Posts Tagged ‘Jihadis’

Sending A Wrong Message

September 30, 2008

Tuesday, September 30, 2008



Dear Arif Mohammed Khan Saheb, ASAK


The headline of your today’s article: Sending a wrong message’, is very apt for my own comments to you.


You wrote:


‘Sohail Abbas, a leading Pakistani psychologist, in his recently published study based on personal interviews of the 517 mujahideen arrested  in Afghanistan and later lodged in two Pakistani jails, asserts that ‘the figure on rural/urban jihadis become more interesting as all the jihadis, barring just a few, belong to the Deobandi school of thought”.


My own favorite story has one psychologist scratching his head as to why a KG student is drawing all his subjects, a house, a toy, a flower, a car, a tree — all coloured yellow; till the teacher came over and explained that the boy has only one crayon in his box: yellow.


When a million refugees came over from Afghanistan to neighbouring Pakistan, during the war against Soviet Union forces occupying Afghanistan, only the established Deobandi teachers were available to teach the refugee children and all for free. So what should we expect, if not Deobandis?


The most worrying aspect of your article is its focus on academics and not what is happening around us.


While you are focusing only on jihadis, the Bajrangis are having a ball burning up the whole country. The way, they have bombed in Modesa, Gujarat, Malegaon, where 7 people died and the protesting people had to suffer the further ignominy of police fire, it would seem the Bajrangis are treating India to be Ravan’s Lanka.


The bombing spree is becoming so common and the availability of explosive material and the know-how to make up an improvised explosive device is so rampant, that we can easily see a new civil war emerging from the political wrangling to grab power. If this is not stopped, neither L. K. Advani nor Shiv Raj Patil will have any effective control over their people to stop the spiraling violence.


Even objectively, if you are able to compare jihadis and Bajrangis, the latter have much more free license to spread the violence and with full impunity. Besides, they have a concrete goal. Jihadis lack both. At least in short run, before the elections.


So even if you are not obsessed with either siding with jihadis or castigating jihadis, you cannot close your eyes on what is happening all around you and choose to keep quite. The stakes for the common people of India are too high.




Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai




Sending A Wrong Message





I was asked by a friend why Muslims generally refuse to believe that there are some from their community who are involved in terror attacks. And w


hy they smell, in such a suggestion, a conspiracy to malign them. My response is that Muslims are right in their attitude to the extent that most of them are unaware of the designs of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, best explained in the words of its chief: “Our aim is to weaken India from within and we can do it”. Secondly, and more important, is the fact that there is a total disconnect between Muslims and the madrassa-based clergy, which by its teachings creates a mindset among some that can easily be preyed upon and used by agents of terror for their own nefarious ends.


In this context it may be mentioned that after facing a great deal of criticism, the Deoband clergy responded by organising conferences and rallies against terrorism. I congratulated them after the first such conference in February, and sought their view about the contents of a part of its syllabus prescribed for its eight-year excellence in religion course (Fazeelat). I was keen to know how it could reconcile this syllabus with the unambiguous teachings of Quran on the subject as reflected in its declaration against terrorism. I am yet to receive a reply.


I shall point out the differences between what the Quran says on the subject of jihad and what the Deoband clergy teaches its students. Quran upholds the sanctity of life in most uncompromising terms and says: “If anyone slew a person unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land it would be as if he slew the whole people: and if anyone saved a life it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people.”


On the other hand, look at what the Deoband syllabus says: “The destruction of the sword is incurred by infidels, although they be not the first aggressors, as appears from various passages in the sacred writings which are generally received to this effect.”


On the subject of the duty of a Muslim to invite others to the fold of faith, the Quran says: “Invite (all) to the way of the Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for your Lord knows best who have strayed from His Path and who receive guidance.”


The Quran clearly places limitations on the responsibility of man in this matter. “Not upon you is their guidance but Allah guides whom He wills.” Further, the Quran totally rejects the use of any force and says: “If it had been the Lord’s will they would all have believed all who are on earth! Will you then compel mankind against their will to believe.”


