By Malik Siraj Akbar
It was interesting to see the defensive reaction of some Pakistani (read Muslim) journalists in response to Dr. Arie Kruglanski’s presentation on “terrorism and the response to terrorism” today at the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) Center. It is not the first time I have met people who endeavor to justify terrorism under one or the other pretext.
Some of the participants of the discussion assumed that the presentation was intended to single out Islam as the root cause of terrorism which was in fact not the case. No one singled Islam out as a reason for global terrorism. Terrorists surely have no religion and are the enemies of the humanity. But when educated Muslims overreact on the issues of terrorism, they give an impression that they have become the self-appointed spokesmen for the terrorists who use the name of Islam for terrorist purposes. Why do educated Muslims not publically disown these terrorists instead of repeating their narrative that provides a subterfuge for the gruesome use of violence against civilians?
According to the teachings of Islam, no (non-state actor) can wage an armed struggle. Only the Amir-ul-momineen (the leader of the believers — say the head of the government or the State) has the authority to initiate a war (Jihad) against a rival country. In case non-state actors start operating, it is seen in Islam as an act of sabotage (Baghawat/fitna) which is punishable with death penalty.
Like it or not, 90% of the terrorist threats today either emanate from the Islamic world or are connected with the Islamic ideology. Faisal Shahzad, who tried to detonate a bomb at the Time Squire, did not cite the reasons of global poverty or the world’s inability to meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for this terrorists plot. He purely mentioned reasons affiliated to Islam for his act.
Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, a prominent Islamic scholar who has authored more than 200 books, says: “Muslims are responsible for this state of affairs. After the advent of modern civilization, Muslims found themselves at the backseat, so they became furious. Everywhere in the world they waged a war in the name of jihad and when they failed in this self-styled jihad they started suicide bombing. It is this negative reaction by Muslims that is mainly responsible for the present crisis. The only solution to this problem is that Muslims must accept that what is happening against them is due to their own backwardness in education, modern science and in the modern concept of organization. So they must abandon all those negative activities and violent activism. They must stop all these things and go back to education. They must consolidate themselves in terms of modernity otherwise there is no future for the present Muslim generation.” (To read the full interview, please click here)
For people who link terrorism with the so-called ‘faulty” US foreign policy in the aftermath of 9/11, I wonder why thousands of Shia Muslims were killed by Sunni Muslims in Pakistan in 1990s when there was no issue of defective US foreign policy, 9/11 or Muslim reaction to the atrocities in Palestine. Likewise, who is to be blamed for the persecution of Hindus and Ahmedis in Pakistan when there was no issue with the US foreign policy in that region?
It is sickening to meet people who still deny the occurrence of 9/11.
I also found the description of “successful” Saudi model of de-radicalization very funny. I am not sure how much Saudi Arabia has succeeded in de-radicalizing its society but one thing is certain that it has ruined the foundations of the society in Pakistan by handsomely funding fundamentalist religious schools. As the leader of the Islamic world, Saudi Arabia should provide competent scientists and doctors to the Islamic world not enemies of humanity like Bin Laden.