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Radical Islamism and Jihad (14 Mar 2012 NewAgeIslam.Com)



Islamic Radicalism Going Mainstream Throughout The East, says Sultan Shahin in a conference at United Nations in Geneva

 


By Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam


Many Muslims, who still hate to be called Wahhabi, have nevertheless developed Salafi attitudes. You will find many Muslims in Pakistan and now also in India walking down the street in Arab dresses, for instance. Beards and hijabs have become common not only in the East but even in the West. Women, whose grandmothers never wore a veil, burqa or a hijab, are donning this symbol of slavery everywhere. Some moderate, liberal Muslims are themselves so affected by Salafi propaganda coming from all sorts of media that in their own minds they have started considering themselves hypocrites. Some are leaving Islam and calling themselves ex-Muslim. These responses are no help.

Mainstream, moderate, liberal Muslims must study their own religion. They will find so much humanity, rationalism and spiritualism in Islam that their doubts will vanish; the spell cast on them by the all-pervasive militant Wahhabi propaganda will cease to have an impact. And then they should stand up and be counted. Whatever little resources they have must be expended to stem this tide. Islam has always defeated this group in the end. It will do so again. But we will have to do something about it. Ideology can only be fought with an ideology, with a better ideology, not with arms and weapons. We have to work at promoting our own ideology, our own understanding of Islam.  As a British Prime Minister once said: “It’s not enough to be nice.” -- Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam, addressing a conference at The United Nations in Geneva on 14 March 2012, organised and sponsored by INTERNATIONAL HUMANIST AND ETHICAL UNION, NATIONAL SECULAR SOCIETY and NEW AGE ISLAM FOUNDATION.

 

Some other speakers in the conference were:

Raheel Raza, Canada Muslim activist who spoke on “The rise of Sharia Courts in the West”,

Keith Wood, United Kingdom Executive Director, National Secular Society on “Church influence, canon law and civil law in Europe”, and

Leo Igwe, Nigeria International Representative, IHEU, on “Religion, witch hunts, homophobia and Human Rights in Africa”.

The Chair and Moderator was Roy W. Brown, former president and now Main Representative, IHEU, UN Geneva.

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Full Text of the Speech by Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

 

ISLAMIC RADICALISM has been defined in a variety of ways: as a synonym for extremism, militancy, terrorism or the ideologies of Wahhabism, Salafism, Deobandism, Qutubism, or Maudoodism and so on. But I would define Islamic radicalism as a totalitarian Islamic-supremacy movement that believes it has a monopoly over Heaven, truth and justice. This movement is leading towards the alienation of Muslims from the mainstream world community - even from their own multicultural, multi-religious societies in non-Muslim majority countries.

         

Militancy and terrorism are outgrowths of such attitudes and may not be specifically directed towards the goal of establishing an Islamic State. It may just be calling, in an ostensibly peaceful manner, for establishing so-called “Shariah-controlled zones” in the middle of secular societies.

         

But radicalism is turning violent in many places because violence is implicit in the very idea of having a monopoly on truth. But violence, specially sustained episodes of violence depend on a variety of factors including infrastructural support, the attitude of the state etc. So to my mind a worldview that has not yet led to violence need not be considered any less radical. If nothing else, supremacist attitudes that may provoke others to violence have themselves to be considered as inherently violent.

 

Looked at from this perspective, Islamic radicalism is going mainstream worldwide, and no less so, in the East. The Af-Pak region in South Asia is known to be the crucible of violence and terror perpetrated by Islamic radicals. But Southeast Asia too is not far behind. After all, the second most violent attack on civil society, after 9/11, took place in Bali, Indonesia, on a nightclub, in which 202 people, mostly Australians, were killed. Both South and Southeast Asia have witnessed a string of terrorist attacks in last decades, targeting sectarian and religious minorities. They have made successful and deadly suicide attacks at shrines of Sufi saints which are revered by the majority of the population.  But in Pakistan Islamist terrorists have also been fighting the state that actually produced and nourished them, and some of its organs continue to nurture them even today. At one point Pakistani Islamist radicals captured the valley of Swat, virtually at a stone’s throw from the capital, Islamabad. They have attacked the military Headquarters of Pakistan Army at Rawalpindi and as sensitive a target as Mehran airbase. Many experts believe that for Pakistani radicals capturing Islamabad and its nuclear facilities cannot be dismissed as a fantasy.

