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Radical Islamism and Jihad

The TNTJ is a non-political Islamic organisation based in Tamil Nadu, which has some presence in countries such as Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and others. It aims to preach “true” Islam to Muslims and non-Muslims. The group has captured headlines for organising protests against load shedding and asking for the closure of liquor shops....

 

From Afghanistan through Pakistan to the Maldives to Bangladesh, radical Islamist extremism is an ever present reality. Both India and Sri Lanka, however, prefer to believe that they are shielded from such tendencies, but this needs a relook...

 

The fear of reprisals combined with growing Islamophobia compels Muslims to insist that these acts have nothing to do with their faith. This urge to separate religion from the violence committed in its name is well intentioned and understandable, yet counterproductive....

 

SLTJ, a prominent Muslim outfit that seeks to spread a fundamentalist, Wahhabi version of Islam has a track record of inciting racial hatred, vandalising Buddhist places of worship, and openly endorsing the IS brand of violent jihad. ...

Mr. President,

The US is withdrawing from Afghanistan as well as from Iraq and Syria. Inspired by the Taliban declaration of victory, a radicalised terrorist in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, backed by a Pakistan-based Islamist terrorist organisation, attacked an Indian military convoy, killing 40 soldiers. Similar suicide attack killed 27 elite revolutionary guards in Sistan, Iran. Emboldened Jihadists will surely carry out more such attacks in future. The gloating in Islamist circles for having “defeated” both the superpowers, the Soviet Union and the United States, has reached its peak.

Mr. President,

Still fresh in our minds is what happened when the international community abandoned Afghanistan in 1989. Taliban ruled and Al-Qaeda got a safe haven. A series of atrocities including 9/11 and horrors of Islamic State followed.

 In this backdrop, the complacency of the world community in allowing Taliban to govern Afghanistan is inexplicable. Jihadist strength does not come from their soldiers and territories. It comes from an ideology and ideologies cannot be defeated militarily.

Mr. President,

The Jihadist ideology is based on very solid foundations in Islamic history, scriptures and theology. Moderate Muslims have not yet succeeded in evolving a satisfactory alternative theology of peace and pluralism to challenge the current theology of violence and exclusion. Even when such a theology evolves, it will take time and effort for it to be established. Mainstream Muslims should be allowed the time and space to work out and propagate a counternarrative. I would, therefore, urge the international community not to repeat the mistakes of 1989 and invite further disasters....

One of the most welcome reports emanating from Indian religious scholars in the wake of Easter Sunday attack in Sri Lanka is the note of condemnation from Grand Mufti and newly appointed Chief Qazi of India Muhammad Asjad Raza Khan ‘Barelvi.’ He has called for ideological battle against terrorists’ ideological narratives....

Another factor behind Indonesia’s tremendous progress is the Pancasila ideology, which stipulates that there is no state religion. All citizens are allowed to practice their own religion and all religions are respected by the state....

 

The choice of ISIS of Kashmir as its "Wilayat" is very plausible… The ISIS jihadists have long been looking for a new area to reorganize their groups after they have suffered in Iraq and Syria. But this could not be possible without the required ideological and logistical support. … It has announced the establishment of its province in India (Wilayat al-Hind) only after consolidating its linkages with its loyalists in the subcontinent. …

As for Islamic scholars, they should rethink Islam in the present-situation in addition to taking into account the objectives of Islam which are being violated by the radical ‘Islamist’ groups. They should indeed work to rescue Islam from the clutches of terrorists. In this connection, they should make all possible efforts to teach the common and naïve Muslims the true message of Islam which is fully in agreement with development of a peaceful and cooperative environment…..

This is perhaps the biggest function to pay tributes to ‘Shaheed-e-Millat’, ‘Shaheed-e-Hurriyat’ and martyrs of Hawal massacre. Mirwaiz distributed prizes among the children who won the Qur’an recitation competition. But the worrying fact of this Husn-e-Qir’at programme is that students of Hifz from various Kashmiri madrasas and Darul Ulooms, who participate in it having memorized the entire Qur’an by heart at a tender age, are susceptible to the misinformation being promulgated on these occasions……

 

The puzzle unravels, however, considering the attack from a global perspective: There were ideological as well as practical reasons for targeting Sri Lankan Christians. From the ideological perspective, Christians are the Muslims’ iconic enemy and the depiction of contemporary Christians...

