Posts Tagged ‘US’


September 13, 2009



Sunday, September 13, 2009

Those who ignore the lessons of history, come to grief. British experience in Afghanistan when out of 20,000 only one man survived, was repeatedly cited when both Russia and now US are bogged down in Afghanistan. Nobody paid heed. Taliban had brought peace to the country after Russia left. US had good relations with them. It is their arrogance of power that they had to suffer so much ignominy when they thought they can uproot Taliban and impose their cronies on the country.

It is still time for everybody that wishes to do business with Afghan to restore the country to their rightful owners and deal with them as equals.

Afghanistan should be brought into the mainstream of 21st century civilization, with its freedom, dignity and independence fully restored to its people. They are proud and talented people. They will make their mark in the comity of nations.

If the US and NATO leave now, there will be chaos, but the power that emerges will be able to ensure longer term stability, if the world learns the lessons from history and let Afghanistan be left to Afghans.

Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai


Why run away from the enemy?

Swapan Dasgupta

Sunday September 13, 2009
There are good reasons why the commemoration of the eighth anniversary of 9/11 was remarkably subdued in both the US and Europe. The initial fear, followed by outrage and a steely determination to cleanse terrorism from the world has given way to frustration, despondency and defeatism. Iraq may have got off the front pages but Afghanistan, where it all began, is now increasingly being perceived as a hopeless war. Both liberals and conservatives in the West seem agreed that there is little point losing more lives and pouring money down a bottomless pit if the Afghans themselves are not sensitive to the charms of democracy and development.

Predictably, the dreaded Taliban with their medieval fanaticism and warped values invite maximum derision. But Western scorn is being dished out in equal measure at president Hamid Karzai whose exotic elegance once induced the perfect multiculturalist wet dream. Karzai is today being cast as a ballot thief and linked to sinister drug barons and ugly warlords. The ethical commitment that galvanised the post 9/11 crusade against the new evil has been considerably blurred by the realisation that the home side also plays foul. In the framework of moral absolutes, “we” are seen to be as imperfect and sinful as “them”. The will to fight the “just” war in Afghanistan has evaporated.

The implication is obvious: If the West can’t carry the proverbial white man’s burden in Afghanistan and, in Kipling’s immortal words, “veil the threat of terror/ And check the show of pride”, it should concentrate on its own aam admi concerns – like addressing schoolkids, pushing for universal healthcare and coping with the recession. A century ago, empire-builders could take on the fanatical Mahadi and his “Fuzzy Wuzzies” in Sudan to avenge the murder of General Gordon. In those days, public opinion at home didn’t count. As former US president Lyndon Johnson discovered to his cost in 1968, today a spectacular domestic track record can be effortlessly nullified by an overseas misadventure.

In the past six months, the West has acknowledged that it no longer has the political and moral resolve to do what it takes to win the Afghan war. Britain can barely stomach the death of 200 soldiers; a reinvented Germany can’t get over the collective trauma of having ordered the bombing in Kunduz; and the US Congress is taking a dim view of General Stanley McChrystal’s request for a last ditch surge in ground forces.

The war aims of the US-led NATO forces have been dramatically modified. From mounting an assault on a global menace, the West now wants to merely safeguard itself from terror attacks. In other words, if the Taliban can guarantee that it won’t mount terror strikes against the West or help those crazies from Birmingham who want videographed martyrdom, they can earn themselves the uninhibited right to thrash every barber, every musician and every unveiled woman. Their pent-up jihadi impulses can be carefully redirected elsewhere, as long as it is not Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the ones who are likely to oversee the post-withdrawal arrangements.

For Pakistan, the departure of the US-led forces and its own assumption of peace-keeping duties (for a generous consideration, of course) in Afghanistan will be triumph comparable in scale to the recovery of East Pakistan. First, it would have recovered its lost “strategic depth” in Afghanistan, an enormous gain in the context of its hostility with India. Secondly, it would have inherited the entire military arsenal of the retreating army. Third, as a price for guaranteeing zero terrorism against the West, it would have a reserve army of motivated Islamists to work for the “liberation” of India, particularly Kashmir.