 

A host of religious and sectarian militias in Pakistan, some even run by Islamist political parties, are a serious danger not only to Pakistan and neighbouring India, but also to the world at large. They are all allied at one level or another with the global Jihadis and Al-Qaeda.

 

To me the most disturbing feature of what is happening in the East is the radicalization of Muslim societies. It’s not the madrasa-educated alone who are being radicalized. Muslims who have come out of normal, government or private institutions are being equally radicalized under social pressure. The investment of tens of billions of petrodollars in promoting a dry and desiccated version of Islam, devoid of its rationality, humanity and spiritualism, has created an atmosphere that is affecting many impressionable minds. When the Governor of Pakistani Punjab, Salman Taseer was killed by his own bodyguard last year, it was difficult to find a Mullah ready to lead his funeral prayers. When the killer was taken to court hundreds of lawyers threw rose petals at him, calling him their hero. The judge who sentenced him to death had to go into exile.

 

All that the martyred leader of Punjab had done was to appeal for Presidential clemency for a hapless Christian lady who could not have possibly insulted the Prophet (peace be upon him). No one asked how a Christian could be accused of blasphemy and tried under apostasy laws when she doesn’t believe in Islam or the prophethood of Mohammad.

 

Following Salman Taseer’s assassination, the only Christian in the federal cabinet of Pakistan, Shahbaz Bhatti was also murdered. He too had expressed sympathy for and pleaded the case of Aasia Bibi, the convicted Christian lady. Aasia Bibi’s case brought to light the fact that it’s not only Christians and Hindus who are persecuted for their beliefs but also Muslim minorities such as the Shiites, Ahmadis and Ismailis, who are routinely harassed, discriminated against and killed. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan has just published a report that states, inter-alia, that at least 20 to 25 girls are abducted and converted to Islam against their will every single month in Pakistan.

 

Pakistan is a state created in 1947 on the radical idea that Muslims could not co-exist with other religious communities. Then, aided by United States, it deliberately created the group of Jihadis to fight the then Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Tens of thousands of madrasas were created and millions of students were brainwashed with violent jihadi ideology. These madrasas have continued to be funded and run, catering to poor students from not only Pakistan but also several Southeast Asian countries. And there are Islamist political parties in Pakistan that have their own militias that recruit these madrasa-trained students.

 

With this historical background one can understand the radicalization of Pakistani society. But what explains similar attitudes in Indian Muslim society? If one goes by India’s Muslim Press, the reaction to Salman Taseer murder was just the same as in Pakistan. For a little perspective, I must state that in the Indian sub-continent, there are two major Islamic schools of thought, represented by Bareilwis and Deobandis. Deobandis are Wahhabis and all the Pakistani madrasas that taught armed Jihad were run on the Deobandi curriculum. Bareilwis constitute the overwhelming majority of the South Asian Muslims. They believe in seeking intercession from Sufi saints, as do Hindus, Sikhs and other communities in India. They go to these shrines together and this naturally creates a sense of sharing in a semi-religious atmosphere and helps national integration. Salafis, Wahhabis and other radicals do not like Muslims to interact with other communities, much less on a religious kind of platform. 

 

As has already happened in Pakistan, Deobandi, Wahhabi, Salafi imams are now being forced upon Indian Bareilwi mosques. This is sometimes leading to violence as well. Wahhabis have become so aggressive that they beat up people and stone their houses for daring to say prayers in a village mosque without having a beard.  This happened in a Saharanpur district mosque during Ramadan three years ago. The clean-shaven Muslim’s seven-year old daughter got hurt in the severe stone pelting and died.

