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Radical Islamism and Jihad ( 29 May 2014, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Can Jihadis be dismissed as common criminals or should their wide acceptance as puritans worry Muslims? Is this an ideological issue or a mere law and order problem?


By Sultan Shahin and Ghulam Mohiyuddin 

30 May 2014

Dear Naseer Ahmed Saheb (Observer),

[As the points you have made raise larger issues and more readers need to be involved in it, I am starting a new thread to discuss it. This is in response to your comment that is being given below, following this comment]

You actually heard me saying that Taliban and Boko Haram and other Islamist terrorists are not merely criminals to be dealt with by law and order machineries.  That terrorists are criminals goes without saying. Of course, law and order apparatus of those countries where they commit crimes deals with them and indeed international community is also engaged in finding intelligence about their activities, catching them and bringing them to book. If you think they are not diligent enough, you can write an article, and get it published even on New Age Islam.

However New Age Islam doesn't run any government. It doesn't head any law and order machinery. So, while as citizens, all crimes concern us and we cry at every kidnapping, rape or murder that happens anywhere on the planet, we don't write about them because we are not dealing with crime and punishment issues except as much as it concerns Islam and the Muslim community, particularly with reference to Islamic ideology. Crimes committed in the name of Islam are what interest us.

We are interested in Taliban and Boko Haram because they are no ordinary criminals. They are committing suicide to kill other Muslims, hoping to go to heaven. Which ordinary criminal does that? These are Islamist terrorists. They consider themselves followers of what they call "pure" Islam and a large number of Muslims consider them the best of Muslims. Pakistan government is not able to act against them in Punjab because, though they have killed thousands of Pakistanis,  almost all of Punjabi Muslims love them. They have admirers among Muslims all over the world. Their Salafi-Wahhabi ideology is being spread with the help of billions of dollars of petrol money.

These terrorists are out to create a Khalifatul Muslemeen to rule the world. They mince no words when they talk about killing all those Muslims (first) and then non-Muslims who do not believe in ahl-e-hadeesi ideology, which they consider purest version of Salafism. They have been destroying for years Sufi shrines and killing visitors to those shrines. They have been kidnapping and killing Muslim girls who would dare go to schools. They go to mosques with suicide vests and kill themselves during prayer in order to kill fellow Muslims so that they reach heaven instantaneously and take ownership of their 72 wives waiting for them there.

Which gang of ordinary criminals - mere law and order problem - does these things?

Their ideology is important for us Muslims because they call it Islam, pure Islam, Salafi Islam, Islam of the first generations of Muslims, hence the purest form of Islam. A large population of Muslims believe that this ideology is indeed Islam and its most puritan version. They quote Quran and authoritative opinion-makers of yore like Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Ibn-e-Taimiya and Mohammad Ibn-e-Abdul Wahhab and Syed Qutub and Maulana Maududi and hundreds of other recognised ulema in support of their crimes. They justify their crimes with quotations from Quran and Hadees. They publish 150 magazines justifying their misdeeds as glories of Islam from Pakistan alone. They run scores of television channels, hundreds of websites.

Which gang of criminals - mere law and order problem - organises such a propaganda blitz to justify its mideeds as based on the exhortations of Quran and Hadees or any other scripture?

These Jihadis say that like the Muslims of the first generation of Islam they have the right to kill you or make you a prisoner, take  away your wife and daughters and make them their concubines and slaves and following the dictates of their ulema like Zakir Naik have sex with them. (After all, you claim to be a non-Wahhabi Muslim: where will you hide? It's only a matter of time. The sword is hanging on your head too. They are very near. Look around. In your Mohalla too. Maybe they are lying low now. But how long will you be safe?)

Should we be dealing with these terrorists as mere law and order problem. Law and order machineries of the world, are dealing with them or not, diligently enough or not, is a separate issue. Not our primary concern. Our concern is their ideology and its wide spread in the community.

As I have written again and again, we cannot wash our hands off the Islamist terrorists by calling them kafir or western agents or common criminals or mere law and order problem or anything else. We must accept that they are a part of the Muslim community. They are products of the very same Deobandi madrasas where we send our children. They are well-versed in Quran and Hadees and we would willingly make them teachers or heads of our madrasas and imams of our mosques if they were to come here and we didn't know of their misdeeds. Indeed they do function as teachers in madrasas and imams of mosques in areas they occupy and most Muslims love them and respect them and compare them with the ghazis of the first generations of Islam, our salaf.

