Radical Islam : Terror is the tool
Star Rating Loader Please wait...
Issue Vol. 23.4 Oct-Dec2008 | Date : 13 Nov , 2010

Time has arrived for the unspoken to be spoken i.e. Radical Islam is at war with India.

The objectives of the war are to destroy India as a nation, with a composite culture and multi-ethnic society and replace it with a phenomenon which began in an enclave in Saudi Arabia in the 7th century and has already enveloped a good part of the globe.

Today, the heightened profile of Radical Islam all over the world is giving sleepless nights to many governments including some in the Islamic world. Many of these governments believe that the Islamists will sooner or later be able to lay their hands on a nuclear device, causing mass destruction or disorder somewhere.

Its spread so far is a proof of its inherent strength. In its historical march to its present expanse, it has destroyed empires, countries, religions, culture and people. It is continuously making inroads into territories where it was earlier unknown. Those who fail to comprehend its dynamics, do so at their own peril.

Radical Islam is what Prophet Mohammed is believed to have given to the citizens of Medina after his flight from Mecca. He outlined an ideology, couched in religious terms, from which an escape was next to impossible. The ideology offered no accommodation except on its terms, ruled out all compromises, and demanded an allegiance with any violation of what was declared blasphemous, inviting instantaneous annihilation.

As Radical Islam spread far and wide beyond Mecca and Medina, often in the shadow of the sword, it did encounter powerful ideas which  mellowed it and sometimes led to the emergence of new sprouts. Sufi Islam was one such product which toned down the hard features of the original  concepts and introduced new ones. Sufi Islam conditioned the Islamic mindset to the acceptance of co-existence with other cultures and religions. Although, principally, it was Radical Islam which made its first forays into India in the middle and early mid centuries, the one that settled down was not so Radical. Its core was impacted by Hindu philosophy, bhakti movements and new strains within it such as Deen-e-Ilahi of Akbar. The result was a broad based coexistence of Islam with all  other religions in India.

The purists were not amused by what they saw as contamination of Islam. Their brigade was led by the contemporary Ulemas. The one who struck an abiding blow to Radical Islam was Shah Waliullah (1703-62), celebrated in history as a Muslim reformer or a hardliner. Waliullah held that the essence of the scriptures i.e. Koran, Sunnah and Hadith could not be diluted and the purpose of Islam must remain synchronous with the Prophet’s vision. Two generations later, Waliullah’s followers founded the Deoband seminary of theology. The seminary was not just a Madrassa for religious teachings but its instructions were inspired by a larger purpose of avenging the1857 defeat by the British of the Muslim empire.

The seminary was the first Mujahid enterprise in the country. Its part of themes remained the same throughout the later history, camouflaged cleverly through theological dissertations, disseminated through a network of Madrassas which quickly sprang into existence, primarily in Muslim heartlands of India. Unrestrained and uninterrupted supply of Wahabi funds from foreign sources has provided oxygen to their  activities and to their take on Islam.

This school and its indoctrinations have had a legendary influence over the Muslim world. The Taliban of Afghanistan is the product of Deoband thinking as it evolved in Pakistan after partition. The Wahabis and the Salaifis of Saudi Arabia can be counted as clones of the Talibanised mindset.

Radical Islam and terror will continue to feed on each other unless the leaders of the society get down to the business of unraveling  the conditions which make educated minds irrational.

Osama bin Laden given another push to Radical Islam by crafting the International Islamic Front in 1998. Student Islamic Movement of India(simi) and Indian Mujahaideen(IM) are the present day practitioners of Waliullah’s mantra.

Al Qaeda and five extremist organizations from Pakistan like Lashkar-e-Taiba, Harkat-ul-Mujahiddeen and Hizbul-e-Jihad-e-Islami, among others from other Islamic countries, became the founding members of the Front, with Christian and Jews as its targets. Its ideology spawned a Pan Islamic thrust. It emphasized that a Muslim’s first loyalty was to his creed, not his nation; any means of violence could be employed including weapons of mass destruction to achieve political and other aims; and belonging to one Ummah a Muslim could participate in any struggle worldwide where Islam or its believers were being victimized. With this ideology, drawn from scriptures, a Muslim was freed from the need of having any further organizational guidance from the Front. The result was that many Muslim groups in many parts of the world, started thinking and acting on identical lines. There was an upsurge in fundamentalism  and terror worldwide.  Later the list of enemies was expanded to India to include Hindus.

The Pakistani members of the Front, guided by ISI of Pakistan, had narrower aim i.e., India, though they were also used by ISI to support Pan Islamist ambitions of Pakistan. Their imprints were found in all major regions of Islamic upheaval such as Bosnia, Chechnya, Xingjian, Philippines etc.

Today, the heightened profile of Radical Islam all over the world is giving sleepless nights to many governments including some in the Islamic world. Many of these governments believe that the Islamists will sooner or later be able to lay their hands on a nuclear device, causing mass destruction or disorder somewhere.

Rise of Radical Islam has placed a Muslim in a deep predicament in the western countries. While he cannot give up his Islamic identity, he does not quite understand how to manage his other multiple identities created by his citizenship, education and existence in multi culture societies. Secularism and alternate systems of governance are theologically unacceptable in the Muslim scriptures. A reformist Muslim thus, becomes an anathema to Islam. Without reforms, the hard dogmas will continue to rule out the Muslim mind and feed the hatred and animosity on which Radical Islam thrives. This amounts to a non-win situation leaving thereafter a class of people, having no respect for the laws and the others.

1 2
Rate this Article
Star Rating Loader Please wait...
The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Anand K Verma

Former Chief of R&AW and author of Reassessing Pakistan.

More by the same author

Post your Comment

2000characters left

3 thoughts on “Radical Islam : Terror is the tool

  1. These kind of articles serve no purpose. I never felt Islam is radical. If you are aiming the al Qaedas and similar stuff, call them terrorists or whatever and kill them at the first instance itself. The faster the better. Why the name Islam ? probably, i was the only muslim in my company whenever I was part of it and commanding them. Never had any time to even think such things. People need to rework on their perceptions.

  2. What is Radical Islam? Is there non-Radical, Secular Islam? Islam is basically a system designed to control all including muslims for political power by a few. Difficult even for Muslims to escape Islamic Radicalism. To expect change is unrealistic when the Islam centre is not in India (and not even Pakistan). The system is water tight.

    • That is a very myopic view. Radicals are plenty in all communities and faith. can’t you discern a trend since the last one month in India, the perpetrators think they are protected ? Let’s wait for the lion to roar. He will certainly, since these trends will hold him back and he has no time and energy to waste; for his aim is to change India from developing to developed in the shortest time.

More Comments Loader Loading Comments