|By Vijay D'Souza, U.K. [ Published Date: October 23, 2005 ]|
“He from whose hand and tongue his neighbor is not safe is a not a Muslim” Islam says, it seems. “Jihad” in its true meaning describes three different kinds of struggle. A believer's internal struggle to live out the Muslim faith as well as possible, the struggle to build a good Muslim society and the struggle to defend Islam, with force if necessary (Holy War). Cancel out the first two types, as they mark personal struggle to keep up with demands of faith. That leaves us with only one obvious question. “Who is attacking Islam?” In recent years, any conflict involving Islamic and Non Islamic states has been used as an example to show the world of a conspiracy against Islam. It is common knowledge that under the pretext of any and every such conflict, Islamic terror groups have successfully waged a war against rest of the world. Its time they know that the right of being the victim cannot be theirs forever.
A two month undercover investigation by The Sunday Times in UK, amassed evidence as how the leader of the Savior Sect, Sheikh Omar Bakri Mohammed, a Syrian with seven children has been living on state benefits for over 18 years since being deported from Saudi Arabia is preaching hatred into young minds. Such leaders justify violence against “kuffar”-non-Muslims. Members of the Savior Sect even resorted to intimidatory campaign against fellow Muslims to stop them from voting in recent general election. They claim that they do not recognise Muslim Council of Britain, the representative body of Muslims in the UK. Members of this organization were seen beating a Muslim who opposed their ideology. These leaders while condemning the terrorist attacks, have in private glorified terrorism by calling 9/11 and 7/7 terrorists as “Magnificent 19” and “Fantastic four” respectively. According to them, one should abstain from contributing economically to the state but can live off state benefits. This, they justify by Prophet Muhammad’s example saying, he lived off the state and attacked it at the same time. According to the leaders of this group, only people living under the Islamic state are “Innocent”. Rest of the causalities are liable to die either because they live in a democracy or because they are non believers. These and other groups have been accused of radicalising disaffected young men into potential terrorists. The problem facing authorities now is identifying these people. They may not be centrally commanded by any one person or organisation, but are associated to the belief of right to practice hatred against non believers.
Terrorism might have helped initially to attract world’s attention for the cause. Be it the fight for statehood in Kashmir, the freedom fight in Palestine, revenge attacks for the death of their spouses in Chechnya or the movement in Srilanka. In the Middle East, suicide bombing was used as to instil fear in enemy in Iran - Iraq war, where Iran used children laden with explosives to destroy the enemy tankers. The Palestine militants took Israeli athletes hostage during 1972 Munich Olympics and in the ensuing battle all the athletes and some militants were killed. These terrorists were made into heroes by the Arab world when they were released under suspicious circumstances by Germany.
Terrorism has surfaced time and again and it dates back to almost 2000 years. In the first century Jewish Zealots, a resistance sect used to mount individual attack on Roman soldiers with knives and sacrifice themselves. This culminated at AD66 Jewish war resulted in exodus of Jews from Judea. A thousand years later in northern Iran, Hashashin used suicide attacks to deter neighbouring sultans in Persia and Iraq from invading. The next big wave of suicide attack came during the Second World War when the Japanese, forced on to the defensive by Americans in 1944, sent the first kamikaze planes against the US navy. After the American aided Lebanon invasion by Israel, Hezbollah forced Ronald Regan to withdraw forces from Lebanon after a truck bomb killed 241 Americans in US marine barracks. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Marxist Hindu Tamil Tigers, killed many people including Rajiv Gandhi, the Indian prime minister. In recent years the notoriety has been stolen by Hamas and other militant sects in Israel by provocatively releasing video of the volunteer after the bombers death. Islamic terrorist organizations linked to Al-Qaeda have been doing it worldwide targeting westerners and western interests. Now, thanks to the publicity it attained and the ease with which it attracts the volunteers and donation from sympathisers, it has become an ideology for the fight against free society.
Most of the preachers who are able to attract volunteers are based in wealthy western states thanks to their accepted asylum status. Ever imagined their fate had they tried this in their native country ruled by Muslim rulers? The people, who preach the ideology of hatred in the name religion, should accept that they fail to stand up to the authorities in their own countries, ruled by repressive regimes, mostly belonging to the same faith. Why can’t they struggle to restore order and justice in their own country? It’s only when they are given the cover of civil liberty and financial assistance they bite the hands that feed. When a military strike targeted at terror groups kills civilians it isn’t targeted to kill them but they become the tragic “collateral damage”. Unlike them or any other groups, the Islamic terrorists deliberately target innocent civilians. It doesn’t affect them a great deal as they think by killing non believers they can attain martyrdom. So either way they get to go to heaven and what do we get? Hell, apparently. So, is it a mad rush to get into heaven or to wipe out non Muslim regimes from earth? Whatever name they give to glorify the killing of innocents, they will neither enter that heaven which we all wish for nor be able to build the society of their liking.
Through their selective misinterpretation of Koran they attract attention of uninformed minds for an evil ideology. The allure is quite ludicrous interpretation of heaven given in any religion. I think it is an insult to the religion itself. The reward of a martyr is 72 virgins (female virgins, I presume) in heaven and paradise for 77 members of the family even if they are non believers. No mention whatsoever what would a child and woman martyr get? Could they be transformed into adults to enable them savour pleasure of the earthly body? Why make heaven so cheap? If there exists a God, as at least some of us believe he does, could not his heaven be beyond human imagination? After all we believe we are just a part of his creation. Why flex our beliefs according to our needs? Any religion which overrules human conscience cannot be the way to reach God.
Al-Qaeda and affiliated terrorist organizations have started a war; the devastation it might cause is beyond grasp of human intellect. The perpetrators who argue that it is a fight against people who detest Muslims, knowingly or otherwise help spawn “Islamophobia” in people who are not even remotely connected to any religion. The resultant hatred will engulf people from all sides and will divide communities taking us back to the primitive age. What would be their gain when the indifferent people including God fearing Muslims who have no allegiance to any issues will come to hate Islam? Would that help in their crusade to form a society of their will?
These are not the only people who aren’t happy with Government’s foreign policies. People living in democratic countries oppose their Government’s policies when they don’t agree with it. They fear mostly of the possibility of being a part of an immoral war or foreign policy than losing their loved ones in the war. However, unlike terrorists everyone does not resort to killing innocents. Whatever logic terrorists might present promoting death by suicide bombing as martyrdom, in reality it is a coward’s way of showing dissent. Someone who protests peacefully enduring hardships of his life in a manly way might have higher place in heaven.
One essential question we all need to reflect upon at this dark hour of human civilization. It is the one asked brilliantly by Mexican film director Alejandro Inarritu, one of eleven film directors from around the world who were assigned to make a film that symbolized their perception of the events on September 11, 2001. He ends his film with a quite haunting question. “Does God's light blind us or guide us?”