We should not deny that historically extremism has been a part of us. Even so revered personalities as Hazrat Ali and Hazrat Aisha were not able to sort out their issues peacefully and fought a war. Few of our khalifas were blessed with a natural death, most of them were murdered. Two early khalifas, among our salaf, fought wars. The Prophet's entire family including infants were killed in the 48th year of his demise and the killer was accepted as a khalifa and so were his sons and grandsons. The conduct of the salaf whom these Islamist terrorists want us to follow, instead of Prophet Mohammad, was not beyond reproach. The original Khwarij whom these Islamist terrorists (neo-Khwarij) follow are known to have killed tens of thousands of Muslims (100,000, according to one historical account which I find incredible), during the last days of Hazrat Ali.

Islamist terrorists prospering in the entire world are a problem for us Muslims of the world because they are a part of us.  Khwarij have continued to exist in our community throughout Islamic history, sometimes ruling parts of the Muslim empires but mostly dormant till the establishment of Wahhabi-Saudi Kingdom in 1932, though it had existed in Nejd since1902 and indeed for decades before that.  

Naseer Saheb, you ask: "How can Boko Haram which stands for "western education  is haram" be an ideology?"

 You are forgetting that Indian Ulema were the original Boko Haramis who said 200 years ago that Western Education (Boko) is Haram (prohibited). They were and actually are also against girl's education. They passed over 50 fatwas, one even specifically brought from Mecca, against reformer Sir Syed, the founder of Aligarh Muslim University. This was because Sir Syed was asking Muslims to acquire western education and modern knowledge.

 Bokos are doing the same things that the Taliban are doing. The Taliban are products of Indian-origin madrasas. These people are merely more honest to their education and training. They have been brainwashed by our Deobandi ulema into believing that Western and particularly girls' Education is Haram, They have also been told that a good Muslim should enforce what is halal and stop people from doing bad, prohibited things (haram).  Amr bil maroof nahi anil munkar, Enjoining Good & Forbidding Evil is a Qur'anic exhortation. Ibn-e-Taimiya and Abdul Wahhab told them that they can use force to Enjoin Good & Forbid Evil. This is what they are doing? They are neither kafirs nor common criminals. They are as good Muslims as our Mullahs whom we follow during our prayers in our mosques. They have both got the same training and have the same ideas. They must be as popular in the community as the Taliban in Pakistan or our own Mullas in India. You cannot kidnap and hide 270 girls from the whole world without community support.

 You should focus on the source of the trouble. The ideology of all our ulema, Deobandi and Barailwi, is united in opposing everything new, modern, western. Only life worth living is like baddus in a seventh century desert. I would agree that many Muslims in India and Pakistan and Bangladesh are not listening to them anymore. Like many lower class Hindus and other communities poor Muslims too have realised the value of western education for poverty alleviation. Under this pressure even some madrasas are now opening up to English education, computer, etc a little bit. But that is another matter. Our ulema are still boko haramis. But not honest and daring enough to kidnap girls from schools and stop what they consider prohibited (haram). That is the only difference. (I must add that in India, I find some ulema coming out in support of even girls acquiring modern education but this change in attitude is a subject for another time and does not invalidate the general principle.)

 Muslims should understand there is no short-cut to introspection and reform. This is a hard, difficult road. We have no option but to take it. We should start thinking afresh and get rid of our mullahs. Calling Boko Haram kafir or Western agent (!) will not do. They are a part of us. Let us accept that they are a cancer of our own body and we have to take some hard medicines or undergo painful surgery to cure that. 

No amount of conspiracy theories, denials or fatawas of kufr will help. Start thinking and not just about how to shoot the messenger.

No individual or community can sort out its problems by simply denying them. Denial is the first natural reaction in the face of tragedy. But we have to come out of it. Accept the realities on the ground and take corrective measures. The question before us is how can a peaceful religion like Islam breed such deadly criminals who call themselves puritan Muslims and how can they have so many Islamic scholars, ulema, fuzala and millions of common Muslims, following them the world over.

Don't forget, Naseer Saheb, that the Mulla Zakir Naik who will justify your wife and daughters being turned into sex slaves by Islamist terrorists because you claim to be not a Wahhabi Muslim is the most popular televangelist in the Muslim world.  It is difficult to sit anywhere in the midst of Muslims, even in India, and criticise him. The same is true in England and America.