 

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....

ISIS may be militarily defeated tomorrow and even go out of existence. But this will not solve the problem of Muslim radicalisation. If our madrasas and educational institutions continue to prepare the ground for self-segregation and militancy, expounding the current theology, mixed with narratives of victimhood and marginalisation, Islam will continue to be hobbled, Muslims will continue to struggle to fit in the way of life in contemporary world.

Moderate, progressive Muslims must urgently evolve and propagate an alternative theology of peace and pluralism, consistent in all respects with the teachings of Islam, and suitable for contemporary and future societies, while refuting the current theology of violence and supremacism.

Unfortunately, as we have seen above, the task is not so easy. Radicalisation has not just happened overnight. Jihadi theology has evolved over hundreds of years. Major theologians who have studied Islam independently have brought to us a political version of Islam, stripping the religion of all its spirituality.

While it is primarily the duty of Muslims to fight this ideological war within slam, this is no longer just a Muslim concern. The world too must confront Muslim scholars with the supremacism and extremism present in their theology and ask them to rethink Islam.  ProgressiveMuslims should join the rest of the world to defeat extremism in Islamic theology.

“The world was unaware that a whole generation of Bangladeshis had grown up with no love for Pakistan or the Islamic movement prior to the formation of Pakistan in 1947. These were young students and professionals born after 1971….

 
Intolerance and Radicalism in Indonesia
Jakarta Globe and Suara Pembaruan

The government had disbanded hardline Islamic group Hizbut Tahrir Indonesia in 2017 for "threatening national unity and the state ideology Pancasila." But though the organization does not officially exist....

 

We can tackle racism and discrimination, which we must. We can review our security and intelligence settings, and we are. But we can’t fix the proliferation of violent content online by ourselves. We need to ensure that an attack like this never happens again in our country or anywhere else….

Under Imran Khan, Pakistan has developed a consensus — not without input from China — of getting rid of the “terrorists” trained and sheltered by it. Without this consensus, Khan wouldn’t have “made a clean breast” of it like that in Tehran....

 

Since the collapse of the “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq, Islamic State (is) has been looking for other places to raise its black flag. Africa, and especially the Sahel, is vulnerable. Governments are weak, unpopular and often have only a tenuous grip over remote parts of their territory....

 

But when it comes to the Islamic State terror group, numbers have always been a challenge for the United States and its partners, starting with their first efforts to measure the terror group’s appeal to would-be jihadists from across the globe….

 

The key reason behind China’s long-standing romance with Azhar and other AF-Pak terrorists is safeguarding its economic interests. Masood Azhar has been China’s go-to guy to ensure security of its geostrategic investments under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the top Chinese project under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in the Af-Pak region, one of the world’s most crowded terrorist landscapes....

Baghdadi’s reference to the terror bombings in Sri Lanka was important. The video was an opportunity to take credit for the bombings as well as a reminder that IS remains the dominant global jihadist terror group. His video likely sought to inspire those in Iraq and Syria who believed in IS’s purpose to have faith that the physical caliphate will be re-established later....

 

Al-Qaradawi, one of the most influential Sunni preachers in the world, has disseminated extremist ideas for many decades that form key parts of the ideological foundations for Salafi-Jihadism, the proper name for the doctrine of violent Islamist militancy practiced by ISIS, Al-Qaeda, and similar groups....

The bombings were planned by members of one of the wealthiest families in the island. Foreign-educated scions of this politically influential family were among those who volunteered to blow themselves up in the suicide mission....

This was not only one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in South Asia’s recent history, comparable to the Mumbai siege and atrocities in Peshawar and Baluchistan over the past few years. It was one of the deadliest recent attacks globally. According to some members of the Sri Lankan government, this attack was carried out in response to the far-right terror attack in Christchurch....

 

Ever since terrorism — specifically the jihadist variety — has stalked the globe, a common refrain has been that radicalised young men need to be educated and given job opportunities to steer them away from the murderous path they have chosen. But as we have learned in attack after attack, many of those responsible have been not just educated, but well-to-do....

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