New Age Islam Edit Bureau
A Jihadist Halloween In New
York: Islamic State May Have Imploded, But IS 2.0 Is Spreading Across The World
Sreeram Sundar Chaulia
Thirty Three Years after The
Sikh Riots, There Is Still No Closure For The Victims
Europe-style terror in US
Keep the Army Out Of It
Why are men never to blame?
Compiled by New Age Islam Edit
deal with lone wolf attacks, governments need to rethink their strategies
recent attack in New York City is a reminder that the world is now in a second
and more difficult phase of countering terrorism. The New York City attack is
the seventh lethal attack after 9/11 on US soil linked to the Al Qaeda or the
Islamic State. Increasingly such terrorism is associated with “lone wolves,”
radicalised individuals who do not have direct organisational connections to a
terrorist group but are often motivated through the internet. This lack of a
physical link has made preventing terrorism much harder. In Europe, for
example, interception rates have fallen by half because of the difficulties
posed by such terrorism.
9/11, a largely military strategy that deprived terrorists of safe havens and
targeted the cell structure of groups like Al Qaeda had remarkable success.
Terror attacks were few and far between on US soil. The number of jihadis
arrested and plots uncovered in the country was in the single figures till
2009. That’s changed now.
rise of the Islamic State and its use of the internet, encryption and social
media has resulted in a significant surge in Islamicist terror attacks across
the world, including the US. Studies show that most lone wolf terrorists
consume a large amount of radical Islamicist propaganda online. A few have some
form of direct communication with an Islamic State sympathiser. Many don’t. And
very few have any deeper relationship with a terrorist organisation.
saving grace, if it can be called that, is that lone wolves inflict far fewer
casualties. The terrorist cell that carried out multiple attacks in Paris and
Brussels was the work of trained terrorists. Its lethality and sophistication
was correspondingly high. The New York City attack is more in line with what
has become a more common occurence: the use of a vehicle to knock down people,
minimal or no use of firearms or explosives, and the absence of any
co-conspirators. Casualties in such attacks, while horrific, are far less than
in terrorist attacks in the early 2000s. But the primitive nature of the attack
also makes it much harder to detect beforehand.
a new wave of counterterrorism measures is being introduced. Tighter controls
on vehicle rentals, greater electronic surveillance, limited censorship of the
internet and, more controversially, a debate on the preventive detention of
suspects and recommendations for laptops and mobile phones to have monitors at
the time of manufacture. In considering such actions it is important to begin
with the assumption that all terror cannot be stopped all the time. The
alternative is an Orwellian police state.
A Jihadist Halloween
In New York: Islamic State May Have Imploded, But IS 2.0 Is Spreading Across
By Sreeram Sundar
terrorist attack in New York city on Halloween day – in which a speeding pickup
truck ploughed into pedestrians and killed 8 persons – is a reminder of how the
threat of Islamic State (IS) is morphing. The assailant, an Uzbek apparently
inspired by the IS command to use vehicles to strike at ‘infidels’ in Western
cities, has conveyed a larger message through his diabolical act that the
nature of the terrorist problem is shifting and so must the policy response to
IS declared its Caliphate in 2014 by capturing vast territorial tracts in Iraq
and Syria, the prime focus of international attention has been on liberating
those lands. And in this endeavour, the two broad military coalitions led by
Russia and the US have succeeded through combat operations and intense bombing
campaigns. From a peak of 90,800 sq km under its control in 2015, IS is down to
ruling over a mere 3% of Iraq and 5% of Syria today.
bulk of the IS leadership and rank and file have been killed, detained and
scattered. The flow of foreign fighters to defend the rump Caliphate after the
fall of major cities like Mosul and Raqqa has reduced drastically. So battered
is IS on the battlefields of Iraq and Syria that its fighters are negotiating
with the Iraqi or Syrian governments to escape alive. In defeat, the jihadists
famed for a culture of martyrdom are showing pragmatic instincts to merely
in spite of progress in the military realm, the ideological virus of IS thought
and philosophy has penetrated many parts of the world and is nowhere close to
being vanquished. The spate of attacks by IS-influenced jihadists in Europe and
the US continues. Typically low-tech in modus operandi, the series of truck
ramming, stabbing and shooting incidents carried out by Muslim immigrants with
no direct training or funding from IS but radicalised over the internet or via
religious networks has challenged national security across the Western world.
