By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New
September 15 2017
The in-house Urdu magazine of
the extremist outfit—Jaish-e-Muhammad—al-Qalam has published an article
urging the South Asian Muslims to wage a violent jihad in Myanmar in
retaliation of the reported persecutions of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
In its latest edition, the
weekly magazine which claims to be the torch-bearer of Islamic journalism (Islami
Sahafat Ka Alambardar) carries an article penned by Maulana Masood Azhar,
chief of the terror outfit, Jaish-e-Muhammad.
At the very outset, Azhar
threatens the ‘oppressive’ Myanmar government to prepare for “the thudding
sound of the footsteps of its conquerors”. He avers that “the country will be
soon deprived of peace and tranquillity”.
A cursory look at the key
contents reveals the potential of radicalization well-embedded in this virulent
piece. It reads: “The global Muslim
community (Ummah) is feeling the pain of the Muslim nation……” “It is because of
the sacrifices of the Myanmar Muslims that the Ummah is waking up and we are
seeing this new awakening among the Muslims of the world…..” “All of us must do
whatever we can for the Myanmar Muslims. Just say your prayers, and get up to
help them. You don’t need to show off what you are doing: just do it, and never
stop.” The full Urdu article is accessed online here. (1)
Thus, it is the first time that
any extremist jihadist ideologue in South Asia has given a call for jihad in
Myanmar. Significantly, this jihadist war-cry has come in a weekly column in
al-Qalam regularly written by Maulana Masood Azhar under his pen-name ‘Sa’adi’.
In this article titled in Urdu as “Betab Burma” (Distressed Burma), the group’s
house magazine appeals to the common Muslims of the subcontinent “to do
something, and do it urgently”.
The extremist jihadist
magazine—Al-Qalam—which is published in Urdu both in print and online is freely
available to the gullible young Muslim confrontationists in the subcontinent.
Jihadist literature like this has considerably helped in radicalizing a
sizeable number of naive Urdu readers particularly in Pakistan, Kashmir and
even some parts of the Urdu-speaking states in India.
It is not difficult to see why
this ‘clarion call’ for jihad by one of the most notorious South Asian
extremist cult has been raised at a time when an increasing number of Muslim
masses in India are joining the chorus of “Rise for Rohingyas”.
Given the growing anguish among
the country’s Muslim citizens against the Myanmar’s crackdown on their
co-religionists—Rohingyas— and deep religious sympathy for them, the jihadist
war-cry of Jaish-e-Muhammad and the ilk will fuel the flame of Islamist
radicalization in India.
With the first call for Jihad
in Myanmar, the Jaish-e-Mohammad has sowed the seeds of this imminent religious
strife. Several other extremist Islamist outfits in South Asia are rooting for
the ‘Rohingya jihad’ in a bid to further their nefarious ends.
Now, similar calls for jihad
are emerging from the global jihadist outfits like the Al Qaeda which pose
threats against the internal security of the region. According to the Pakistani
newspaper’s report dated Sep 14, 2017, Al Qaeda militants have called for
support for Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims, warning that Myanmar would face
“punishment” for its “crimes”. The militant group behind the September 11,
2001, attacks on the United States issued a statement urging Muslims around the
world to support their fellow Muslims in Myanmar with aid, weapons and “military
support”. “The savage treatment meted out to our Muslim brothers ... shall not
pass without punishment,” al Qaeda said in a statement, according to the SITE
monitoring group.“The government of Myanmar shall be made to taste what our
Muslim brothers have tasted.”
The mainstream Muslims in the
subcontinent must refute the radical rhetoric being promulgated for the violent
Jihadism in the name of ‘Rohingya Muslims’ like in the Al-Qalam’s
article or Al Qaeda’s proclamation.
Indian Muslim leaders’ compassion and moral support for the Rohingya
refugees is not misplaced. But they should also feel impelled to distance the
community from monsters of the jihadist radicalisation.
Whether some of the Rohingyas,
if not the whole community, are linked with the radical jihadist outfit, Aqam ul
Mujahideen, and hence their illegal immigration in India poses security
threats, is still being debated. But there has been no theological refutation,
vociferously, of these jihadist underpinnings behind the Rohingya radicalisation.
