An ISIS map
paints India, Pakistan and Bangladesh soon to be under its chief Baghdadi’s
control. Its official journal, Dabiq, reminded the “glorious role of Indian
Muslims” against the abolition of the caliphate in Turkey in the ’20s. Emir of
Khorasan, Hafiz Saeed Khan, in an interview to Dabiq, said that “Muslims will
soon hear pleasant news about the caliphate’s expansion” in India. However,
such rants could not make any significant impact on Indian Muslims. But it may
have trapped a few hundred Indian Muslim youths in its net. The number may be small
but is a great cause of concern.
role of both Muslim Ulema and elites is equally important. Seminaries like
Deoband and the madrasas should lead mass campaigns against the crass
exploitation of religious texts by ISIS. The challenge and threat are both
contained within the community.
It is true
that ‘terrorism has no religion’. But that is not going to resolve the complex
issue of Islamic terrorism confronting us. Unless the community owns the
problems, such elements continue to harvest young, formative minds. Minority
institutions, particularly administered by Muslims, should unmask it through
right interpretations of Islam with an emphasis on modernity and exposing the
cruelty committed by outfits like ISIS. Besides these short-term measures,
Islam in general has to re-examine its theological understanding in the present
religions reformed themselves, even at the cost of diluting their scriptures.
Two Islamic concepts, Jehad and kafir, are interpreted from an extremely moderate
to a highly extremist manner. This is an issue Indian Muslim seminaries need to
ponder on. Secular education is another solution. Common schooling creates
mutual sympathy and goodwill. Many madrasa teachings lead to radicalisation.
Clerics’ sermons in mosques often emphasise on the theory of deprivation,
discrimination and victimhood of Indian Muslims. It could create propitious
grounds for radicalisation. It must be curbed.
the religious affairs department, known as Diyanet, does not give a free hand
to clerics. It vets every word of the speeches delivered in mosques. The
presence of microscopic elements of Muslim radicalism in our society can’t be
denied. The danger gets multiplied when domestic politics casts its shadow on
terrorism. For instance, people like Marxist historian Irfan Habib, Congress
leader Ghulam Nabi Azad or MIM leader Owaisi compare RSS with ISIS. Can there
be bigger travesty than this? We should not forget that terrorists get
respectability when they become the centre of political discourse, which causes
polarisation. Therefore, the solution lies in building consensus on terrorism
and self-restraint while debating it in media. Civil society in general and
Muslims in particular should not go by a causal approach while dealing with the
threat from the ISIS.
Delhi University professor Rakesh Sinha, an RSS
ideologue, heads the India Policy Foundation