so-called autonomous ‘provinces’ or Wilayat in countries as far apart as
Afghanistan, the Philippines and Egypt are also perking up and demonstrating a
resilience that is confounding states and drilling fear into affected
populations. The massive civilian casualties being caused by attacks on Shia
minorities while praying in mosques in Afghanistan and on Christian minorities
in churches of Egypt are trademark symbols of IS branches getting bolder, not
feebler, and wreaking havoc.
the Philippines, IS-affiliated jihadists took over the southern city of Marawi
this year and resisted a huge army assault using daredevil tactics for a record
154 days without caving in. In Bangladesh, IS-smitten groups have increased
activity levels and displaced previously established jihadist movements.
these instances are manifestations of IS’s fundamentalist beliefs which are
thriving far away from its core base in the Middle East. Like its global
predecessor Al Qaeda, IS is grafting itself on to pre-existing local conflicts
and grievances in Asia and Africa and arising as a new force.
big mistake that many governments are committing when faced with this IS 2.0 is
to underestimate it or dismiss it as a smokescreen created by old, traditional
terrorist groups. When IS was ascending in the Middle East in early 2014, then
American president Barack Obama made light of the threat by comparing it to a
‘JV team’ with no main players. Late reaction instead of early preemption
enabled IS to mushroom into a global menace.
and societies in Asia and Africa must learn lessons from past errors of
complacency and concentrate on tackling IS’s intolerant ideation system. The
same holds for Western countries where migrant communities are being attracted
to IS propaganda as a catharsis to solve identity crises and culture clashes.
conventional counter-terrorism methods like surveillance and
intelligence-gathering about suspects, a heavier investment is required in
de-radicalisation programmes among disaffected communities, especially isolated
youth within them.
IS idea and premise that non-Muslims and non-Sunnis are oppressors or
sub-humans who deserve annihilation has to be overwritten with a liberal idea
of the equality and shared humanity of all. Barring such a reformation in
values, the Caliphate will reincarnate itself in its provincial avatar and keep
draining state resources and undermining social fabrics. The war began in the
mind and it will only end there.
Three Years after the Sikh Riots, There Is Still No Closure For The Victims
Sikh community has moved on. The ends of justice will not, however, be met
unless those against whom there is clear evidence are brought to justice. That
call should emanate from all self respecting citizens who place a premium on
the rule of law.
both joined the Indian Foreign Service on the same day, July 11, 1974. We were
both serving in different European cities when the horrific events of 1984 took
place. We shared the disgust at the developments that unfolded. Both our
careers took different turns. One of us resigned after Operation Blue Star. Our
thinking, however, converges with even greater clarity today.
4,000 innocent Sikhs were massacred in early November 1984. The assassination
of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was tragic. The reprisal killings were
no less condemnable.
the partition riots of 1947, there has not been carnage anywhere in India on
the scale seen in 1984. This was a mass atrocity and could attract any of the
four labels normally associated with such heinous crimes: genocide, ethnic
cleansing, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
riots took place in the country following the murder of Indiraji. We know the
people were very angry and for a few days it seemed that India had been shaken.
But when a mighty tree falls, it is only natural that the earth around it does
shake a little”- Rajiv Gandhi.
insensitivity in the above statement soon turned into contempt in respect of
those killed and their survivors.
three years and innumerable commissions later, not a single political leader
has been brought to justice. To suggest that the killings were a spontaneous
expression of anger against members of Sikh community defies comprehension.
no means can the carnage of 1984 be described as a ‘riot’. A ‘riot’ presupposes
countervailing action by the other side. In this case, Sikhs were disarmed.
Marauding gangs, led by local leaders identified Sikh households, and their
occupants were then subjected to looting, plundering, arson and killing.
after the SITs have closed a large number of cases, two political leaders are
on the scanner. In one case, a former business partner of one of the accused
stands ready to give evidence about the role of the erstwhile leader.
terror in US
By Asian Age
“lone wolf” terror attack on a bicycle path by the Hudson river in New York’s
Manhattan will intensify the political debate over immigration and security in
the US. America was subjected to its first European-style attack in which an
ISIS-inspired terrorist drives a vehicle through a street running over people,
as seen earlier in France, Britain, Germany, Sweden and Spain. As irony would
have it, this Uzbek-born terror acolyte managed to kill five Argentinians and a
Belgian visiting New York among his eight victims. The ISIS may have been
soundly defeated in Iraq, driven out of their last bastions of Mosul and Raqqa,
but those indoctrinated by the “caliphate” will continue such attacks,
particularly against the West. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, and
society must find ways to cope with the anxieties of those attacked while just
going about their daily activities.
attacks aren’t the only type of terror to hit the US, whose gun laws are so lax
that it takes only a brief loss of mental balance over an itchy trigger finger
to rain death on people, as Las Vegas showed recently. The Trump administration
has decided to tighten immigrant screening in its “extreme vetting” programme,
with Donald Trump tweeting: “Being politically correct is fine, but not for this!”
