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Islam,Terrorism and Jihad ( 15 Sept 2008, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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The so-called Indian Mujahideen: False Custodians

By Arshad Alam, New Age Islam

16 September 2008

In the holy month of Ramadhan, when Muslims consciously occupy themselves to thank Allah for all He has given, some Muslims, in the name of the very same Allah, claim to have killed and maimed innocents. In utter disregard to Islamic convention which prohibits even hurting others during this month, the so-called Indian Mujahideen showed no remorse in spilling blood on the streets of Delhi. This murderous bunch, through its mindless acts of terrorism, wants to give a bad name to Islam and makes Muslims hang their heads in shame.


Unknown to Muslims, it claims to act on their behalf to avenge the pogrom in Gujarat directed against Muslims and the many discriminations which it alleges Muslims face in this country. That Gujarat and incidents like it are blot on the practice of Indian secularism is undeniable. But what is also undeniable is that it caused a lot of pain to Indians of all denominations, not just Muslims. Limited in its understanding of the secular legacy of Indian people, the self-appointed Indian Mujahideen wants to convert Gujarat into specifically a Muslim issue. What happened in 20002 in Godhra and the rest of Gujarat thereafter was a shame and still remains a cause of serious concern for the entire nation, not for Muslims alone. In fact Muslim groups and its so called leadership are not the ones who are at the forefront to demand justice for victims of Gujarat riots. They are too busy with their third class agendas such as protecting the outmoded Muslim Personal Law and unethically demanding reservation for all Muslims.


The Indian Mujahideen also conveniently forgets that Indian Muslims have as strong a stake in this country as any other community -- or it doesn't want this to be the case. They forget that some Muslims of this country have scaled great heights in this country which would not have been possible if India was as discriminatory towards Muslims as the Indian Mujahideen wants to have us believe. And that’s why the Indian Mujahideen will not succeed in polarizing Muslims and Hindus. Most of India lives in shared spaces and partakes in each other's joy and sadness. The Indian Mujahideen seem to be the alienated city bred who have lived their lives in community specific ghettos. They forget that the majority of Indian Muslims do not share their experiences.


Quoting from the Quran to justify their nefarious ends is appalling. The Indian Mujahideen claim to be Muslims but their selective quotation of Quranic verses is tantamount to dismembering the sacred text. As the Indian Ulama were quick to point out, if placed in their proper context, the verses quoted by the Indian Mujahideen would not mean the same. Like the puritanical streak of a new convert, the Indian Mujahideen’s attempt to interpret Quranic verses is the work of novices and does violence and injustice to the collective conscience of Indian Muslims who regard their sacred text as the ultimate guide of ethics and compassion.


The attempt to appropriate Maulvi Ismail and Syed Ahmad Barelwi is equally baffling. The Indian Mujahideen, in their intellectual ineptitude, seem to forget that the above mentioned leaders raised the banner of jihad against the British, not against their fellow countrymen. And, in any case, Maulvi Ismail and Ahmad Barelwi remain marginal to the Indian Muslim religious imagination. Both these men advocated a puritanical reading of Islam, rejecting a mediated religious experience which was, and to a large measure still is, the dominant imagery of Indian Islam. Their followers later on came to be known as the Ahl-e-Hadis, which -- despite the media hype surrounding it -- remains a marginal force within the Indian Muslim community. The Ahl-e-Hadis, however, is one of the most potent killing machines in Pakistan and has spawned organizations like the Lashkar-e-Toiba. It is not surprising then that these two men fire the murderous imaginations of the Indian Mujahideen. Despite their best efforts, the Indian Mujahideen will never be able to convince Indian Muslims that their jihad is a rightful one. If their inspiration comes from the two men named above, then they better know that for the majority of Indian Muslims, Maulvi Ismail and Ahmad Barelwi remain accused of denigrating the Prophet, an idea which is repugnant to most Muslims.


The so-called Indian Mujahideen wants to gain Muslim sympathy by stating again and again that it is fighting against the RSS and Bajrang Dal. However, in equating RSS with the Hindus, it becomes the most ardent supporter of its avowed enemy. After all, it is also the fantastic claim of the RSS that it represents all Hindus, which it does not. The Indian Mujahideen gives the RSS this legitimacy which has been denied to them time and again by the Indian people. In fact, it would seem that the Indian Mujahideen is helping the RSS. By targeting innocents, it reinforces the RSS’ viewpoint that Islam and Muslims are incorrigibly fanatic and violent. The traditional religiosity of Indian people, both Hindu and Muslim will see to it that both the RSS and Indian Mujahideen’s chauvinist and bigoted religious vision gets defeated.