Books and Documents
War on Terror (22 Jan 2011 NewAgeIslam.Com)
How to murder for peace

By Javed Anand

There’s nothing a practising Muslim ever does without the invocation: “Bismillah ar-Rahman-ur-Rahim” (In the name of Allah, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful). About Prophet Mohammed he will tell you that Allah sent him to earth as “Rahmat-ul-Alemeen” (mercy on all mankind). The very word Islam means peace, you will be told. Allah, Prophet Mohammed, Islam is all about peace, compassion, mercy. Get it?

No doubt Mumtaz Qadri, the assassin of Pakistan Punjab Governor Salman Taseer, believes himself to be a pious Muslim. No doubt “Bismillah ar-Rahman-ur-Rahim” preceded the bullets he pumped into a person he was trained, paid and sworn to protect, risking his life if need be. No doubt he committed cold-blooded murder in the name of “Allah the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful”, in defence of a religion that means peace, and the honour of the Prophet (Hurmat-e-Rasul), who is meant to be mercy on all mankind. Killing for peace? I just don’t get it.

Could it be that despite his self-perception, Qadri was actually under Satan’s evil influence? Banish the thought! For the “respected ulema” of Pakistan, the man is a “ghazi” now. (In Islam a ghazi enjoys as high a status as a shaheed.) If we happen to think otherwise, we too are blasphemers, kafirs, wajib-ul-qatl (fit to be killed).

Killing may not be your idea or mine for promoting peace, but, to the “respected ulema” of Pakistan that’s Islam. Read the joint statement issued by 500 “maulanas” from the Jamaat Ahle Sunnat Pakistan (JASP), which also issued a death threat to anyone who dared lead or even participate in the namaaz-e-janaza (funeral prayer) of Taseer: “The punishment for blasphemy against the prophet can only be death, as per the Holy Book, the Sunnah, the consensus of Muslim opinion and explanations by the ulema... this brave person (Qadri) has maintained 1,400 years of Muslim tradition, and has let the heads of 1.5 billion Muslims of the world be held high with pride.” No, you messiahs of murder, count me out.

Ironically, until a fortnight ago, this very Barelvi sect was seen as Pakistan’s great big hope for peace, a counter-force waiting to be deployed against the Deodandis, the Jamaat-e-Islami and the Ahl-e-Hadith, all of whom are guilty of injecting intolerance, extremism and terrorism into Islam. But a single murderous deed of a “ghazi” has brought Pakistan’s mutually warring “ulema” to a common platform. Whatever else the disagreements between them, they stand together in their worship of violence and contempt of the dissenting voice.

The credit for this unprecedented unholy alliance goes to the Jamaat-ud Dawa (JD), another name for the terrorist outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT), which among numerous other heinous acts is responsible for the 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai and on India. As evident from its hugely-attended rally in Lahore (January 16 and 17) under the banner of the Tehreek-e-Hurmat-e-Rasul (The Movement for the Honour of the Prophet), the JD, the Deobandis and the Barelvis have now jointly pronounced a death sentence on anyone calling for change in Pakistan’s infamous blasphemy laws.

Such madness in our immediate neighbourhood is, in itself, sufficient cause for concern. More worrisome is the fact that the roots and trunks of Pakistan’s major religious outfits lie in India. The Deobandis and Barelvis owe their name to Deoband and Bareilly, both towns in UP. The Ahl-e-Hadith took birth on Indian soil; Maulana Maududi founded his Jamaat-e-Islami in undivided India. And each one of them today has far greater reach within the country than they had at the time of Partition.

Why is it that, since the unpardonable murder of Taseer, not one leader of consequence from any of these outfits has spoken a word against the outrage? My Urdu-speaking Muslim friends from Mumbai tell me the same is equally true of Urdu newspapers, with the honourable exception of the daily Sahafat.

This conspiracy of silence, though shocking, is not surprising. Each one of them preaches that the punishment for blasphemy, apostasy, heresy is death — in an Islamic state — and complete social ostracism by the entire community where Islam is not wedded to power.

Fed such poisonous brew, the ummah may be forgiven for missing out on finer details. In secular India some years ago, the Raza Academy (a supposedly more tolerant Barelvi sect) threatened to burn Taslima Nasreen alive if she dared come to Mumbai. In 2008, the Urdu press in Hyderabad poured scorn on the leaders and activists of the Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) for their failure to kill her when they had the chance to do so.

How do Muslims respond to growing Islamophobia across the globe when the entire galaxy of ulema screams murder from housetops? “Educated Muslims have no choice but to get out of the clutches of the ulema”, opined a Muslim woman on a Google group last week. “If this is Islam, count me out”, wrote a Muslim male.

So here’s the choice before educated Muslims. Opting out of Islam altogether, or discovering another Islam. But to discover this other Islam you’ll need the sensibilities of a Farid Isaac (a South African Islamic theologian) whose moral and ethical integrity is evident from his statement: “If a choice has to be made between violence towards the text (holy scripture) and textual legitimisation of violence against real people then I would be comfortable to plead guilty to charges of violence against the text... Isn’t theology essentially about God? Yes, it is about God, but my theology is about a God who is essentially just and compassionate.” The time has come for a fatwa against our “respected ulema”.

