New Age Islam
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Islam,Terrorism and Jihad ( 26 May 2012, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Oppression Does Not Legitimise Terrorism

By Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam

In an international seminar organized by the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI), experts agreed that oppressive and repressive actions against Muslims encouraged individual Muslims to take up arms and resort to violent means to achieve their objectives. There was also talk about how to end the bias against Islam.

Perhaps they failed to realise that bias against Islam will not end until terrorism in the name of Allah and Muhammad ends.

Many Islamic terrorist organisations legitimise their actions because they say they have been oppressed and hence their only goal now is to take revenge against the oppressors. On the face of it this argument sounds logical and it also follows Newton’s third law, ‘for every action there is equal and opposite reaction’. But according to the newest and most powerful theory of aggression, the general aggression model (GAM), their argument has got no leg to stand upon.

This theory says that a chain of events that may ultimately lead to overt aggression can be initiated by two major types of input variable:

1)   Factors relating to the current situation (situational factors)

2)   Factors relating to the people involved (personal factors).

Variables falling into the first category include frustration, some kind of provocation from another person or group (e.g., an insult to Muhammad (pbuh) or burning of the Quran), exposure to other people behaving aggressively and virtually anything that causes individuals to experience discomfort. Variables in the second category i.e., personal factors, include traits that predispose some individuals toward aggression (e.g., high irritability may be because Jews and Christians around the world and Hindus in India are in a better condition than Muslims), certain attitudes and beliefs about violence (e.g., believing that it is acceptable and appropriate), a tendency to perceive hostile intentions in others’ behaviour (this is very high in some Muslims as they think the whole world is against them), and specific skills related to aggression.

These situational and personal variables lead to overt aggression i.e., acts of terrorism through their impact on three basic processes: arousal (physiological arousal or excitement); affective states (hostile feelings and angry facial expression); and cognitions (either individuals think hostile thoughts or bring their attitudes of aggression to mind). Depending on individual’s interpretations of the current situation and restraining factors (presence of police), they can engage in either thoughtful action or impulsive action which can lead to overt aggressive actions.

So it must be remembered that aggression or acts of terrorism do not stem from one or just a few factors, like oppression. Rather, it is the result of a large number of variables operating together. Therefore, views like the famous frustration-aggression / oppression-terrorism theory are truly misleading.

Today, 26th May, 2012, I came to know from the comment posted by Mr. Sultan Shahin that a miscreant has posted as comment a threat to kill Mr Shahin Najafi. The main issue is that in his songs he has been criticising the socio-political situation of his home country, Iran. His latest song is allegedly sarcastic of the tenth imam of Shia Islam. This act is considered as blasphemy by Grand Ayatollah Safi Golpaygani.  I want to ask, is the tenth Imam God or a prophet?

People are showing their readiness to kill him primarily because of two motivators: 1) fatwa of death by an Iranian cleric; and 2) a prize of a hundred thousand dollars to kill him. Here again the theory of frustration-aggression/ oppression-terrorism is proved wrong, as there is no frustration or oppression. People want to kill him mainly because of motivation for personal satisfaction that they are doing a great religious duty and that they are going to get a huge amount of money. This lust for heaven in the hereafter and money in this world is inspiring people to kill Mr Najafi.

Every law is for a prescribed period. The Law of Moses says: ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’, it was a wonderful law at that time but not now; the Law of Jesus says: ‘If someone strikes you in the right cheek, turn to him the other also’, it also was a wonderful law at that time but it is not relevant and logical in this aggressive world; and the Law of Muhammad says: ‘In the Torah We prescribed for them a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear, a tooth for a tooth, an equal wound for a wound: if anyone forgoes this out of charity, it will serve as atonement for his bad deeds.’

Forgiveness is manlier than punishment. Truly an eye for an eye will make the whole world blind stands correct till date. In conclusion I would like to quote from the Quran which unequivocally condemns killing of innocent human beings. In chapter 5, verse 32, Allah says:

“If anyone kills any human being, unless it is for murder or creating mischief in the land, it is as though he has killed the whole of humanity; and if anyone saves any human being (not just Muslims), it would be as if he has saved the whole of humanity”.