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Radical Islamism and Jihad

They have to be disarmed, re-oriented and provided with alternative means of peaceful living. While demolishing their networks, confiscating sources of funding, closing ideological and armed training centres/madrasas, they have to be absorbed in various civil subsidiaries of the state....

 

Pakistan, however, needs to realise that it cannot bring lasting peace on its soil by merely exporting violence. The solution is to completely remove these threats. The key to successfully eliminating these radical groups lies in Pakistan’s will to completely divest itself of its terror protégés, and stop using them for short-sighted strategic advantage....

 

The aim of terrorists is to divide us and to turn our citizens against each other — but we will not let them win. We must stand together as we do today as an international community, united against terrorism, racism, extremism, discrimination and violence....

 
Jihad and the Allure of Balakot
Jihad and the Allure of Balakot
Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

Indeed Balakot is not just the name of a place; rather it is fundamentally an idea, the dissection of which remains central to decoding the narrative of Islamists of much of South Asia. The selection of Balakot by the JeM is not just for strategic consideration, but is also a symbolic continuation of the first jihad that saw so called martyrdom in action at this place. The characters were different but the cause and the underlying motivation was the same. And this motivation was to reclaim the land of al-Hind for Islam as it was supposedly under ‘Islamic rule’ back in the historical past....

Is it a coincidence that the Jaish-e-Mohammad's (JeM) sprawling headquarters in Bahawalpur is just a hop, skip and jump from the Pakistan Army's 31 Corps headquarters? The answer is almost certainly not. Right from the very start, Pakistan's army and the JeM have had a close, almost symbiotic relationship....

 

After attacks by the Islamic State, there was no shortage of Western politicians and commentators blaming the most deplorable acts of terrorism on Islam and Muslims — people whose opinions are very much aligned with the Australian senator Fraser Anning....

Meanwhile, Islamabad’s open support to terrorist formations operating out of its soil remains intact, creating mayhem in neighbouring countries. They prominently include the Hafiz Muhammad Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), the front organisation of Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), which openly engages in anti-India activities and operates out of its Headquarters in Murdike in the Sheikhupura District of Punjab....

 

Who were the Talib (students) who formed the Taliban? They were products of Saudi-funded Wahhabi Islamic madrasas that mushroomed in the border areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan. That is where young boys were transformed into suicide bombers through misinterpreted Islamic theology and self-serving Fatwas issued by dodgy clerics....

 

But what they fail to understand is that we do not need your thoughts and prayers. Thoughts and prayers may be useful to the dead, and they may provide some comfort to the relatives of the dead, but they do nothing of substance for the rest of the living....

All of this is to say nothing of less recent white supremacist history, including anti-black violence perpetrated by US's Ku Klux Klan (KKK), thousands of 19th and 20th century lynchings of black Americans by white supremacist mobs, millions of black people murdered during the African slave trade, or millions of brown people killed during the peak periods of Western colonialism....

 

The abuse of democracy has been an old characteristic of Pakistan — and terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) are a direct fall-out result of this abuse of democracy. A look at the data shows that the violation of democratic principles in Pakistan has been directly proportionate to terrorist attacks on Indian soil....

 

Syrians must not be forced to have to take care of them. We need to purge people like them from Syria if our country is ever to recovery from this plague. They must be removed from Syria immediately and forever.....

 

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....

Thanks to the patronage of intelligence agencies, successive governments were unable to contain the JeM. In the words of the former Punjab Home Minister Rana Sanaullah, “We can’t touch these organizations because these are controlled from somewhere else.”...

 

The Middle East has many hardliners and hard-line policies. Those policies take the form of hostility toward other states and oppression by regimes of subject populations. The region will continue to exhibit many hardline policies no matter what the United States does...

 

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....

If Iran can sit down with its former arch enemy, the Taliban, it should be able to start dialog with not only Baluch religious and local leaders, but also some Baluch insurgent groups. There is no better weapon the Iranian government could use to neutralize foreign powers...

 

The biggest nightmare for the security agencies is JuD workers joining terrorist groups in fighting the state. According to one official estimate, there are thousands of well-trained former militants who are to be reintegrated in the society....

 

“The draw of a reconstituted caliphate has been central to historical and religious interpretations of Islam, so there was a fraught initial period in Daesh’s development when many were concerned that it would attract millions of adherents.”...

 

It is not a group but an idea. A shape-shifting movement of individuals, groups and governments is continuously forming, disbanding and reforming around that idea. The movement is now more widespread globally than ever....

 

These apolitical Salafis are sometimes called “quietist Salafis”. This quietist Salafism is gaining momentum among middle class Muslims in Indonesia. Along with HTI, quietist Salafis has suffered the most from the latest campaign against intolerance....

 

She did well to counter the 'exclusivism' of Islamic extremists by referring to the Indian approach to religion that maintained that 'God is one though He was described by many names'. The base of indoctrination of Mujahideen lay in the fundamentalist line of Islamic radicals and extremists.....

 

Pakistan hopes its rejuvenated anti-militant campaign will strengthen its diplomatic and moral position in the ongoing standoff with India. This will help the country fulfil its commitments to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). And, sustained over a longer period of time, it will certainly improve internal and border security, as well as relations with its neighbours....

 

ICNA acknowledges its long-standing partnership with Al Khidmat on its website, but has denounced claims of Al Khidmat's terror financing as "Islamophobic" fabrications. These denials would carry more weight if Jamaat had not openly boasted of the money Al Khidmat gives Hamas....

 

Pakistan doesn’t see the Afghan Taliban as its friend. The dislike is mutual from the days Pakistan thought it could manipulate them as proxy warriors. After 9/11, millions of Afghans were forced to become refugees in Pakistan....

 
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