Each Islamist terror attack will only harden Mr Trump’s stand. While fighting
terrorism, there can’t be any compromises, even if it means some peaceful
refugees from the killing fields of West Asia are denied their dream of
reaching the “land of opportunity”. One can only sympathise with the innocent
who are killed amid this pointless rage against humanity.
Keep the Army Out
By Sushant Singh
2, 2017 12:15 am
1953, following riots against Ahmadiyyas, martial law was imposed in Lahore.
After bringing the law and order situation under control, the Pakistan army
proceeded to launch the "Cleaner Lahore Campaign". This initiative
created a positive image of army efficiency, besides reinforcing its ability to
restore a situation caused by the failure of civil administration. The civilian
set-up, including the beleaguered politicians and bureaucrats, further
coalesced around the Pakistan army, while keeping an illusion of democracy. By
1958, even that illusion had been shattered as Ayub Khan became the military
dictator of Pakistan.
the same time, in India, 4 Infantry Division under the command of Major General
B.M. Kaul was undertaking the construction of 1,450 barracks and family
accommodation in Ambala using troop labour. The proposal had been turned down
by then army chief, General Thimayya, when it was first raised but Kaul managed
a go-ahead from then defence minister, V.K. Krishna Menon. Christened
"Project Amar", the construction was completed in a record seven
months which led to Kaul becoming the first recipient of the Param Vishist Seva
Medal in 1960. By end-1959, 4 Infantry Division was moved to NEFA (now
Arunachal Pradesh) and when India and China went to war in October-November
1962, it faced the brunt of Chinese assault and suffered a humiliating loss.
The 4 Corps was commanded by Kaul.
two incidents are not directly linked but both hold lessons to be kept in mind
while employing soldiers for routine civilian tasks. Tuesday's announcement of
using army engineers to construct three railway footbridges in Mumbai has
brought the issue into the spotlight. This is, however, not the first time the
army has been used for such tasks. In 2016, the government had asked army
engineers to make a pontoon bridge in the Yamuna flood plains for a mega event
of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. In 2010, when a foot-bridge fell days before the
Commonwealth Games in Delhi, the army engineers came in to erect a bridge in
double-quick time. The army also makes pontoon bridges during the Kumbh mela,
and to restore communication in inaccessible areas after natural disasters.
situation in Mumbai is different: One, it is not a far-flung area where
civilian agencies are unavailable. The Railways in Mumbai have the engineering
resources, technical expertise, funds and experience of constructing such a
bridge. Even private infrastructure creation agencies are available in India's
biggest megacity. Two, this is a permanent infrastructure while the army is
employed to make bridges which are needed temporarily, say for Kumbh. Three,
the army comes in a public emergency where relief is needed in days, if not
hours. A month has already passed since the incident at Elphinstone Bridge.
these significant deviations from the norm, a democratic government is within
its rights to employ soldiers in the manner it deems fit. As the armed forces
seem to be doing nothing urgent when no fighting is on, it is tempting to
employ them in other routine duties. Before the 1962 war, soldiers were growing
crops in vast swathes of military lands and recently, the army was asked to
clean the trash left behind by civilian tourists as part of the Swachh Bharat
campaign. But this violates a fundamental premise of a modern military that
during peace-time, it must be left free to prepare for war. Or as the armed
forces put it: The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.
government must also realise the institutional dangers inherent in employing
soldiers in non-emergency civilian duties. Such employment is an
acknowledgement of civilian institutional failure to the larger public, and
reinforces the belief that only the army can provide an effective substitute.
Besides forestalling a badly needed reappraisal of civilian institutions, it is
a trend which holds potentially negative consequences for the delicate balance
of civil-military relations, if extended to other spheres of governance. That
India is not Pakistan and Indian Army is no Praetorian Guard needs no
reiteration. But a recent Pew Survey shows that 53 per cent of Indians believe
that military rule would be a good thing, with younger people more supportive
of the idea.
unthinking diversion of the armed forces for routine civilian tasks seems
highly affordable but has long-term costs for the country. The government
should remember the lessons from the 1950s.
