistan’s notorious anti-blasphemy laws ensure that members of religious minorities are either lynched by mobs or awarded death sentences on mere accusations of blasphemy. The case of a Christian lady Aasia Bibi, mercifully out of the country now, has brought this issue to world’s attention. Ahmadiya Muslims are officially excluded from Islam and even debarred from claiming to be Muslim in any way. Like non-Muslim minorities, they too suffer indignities of various kinds in their daily life. Hundreds of young Hindu girls are routinely abducted and forcibly converted to Islam and raped in the name of marriage.

While this resolution seeks to protect Islam from defamation through any association with terrorism, the religion is routinely defamed in Muslim countries by publication of literature justifying violence against non-Muslim civilians. The very title of a long essay in the Taliban mouthpiece Nawa-e-Afghan Jihad was: ‘Circumstances in which the killing of innocent people among infidels is justified.’

I would, therefore, urge the Council to ask the Muslim countries to treat intolerance of minorities and Jihadi literature too as defaming the religion of Islam....

Even though IS was at its peak in 2014, its ‘Khorasan chapter’ in Afghanistan and Pakistan never quite took off. While loyalties remain fluid in militancy, the group failed to gather much traction....

It was the product of extreme Deobandi madrasas in Pakistan. Taliban of Afghanistan is the product of Deoband thinking as it evolved in Pakistan after partition. The Wahhabis and the Salaifis of Saudi Arabia can be counted as clones of the Talibanised mindset...

 

A War on Terror has been raging for 17 years now but we are no closer to defeating Islamist terror. Jihadism continues to attract Muslim youth. This is because the world has not paid enough attention to the ideology of Islamism and Jihadism.

Mainstream Muslims have considered Islam a spiritual path to salvation, one of the many. Islam aims at reforming society for a peaceful, harmonious, pluralist existence. However, due to certain historical factors, the theology and jurisprudence of Islam that evolved in the 8th and 9th centuries (CE), present Islam as a political, totalitarian ideology of supremacism, xenophobia, intolerance and gender discrimination. It is this theology of violence, exclusivism and world-domination that is taught in madrasas and sustains Islamism. But despite the Islamist violence against peaceful Muslims and non-Muslims alike, the community is still not focussed on the need for evolving a counternarrative of Islam.

 It is imperative that Muslim countries that have signed the UN Charter look into the issue urgently and work towards developing a new theology of peace, pluralism and gender justice. While several countries like Morocco and now Saudi Arabia appear to be moving in this direction, the one country that has made a solid contribution is Turkey. In a decade-long exercise 100 Turkish scholars have managed to limit the number of authentic ahadith to just 1600, out of over 10,000, and provide each hadith with context and suitable interpretation. This book of authentic Hadith has been provided to all mosques in Turkey but I hope it is made available to the global Muslim community in their own languages as soon as possible.

Allama Iqbal, a poet-philosopher of the South Asian sub-continent had called for the reconstruction of religious thought in Islam almost a hundred years ago. Let us at least start working on it now....

While the entire attention of the international community is on ‘final deal’ between the United States (US) and the Taliban, the Islamic State (IS, also Daesh) continues with its deadly progression in Afghanistan....

 

The split itself occurred at the leadership levels of these groups, so one of the most interesting questions is: to what extent do foot soldiers and mid-level commanders really care, in actuality, about the previous infighting and strategic disputes?...

 

The sword won’t succeed in uprooting the Kharijites; soft power should be in the heart of the battle. Perhaps a single scene is mightier than a thousand bullets and a single image mightier than a thousand swords....

 
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