The terminal stage of malignancy
Here is a famous quote that “sometimes I want to ask God why he allows poverty, famine and injustice in the world when He could do something about it, but I am afraid He just might ask the same question.” It is similar to the saying of Burke that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.
Today’s Islam as religion is primarily operated by egomaniacal, obsessive Ulema with their brand of faith within religion for public backing and finances from outside yet grumbling that today’s Islam is deprived of the authority and voice, and they are there to reclaim it. General Muslims on the other side are highly distressed that the faith is assuming a horrible shape and that their intellectual or religious scholars are failing to stop the trend. The religion once claiming the charm to attract others is on a path to terrorize the world and create hate.
The Moderate Muslims don’t dare to talk of any reform and if at all somebody speaks about it, is pushed to social segregation, exile or termed as an apostate who deserves to be eliminated by vigilante justice. Fearing the imminent backlash, Muslims scholars often show solidarity with the mainstream society and blindly live in the state of denial.
As everybody knows, Islam is 1400 years old religion with many streams and facets. The Global Caliphate was always its goal. Many scholars and historians repeatedly enunciated the relentless and bloody struggle of Islam for this cherished goal. The decline of Ottoman Caliphate and finally its death in 1920, however, inspired another Islamic dynamism of Wahhabis. During 1979 the Khomeini of Iran started another counter-Saudi Islamic resurgence. Saudi with the oil-resources and western support spearheaded a campaign to eradicate once for all the Shia version of Islam that they consider being heresy, projecting an active Dawah towards proselytizing Salafi Islam.
The present milieu is the route of that imperative religious dating 1400 years back that remained constant on the Shia and Sunny rivalry of the interpretation of Islam and the constitution of the Caliphate. Now it is evident that the millennial Sunni-Shia split is pitching Muslims against each other with violent means that also proliferated to other nations and countries.
The Sunni-Shia factor is not the only factor in a surge in violence. The ingrained rivalry with Christians and Jews on the part of Muslims based on Muslim traditions, Saudi Arab’s support to its version of Islam, the theocracy grabbing Iran government, all contributed to the zealots Islamists to reinvent and dominate the discourse of identity, faith and following the mirage of the Caliphate. Nonetheless, the liberal policies of West about religious freedom, mass humanitarian immigration, and freedom of speech have played an enabling environment to bear and rear the crazy ideas. The deep desire to reassert after being in hibernation for two centuries, the Islamists wanted to rekindle the utopian idea to force back the Caliphate as one vivid dream. Scholars like Mohammad Ibn Abd al-Wahab, Shah Waliullah, Hasan al-Banna, Syed Qutb and Ayatollah Khomeini were the staunchest proponents of this thought and rejected any modernist approach to religion aggressively. To see it happening, the followers adopted violence, terror, and suicidal missions.
The western countries did not comprehend the danger and just treated the zeal as a form of personal and private matter of diverse faiths within Islam. The success of separation of church and state in Europe led them to believe that Islam will ultimately follow. They ignored that the Islamic integralist elements have a tendency to conquering and the elimination of all opposing schools of thoughts with an ambition towards waging a global war on people they treat as infidels. Now Muslims are susceptible to radical incitement and false motivation to reincarnate the promised Caliphate for which they want to die and kill others to impose their brutal ideology. The proponents of evil doctrine consider all means justified for the purpose, including lying, facts distortion, twisting historical events and the use of children as Suicide bombers in the name of scripture. So to fight terrorism is not only to destroy these elements, but to reform the ideology of the Caliphate into genuine democracy and multiple party systems through the ballot and choice.
Although radiation of malignant cells should have initiated decades ago accepting the fact the surrounding healthy cells will also be destroyed yet it cannot be avoided even today. Western countries must shun the fear of violating privacy while curtailing the freedom of expression at the very outset. Stricter laws on intelligence intrusion will create an impact on stopping recruits for ISIS. The propaganda videos, speeches even from mosques or other such institutions suspecting racism or hatred and incitement, for Jihad and murder have to be busted.
Muslim governments and intelligentsia have to confront the elements and challenge their interpretation of religion in a candid manner. It has to start from closing down the seminaries that preach hatred and incite to harm others. The Khateebs and Imams have to be made observant in their Friday sermons to advocate the uniform constitutional provisions and policies, not to deny the right of religious freedom and practice to all minorities. Using the terminology of Darul-Harb for any country has to be prohibited as it triggers a passion within the ordinary Muslim to initiate his version of Jihad that included guerrilla action allegedly at Pathankot and San Bernardino. These attacks amount to make all Muslim youth suspects of terrorism and carriers of evil ideas.
While it is utterly moronic the way groups similar to ISIS and Al-Qaida is associated with average Muslims, nonetheless the large population of Muslims worldwide don’t believe in the liberal principles of freedom of religious practice, freedom of expression, gender equality, freedom of adopting or quitting religion. Various studies analyze Muslim tendencies towards extreme ideas are still such that you should be killed if you criticize religious Icons; the adulterers or gays are stoned, and apostates are killed.
It is also revealed in many surveys that maximum Muslims actively support these anti-liberal principles. Performing an act of terror in a society where liberal values are forming its bedrock is alarming of the disgust the terrorist harbors in his mind for such values. It is proven facts that the places terrorist groomed in have played an instrumental role in formulating a mindset inclined towards the act. The land infested with extreme religiosity and strong links abundantly available to indoctrinate students of rival sects and groups are the breeding ground of individual Jihadist and warriors with the belief of vigilante activism. In fact, the overall environment has inspired the fostering of militancy.
Quite essential at this stage is, not to present facts in a way to fit it into the hotly popular narrative for spreading fear and hate. It is cruel to motivate readers to push their governments and policy makers for harsh reactions unwittingly. In this moment of sadness and rising sentiments, each one of us owes the moral obligation to advise greater restraint and reflect in composed and soundly thought out combat strategies. The widespread tendency to swim with the rising tide, unconscious of where it is heading to, is just to mislead the people for hazard perception of fear and its illogical direction.
Speaking or writing to avert any terror event or saving people from the radicalized lot, is an adorable example of this highly polarized planet. We must join the call of humanity to come together combating evil regardless of the faith, race and geography. This evil, at the moment, manifests in militant political ideas brazenly intending to conquer free lands through Caliphate, robbing freedom of speech, attacking democratic values, destroying the world heritage and killing innocent people in schools, mosques, clubs, hotels, cinemas and streets, forcing female genital mutilation, stoning women, chopping hands and banning women participate in life.
Individual politicians are famous for dynamic expression with self-less commitment yet unmindful to the sensitivities of a varied audience, hence causing harm to the mission rather than doing service! The error does not lie in their intentions rather in their handling and description of the culprits. Needless to say that with little tuning for modesty, the rhetoric will not sound similar to scolding and condemning all and the sundry alike while pushing them to the monolith.
Driving people to the anger, vengeance, and wars cause the vicious circle to continue, the maximum undirected wrath from one side, the dreaded weird reactions from the other, crushing the innocents on either side without fault but having no clout. Adherents of all religions and civilizations need to demonstrate the will to say clear and loud to the bigots that they don’t represent us. That we stand for human values of protecting weak and marginalized, guarding the rights of minorities and women, respecting religious freedom and detesting bigotry everywhere. We will not become prey to the designs of militants hating each other in the name of race or religion.
Writer Ataul Haq has been working at senior posts in the fields of Development, Diplomacy and Administration.
The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Dispatch News Desk. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of Dispatch News Desk.