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Islam and Politics ( 2 Nov 2013, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Can Islam And Muslims Be Linked To Global Terrorism? How Can Muslims Change The Image And The Reality On The Ground?


By Nastik Durrani, New Age Islam

1 November 2013

"All Muslims are not Terrorist but All Terrorists are Muslim." Can this slogan raised by a Hindu nationalist party be considered correct?  All the facts and evidence revealed by neutral researchers as well as the world consensus indicate that at this point in time this is by and large true. This phenomenon may have had its origin in Muslim community in the early ninth century, but now we regularly see it reported in the news media. Hindu nationalists did not accuse all Muslims of being terrorists, but they very precisely discovered that all existing forms of terror today emanate from the Muslim world. Not quite true but a linkage cannot be denied.

Now the logical questions that arise in the mind of every sane Muslim are: how did the trend of terrorism emerge among Muslims? What are the reasons behind this bloody phenomenon? And how can we put an end to it?

Most researchers who take up issues pertaining to Islam and Muslims hold that this phenomenon emerged in the beginning of the eighties of the last century. According to them, there was an age-old ideological and political prelude to the practical emergence of this phenomenon. Some ideological and political events led to a peculiar situation that created the forces of political Islam. 

The first point that we should ponder over in this regard is the education system, the curriculum and the text books that continue to be taught in the Arab and some other Muslim countries, especially in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt and Sudan. In Saudi Arabia where religious institutions are well-established with strong foundation, a much radicalized curriculum full of extremist Salafi and Hanbali texts are being taught and studied for decades. With the help of billions of dollars received from the petrol sold in the global market, Saudi sheikhs and rulers became affluent and thus began to promote the political Islamism and Wahhabi ideology through the educational curriculums of the Saudi government schools. Not only media but also mosques and madrasas became tools to be used for the promotion of radical religious education. The same ideology got roots in the Muslim countries where Saudi petro-dollars were used to build religious seminaries. The political Salafi-Wahhabi ideology works on the following basic agenda:

1- Confinement to the existing religious texts and denial of the Ijtihad (independent reasoning). There is an ideological stagnation in this attitude, for it deters them from advancing forward and keeping pace with the changes of time. They believe there cannot be any exegesis or Ijtihad better than the existing religious texts, so, it is futile to ponder over these issues. They simply reject any need for Ijtihad and rethinking.

2- Rejection of other schools of thoughts declaring their adherents beyond the pale of Islam and Quran, as they stand kafir (infidels) and deviant people and are mortally harmful to the Muslim community. Therefore, they and their like, particularly Shias and Sufis, must be banned. 

3- Declaring followers of all other religions kafir, as they have not abandoned their own religions to convert to Islam which is the only divine religion that has abolished all the religions, and because they don’t believe that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) is the seal of the prophets.

4- Indoctrinating people into believing that there is a world war between Islam and Kufr (infidelity) i.e. other religions. Hence, Muslims should make every possible effort to win this war. It implies that it is a prerogative of every Muslim to choose any possible way to fight against those who don’t accept Islam, because they indulge in Kufr and, therefore, they should be punished with death. Ideologically, this stand includes non-Hanbali-Wahhabi Muslims too.

5- Well-funded by Saudi petrodollars, many madrasas in Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other Muslim countries churned out such ideological organizations that raised the slogan of political jihad and resorted to power and violence to achieve their ends. They believe that using power and violence against infidels is permissible as they declare it an Islamic jihad.

6- Such indoctrination and education that oppose other sects of Islam and followers of other religions have been an integral part of the Saudi educational curriculum since the very beginning through to the present day. Now efforts are being made to install the same curriculum in other Muslim countries. 

7- Although Saudi Arabia and America have strong political and economic ties, the Saudi education system has not yet been wiped out. America has not made any serious effort to end it. On the contrary, all the existing evidence points to the fact that the U.S. has instigated it even more, especially during the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, where the United States, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and some other Gulf countries gave patronage to the extremist Islamist factions trained in the Islamic seminaries of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

American ideologues and intellectuals did not pay heed to the ideological roots of these groups who resort to violence to achieve their goals.  They did not ponder over the fact that these Islamists were not only against the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan and “communist atheism” of the Soviet state, but they were strongly opposed to all divine and non-divine religions, secularism and even human development. Even though some non-government institutions raised objections to the hostile Saudi education system, the Saudi government did not move a bit. Moreover, the term “interfaith dialogue” is being used to denote enhancing relations between countries rather than ensuring religious freedom in Arab and Muslim countries. This is a matter of serious concern that should be made clear so that Muslim countries may not fool the world in the name of interfaith dialogue to continue with their religious tyranny.

Another important issue is that of financing resources. Most madrasas and political Islamist organisations in Muslim countries as well as Europe and America receive funds from the Gulf oils. The affluent elites of Saudi Arabia and some other Gulf and Muslim countries have been funding these madrasas, mosques and Islamist factions. These funds are used in publishing violence-provoking books that are largely distributed for free. The crux of these books is the same as mentioned above. This process continues unabated even today with the equal amount of financial generosity. By giving donations and aid to the poor students of madrasas and political organisations, they use them as their tool to achieve their goals. The same policy has been adopted by Iran that supports the world-wide Shiite madrasas and some political factions belonging to other schools of thought to pursue certain aims, notably to impose its political agendas on them both on global level and in the Middle East.

 The third point is the pending issues that fan the fire of violent Salafist mentality of revenge and prevents them from democratic ways of solving problems. Among the pending issues are the Palestine problem, the occupied Golan Heights of Syria, Lebanon's Shab'a farms and the Kashmir conflict. Wahhabi ideologues hold that the world community has double standard in dealing with these issues. Besides, the poverty, deprivation, disease, ignorance, yawning gap between the rich and the poor in the Arab countries are among the factors that create the sense of deprivation among the citizens leading them to join the extremist organizations and making them easy prey to their acts of terror. Although this cannot justify their resorting to terrorism, it shows that poverty creates clear impact on the local and international scenario. The situation gets from bad to worse when western countries, on one hand, raise big slogans for human rights, and on the other, they maintain strong political and economic relations with the countries that clearly violate human rights day in and day out. Their fair relations with Saudi Arabia can be cited as an instance, though they are not confined to this single example.

Given the above, we can say that Arab and Muslim countries don’t put up democratic and justice-oriented humane behaviour to their citizens.  Whether it is unfair distribution of national income, or its misuse, or discrimination against the followers of other religions, or the lack of individual freedoms, or the brutal throat-cutting policies – as are prevalent in Saudi Arabia and Iran – all these factors put together to produce a generation that easily turns to violence and revenge.

(Translated from Urdu by the New Age Islam Edit Desk)

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