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Islam and Terrorism: Compatible or Incompatible

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Junaid Mushtaq lone

“Whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely? And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely”. (Al-Quran, Chapter 5, Verse 32)

Main kis ke hath pe apna lahu talash karun, Tamam sheher ne pehnay hue hain dastanay Banay hain ahl-e-hawas muddaee bhi, munsif bhi, Kisay wakeel karen, kis se munsifee chaahen                     (Faiz Ahmad Faiz)

It was Friday 19th of May 2017, following the routine I hurried early in the morning from my temporary cottage to my workplace. I switched on the HPxw4600 Workstation, amidst of our work affair; a sudden flash of broadcast message from LAN disturbed this routine work affair. The broadcast message from LAN read “Please assemble at the auditorium for pledge taking ceremony on ATD (Anti-Terrorism Day). I stepped towards auditorium and seated myself in the last row, only to come out soon after pledge was over. Longing of meeting back my computer system was a bit prolonged as ATD speech was also supposed to be delivered by the security chief of the institute.

The honourable speaker started by truthfully admitting that terrorism had no single definition and then categorised terrorism into some 5 odd type’s viz., state terrorism, religious terrorism, left and right-wing terrorism etc. My apprehension was proven right when the speaker like many other corporate media followers finally declared Islamic terrorism as the biggest threat facing humanity at this juncture. The terms like Islamism, Radical/Extremist Islam, Fundamentalist Islam, and Jihadism hide the primarily political motivations around much of the religiously named violence. Moreover, it unifies often very different agendas and motivations. While not ignoring the religious dimension, we should not use headline names for these militants and terrorists using any claimed religious motivation. While studying religion and ideology plays an important part in the analysis, the currently used terms give pseudo-legitimacy, hide the complexity of factors (land, identity, oppression, etc.) behind events, and help fuel Islamophobia (Paul Hedges, 2015).

Indeed, no clear evidence suggests religion is more likely to incite violence than other ideologies or worldviews; nevertheless, in the current geopolitical environment it often provides a claimed motivation or seeming explanation – both for actors and commentators (Paul Hedges, 2015). “Terrorism is really political violence, first and foremost,” “If you dialogue with these people, if you look at how they actually move into ‘jihad’ … there is very little discussion of religion.” (The Intercept, Mehdi Hassan, 2017).

From the beginning of time, people have perverted religions to justify the worst possible behaviours imaginable. The likes of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) who claim to fight in the name of Islam not only violate the letter of Qur’an, but violate the spirit of it as well. Their acts are fundamentally un-Islamic. Least to mention bomb blasts by Hindu named terrorists and recent lynching and mob violence by saffron brigades are also fundamentally anti-Hinduism acts, with no evidence from religious scriptures. Religion is what lies in Holy Scriptures, not what few mad people propagate by quoting out of context verses from holy book(s).

This bastardization of Islam is not unique. One of the early ships in the Trans-Atlantic slave trade was actually known as the “Good Ship Jesus.” The very people who were capturing, chaining, and then selling human beings for a life of slavery saw absolutely no conflict of interest between such actions with their Christianity. For that matter Gujarat Pogrom was also politically motivated and religiously matriculated, but being an educated person I won’t blame Hinduism for such dastardly act. However, it’s an easy temptation to oversimplify our emotions into dangerous generalizations, but we must resist such urges.

There is an Islamic meltdown currently going on as Muslim world is being depopulated at an alarming rate. According to the UN, Muslims are the largest victims of ISIS. ISIS is responsible for more Muslim deaths than western victims (Independent, 2015). In Syrian War, under the garb of killing dreaded ISIS (which according to US officials are not more than 10,000 and still exist despite all advanced weaponry of NATO and Russia has)  more than 2,50,000 non combatants have been eliminated and out of 22 million Syrian residents 11 million are displaced (Statistics are from year 2015). Then there is another side of the story, imagine that your whole family, I mean all your cousins and uncles and aunts are killed by a single drone attack, won’t you join any organisation (be that ISIS or anything), that will provide you a way to vent your anger against those flying devils. 1 million dead in Iraq from 2003-2007 by US hegemony will have affected 1 million families that is how these kids get frustrated and join cults like ISIS. Thus religion is nowhere in the scene. We the people living in our cosy and luxurious apartments in peaceful environment cannot empathise with the situation these oppressed people go on daily basis. And who knows such radical groups may be remotely controlled by some masterminds sitting as good guys and delivering lectures of peace to the world as late Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro hinted about ISIS. The world is full of secret history and shadow boxing of intelligence agencies and no government has remained away from it, rest is all facade. I would like to conclude by quoting Edward Snowden that “Terrorism has always been what we in intelligence proverbial call, ‘a cover for action’. Terrorism is something that provokes an emotional response that allows people to rationalize authorizing powers of programs that they wouldn’t give otherwise”.

P.S: Terrorism is too complex a topic to be discussed about and needs a lot of research with authentic sources. To speak on terrorism is not everybody cup of tea, but yes you can conclude it intellectually by putting all blame on Islam as it is the soft target. I beg you to read and believe in Islam of Quran not that of ISIS. Islam and terrorism have severe incompatibility with one another.

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