The writer is general secretary, Muslims for Secular Democracy

Source: Indian Express


  • Dear Janab Sultan Shahin sb. Personally,  I am convinced that there is no chance of Indian Muslims taking to the path of Pakistani Muslims, and the entire edifice of my argument supports this conclusion. Pakistan is a different country whose history is going to be different from us.

    Yes we can have problems in India too in which Muslim participation may be significant because Indian Muslims are part and parcel of India. But those will be part of our history. I am not oblivious to the problems of, and problems arising from Muslims in India.  I am all for trying to find solutions along with the rest of Indians as we go along.

    You have rightly guessed, I have not heard ‘Mufti Ashraf Qadri’ so far, but I can guess that typically he might have positioned himself on one extreme, which I condemn. 

    By Manzurul Haque - 1/25/2011 1:25:56 AM

    Inside Jihad (Book) by Dr. Tawfik Hamid is now freely available on the Internet .

    Dr. Tawfik Hamid, is an Islamic thinker and reformer, and one time Islamic extremist from Egypt. He was a member of a terrorist Islamic organization JI with Dr. Ayman Al-Zawaherri who became later on the second in command of Al-Qaeda. Some twenty-five years ago, he recognized the threat of Radical Islam and the need for a reformation based upon modern peaceful interpretations of classical Islamic core texts.

    More on Dr Tawfik at

    By mubashir - 1/24/2011 2:20:40 PM
  • Well, Manzurul Haque  Saheb, the issue is not if somebody like Javed Anand wants us Indian Muslims to denounce Salman Taseer's killer or killers (as the Maulana whose speech video is on the site and those who allowed him to express his sadistic version of Islam publicly too are certainly guilty). Please listen to him if you haven’t:

    As I see it, the issue for us Indian Muslims is how scared we should be of the growth of similar forces in our own country. And how do we tackle that before we reach the same position as Pakistan. Let us not obfuscate the issues by bringing in American imperialism, Zionists, Saudi Arabia or even Pakistan Army chiefs like Ziaul Haque who may have played a role in encouraging the growth of a terroristic version of Islam in Pakistan and even India and elsewhere.  These are all issues and not merely issues of historical relevance but germane to the present debate also, but in the emergency that we are facing today, we have to try and develop a consensus around what Islam really is: a religion that terrorises Muslims and non-Muslims alike or a religion of peace and justice and equality and fairness.

    By Sultan Shahin - 1/24/2011 8:16:02 AM
  • The murderer of Slaman Taseer is a murderer and he needs to be punished as a murderer. Even though he might have shouted Allah O Akbar while shooting Mr. Taseer, he was only a misguided religionist who was used by someone who is fighting a political battle in Pakistan for seizing power from the present lot, because that someone or group of those ‘someones’, think that they can handle USA better (without knowing how many European countries and lackey countries will gang up with the US and Europe, who will in fact first isolate the enemy from the rest of the world by simply grunting, and then go for the kill, in relative ease) and bring glory to their country – it is another matter that they may fail miserably like the Taliban (Does this not give toehold space for the present lot of Pak’s flunky ruling classes to continue, else what rights they are left with to continue to hold on to power in Pakistan in the face of their inability to even plead with the mighty USA to stop bombing their country. Ah, incidentally,  could we now ask USA if their revenge against Afghans-Pakhtoons for giving shelter to Saudi Arab hotheads who organized 9/11, was over yet or not, or how many more killings they want in order to complete their revenge.

    But we better not address these questions to a Superpower. We certainly have other preoccupations to engage with – like writing on New Age Islam or elsewhere).  But just think that all these players were Buddhists in some Far Eastern region. Would it have changed the situation much, except that the slogan of Allah o Akbar would have been replaced by some local chant? 

    So the issue is not Islam and Messrs Seculars please don’t get carried away by the external sound of Allah O Akbar or Bismillah (Allah O Akbar). This is basically a Pakistan issue (Pakistan is at the receiving end of imperialism which is the fate of any weak country - simple. And also this is not the end of history. Luckily we Indians are out of it because we are strong today, but as Indians (while not wishing ill for that country), we have little role to play even as advisors.  Pakistan has chosen a different history for itself, and let it run its course.

    But probably Mr. Anand sees these happenings in Pakistan as a religious issue so he wants Indian Muslims to denounce killers of Mr. Salamn Taseer. Well if this is the official Indian position, we do, we do. 

    By Manzurul Haque - 1/24/2011 2:08:28 AM
  • I really feel sorry about all this. A few days ago I, along with my friends were discussing about keeping a name for a newly born girl. A friend of mine came up with Aisha, but the other one in my group disagreed with him and said that he did not like the name. The first one became so angry that how anyone could do not like Aisha, the name of Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) wife. He could have hit him...

    Where are we going??????

    By Aiman Reyaz - 1/23/2011 7:37:36 AM
  • The mad maulanas of Pakistan are drunk with power. They are hurtling down the path of destruction. It is incumbent upon Indian Muslims, especially our ulemas and Urdu newspapers, to speak out forcefully against this madness and in support of moderate elements in Pakistan, most of them silent with fear.
    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 1/22/2011 2:58:17 PM

Compose Your Comments here:

Email (Not to be published)
Fill the below text
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the articles and comments are the opinions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect that of