But Deoband appears to approve the use of force to spread religion. Its syllabus states: “When the Muslims enter the enemy’s country and besiege the cities or strongholds of the infidels, it is necessary to invite them to embrace the faith, because Ibn Abbas relates of the Prophet that he never destroyed any without previously inviting them to embrace the faith. If, therefore, they embrace the faith, it is unnecessary to war with them, because that which was the design of the war is then obtained without war. The Prophet, moreover, has said we are directed to make war upon men only until such time as they shall confess, “There is no God but one God.”


The Deoband’s syllabus on jihad is clearly in conflict with the Quran, the book that is believed by Muslims to be the divine word. It is based on the Hedaya, a 12th century compilation of Muslim law, not on the statute books of even any Muslim country today; although in India its provisions regarding personal law are still referred to.


This syllabus is not confined to Deoband, the seminary that was established in 1866, but is prescribed in more than 5,000 of its affiliates across the country and thousands of madrassas in Pakistan run by former students of the Deoband. It is curious that for admission into these madrassas no formal application is needed; instead the madrassas send their recruitment teams to very poor and backward areas emphasising that the education, food, lodging and clothing provided in madrassas are all free. The Muslims who can afford to spend money on education very rarely send their children to madrassas; this makes it impossible for them to know about the teaching and training provided there, leading to the existing disconnect between common Muslims and the madrassas.


Sohail Abbas, a leading Pakistani psychologist, in his recently published study based on personal interviews of 517 mujahideen arrested in Afghanistan and later lodged in two Pakistani jails, asserts that “the figures on rural/urban jihadis become even more interesting as all the jihadis, barring just a few, belonged to the Deobandi school of thought”.


Keeping in mind the gravity of the threat posed by terrorism, it was the duty of the government to keep the public informed about all its dimensions. But when you pin your hopes on the clergy to deliver electoral dividends, then it becomes difficult to bring to light facts that may displease it.


The writer is a former Union minister.



Ghulam Muhammed’s Rejoinder to: Islamism is the main threat to India By Tavleen Singh

September 6, 2008


Friday, September 05, 2008


Ghulam Muhammed’s Rejoinder (embedded in blue italic text) to:


Islamism is the main threat to India


By Tavleen Singh


(Published in Afternoon Despatch & Courier, Mumbai, on Friday, September 05, 2008)


Nothing is more important in today’s world than a public debate on the growing threat of Islamism and its evil cult of death and destruction. It is a huge problem not just for us on the Indian subcontinent but in the whole world; so I am happy to talk about it any chance I get. And, because most Indian columnists are too politically correct to discuss the problem I get labeled anti-Muslim.


(You are merely parroting the neo-con Jewish line that they have fed to the western media. Islamism and terrorism were non-existent from world public discourse when the US-backed the so-called gullible ‘Jihadis’ were fighting Soviet forces in Afghanistan.


Once US realised that Mulla Omar, who defeated the other two fighting forces of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Ahmed Masood in a long drawn civil war  and became the head of Taliban government of Afghanistan, was  not willing to  yield to their demands to allow oil pipeline project of UNOCAL to pass through his conquered territory, the US completely changed its strategy and resolved to throw out Taliban. As is the classis pattern developed by US and Israeli Zionists, before physically attacking and invading a country, they organise massive demonising propaganda against their target. They did it against Soviet Russia, when US President Ronald Reagan branded it as an ‘evil empire’. Taliban leader, Mulla Omar had visited US for negotiations with the US over pipeline project. But the negotiations fell through and Taliban became the no. one enemy of the ‘free world’.


If you know the whole scenario and are still brainwashed by US and Zionist propaganda, and willing to echo ‘his master’s voice’ by raising the bogey of Islamic ideology and terrorism, then you cannot escape being called a gullible soul.


It is people like you that fudge the difference between US/Israeli hegemonical worldview and an independent freedom loving secular democratic worldview, that fight phantom wars .Have gun will fight, have pen will write. They fail to exercise their own intelligence to judge the issues and events and feel cozy wrapped up in their cocoons of ignorance.


Islamism, even if at all be called an ideology driven political doctrine to conquer the world, how does that differ from several other world hegemonic doctrines? Why for India and you personally, a communist world, or a Zionist world or a Christian world order or even a Ram Rajya, is not a threat but Islam is the main threat?


