By Mohammad Ahmad
October 21, 2014
The JI’s love for ISIS and Baghdadi’s love for Maududi point to the presence of an organisation in our political mainstream that can provide recruits to this menace
The so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is also known as al Dawlah al Islamiyah fi al Iraq wal Shâm or DAISH. This arrangement is also referred to as the Islamic State or IS in line with their aspirations to create a transnational geographical entity ostensibly on the basis of religion. The state was declared on June 29, 2014. Not surprisingly, it’s proclaimed leader, al-Baghdadi, quoted extensively from the writings of Maududi, founder of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), when he declared himself caliph of the entire Muslim world. Based on his unique interpretation of citizenship in Islam, Maududi put forward the idea of the universal citizen transcending nation or history. Maududi deliberately ignored the saying of the Prophet (PBUH): “Love for your country is part of faith.” Maududi thus took his cue not from religion but from the French Revolution that sought to create a state that in turn created its citizens. This flawed concept formed the basis of Maududi’s argument that full citizenship of an Islamic state was only available to Muslims and this principle has been adopted by ISIS, which kills and beheads in the name of Islam. Their mistreatment and oppression of religious minorities and extermination of dissenting Islamic theology also stems from this flawed deduction.
ISIS humiliates when it kills and dishonours the bodies of its victims. It captures through videos or photographs practices like mass executions and public crucifixions that it carries out in the name of religion, making a mockery of Islam. It uses religion as a tool to gain political weight that it cannot gain otherwise. Its hatred for democracy is therefore not camouflaged, intelligently branding it as a western idea. ISIS’s inception in a sham democracy like Iraq therefore holds no surprise as previously violent pseudo-religious extremists converged in places like Afghanistan, Somalia, Pakistan’s tribal areas and northern Nigeria.
Pakistan was created as a separate state for Indian Muslims from British India in 1947 and followed a parliamentary form of democracy. In 1949, contrary to the ideals of Jinnah, the country’s founder, the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan passed the Objectives Resolution that envisaged an official role for Islam as the state religion. Yet, despite this, the state retained most of the laws that it inherited from the secular British legal code that had been enforced by colonial British authorities. It, therefore, qualified as a target for local extremist organisations. The emergence of ISIS with global aspirations opens up room for not just an alliance of these terrorist organisations but also paves the way for the former’s physical presence through assimilation of local outfits. The recent teaming up of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP’s) Shahidullah Shahid with ISIS is a step in this direction.
The TTP’s declaration was preceded by news that a local group by the name of Islami Khilafat had distributed pamphlets in Peshawar that were also sent to Afghan refugee camps and to eastern Afghanistan. These pamphlets purportedly came from Kunar province in Afghanistan. The pamphlet was titled Fatah (victory) and published in Pashto and Dari. The logo of the pamphlet has the Kalma (the most prominent testament of faith), the historical stamp of the Prophet (PBUH) and a Kalashnikov assault rifle. A Pakistani security official was quoted as saying: “We came across them 22 days ago and we are aware of their presence here...Pakistani security agencies are working on the Pakistan-Afghan border and have arrested a number of Taliban fighters and recovered CDs, maps, literature in Persian, Pashto and Dari. We will not permit them to work in our country and anyone who is involved in this will be crushed by the government.” However, marking an increased ISIS presence here, just days ago, the local news showed an ISIS wall chalking in Karachi. This is disturbing; ISIS may very well view Pakistan with its strategic assets as a priceless target.
A Taliban splinter group, Jamaat ul Ahrar, has declared its support for ISIS. Reuters quoted Jamaat ul Ahrar’s leader, Ehsanullah Ehsan, as saying: “We respect them. If they ask us for help, we will look into it and decide.” The formation of ISIS with its transnational ambitions may have been the tipping point for the Pakistan army to initiate Operation Zarb-e-Azb. The Pakistan army appears to have acted wisely and tried to eliminate prospective ISIS allies before they made a move here. Zarb-e-Azb was imperative in destroying TTP bases and infrastructure here. This operation has, however, opened up the possibility that terrorists who flee to Afghanistan and further to Central Asia may tie up with ISIS and provide it inroads into Central Asia, India and even China if they support the Uighur living in Xinjiang. ISIS is a real threat to the entire region, not just Pakistan.
Recalling Baghdadi’s frequent quoting of Maududi, the JI’s stance on ISIS should be an eye opener. The JI’s (India) bi-weekly Dawat carried in its August 22, 2014 publication an editorial note titled ‘DAAISH (ISIS): some points to ponder’. The note says: “Some people say that they are the agents of the US while some others are of the opinion that they are a tool in the hands of the enemies of Islam to drive a wedge between Sunni and Shia Islam. There are few others who call it a manifestation of predictions in the Hadith (sayings of the Prophet [PBUH])...Objectively speaking, it will not be wise for Muslims to form a final opinion on the basis of speculations...Still, it is very necessary to welcome the announcement of the establishment of Islamic caliphate by the ISIS because Islamic caliphate is the aspiration of every Muslim and there has never been a disagreement on the issue among the Muslims in any period of history.”
JI’s love for ISIS and Baghdadi’s love for Maududi points to the presence of an organisation in our political mainstream that can provide recruits to this menace. Should we allow such an organisation whose father figure can be rightly labelled the father of ISIS, to continue to operate, is a question that our security agencies must ask. The mutual love of Maududi, Hasan al-Bana and the Ikhwan ul Muslimoon (Muslim Brotherhood) is another reason for worry. The JI, which worked against the creation of Pakistan, is launching the so-called ‘Pakistan Movement’ from Minto Park on October 21 of this month, which may well be the start of a discreet campaign to galvanise support from unsuspecting innocent Pakistanis for any future DAISH action here. We need to be on guard. The country is already unstable due to incompetent governance and political agitation. The JI’s entry has more to it than is apparent.