Story of Baghdadi chickens and a ‘failed journalist’
Recently a Srinagar based online portal carried a write-up titled as Chickens come home to roost for Kashmir’s Islamists.
In the article, the author has sought to discuss certain dimensions of militant movement in Kashmir, which erupted some thirty years ago in late eighties of 20th century. The reasons of militancy eruption in Kashmir were many and require profound knowledge of historical factors for proper understanding.
However, the arguments used by the author in the above mentioned article appear more aimed at maligning the image of a particular ideology rather than discussing the issue dispassionately in the light of historical facts and figures. The author’s bias is bursting the seams as is apparent throughout the write-up making it a typical piece of yellow journalism.
The author gives an impression that ISIS and other extremist ideologies stem from the seeds sown by Jama’at-e-Islami (JI), a prominent socio-religious-political organization of sub-continent. The implied statement called for as big and sensible arguments to its support as the size of this tall claim. But as we go through the write-up, we come across an incarnation sorts of notorious General Bakhshi fame of Indian media.
The assertions made are as distorted and flawed as used by so-called counter-terrorism experts and analysts; retired army personnel which are slotted for prime time on Indian news channels. Now as crude as it could get, this is how cherry-picked statements and isolated incidents are used to craft narratives to obscure the reality.
As a student of Kashmir history and politics, I have tried to put things in proper perspective. I am not a spokesperson of any organization or ideology. I speak for myself. People may agree with me and I respect anybody’s right to disagree with my opinion. If I distort, I should be corrected. Same way I am trying to correct the manipulated narrative which is being projected as historical progression of our freedom struggle.
As far as its ideology is concerned, JI believes in a holistic concept of Islam. It believes that Islam is not just a private affair of individual rather it calls upon its followers to re-orient their private and public life on the foundations and guidelines set forth by this divine faith. It not only views Islam as a complete code of life, encompassing every sphere of modern life be it politics, economy, culture or international relations but also believes in adherence to the same methodology for its establishment as followed by Prophet Mohammad (PBUH). To preach its ideas and to realize its objectives, the organization has strongly emphasized on a peaceful mode of struggle in its constitution (Dastoor) and literature. JI’s history bears testimony to this fact. Now it depends upon how much one knows about the organization and how much of its literature you have consulted directly, not the propagandistic pieces scattered around in abundance.
One more thing is that this organization is not operating in Kashmir alone. In fact, it was established before the Kashmir dispute began and is operating in most of the countries in sub-continent and many more around the world.
Idea and the methodology
The author has pegged his theory around the speech of a JI activist from Srinagar. As per the author, the speaker contradicts himself by first asking his audience as why to put the burden of khilafah on weak shoulders of Kashmiris and then claims that “it was JI which reintroduced the concept of Khilafah to the world in 20th century.”
Are these assertions by the JI speaker really a contradiction? The speaker, as mentioned by the author, is not dismissing, opposing or negating the idea of Khilafah or Iqamat-e-Deen, as described in the JI literature to make the concept more comprehensive in terms of its socio-political and religious connotations.
The position of JI has always been clear on this subject. This position remains so from the time when Kashmir dispute was not even born. It believes that Islamic revolution cannot be realized by means of coercion or by resorting to violence.
The approach of JI appears more realistic and pragmatic on the ground as it believes that the process of Islamic Revolution will involve widespread education, popular awareness and practical demonstration at a microcosm level and a longstanding focused struggle to take roots. Islamic Revolution is not a mere change of faces at governance level. It can neither be brought about by the symbolism of mere sloganeering or raising of black flags. Islamic Revolution is a gradual and practical process, not symbolism.
Referring to the “weak shoulders,” the JI speaker implies that Kashmiri nation, being occupied has to carry forward its struggle for freedom and existence in the first place. After the occupation is over, we will be in a position to re-orient our collective system and model of governance on Islamic principles. JI has from the day one called for resolution of Kashmir dispute and has been striving for that on multiple fronts. It has also publicly declared that it wants Islamic system of governance in Kashmir after the occupation ends and the people of the region are made masters of their affairs. In presence of foreign occupation, is any change in system possible?
Freedom from foreign occupation is the first step for any reform and struggle which seeks to establish Islamic order. At least, this is what we can infer from the Quran, the source of our guidance. This is the model shown to believers by Allah (SWT) in the first address of Musa (A.S) to Pharaoh.
The speaker is equally right when he claims that it was his organization which has taught to the modern world what the Islamic state actually is i.e. how it looks like and what are the means to achieve and sustain an Islamic revolution.
To my knowledge, which of course is limited, no scholar either from classical or contemporary world has produced as much of literature on theme of Islamic polity as Syed Maududi, the founder of JI, did and people influenced by his movement.