Besides, in India, all religions and ideologies are free to profess and propagate as per freedoms guaranteed by our constitution. So by what yardstick you are discriminating against Islam.


If you are against Islam as a religion, and believe that religion should not enter public domain, how can you explain such a heavy intrusion of Hindu culture and mythology in state affairs so overwhelmingly dominating Indian polity, without any body declaring it as a main threat to India?


I would like to paraphrase your headline. In fact, it is bigotry that is the main threat to India.)


A debatable heritage


I bring up the subject this week because of a letter I received in response to my column last week on the death of the poet Ahmed Faraz.


The gist of that piece was that it was tragic that sixty years after independence we remained so colonized that Indians writing in English got all the credit and recognition while our best writers wrote in Indian languages and remained un-translated and ignored. Personally, I thought it was harmless bit of musing but it provoked a correspondent by name of Ghulam Muhammed to accuse me of not acknowledging Urdu as an Indian language. It was a bizarre conclusion for him to draw since nearly every writer I mentioned wrote in Urdu.


But, Ghulam Muhammed’s main purpose in writing his letter was to charge me with causing damage to ‘the Hindu-Muslim unity of the nation by her (my) warped line of communal writings’.


Happy to engage him I wrote back saying it was he who was guilty of communalism because he sought to link Urdu with Islam. It is because Pakistan did this when came into being that Urdu was replaced by Hindi in India and not given the importance it should have been except in Bollywood where it remains till today the language of Hindi cinema. It has been given renewed life by Hindi television channels who long ago abandoned AIR ‘shudh’ Hindi for Hindustani.


(Once Indian leaders agreed to the division of the country, why should they care how Pakistan is organising itself? Since Pakistan became an independent state, they had every right to claim Urdu or Punjabi, Bengali, Sindhi, Pashto, Baluchi, as their national language. They chose Urdu for its wider acceptance. Where does religion come into the picture?


The main question for India that should concern us as Indian is, that once India had declared itself to be secular, how can it brand one of its own languages to be as non-secular or religious. India has no right to be communal on the pretext that Pakistan had become communal.


Besides, it is a historical record that Urdu lost to a casting vote by a person, less committed to secularism. Why Indian Muslims should be blamed for turning Urdu into something religious. It is the Hindus who forsake Urdu on communal grounds.)



But, it was not the piece about Urdu; it is about my ‘communal writings’. Ghulam Muhammed responded to my letter by writing a long, insulting letter which he circulated by –mail to everyone he knows.


It is too long to reproduce here but contact and I am sure he will send you a copy. He charges me with demonizing Muslims, while not speaking out against the ‘violence of the Hindutva kind’, of using my ‘poison pen’ to ‘succour and sustain the communalism of the majority’ and an ‘obsessive hatred of Muslims’.


It is journalists like me he says who will be responsible for the ‘disintegration of India’.


(I stand by my stand.)


These charges are made all over the world against anyone who dares raise their voice against Islamism. Writers far more famous than I have been killed for daring to speak out and some like Ayaan Hirsi Ali have been forced into permanent hiding because of their courageous stand against Islamism. Meanwhile, the popularity of Islamism among supposed moderate Muslims all over the world continues to grow as can be seen from the change in Islam that has come about in formerly liberal Islamic countries like Malaysia and Indonesia.


(Revival of religious fervor is directly related to world demonisation of Islam and Muslims after 9/11; which itself is widely reported to be an inside job. Muslims have every right to raise their voices against uncalled for and undeserved demonisation. Even overwhelming moderate majority of Muslims have now come to realise that anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim propaganda is political and ideological driven and are more vocal protestors against such Goebbellian propaganda. It is this backlash that has radicalize even liberal Islamic countries like Malaysia and Indonesia.)


Unwelcome change


In India we see the change everywhere. Liberal, moderate schools of Islamic thinking are losing the battle to those of the Darul Uloom variety who remain mired in the 7th century Arabia. Anyone who doubts this need to make a quick trip to the Darul Uloom’s headquarters in Deoband and see what it looks like and the kind of Islam it preaches to its students. It was the ideology preached at Deoband that gave birth to nasty organisation like SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India). There are those who defend SIMI on the grounds that the allegations of terrorism against their member remain unproven. Perhaps. But, what about their ideology that is based on the principle that the values of Islam have to be imposed on India and that such values that India cherishes like secularism and democracy are nonsense. Surely it is this kind of ideology that produces evil cowards who wander about the country killing innocent people in the name of Allah.