India was an unintended beneficiary of Osama bin Laden over-reaching himself and inviting US retribution after 9/11. With the West’s likely retreat from Afghanistan, these gains stand in danger of being nullified. With an assertive China in the east and a re-energised Pakistan in the west, India may have reason to be deeply worried. How long can New Delhi live in denial and continue to raise the threshold of tolerance?

Yet, it’s not India alone that should be alarmed. When the last helicopter departs from Kabul and Mullah Omar returns to reclaim his lost Emirate, the Islamists would have won a spectacular victory. In just two decades, jihad would have been seen to have vanquished two superpowers – first the Soviet Union and now the US. The inevitable triumphalism is bound to infect the entire Muslim world. In Iran, it will reaffirm the conviction that a self-absorbed, decadent Western civilisation doesn’t have the moral gumption to resist a resurgent Islam.

The West should realise that running away doesn’t solve a problem; it often emboldens the enemy.



Rated4.8/5 (39 Votes)1 2 3 4 5

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Ali Khan says:
September 13, 2009 at 04:04 AM IST
9/11 is one of the incident in the World which has so many Conspiracy Theories Associated with it. One can just go to YouTube and you find a lot of people talking about it. We have seen 9/11 Truth Demonstrations through out the world but the interesting point is US Government never comes with their explanation or more evidense to support their story. One of the common quesion which we can ask to ourselves is where did the Plane Gone after hitting the Pentagon, the pictures shown were just showing a small hole/crater on one of the wall of pentagon.
Another interesting thing the series of things happened soon after 9/11 shows that this tragedy has been Politically utilized to its Full Extent by the US Government!!!

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Sameer says:
September 13, 2009 at 04:06 AM IST
9/11 is an Inside Job…

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September 13, 2009 at 05:10 AM IST
First Super Power USSR (now Russia) and now
Super Power America,together with other powerful
allies, are paying the price in fighting enemies
in primitive Afghanistan. Russia dug in for 10
years and left hiding the tail between the legs
incurring heavy losses in terms of human lives
and arms and ammunitions. America is in 7th year
and is finding the frustation of war in Afghanis-
-tan. Financially, all involved in Afghanistan
are now almost “bankrupt”. Very difficult to
pull on ? World is waiting to see who has the
last laugh !

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Rajat says:
September 13, 2009 at 06:49 AM IST
your whole article basically stands on the premise that Pakistan or some one there can guaranty that there wont be any strikes against the west post retreat from Afghanistan.
Americans might be foolish but they sure are not blind, they have seen what happened to the erstwhile USSR, and know that nothing could be more dangerous than giving the Jihadists the slightest chance to proclaim victory.
You should also know that there can be no end to this problem until either we are able to wipe out the jihadists or the whole world population turns to islam and we start moving back in time.

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Nitesh says:
September 13, 2009 at 08:09 AM IST
A very thoughtful article.
Once NATO forces go back and the dust settles in Afghanistan and adjoining area of Pakistan,Pakistan will turn the attention of taliban and other islamic fanatics towards India. And jammu & kashmir will again bleed and I shall wait for another terrorist attack in India though on a bigger scale.

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sam the man from pakistan says:
September 13, 2009 at 08:41 AM IST
untill the root causes of the terrorism is not dressed,their will never be a peace.greedyness of israel and india will keep the terrorism alive untill terrorism take them down.solve the palistine and kashmir problem according to the wishes of the people of kashmir and palistine,their will be no more terrorism.
fait of usa and other involve is going to be worse then rusia.mujahadins will humuliate these forces so bad that they will never dare to attack afghanistan again.