 

Frightened with incidents like this and aware of what was happening in Pakistan, the heads of the 80 most important Sufi shrines of India got together a few months ago and organized a massive rally of Muslims in a town in Western Uttar Pradesh. Then for the first time in a public meeting in India they spoke about “growing Wahhabi extremism,” actually using the phrase.  Over a hundred thousand Muslims gathered in Moradabad and heard warnings of growing Wahhabi extremism from scores of clerics from India’s largest shrines. This should have been major news in the Muslim press, but not one newspaper reported the event. Three newspapers did report the gathering and speeches but completely censored any mention of Wahhabi extremism.

 

Wahhabism having developed this kind of influence in a multi-religious society like India should ring alarm bells.  More recently, a few Jamaat-e-Islami goons were able to stop even the virtual participation of Salman Rushdie through a video link in the Jaipur literary festival.

 

Another recent event that should ring loud alarm bells is the removal of an elected government in the 100 per cent Muslim country, the Maldives. Former President Mohammad Nasheed is a familiar figure in the UN Human Rights Council. He has fought for human rights all his life and is once again back on the streets doing the same. Apparently, though he won an election and came to power with the help of allies in a coalition government, a radicalized section the armed forces, police and bureaucracy did not quite accept his secular politics. The most curious is the manner of his going. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan gave Maldives a gift during the recent SAARC summit conference which contained a portrait of how Pakistan became Islamic through its Buddhist past. Salafis objected to this, calling accepting this gift akin to idol worship. One person vandalized this gift, but like the Salman Taseer’s killer in Pakistan, got support from all across the political spectrum including some parties that were part of the government coalition.

 

Clearly Radical Islam is on the rise and going mainstream as much in South and Southeast Asia East as in the Middle East or elsewhere. This is an alarming situation, and the biggest danger comes from the fact that the proverbial silent majority is too silent. Even where it is beginning to stir, moderate Islam is finding that it does not have adequate resources to counter this rising tide.

         

The recent effort of the Sufi shrines in India is a case in point. Even when they stirred themselves to action, they could not make an impact and are once again lying low. By and large governments seem unwilling to intervene, seeing it as an internal war within Islam. It indeed is a war within Islam; it is Muslims who are the main target of Salafi radicals; and it is they who will have to gather the courage to fight.

 

Throughout Islamic history, such violent radicals have disturbed the peace. They have been decimated many times and have risen again only to be defeated again. Islam’s humane spiritualism and its stress on rationality have always proved superior to their ideological aridity.

         

But this time the radicals, the Wahhabis are in a far stronger position than before. They have got so far because a certain wealthy Arab state which claims to be the guardian of our holy places and which is protected by the only superpower in the world is behind this radicalism. Saudi Arabia considers Wahhabi Salafi radicalism its state ideology. You cannot even enter the country with a copy of the Holy Quran that is not published by them. For Saudi Arabia, spreading radicalism is an imperialist project. Along with their desiccated version of Islam, they also insist on exporting Arab culture, language, dress and architecture.

 

The Saudis have demolished nearly 300 monuments connected with Islamic history. Just a few remain. History conflicts with their ideology.  It places Prophet Mohammad and his story in the matrix of time and gives it a context. If read in context many of the militant verses of the Holy Quran would appear to be relevant only for the time and situation they were revealed in; they cannot be applied universally. This will hamper what has to be a permanent war on infidels. Given a historical context only peaceable verses of the Quran, mostly revealed in Mecca, will remain relevant for all time. Wars will have to be stopped. Arab imperialism will not be able to make headway. The Army of suicide bombers recruited in Pakistan and elsewhere will have to be retrained for other jobs. In order to reach Heaven, Muslims will have to engage permanently in what the Prophet called Greater Jihad, struggling against our nafs, fighting one’s own evil impulses.

 

Owing to its enormous oil wealth, Saudi Arabia’s imperialist project has the support of nearly all governments in the world including those – like the United States – that have been its victims. Sixteen of the nineteen 9/11 suicide bombers were Saudi nationals, schooled in its extremist ideology. Its biggest ally Pakistan’s Army can do no wrong. It was even allowed to host Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar. Pakistan remains America’s major non-NATO ally. On the side of mainstream Islam, (or what I hope is still mainstream Islam) there is no one.  All governments, in Muslim-majority or non-Muslim majority countries deal with Saudi Arabia, either to buy their oil or/and sell them weapons.