(Your charges against Darul Uloom and SIMI are baseless. Darul Uloom has been teaching the same Dars e Nizami syllabus since its inception over more than a century ago. It is the same teachings that motivated Darul Uloom elders to oppose the establishment of Pakistan. Nobody can deny except the ignorant, that Darul Uloom was in the forefront of India’s unity and it backed Indian National Congress to the fullest. How the same Darul Uloom now has become ‘the hotbed of terrorism’. Isn’t this the US propaganda that gullible scribes in India are slavishly following?


The connection between Taliban and Darul Uloom is most outlandish. When US had to fight young generation of the Afghan refugees that had fled to Pakistan during Afghanistan’s war against the occupying Soviet forces, they chose the common linkages in the syllabus that the Taliban had been taught in to denigrate all madrasas. Such stupid linkages can only convince either the ignorant or the bigots to believe that fault lies with Islamic teachings and not with the US forces invading a foreign country on false pretexts. Even after so many years, if Indian journalists are still harping the same old tune, without using their own independent judgment and intellect, it exposes their utmost ignorance and herd mentality.


The case of SIMI is still another example of dimwit commentators ignoring the state’s propaganda and demonising of Muslims, that had invented an enemy and indulging in their sadistic criminalities. Perfectly innocent people are arrested and tortured and the so-called liberals and secularists are keeping aloof, just because the victims of state terrorism are ‘Muslims’. Isn’t this communalism of the most glaring and obnoxious variety? Where are all human rights organisations? There is strong belief among Muslims that a Zionist advisory is most probable suspect of this copycat strategy to target Muslims in India..)


If saying this is ‘demonising Muslims’, I plead guilty. If stating that religion must stay out of public square is an attack on Islam, then I plead guilty again. Whenever Hindutva has raised its evil head I have attacked it in exactly the same words I use to attack the jihadis. And in the days of Bhindranwale I was among a small handful of journalists who openly opposed the fanatical Sikhism he was preaching. I was put on a hit list for my pains and continue to be on a Hindutva hit list so I must be doing something right.


Anybody who believes that the Islamism is not the main threat to the existence of India as we know it need only examine what has happened in Kashmir. Fifteen years ago the movement for ‘azadi’, was secular and the militancy did not have the hint of jihad in it. Today the ‘secular’ leaders of Kashmir have been forced to follow jihadis who have no hesitation in shouting Islamist slogans in public and making hatred for Hindu India known. They speak openly against ‘Indian culture’ and have turned Kashmir into a place where going to the movies is considered a sin. Islamism works ideologically and through terrorism. It has to be fought at both fronts…


(Before condemning Muslim reaction in Kashmir as well as in India, you must consider if Indian administration had been above board in its dealings with the Muslims. Some disgruntled could have taken to arms, but to treat such outlaws as being Jihadis is an affront to Islam. Unless it is excused as ignorance of Islam, both by the outlaws as well as their detractors.)




TIMES OF INDIA DOES IT AGAIN – VI : Has The Times of India, become ‘his master’s voice’?

August 4, 2008

Sunday, August 03, 2008





Has The Times of India, become ‘his master’s voice’?


See how it picks up the new guidelines laid down by US States Department, hires a writer with a Muslim name but with famously known extreme Leftist orientations (check his writings), and gets a hatchet job on the so-called Muslim terrorists in India.


The article written by Mohammed Wajihuddin was published by Sunday Edition of The Times Of India, on Aug 3, 2008 under the title: ‘Don’t give KILLERS a halo’.


In nutshell, it vexes, on the use of terminology of Jihad, Jihadis and counsels Times readers in India and abroad, that by naming the Killers as Jihadis, they are giving some kind of religious halo, to the killers and it should be stopped.


