Bury Terrorism Six Fathoms Deep (FEBRUARY 27, 2008)

The latest unequivocal, clear and unconditional denunciation of all forms of terrorism is a welcome step taken at the Darul Uloom Deoband. But that is only half of the picture, the other half is for the government and its agencies to do by refraining from associating Islam and Muslims with every act of random violence, even before beginning an investigation.

In Islam there is always a fine line between jehad and fasaad, the former being the struggle for establishing a just order; the latter being the binary opposite of the former. As jehad is the beginning of the end of an unjust order and establishment of a peaceful, humane dispensation, fasaad comprises all acts that upend a peaceful, humane social existence and seek to replace it with chaos and anarchy.

Naturally, in the holy Quran Allah’s pleasure is associated with jehad as his wrath and displeasure are associated with fasaad. Most Muslims know in their heart of hearts that random violence that kills, hurts and maims non-combatants and targets innocent people who have nothing to do with the perpetuation of injustice is fasaad and fasaad alone. If that is not clear to someone, it is only government agencies like police and intelligence services that jump to wild conclusions every time a bomb goes off. They would name a Muslim or “Islamic” organisation even in cases of blasts in dargahs and historic mosques of India, within minutes of the incident, hours before an enquiry begins.

The convention of Islamic Madrasa Association had representation from 6,000 madrasas from all over the country as well as from some major Muslim organisations. In a declaration it said that the convention took government agencies’ penchant for associating madness with terrorism “extremely seriously”. Reading out the declaration on behalf of Darul Uloom rector Maualana Marghoobur Rahman his deputy, Maulana Abdul Khalique Madrasi, said, “madrasas don’t teach anyone to assassinate anybody. They only teach them to live an Islamic life, which demands a great respect for human life.”

The convention that had representation from darsgahs also, including Ajmer Sharif, felt that a section of Indian media had distorted the tenor of discourse on terrorism under the influence of the Western media. In this discourse Muslims are demonised and Islam is tarred with a broad stroke. The role of the state in all this is questionable as its agencies seem to have been indoctrinated to treat Muslims as the “other”. The convention said that the state should decide whether it is a Hindu Rashtra (as its organs function) or a secular state (as the Constitution intends). They said the uncertainly must end as soon as possible.

It said Muslims were under double pressure: on one hand Hindutva groups were targetting them, and on the other they were being maligned by government agencies and subjected to vile persecution.

It is interesting to note that even in cases of blasts in mosques and dargahs, Muslims are being persecuted and the obvious perpetrators are allowed to slip out of the net. The All India Milli Council has been writing consistently to the highest authority in the land, drawing their attention to these anomalies. However, the UPA government has still to work on these suggestions as government agencies continue to play the old game against Muslims with impunity. In a statement here on February 26, General Secretary of the AIMC Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam welcomed the declaration and said it accorded with AIMC’s views on the subject.

The convention has unequivocally condemned all sorts of terrorist acts whether religious, organisational, individual and state, and tried to bury its justifications. However, now it is the turn of the state to fulfil its side of the responsibilities and ask its agencies not to jump to conclusions and rush to the press with ill-cooked theories about Islam and Muslims.



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