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Azharuddin Masood says:
September 13, 2009 at 10:22 AM IST
The world changed negatively after 9/11, but for Pakistan, it changed for better. Immediately after 9/11 it was well understood and conceived that Pakistani Government, Pakistan’s spy agency ISI was involved in the 9/11 attack. Since Pakistan have always been an ally of US right from the day of creation, Bush administration fully covered Pakistan and heralded as an ally of US and went after Al Qaida and Taliban, instead of waging a war campaign against Pakistan US included Pakistan as a frontline state in the war on terror but in reality Pakistan is the enemy of America, Afghanistan, India and humanity at large PATHOS!!! It was clearly indicated with proof that the then ISI chief General Mahmoud Ahmed instructed Omer Sheikh to transfer $100,000 before 9/11 attack to Atta the ring leader of 9/11. When the ISI chief was exposed of having send the money to the hijackers, the then President Musharraf now mentally retard, forced ISI general to retire immediately. Soon after the invasion of Afghanistan Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders went on run. Pakistan seems to be harboring Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists. Pakistan knows very well that until terrorists are with them they will continue to get monetary aid and military aid from US which they are accumulating it to use against India. After 9/11 many Pakistani journalists’ referred to Al Qaida as Al-Faeda such was the monetary benefit to Pakistan. 9/11 literally spawned a new industry named “terrorism” for Pakistan. This not at all surprises me; Pakistan is a devil in the face of an ally. The best suggestion is the US should send its military into Pakistan from the western borders from Afghanistan and at the same time India should attack Pakistan from the east. World will never be able to root out terrorism without dismantling Pakistan. 99.9 % of Pakistanis are heavily sympathetic to radicalism. Its enough now and we should stop daydreaming and take a strong stance and attack Pakistan to make this world free of terrorism.

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Gunjan says:
September 13, 2009 at 12:09 PM IST
Very well written article and analysis. But we must not forget that the west would not hesitate to use the nuclear option like it has done in the past to tilt the balance in its favour.
What can stop them from doing it ? World opinion. But then the world opinion of the powers that matter (Russia, China, Europe, India and even Israel) are themselves fed up of islamism and its dangers. So its not unlikely that after the NATO forces leave, one large attack occurs on the world and the west builds a consensus to nuke the troubled areas of pakistan/afghanistan.
@ Sam the man from pakistan – palestine and kashmir are excuses that islamists use to justify their inherent need for fighting a holy war at any cost. We have seen it in the past and the world wont be fooled by such excuses to vent your islamic frustration. The moment you get palestine and kashmir, you would find another excuse. Let me give you an example – you as a pakistani – what do you have to do with palestine really ? Just because the palestinians are majority muslims, right ? In the same line of thought, you would find chechnya next, philipines after that, Uighuir chinese next and so on and so forth.
The cause of islamism does not stop at palestine and kashmir – it extends into world domination. And it is this desire that makes the west their most hated enemy as they cant tolerate the prosperity and power of the western world. THAT is the root cause of islamism and not political issues in faraway lands like kashmir and palestine. They are mere symptoms of the disease.


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Jake says:
September 13, 2009 at 12:22 PM IST
A really well writen article…it shows u have a real concern and understanding of the situation…while there is a lot that i could write on, including the real reasons for these wars, i’m just going to state here that american departure from afghanistan is imminent. The problem that the (the americans) have is that their population is wonderful (though horribly uninformed), and they really won’t let this war go on for too long….
Unfotrunately for the brave afghan people, the taliban will eventually take over (unless there’s a sustained effort by the international community to finish them)….Pakistan will be a victim of a monster of its own creation…..and incursions into Indian territory will not cease…
Never underestimate the afghans….afhanistan is the “graveyard of empires”….

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abhishek says:
September 13, 2009 at 12:25 PM IST
india has to learn some lesson from these attack and take some measure steep to stop it happen again but gov of india loock like to take it easey.

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anonymous says:
September 13, 2009 at 12:35 PM IST
The West must not abandon Afghanistan at this point in time.

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premji jairam says:
September 13, 2009 at 12:53 PM IST
It is strange that Indian dependence on US and western countries`stratagey regarding Af-Pak`terror agenda.This myopic view belittle political acumen of the Indian intellgentia who designed our policies.