Now read a quote from ‘Human Events’, a widely circulated US internet newsletter, in which Robert Spencer writes in his May 5, 2008 article: ‘No Jihadi here’:




Last week, the State Department, the Department of Homeland security and the National Counter Terrorism Center issued new guidelines forbidding personnel from using the words “jihad” or “jihadist” in reference to Islamic terrorism and its perpetrators. A Homeland security report tellingly titled “Terminology to Define the Terrorists: Recommendations from American Muslims” explains that this initiative comes from a concern not to offend moderate Muslims. By calling the terrorists “jihadists,” American officials could be “unintentionally portraying terrorists, who lack moral and religious legitimacy, as brave fighters, legitimate soldiers or spokesmen for ordinary Muslims.” Using the term “jihad” may not be “strategic.” Why not? “Because it glamorizes terrorism, imbues terrorists with religious authority they do not have and damages relations with Muslims around the world.” American officials “should not concede the terrorists’ claim that they are legitimate adherents of Islam.”







Now it is for all Indians to judge, if Times of India, like a bonded slave, following the dictates of US State Department, US Department of Homeland Security, has agreed to carry out a campaign on behalf of the US warmongers?


The worst part of Times of India brand of proactive journalism is to let his writer use quotes from obliging Muslim commentators, who are possibly unaware of the wider designs of Times of India’s collaboration with a foreign nation.


One is sure that liberals like Dr. Zeenat Shaukat Ali, Asghar Ali Engineer, A.G. Noorani, Dr. J. S. Bandukwala as well as conservative Islamic scholar, Maulana Abu Hassan Nadvi Azhari, would be the first to be objecting to any involvement with a US Government based effort to influence Indians one way or other. None of them is clearly in the pay of the US Administration. They may be critical of so many incongruities in Muslim world. However, all of them are on record condemning the US, for its illegal invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. The writer Wajihuddin had taken them for a ride, without giving full background to his motivation to follow the US line on how to deal with the Muslim at large through their deliberative change of official policies while he used their name and quotes to tailor his own agenda.


In his article Wajihuddin’s history starts with Syed Qutub, Hassan al Banna and Maulana Abul Ala Maududi.  Wajihuddin has failed to go back in history, when even in earlier centuries the imperialist powers had dreaded the very word of ‘Jihad’. British colonists supported Gulam Ahmed Mirza, the Ahmedi /Qadiani leader when he carried out his campaign against Jihad. British were most supportive of the ever increasing popularity of the earlier Tabligi Jamat movement, whose adherents toured every nook and corner of India, to exhort Muslims to strictly restrict themselves to prayers and shun Jihad, as any part of Islamic teachings.


It should not be surprising, that Wajihuddin/TOI has used the first title of the article as UNHOLY WAR. Since Wajihuddin has not bothered to write a single word against US war in Iraq and Afghanistan, it would be presumed that possibly he is convinced that President Bush is fighting a HOLY WAR in Iraq and Afghanistan and whoever opposes him, and that should include an overwhelming majority of world’s population, as clearly made out by a US poll, are in fact fighting an UNHOLY WAR against the US.



Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai




PS: TOI’s article:






‘Don’t give KILLERS a halo’




The Indian Mujahideen and others like them have shorn jihad of its moral and spiritual robe, says Mohammed Wajihuddin





   Two weeks ago, Zeenat Shaukat Ali, who teaches Islamic studies at Mumbai’s St Xavier’s College, screened Khuda Ke Liye, the widely acclaimed Pakistani film, for her students. During the subsequent discussion, many students asked Ali whether jihad, as the moderate Maulana Wali (Naseeruddin Shah) so passionately explains in the film, is not a war against infidels. “I am constantly asked whether killing of infidels and forced conversions are part of a jihad,’’ says Ali. “Every year, I give two lectures on jihad alone.’’


   That Ali’s students know so little about jihad is no news. Though this term is overused, no Quranic word has been more misinterpreted and misquoted than jihad and its derivative mujahid (one who undertakes jihad). Even those who bombed Bangalore and Ahmedabad last week chose to identify themselves as the Indian Mujahideen. Like their fellow travellers in Al-Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and Harkat-Ul-Jihad-e-Islami (HUJI), the Indian Mujahideen, if they exist at all, have conveniently misappropriated a sacred Islamic word for un-Islamic acts. Outside the Muslim world it is as loosely used—noted security experts, including B Raman, called the Indian Mujahideen among the “Indianised jihadis’’.