 

Hundreds of plane-loads of semi-literate preachers fly from Jeddah to the far corners of the world almost every day converting Muslims to Salafism. Many Muslims, who still hate to be called Wahhabi, have nevertheless developed Salafi attitudes. You will find many Muslims in Pakistan and now also in India walking down the street in Arab dresses, for instance. Beards and hijabs have become common not only in the East but even in the West. Women, whose grandmothers never wore a veil, burqa or a hijab, are donning this symbol of slavery everywhere. Some moderate, liberal Muslims are themselves so affected by Salafi propaganda coming from all sorts of media that in their own minds they have started considering themselves hypocrites. Some are leaving Islam and calling themselves ex-Muslim. These responses are no help.

 

Mainstream, moderate, liberal Muslims must study their own religion. They will find so much humanity, rationalism and spiritualism in Islam that their doubts will vanish; the spell cast on them by the all-pervasive militant Wahhabi propaganda will cease to have an impact. And then they should stand up and be counted. Whatever little resources they have must be expended to stem this tide. Islam has always defeated this group in the end. It will do so again. But we will have to do something about it. Ideology can only be fought with an ideology, with a better ideology, not with arms and weapons. We have to work at promoting our own ideology, our own understanding of Islam.  As a British Prime Minister once said: “It’s not enough to be nice.”


URL: http://www.newageislam.com/radical-islamism-and-jihad/sultan-shahin,-editor,-new-age-islam/islamic-radicalism-going-mainstream-throughout-the-east,-says-sultan-shahin-in-a-conference-at-united-nations-in-geneva/d/6849





TOTAL COMMENTS:-   17


  • I cannot imagine you write such things, its absurd and not acceptable, you call keeping beards and wearing Hijab slavery!. These are islamic cultures and traditions, if you cannot accept i dont think you are true Muslim. Irepeat, Beards and Hijab are must for any practicing muslim men and women respectively. Shame on you Mr writer, shame on you for villifying the true teachings of Islam.
    By Abdullahi - 4/22/2012 5:15:51 PM



  • ????? ?????? ????? ????? ???? ?????? ????? ????? ???? ???? ???? ???? ???????????? ??? ?? ?????? ????? ????????? ?????????????? ?? ???? ???? ?? ?? ?? ??? ?? ???? ????????? ?????????? ????? ????????? ????? ?????? ????????????? ????? ?????????? ??????? ????? ????? ?? ?????? ????? ???? ?? ?????? ?????? ????????? ???? ?????? ??? ????? ????? ????? ?????? ????????? ????? ???? ?????? ?? ???? ????? ?????? ????? ????????? ????? ?????? ????? ?????????????? ?????? ?????????? ??? ???? ??????? ??????? ?? ????? ???????? ??? ????? ?? ?? ?? ??? ????????? ?????????? 78???????????? ¿??? ???? ????? ?? ??????? ?? ????? ???? ???? ????????? ???????????????22???????????????? ???0.8???? ??????? ??????? ??????? ????????? ????? ?? ??? ???? ???????? ???? ???? ?? ?? ????? ???? ????? ?? ??? ?????? ???? ??????????? ??? ????? ?? ???????? ???? ??????? ???????????????????? ????? ????? ???????????? ???? ????? ?????? ????????????? ??????? ??????? ?? ????? ?????? ?????????? ?????????? ???? ???? ???? ?????? ???????? ????? ?? ??????????????? ????????? ????? ?????? ???????????????????? ?? ?? ?? ???????? ????? ????? ???????? ???? ???????? ??????????? ????? ??? ?? ??? ?????????? ?? ?? ????? ??????? ??????????????????? ?????? ????? ???????? ???? ????? ????? ?? ?????? ????????????? ??????? ?? ???????? ?? ?????? ????? ??????? ??? ???? ??????? ????????????? ??????????????
    By Meem Zad Fazli - 4/2/2012 12:29:46 PM