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Nitesh says:
September 13, 2009 at 12:58 PM IST
@ sam the man from pakistan
So you want to say that till the time India and Pakistan doesn’t solve Pakistan problem, innocent kashmiri people will continue to die at the hands of the terrorist sent from your factories in Muzaffarabad and elsewhere which produce more terrorists than cotton produced in Pakistan. You see it’s a circle and you are seeing the circle anti-clockwise. Try to see it clockwise. Till the time Pakistan stops sponsoring terrorists across the boarder and planning attacks like 26-11 Mumbai attacks, the peace talks will never take off and bear fruits and remain hidden in the rusting files.
And don’t you worry about Afghanistan. Nothing will happen to terrorist’s hegemony over there. In some years USA will take it’s troops away and then you can always raise another powerful Taliban in Afghanistan and SWAT areas. This time ground Empire State building and Sears towers destroy statues of Buddha in India(World Trade Centre and Bamiyan statues are no more) and establish a rule of Islam whose meaning you fanatics don’t understand at all. Make Osama Bin Laden the Secretary General of UN if it at all exists in your Utopian world.

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Vikram says:
September 13, 2009 at 01:51 PM IST
The religious fundamentalist nut jobs should be fought with cold logic. There is no point in getting angry or emotional and making a lot of noise. It only makes them think that they have succeeded in upsetting others.
If they attack any civilized country, they should be systematically tracked down and eliminated. Also, destroy their irrational ideology with education and logic. Make them realize that there is no Jannat (Heaven) and that the only place they will end up if they become suicide bombers is six feet under the ground and decompose.

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Raj says:
September 13, 2009 at 02:05 PM IST
Whether one agrees or not ,the fact remains that Islam is fastest growing religion on the planet.
As I understand,in most of the arab countries unless a man has 4 wives and maintains 4 different homes to maintain them,he is considered to be not “strong enough”.The result is that muslims population is growing all over disproprtionately.
In India also Hindus,thanks to their adherence to family planning, are predicted to be minority in next 50 years and either there would be a civil war or another partition in such a case(even though I sincierly hope such things dont happen).
Even worldwide the these trends are being debated.For example a youtube video describes how Europe would be 30% Muslim in next 40-50 years and white Christian people may lose their liberal way of
life as Shariyat would implemented in such a case.
And if the strong leaders like Bush and Blair could not resolve this issue,who could?
Is it scaremongering and “communal” to raise such issues?I dont think so.
My suggestion is a frank and open dialoguse between various religions of the world so that consensus of peaceful co-existence could be arrived at.
Relions must encourage harmony amongst people and not create animosity between them.
Live and let live should be motto of everyone.


US/UK’s good cop/bad cop act to subvert Iranon the dictats of Israel

June 19, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009




US/UK’s good cop/bad cop act to subvert Iranon the dictats of Israel 


While Obama and his staff is treating Iran imbroglio with kid gloves, it would appear that they are in the good cop act, while the bad cop act was given to BBC, UK. The virulent depth of BBC’s beyond the call of duty involvement can be judged that on the day, the Mousavi protestors decided to hit the street wearing black, as a sign of mourning for the dead during the earlier protest rallies, BBC’s own anchor was given a black overcoat to wear over her private dress. This is how BBC’s objective coverage is managed. This shows how detailed and thorough the campaign against Iran’s ruling establishment under Ahmadinejad, is orchestrated by BBC and its possible funders from the British Jewry, probably as a commercial paid project. This is a blatant interference by UK in the internal affairs of a UN member country. UK leaders have always been given the dirty job by the US big brother. In the past, Bush arm-twisted Blair to drag UK into an illegal Iraqinvasion. While the people howled over Blair decision, UK administration found itself unable to shake off the pressure of British Jewry, which on the Labour party was represented by Lord Goldstein, the one man fund-raiser of the party. A group of protestors have gathered around BBC offices inLondon. As BBC’s propaganda activities against Iran in their agenda of regime change, persists day after day; there are the reasons to believe that BBC’s home offices will be a target for possible trouble makers too,  on behalf of rabble rouser, with direct vested interest in inflaming the fires in Iran.