So the speaker is justified when he rubbishes the false notions and hollow claims being propagated in the name of Khilafah, while on the ground, no such effort is made by these fan boys and their handlers to cause a social transformation required for this lofty noble ideal. It remains a fact that JI’s model and the model espoused by ISIS are at odds. While JI believes that an Islamic State cannot be established by use of force or violence, ISIS believes that violence is a must for it. JI, however, believes and deems permissible the use of armed resistance to end foreign occupation of Muslim lands.
Is HM an armed wing of JI?
The author has described Hizb Ul Mujahideen as an armed wing of JI. Now this is a big claim that calls for substantial evidence. However, there is hardly any documental evidence or substantial material to prove this claim. JI never officially claimed Hizb as its military wing.
Despite facing worst of the state sponsored violence and unparalleled provocations, the organization remained wedded to its official stand of peaceful and constructive methodology to be employed for Islamic Revolution and remains so up to this date.
However, after categorically denying it the political space, some of its associates, who were subjected to brute torture in Police Stations, separated from the organization. They joined armed resistance against New Delhi’s rule in J&K. Many others, who were not part of JI, too joined them to form Hizb-ul-Mujahideen.
Those who parted ways from JI to join armed movement were forced to drift from the methodology of their former organization, continued to profess its ideology. This was natural and humane. But to call HM a military wing of JI is totally a misplaced and an unqualified statement.
As the commotion caused by emergence of militant movement in nineties begin to settle down, things became clearer.
Today, we see both have their own separate organizational structure, policy makers and identities. A little more research by the author could have led him to unbiased conclusions on the subject.
HM and the ISIS
Putting aside the speculations whether they might be playing in the hands of enemies of Kashmiris or not, ISIS per se claims to work on the sole objective of establishing a global caliphate under the command of one leader. It resorts to violence and treats all those who do not subscribe to its ideology as khwaarij (the rebels), who deserve to be killed.
Hizb-ul- Mujahideen, on the other hand, came into existence after several like-minded small militant outfits in Kashmir joined forces to pressurize India for the resolution of Kashmir Dispute. Many Hizb stalwarts had earlier tried to achieve this objective through peaceful means.
It is the largest indigenous militant outfit operating in Jammu and Kashmir. It draws its top leadership and rank and file from Kashmir and is headquartered in Azad Kashmir.
HM, like all other militant outfits operating in Kashmir, draws its inspiration from Islam and believes that fighting for the freedom of fellow Muslims is Islamic Jihad and any Muslim who dies while fighting for the cause of his brethren is a martyr. Neither Hizb nor any other militant organization in Kashmir has ever denied this belief or been apologetic about it. They have however used a localized jargon to express this belief.
Yet again, Hizb and other militant organizations currently operating in Kashmir want Kashmir’s merger with Pakistan like most of the political resistance organizations and common masses. This in their estimation is again an expression of Kashmir’s overarching sentiment for Islamist future. It is not, though, any global agenda. Pakistan remains a universally recognized legal party to Kashmir dispute.
Slogans/Statements in favor of Islam, Shariah which in local parlance are known as Nizami Mustafa have remained a trademark of our resistance movement from its very inception, much before the germs of ISIS were tested in the troubled waters of Iraq.
The love for Nizam-e-Mustafa has found its place even in the expressions of nationalists and those seeking independence for Kashmir. These expressions preceded the birth of HM and other organizations.
If you are a Kashmiri Muslim, this slogan by default comes out of your throat; reason is the meticulous work Islamic Movement has done on ground.
HM’s official stand remains from the day one that its members will lay down their arms once UN resolutions are implemented in Kashmir.
ISIS on the other hand is distinctive in its core belief as well as its strategy and makes huge symbolic distinction on all fronts to be different from all the contemporary and preceding militant outfits.
With this much of fundamental difference between the two names, HM and ISIS, how can a sane person claim the later has sprouted from the seeds of the former?
Did Master Muhammad Ahsan Dar influence Abu bakar Al Baghdadi to start a worldwide project in the name of Khilafah? How can the organization be called as an ideological parent of the entity which identifies it as murtad (apostate)? It is akin to believing that a duck will lay an Ostrich egg.
If in reality the roots of ISIS are to be traced, they can visibly be seen in the Takfeeri brigades, which have been metastasizing into Muslim world from the deserts of Najd. Recently, the Crown Prince has finally revealed that this Takfeeri discourse was actually a Western project, outsourced to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to thwart the march of USSR.
If anything the write-up has achieved, apart from tarnishing the already spoiled image of the portal, is credence to the self-proclaimed identity of the author actually being a failed journalist.
Author is an engineering student and can be mailed at email@example.com.
Disclaimer: Views expressed are exclusively personal and do not necessarily reflect the position or editorial policy of Oracle Opinions.