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Books and Documents

Radical Islamism and Jihad

Surely it’s time to recall how appeasing terrorism culminated in the horrific disaster of 2007. That’s when Islamabad became a battlefield above which thick smoke filled the sky for days....

Islamists, a broad label that covers political parties, preachers and militant groups, among others, actively promote a more conservative version of Islam. The most influential Islamist party is Jamaat-e-Islami, whose name means “Islamic gathering.”...

Aziz belongs to a hardliner Islamic school of thought, who believes in armed jihad and waging war in order to enforce and expand their model of an Islamic Shariah-based system. He justifies the December 2014 attack on the Army Public School Peshawar by TTP, by saying that “every action has a reaction”....

 

The extreme poverty of the area and its economic marginalisation has made it ripe for recruitment, especially when schools and services are hard to come by. The state is largely absent from the area, and as al-Shabaab gained in strength and resources...

 

Over the past 20 years, terrorism and religious extremism have become major challenges for the national security of Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country. Indonesia has been home to terrorist networks and training camps connected to al-Qaeda, Islamic State (ISIS) and Jemaah Islamiyah....

Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) suspected that a splinter group of Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) had entered Karachi to carry out terrorist attacks. “We have received reports that six ‘disgruntled’ militants...

 

There is no doubt that many are radicalised in such places as Belmarsh. We are not helped by the fact that many imams we allow to minister to these maniacs are followers of the Deobandi sect, which is strictly opposed to integration....

The clergy is required to counter the exclusivist Jihadi theology of violence and supremacism which is primarily based on the traditional Islamic theology of consensus of all schools of thought. This has to be done through a counter-narrative based on a new inclusivist theology of peace and pluralism. But to do that the clergy will have to work towards evolving a new theology that is different from the traditional theology taught in madrasas. It is this age-old theology that is used by Jihadis to propagate their message. 

It cannot be stressed enough that the reason Jihadis have been able to capture the imagination of thousands of our youth the world over is that they are not saying anything new. They are simply showing a way to practice what the ulema (religious scholars) have been preaching. The Jihadi narrative is the traditional Islamic theological narrative of Islam domination over all other religious beliefs, and eradication of what it considers the biggest crimes humanity can commit, particularly shirk, polytheism or idol worship, and kufr, rejection of the prophethood of Hazrat Mohammad (pbuh). All the most eminent scholars of Islam from Imam Ghazali (11th-12th century) to Imam Ibn-e-Taimiya (13th-14th century), Mujaddid Alf-e-Saani Sheikh Sirhindi (16th-17th century), Shah Waliullah Muhaddis Dehlavi (18th century) have shown a vision of political Islam that was finally given a more definite form in the 20th century by Maulana Syed Abul A’la Maududi, Hassan al-Banna, and Syed Qutb. The Jihadi ideologues of the 21st century may be stressing some parts of this traditional narrative more vigorously and downplaying some other aspects. But they are not saying anything that is entirely new or radically different.

Jihadi literature has not dropped from the sky all of a sudden. This is not the creation of Osama bin Laden or so-called “Khalifa” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Their narrative of world domination, fighting those who do not accept the message of Islam is basically what is taught in all our madrasas. The definition of Jihad as fighting those who do not accept the oneness of God and prophethood of Mohammad (pbuh) is found in books of every school of Sunni fiqh (jurisprudence), be it Hanafi, Malaki, Shafei or Hanbali. Indeed, even Shia theology does not differ much with Sunnis in matters of political Islam. They too want world domination for Islam and desire to subdue all non-Muslims.

Their children get radicalised growing up in labour-class communities where Islam is practiced in more intense forms. One such “transformed” person was Al-Muhajiroun’s founder, Anjum Chaudhry, of Pakistani origin, who is now in jail....

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....

Cultural Islam taught us in schools that only prayers and rituals of religion are Ibadan. There was no forcing of anyone into Islam or a Dawah programme to convert non-Muslims....

 

Despite making tremendous gains in its fight against domestically oriented terror groups across Pakistan, and more particularly in KP, Islamabad’s attempts to restore normalcy remain far from complete success....

 

A decade after the Arab Spring, good news anywhere is hard to find. In contrast to Asia, Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa, extreme poverty has increased in the Arab region....

 

This is significant as a living Southeast Asian fighter stands a greater chance of being accepted as ‘the’ leader of IS’ affiliate networks in the region, having earned the status of having fought and survived the ‘jihad’ in the Middle East....

 

Working together and separately, those nations and their allies by early 2019 managed to subdue the group in Iraq and Syria, where it once controlled a chunk of territory as big as Iceland. Now, tensions among the countries that dismantled Islamic State threaten to subvert efforts to combat its resurgence....

 

It recorded 31 terrorist attacks and seven fatalities in 2018, a 70 percent reduction in deaths from the prior year.” The index published by the Sydney-based Institute for Economics & Peace ranked Bangladesh 31st in 2018, down from 25th the preceding year....

 

Throughout post-Islamic history, the people of Afghanistan have been associated with a kind of traditional balanced Islam that derives from the influence of custom and social traditions on society....

 

Junood-ul-Khilafa-e-Hind (JKH) was nothing; it registered nowhere, and made no dent in anyone's imagination as a feared home-grown terror group from India....

 

Al Qaeda’s first attack in New York actually did not occur on 9/11 but 10 months earlier in a Manhattan jail....

 

The recent standoff between the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government of Imran Khan and the Supreme Court of Pakistan has served to highlight the “problem areas” of governance....

 

Islamist extremism continues to pose a grave threat worldwide, with levels of violence increasing in several regions, and cells in the West as potent as ever...

 

Sunni Arabs looked for protection anywhere they could find it, and the Islamic State was quick to exploit that need. Having built support that way before, the Islamic State will not hesitate to do so again, given the opportunity....

 

These attacks against ‘outsiders’ were primarily carried out by Baloch insurgent groups in reaction to the ongoing disappearances and extrajudicial killings engineered by Pakistani State Forces. The Baloch insurgents believe that these outsiders, mainly Punjabis (178 of 229 ‘outsiders’ killed were Punjabis), work as spies for the SFs....

A significant number of attacks have been carried out by second generation or later generations of immigrants. The patriarchal nature of the immigrants’ families may be one of the reasons behind this phenomenon and this needs to be investigated further....

 “We apply techniques to filter and scrutinize Muslim Brotherhood affiliated teachers and sacking will be done according to the rules of law and [will] not [be] arbitrary.”...

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