Why are men never
24 October, a British-Pakistani woman appeared at the Old Bailey Court in
London. Twenty-seven-year-old Sabah Khan was accused of murdering her sister
Saima Khan. But there would be no trial in the case.
it was her turn to plead, Sabah Khan chose to enter a guilty plea. When she
reappeared in the same courtroom two days later, the judge sentenced her to
life in prison, with a minimum of 22 years to be served. The sordid saga of
jealousy, manipulation and exploitation that took one Khan sister’s life and
led to the imprisonment of the other began not last May, when Saima Khan was
murdered, but four years ago, when Saima’s husband, 37-year-old Hafeez Rehman,
began an affair with Sabah, his unmarried sisterin-law.
kept the affair secret, routinely breaking it off and then starting it again. A
father of four children, one of whom was born a little over a year before the
murder, Rehman used WhatsApp to exchange messages with Sabah even while he
lived with her sister and the girl’s parents. Unlike the sisters, who were of
Pakistani origin but largely grew up in the UK, Rehman had migrated from
Pakistan. His marriage to Saima allowed him to obtain a British passport.
the years that the affair continued, Sabah became increasingly obsessed with
Rehman. At one point in time, she became pregnant with his child. Because the
affair was secret (or at least everyone involved pretended not to know about
it), she was forced to have an abortion. It was alleged that at one point
Rehman inquired whether he could be married to both sisters at the same time.
When he learned that this was forbidden in Islam, he chose to continue with the
though he claimed he tried to end the relationship, there seems to be evidence
to the contrary. Long before then, tensions between the sisters had risen to
the point that Sabah was living separately from the rest of the family. In
March 2016, the increasingly desperate Sabah, seeing little hope for a change,
even contacted a ‘practitioner’ of the ‘black arts’ in Pakistan.
in the third person on the messages exchanged, she asked for assistance in
getting rid of her sister. It is alleged that she paid the person £5,000 to
make this happen. But Saima did not die and everything came to a head on the
night of 26 May 2016 at around 11 pm. Saima, who worked as a healthcare aide
for an elderly lady, was at work. The four children, the eldest of whom was a
daughter about seven years old, slept upstairs. Sabah was home taking care of
them. Her parents and Rehman had gone out.
this time, Sabah texted her sister, asking her to come home. Her youngest
daughter, only a year or so old at the time, was crying for her, she said. Not
long after, Saima returned home, entirely unaware of any danger at all. CCTV
footage released to the media shows that Sabah had already purchased a sharp
knife from a supermarket. As soon as Saima’s key turned in the lock and she
entered the hallway, Sabah attacked her. Post-mortem reports show that Sabah
stabbed her sister 68 times.
of the wounds was so deep that it nearly decapitated the victim. At least one
of the children woke up because of the commotion and asked her aunt if she was
killing her mother. Sabah broke a window and threw the black and bloody clothes
she had worn to carry out the attack into plastic bags and out of the window.
She hid the murder weapon in a bedroom.
she called emergency services and alleged that a robbery had taken place in the
house and her sister had been murdered. When the ambulance arrived, Saima was,
of course, already dead. The sad and gruesome story of the murder of an
innocent woman by her sister is in a sense an illustration of the many complex
ills plaguing the British-Pakistani community in towns like Luton. Hailing
largely from rural areas of Punjab, many in these communities still follow the
stunted dictates of a culture frozen on the date of their migration.
desirability of a British passport in Pakistan and the desire to marry
daughters within a circle of close relatives has led to increasing problems.
Apart from the current instance, marriages built on the need of one party to
migrate are rife with the potential for exploitation. Furthermore, marriage
between cousins, as is very common in these communities, is often solemnised
under the pressure of parents and family.
statistics are telling: out of more than 1,400 cases of forced marriage
reported in the UK in 2016, almost half involved the Pakistani community. In
addition to this scourge, Islamophobia among many segments of British society
appears to be on the rise. This together with the constant scrutiny by security
services creates a high-pressure environment that is highly combustible.
this case it was Sabah Khan who killed her sister and Sabah Khan who will spend
the rest of her life in jail. And while the woman who committed the crime must
rightly be punished for it, some anger and attention should also be directed at
the man at the heart of it, a man who seems to have evaded any kind of
Sabah Khan wielded the knife and stabbed her sister, it was Rehman who drove
her to it. In love triangles it is often the women who blame each other.
there are no lessons that can be drawn from such a heartbreaking tragedy,
perhaps we can pause and wonder why men are hardly ever the ones to blame.