[Naseer Saheb, In case you have not noticed our disclaimer, we do not subscribe to views expressed by columnists or newsmakers. Our job is to keep you informed. We do try to guide the discourse in a certain channel - towards moderation in Islam - but we believe we cannot have an intelligent discussion until we know what is happening in the world and what opinions are being expressed in all quarters. I am sure you have never felt censored here. Your views are welcome as article and comment. But you should allow other views also to come before you, both those you like and those you dislike. By the way, I am still waiting for your articles on the extremist views of Barailwis, Ahmed Reza Barailwi on Blasphemy, etc. You have an opportunity to convince us that not only the ideology of Wahhabis-Salafis-Deobandis-ahl-e-Hadeesis but that of all Muslims is extremist or in short all Islamic ideology is extremist. Please keep enlightening us.]

Sultan Shahin

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The above is a response to the following comment by Mr. Naseer Ahmed (Observer) in another thread mentioned below.

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 Shahin Sb,

 I hear you saying that terrorism is not a crime! That killing people, causing disturbances to normal life, destroying property is not a law and order problem! That there are no laws to deal with the situation. That the governments are powerless to do anything. That this is purely an ideological issue. So we must keep debating ideology until the terrorists give up their ways!

Do you even recognize and acknowledge that it requires action by the governments (police, military) to end the scourge? If you did, the noise that you would make would not be to say their ideology is wrong (who cares for the ideology of criminals except those who have a soft corner for them?) but to bring pressure on the governments who are not doing enough. The only strategy that works with extremists is a refusal to negotiate until and unless they first give up violence. Discussing their ideology is showing them too much respect. That only encourages them.

You say that you have no power to bring them to justice. Did I say that you have it? Do you have the power to expose the lack of appropriate action and seriousness by the governments concerned?


What do you publish instead? Article by Tarek Fatah who is arguing that what Boko Haram is doing is in conformity with Islam! Is Boko Haram going to be discouraged or encouraged by such articles?


Why can’t  the media build relentless pressure for action on the ground and visible progress? Why can you not bring attention of the international community to the lack of seriousness in dealing with the issue? You fritter away the opportunity while addressing the UNHRC by discussing instead ideology and the war between the son-in-law and widow of the Prophet and how violence and extremism is part of our heritage! You argue there how right the Islamohobes are! Are the Boko Haramis encouraged or discouraged by these things?


By Observer - 5/30/2014 12:45:10 AM

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Observer sb.,

We must be concerned why so many extremely violent and perverse groups such as Boko Haram, Al Shabab, Al Qaeda, the Talibans and others derive support from the Quran. We keep saying that the Quran does not allow such extremist beliefs and behaviour, but the Islamophobes keep quoting from the Quran to contradict us. This back-and-forth has been going on for several years, but it is not getting us anywhere. Even if what we are saying is correct and what the Islamophobes are saying is false, we do need to find NEW ways to make such gross misinterpretations impossible. Einstein defined insanity as:  "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

By Ghulam Mohiyuddin  - 5/30/2014 1:54:34 AM

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Sultan Shahin Saheb. says, "The ideology of all our ulema is united in opposing everything new, modern, western....."

 True! Modernity is a threat to literalist Islam which goes by the Book. Books can be misleading either because faulty compilation made them over-inclusive or because their contents can be misinterpreted. Even though the Second Amedment to the U.S. Constitution was written barely two centuries ago, its misinterpretation by the gun lobby and even by the U.S. Supreme Court has resulted in and is resulting in thousands of deaths every year.

 Islam should be based on the spirit of the Quran rather on its obscurantist and its time-bound and place-bound verses. Quran's  over-riding message is change, progress, ijtihad, liberalization, common sense solutions, justice, being law abiding, respecting women's rights, pursuit of knowledge, compassion and forgiveness. When the Quran asks us to study nature, it is asking us to study science. At this time the West is the major source of scientific advancement.


 Our Ulemas who have used the Quran to derive Sharia laws instead of formulating and updating laws based on the Quranic injunctions of justice, common sense and equality are as criminal as the terrorists who kidnap girls and threaten to sell them in slavery. Our fight is with our ulemas. It should be fought in our own communities. Railing against a non-existent ummah is not going to get us anywhere.


By Ghulam Mohiyuddin  - 5/28/2014 1:17:02 PM


 Source of above two comments: http://www.newageislam.com/hindi-section/muslims-must-be-honest-about-qur-an-मुसलमानों-को-कुरान-के-बारे-में-ईमानदार-होना-चाहिए/d/87217


 URL of this article: https://www.newageislam.com/radical-islamism-and-jihad/sultan-shahin-and-ghulam-mohiyuddin/can-jihadis-be-dismissed-as-common-criminals-or-should-their-wide-acceptance-as-puritans-worry-muslims?-is-this-an-ideological-issue-or-a-mere-law-and-order-problem?/d/87276


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