  • Dear Sultan Shahin Saheb, Many thanks for this email . I am now able to open the site as usual. I also wished to express my admiration for the sterling work you are doing. Your sane voice is desperately needed in these times of narrow-mindedness and bigotry spread by the Saudis with their bottomless funds. Kind regards and best wishes  Asad Abbas
    By Asad Abbas - 4/1/2012 2:28:13 PM



  • Mr.Shahin what do you mean by SLAVERY,Here best example of slavery is going an giving this so called MODERATE ISLAM SPEECH in UNITED NATION,if you are so concerned about MUSLIMS and ISLAM please go to the common muslim and keep your thoughts between them then u will also learn something from them and you will know how much they love being so called slaves.
    By mohammed rais - 4/1/2012 5:44:12 AM



  • Absolutely agree with Mr. Ashokbraroo. It is only Mullah politics that has brought badnaami to Islam. These Mullah want to dominate the whole world and they find a pretext of preaching Islam to the world and think that if they can manage to convert the whole world by hook or by crook then they can have their way. These bastards are the real problem and nemesis of Islam. I hope my words for them is not censored because I really have to say this as no other word truly fits them.
    By sadaf - 3/27/2012 12:47:50 PM



  • i have grown up with muslims in kashmir and seen them truly religious godfearing and human. now all is down the drain due to INFLUENCE OF SAUDI WAHBI CULT. Hats off to this ISLAMIC scholar to spell the truth. i fear for his safety.There is nothing wrong in ISLAMexcept MULLAHpolitics.
    By ashokbraroo - 3/26/2012 8:54:08 AM



  • dear sultan, what can a practicing muslim say to this... "Beards and hijabs have become common not only in the East but even in the West. Women, whose grandmothers never wore a veil, burqa or a hijab, are donning this symbol of slavery everywhere". we love this slavery and want to die as slaves.....there is nothing like moderate or extremist muslim..by being 'moderate' ur actually supporting western imperialism..
    By abid ovais - 3/23/2012 1:39:36 AM



  • I remember once, In India Malegaon Bomb attack done by Hindu Extremist, the same week in HINDU national news paper in India printed one article by a Muslim orthodox scholar like this author and tells THAT MALEGONE AND MEKKA MASJID DONE by wahhabis by after years Police investigation found it done by Hindu Extremist...Some people trying to tarnish wahhab's / salafis, but no use, bcz Almighty god saves them... people who against salafi's called wahhabis, they are working to let the people know about the Real Peacefull Islam, you will never touch their activities.
    By SHIHAB - 3/19/2012 4:09:43 PM



  • I believe that this article needs more comments because it is very relevant to the contemporary age. After the fast second read, I see more and piercing truths in the article. Radicalism has entered our houses via several sources: the Friday khutba, in which the Imams (not all, but many) say that Jews and Christians are "dogs and pigs"; Peace tv, whose mission is to portray a singular, extreme and dry version of Islam; madrassas (not all), which teach that Islam is the only true religion and the Qur'an is the only true revelation. With my limited knowledge and a little bit of experience I have found that the most common thing in the issue of radicalism is the use of "conspiracy against Islam", as if the "whole world is against Islam." Whenever the topic is Islam, I always hear words like "shaazish and sharyantra" (conspiracy), and this "conspiracy" is always done by the West, especially America.
    By Aiman Reyaz - 3/19/2012 6:48:46 AM



  • Excellent, in deed!!!Congratulations to the great scholar and editor Mr.Sultan Shahin for taking so much pain to project the real picture of Islam. His research based articles can open the eyes of millions of people in the world who believe(by seeing the intolerant, inhuman and barbarian face of Muslim extremists) that Islam is a "Curse" on this planate. We are proud of you, Mr.Sultan Shahin.Your noble initiative may take time to succeed but that day is to come certainly, when the Wahabis and other such extremist Muslim sects will understand that what ever they are thinking/ doing is against the basic tenants of Islam. You are doing true service of religion and the world.
    By Ajai Srivastava - 3/17/2012 2:42:22 AM