   “The word jihad appears 44 times in the Quran. Nowhere has it been used in the sense of a war,’’ says Islamic scholar Asghar Ali Engineer who has deeply studied the exact contexts of jihad in the Quran.


   Derived from the Arabic word ‘juhd’, jihad literally means to strive, to struggle. For war or battle, Engineer explains, the Quran has words like ‘qatal’ and ‘harb’.


   Engineer, like most Islamic scholars, both progressive and conservative, blames the media for loosely using the term jihadis for mass murders or terrorists. “Jihad is the media’s pet word today. Unknowingly or otherwise, the media gives the merchants of death a halo when it calls them jihadis,’’ he says. The brutal bomber is perhaps gloating when he is called a jihadi or a mujahid because that gives him a religious sanctity, elevates him to a pedestal he doesn’t deserve.


   If a “prejudiced’’ media has distorted terms like jihad and mujahid, Muslims themselves, especially the clergy, are no less irresponsible. Bhiwandi-based noted cleric Maulana Abu Hassan Nadvi Azhari accepts that the Muslims have failed to explain many things, including the concept of jihad, to the world. “Prophet Muhammad participated in 27 battles. But none of his warfare was offensive. He was forced to engage in battles where he had to defend himself and his then nascent community. This needs to be explained widely,’’ says Maulana Azhari, who trained at the Cairo-based famous Islamic seminary Al-Azhar.


   Maulana Azhari cites a classic example from the Prophet’s life where the founder of Islam articulated the importance of peace over war. On returning from a battle in Tabuk, outside Medina, the Prophet declared: “We return from the little jihad to the greater jihad.’’ “To engage in a combat is little jihad, but to fight the evils within, to overcome envy and spread peace is a greater jihad,’’ explains Maulana Azhari.


   Jihad was never the central tenet of Islam. It’s not even among the five pillars of Islam: Kalima (belief in Allah and His Prophet), namaz, roza, haj and zakat (charity).


   Jihad, even if it is used to describe conventional warfare for purely defensive purposes, can only be declared by qualified ulema (clerics), not by some misguided youths avenging real or imaginary injustices. “A war for territory like the Palestinians’ struggle to get their occupied land back cannot be called a jihad. That doesn’t mean the Palestinians don’t deserve their land,’’ says Vadodara-based scholar-peace activist J S Bandookwala who miraculously escaped the wrath of a marauding mob during the genocide of Gujarat 2002.


   Some scholars are worried at how a handful of hardcore political thinkers have hijacked jihad, denuding it off its spiritual and moral robe. Noted legal luminary-scholar A G Noorani has, through his writings, often opposed the so-called jihadis for misusing the ideal of jihad. After 9/11, a deeply anguished Noorani penned a slim book called Islam and Jihad where he named three personalities who misused jihad: Hasan al-Banna (1906-’49) who founded Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt; Syed Qutb (1906-’66) who succeeded him on al-Banna’s assassination in 1949; and Maulana Abul-Ala Maududi (1903-’70) who founded Jamaat-e-Islami in Lahore on August 26, 1941. These ideologues propounded the theory that jihad could be used as a weapon to realise the dream of an Islamic State.


   “Maududi was opposed to the Muslim League’s demand for Pakistan on the ground that nationalism was against the Islamic concept of the unity of the ummah,’’ writes Noorani. Interestingly, Maududi went to Pakistan after Partition. Noorani refers to Frederic Grare’s seminal book Political Islam In The Subcontinent which says: “He (Maududi) demanded a universal jihad, which he declared to be the central tenet of Islam. No major Muslim thinker had ever made this claim before.’’


   Decades later, a group of Maududi’s followers founded the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), now banned. “Jamaat-e-Islami distanced itself from SIMI when they deviated from the Jamaat’s principle. But anyone who fights injustice is a jihadi,’’ says Aslam Ghazi, Jamaat-e-Islami’s spokesperson in Maharashtra.


   Call them what you may, but don’t call mass murders jihadis or mujahideen.