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Radical Islamism and Jihad

The battle against the coronavirus is as important as the struggle against Israel, an online post by the Palestinian Mujahideen Brigades said Wednesday. They are one of many groups in the Middle East who claim to have swapped their AK-47s for disinfectant during the global pandemic….

 

“May God punish China with death, as they had brought death to Muslims.” “As China beats Uyghur Muslims, coronavirus is now beating China.” “The virus is God’s army that destroys the kafir (infidels)..”…

 

Expectedly, the euphoria around the self-proclaimed US success in signing the deal has faced a major jolt even before the ink was dry. The text of the four-point agreement declares, “the United States is committed to start immediately to work with all relevant sides on a plan to expeditiously release upto 5,000 prisoners of the Taliban…

The differences between different Deobandis provide favourable circumstances for the Pakistani state to get a grip. Disappointingly, the authorities chose not to face down the Maulana, but instead decided to appease him....

In other places in the Islamic world, still more serious consequences have followed accusations of blasphemy. In Pakistan, Asia Bibi was sentenced to death in 2010 for allegedly insulting the Prophet Muhammad......

A possible catastrophe was averted by the Maldivian SFs when they, along with the “five biggest countries in the world,” foiled an IS plan to blow up an airline mid-air using an Improvised Explosive Device…

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.

If I were mad enough to occupy a federal government building in Islamabad with a group of like-minded men and women, you can easily imagine the consequences: we would be thrashed, dragged to jail and probably charged with sedition....

The mass shootings at Sheesha bars in Hanau, Germany, and the stabbing of the muezzin of London’s Regent’s Park mosque have put far-right extremism back in the headlines....

 

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....

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....

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....

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....

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....

 
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