UN secretary general should take note of BBC’s virulent propaganda campaign against Iran and caution the UK government against playing with fire that might breakout of the boundaries of Iran.



Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai


Israel’s Nukes – TIME writer Joe Klein

May 7, 2009



Israel’s Nukes

Andrew Sullivan has been having a back-and-forth with the neos over at the Commentary blog about Israel’s nukes. Israel has them, obviously. Sullivan believes, rightly, that if Israel has them, its rivals in the region–Iran, for example–might want some nukes of their own as a deterrent. In one of the sillier bits of prose I’ve read in some time, Noah Pollack argues: 

But Israel isn’t Iran’s rival — Iran is Israel’s. Can Andrew name any acts of unprovoked bellicosity Israel has committed against Iran? 

How about Israel’s constant threats of military action against Iran’s nuclear program? How about the disproportionate bellicosity Israel visited upon Iran’s Hizballah surrogate in 2006? Which is not to say that Hizballah is anything other than a group of extremist thugs–but southern Lebanon and, more recently, Gaza are the battlefields where Israel’s rivalry with Iran has been playing out.(Add: Indeed, given the state of hostilities–for which Iran is almost totally responsible–the very existence of Israel’s nuclear arsenal can be seen as an existential threat to Iran.)

For the record, I think 60 years of history make it reasonable for Israel to have a nuclear deterrent. But the reality of Israel’s nuclear arsenal does make it difficult to argue against Iran’s right to have the same. And the constant plumping for war against Iran by Likudniks in Israel and the U.S. makes the case for a nuclear capability dire and immediate from Iran’s point of view. It is time we stopped kidding ourselves about this–and stopped making arguments that the rules should be different, somehow, for Israel than for other countries.

A LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Role of Israel in Russian-Georgian war

August 25, 2008

Monday, August 25, 2008


A LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Role of Israel in Russian-Georgian war


It should be an adage by now that wherever there is war in the world; Jews/Zionists/Israelis must be involved on one side or other or possibly on both sides.


The recent confrontation between Russia and Georgia, where Georgia a very small nation, with historical problems with its bigger neighbor, Russia, would not have taken place, without Georgia being instigated into initiating a unilateral aggressive action by moving forces in disputed territory and triggering a countermove by Russian counter-measure by attacking advancing Georgian armed forces. Israel comes into the picture as the main supplier of arms to Georgia and by providing the requisite political support from the captive US administration. The situation on the ground has become so serious that for the first time after the winding up of the Cold War, US and Russian forces are now within 15 minutes driving distance, confronting each other. All this the sole doing of the Jewish/Zionist/Israeli war machine, that is always in the forefront of creating  trouble in all corners of the world and benefiting from not only becoming the main suppliers of goods and services but the chief strategist and tacticians of the whole war scenarios.


Google has no less than 9934 articles as of this hour, listed on its site on the subject of ‘Israel’s role in Russia-Georgia war’.


It is pity that in India, our media is so engrossed in demonizing the Muslims as terrorists all over the country, some would say, all on behalf of US/Israel prodding, that they fail to inform their citizens, what they are bargaining for in going with the international war conspirators.


Indian government has used or one could say, misused its executive powers, without bothering to take its people into confidence, by opening up to the US and Israel, mainly in defence and intelligence contracts worth billions of dollars. Both the warmonger countries not only supply the hardware for warfare but gratuitously lay down the ground work to see that all such purchases are used too. The blood of our soldiers is of course, will be our main loss, besides colossal waste of our national wealth.


All our politicians who swore by their patriotic commitment to their country are blind to figure out, where the merchants of death and destruction are leading us to. India will pay heavily, if it does not keep the warmongers away from its shore. In the light of the recent Russia-Georgia confrontation, India should fall back on its Non-Alignment role in world politics, lest it may be drawn into the circle of violence, by its unadvised cozying up to the US, UK, Israel.



Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai


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.