  • If you suffer from cancer, its painful awareness dominates your thoughts and whatever theme you discuss, you navigate your way to your theme. Those keeping a tab on the comments and articles of this writer would know his few agenda. The radicalization of Islam and the need for a paradigm shift in madrassa education and Islamic religious thoughts are among his key themes. The article almost dovetails with his themes and reaches it to the highest international office most eloquently and convincingly. He has started using a phrase, borrowing from Altaf Hussain Hali ‘“Our power of reasoning is simply frozen (samajh par hamari ye patthar pare hain)” – [195th stanza – Musaddase Hali]. Sultan Shahin’s wake up call to his fellow Muslims “to engage permanently in what the Prophet called Greater Jihad, struggling against our nafs, fighting one’s own evil impulses” reminds him of yet another adage: pagal khane me tuti ki awaz (The chirping of the cuckoo in a mental asylum).
    To support Sultan Saheb’s call on religious ground, the writer has just sent an article under the caption: ‘The Qur’anic perspective on jihad and Greater jihad (jihadan kabirah) – an SOS to the global Muslim community, unable to read the writing on the wall’ that may be under posting.

    By muhammad yunus - 3/15/2012 8:26:49 AM



  • Now Mr. Ashok Sharma and Non-India Hindu have become more just, tactful and secular in true sense.
    By Raihan Nezami - 3/15/2012 2:15:11 AM



  • Congratulations, Mr. Shahin. Both your speeches in Geneva are wonderful. We are proud to have scholars like you in India. Not only in Islam, misinterpretations of religious texts and extremist practices in all religions and sects have to be countered.
    By Ashok Sharma - 3/15/2012 1:15:07 AM



  • Good article for everyone. We must not conclude that all the bearded or unbearded people belonging to different sects are radical and near to extremism, likewise all madarsas are not imparting the learning of segregation and all those bearded people charged by interpole in different cases worldwide were guilty. As an example, you can visit any police station in India and see the charge-sheet or case diary, after every inhuman activity, they suspect some innocent Muslims, arrest them and charge as culprits. Later on, someone discovers that the concerning person was already in jail or out of country or maybe dead. Such discriminations and misappropriations are frequently happening in India against the Muslims and we are being branded as supporters of terrorism except few clean-shaved liberal Muslims.
    By Raihan Nezami - 3/14/2012 11:48:35 PM



  • This is a speech that will make every liberal Muslim concerned because their peaceful Muslim identity is being hijacked by radicals. Earlier, say 2 decades ago, when a Muslim man sported beard, he was considered an honest and righteous man; but now the condition has changed, he is now considered as an extremist, if not terrorist. Why did this happen? Some may say it is because of the western media which has made its goal to blacken the face of Islam, but I say it is because of the Muslims themselves. 9/11, London Bombings, Madrid blast, Bali bombing, 26/11 and numerous others point the finger to radical Muslims and almost all of the perpetrators who were caught had a long, flowing beard. This is social construction; we construct our thoughts and feelings about anything or any person according to the society. We must also try to analyse from where does this ideology of extremism and radicalism has come. Surely it is not fallen from the sky. The best answer according to my limited knowledge is madrassas (not all, but most of them) which teach us the wrong meaning of Islam and the Qur'an. The Imams quote out of context to justify the killings of unbelievers. Young ones, studying in the madrassas, do not have that much of knowledge then to counter this wrong ideology, so they learn this. But when they grow up, still they do not counter the wrong ideology, mainly because of two reasons: firstly, since childhood they have been taught only one thing, this paralyzes their mind in other subjects, they are trained to think in just one way; secondly, when they grow up they see and notice that Muslims are being discriminated as orthodox, they are considered as extremists and fundamentalists, because of their social identity. This forces the Muslims to act out the role and hence they become more fundamentalists and more extremists. This is a chain process, and the chain will break only if we break the wrong teachings in the early childhood. Our thinking determines our action and from our action determines our character. It is time to change the Muslim character by doing good deeds to all, without any discrimination.
    By Aiman Reyaz - 3/14/2012 8:09:02 PM



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