Also, there is substantial evidence that the Rohingya-linked extremists are
predominantly influenced by the puritanical thoughts of either the Pakistani
Wahhabis or the India-based global movement of Islamic preaching—Tablighi
An ideological probe into the
Rohingya crisis unravels that Rohingya Muslims’ plight is being used as a tool
in the hands of the extremist Islamist outfits now. They began to indoctrinate
the gullible Muslims into the narrative of victimhood. Indian officials have also
found evidence that these groups have attracted a few Rohingyas by promising to
help them carry out retribution against Myanmar, Bangladesh and India.
Tellingly, India has the second
highest Muslim population, by and large, living peacefully and even dominantly
in some parts of the country. But surprisingly, radical Islamist outfits in
India allege that the country has been turned into religio-fascism. Muslims'
lives in India, they say, have been put in jeopardy. And still, they demand
that Rohingya Muslims be absorbed in India!!!
A Kerala-based Islamic outfit,
the Popular Front of India (PFI) has slammed not only the government of Myanmar
for persecuting and depriving the Rohingya Muslims of their rights and
citizenship, but also the Indian government for planning to deport them from
the country. Recently, many Islamic organisations like the Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind
have planned to take out strong protests and marches in Delhi for the rights of
Rohingyas, as widely reported in the local Urdu media outlets. But none of them
seems to get worried with the extremist and fanatic elements making an
ideological capital out of the issue.
Scores of Islam-based social
media groups are purportedly sharing pictures of persecution against the
Rohingya Muslims and thus creating grievous fears among the common Indian
Muslims against their own country. An outpouring of compassion for their
co-religionists is natural and cannot be rejected outright. But this poses a
grave internal security threat, given the similar display of sympathy and
strongly-worded support and confrontational statements from the Pakistani
jihadist outfits sparking regional fears.
Particularly in Kashmir, Hizbul
Mujahideen has been fanning the flame of radicalism telling the provocative
stories of the Muslim victimhood in Myanmar. The extremist outfit's
sympathizers widely shared an Urdu poster on social media groups, on the
occasion of the Eid-ul-Adha, urging Muslims of the valley to donate skins of
the slaughtered animals to the Hizbul Mujahideen, which claimed to step up to rescue the
Rohingya refugees. The Hizbul Mujahideen’s poster reads in Urdu:
Afghanistan, Iraq and now Burma. In fact, Muslims all across the world are
getting mercilessly massacred and attaining martyrdom (Shahadat), as evidenced
in the given pictures. But the youths of Hizbul Mujahideen are well-prepared to
tackle the onslaughts on Muslims everywhere. It's your responsibility to make
contributions in this cause. Hence, you must offer your Islamic donations and
charity (Sadaqat and Khairat), particularly the sacrificed animal's skins to
the Hizb ul Mujahideen, which resolves to rescue the distressed Muslims."
This poster carries gruesome
pictures showing Muslim children and women being ruthlessly killed in Burma,
Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq. It has also provided the contact numbers of
three responsible persons, as detailed in an article on a liberal and
progressive Urdu website, Naya Zamana. (niazamana.com/2016/09/funding-for-terrerists/)
No wonder then, Zakir Musa, the
Kashmiri militant who was earlier the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander and now
heads a newly created Jihadist outfit in Kashmir, Ansar Ghazwat-ul-Hind, in his recent video
warned that "there will be wanton killing and bloodshed if 8,000 Rohingyas
in Jammu are deported".
While the Pakistan-based Islamist
radicalisation is unceasingly active, the Rohingya plight remains a crucial
security concern for India. The Pakistani terror outfit, Jama’at-ud-Dawa also
known as Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) has reportedly organized the refugee camps of
Rohingya Muslims in Indonesia. Under the leadership of the global terrorist
Hafiz Saeed, Jama’at-ud-Dawa posed as a humanitarian organization and offered
food, clothes and shelters to the Rohingya Muslim immigrants in various
The common preceptors in
India—including the human rights activists, journalists as well as the Islamic
clergy—barely engage with the Rohingya crisis from a deeper ideological point
of view. They fail to fathom how the Rohingya issue is being misused to further
the ulterior motives of the radical Islamist outfits, particularly Pakistan’s
home-grown jihadist cults. Given this, it is imperative to demystify the
Rohingya issue in India from this theoretical perspective.
Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi is a
scholar of classical Islamic studies, cultural analyst and researcher in media
and communication studies.
Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic
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