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Reflections on Terrorism | Dr Hatem al-Haj

BisMillah

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

I am sure most of you have reflected on the terrorist attacks that took place in Paris recently. I am also confident that you have very variant thoughts, not necessarily because of your varying convictions, but mainly because of the different angles from which you approached the events. In addition to what you have thought of and read, I am hoping that you may find something worthy of your time in my own reflections. However, I must first be honest with you and admit that, aside from the Islamic legal (fiqhi) contribution in this article, I am approaching the discussion from a layperson’s perspective. I am not involved in politics, and I am not privy to any special information about those attacks or the immediate circumstances that resulted in them. This article is merely my own attempt at analyzing their root causes and suggesting some measures to help curb their spread and flare-up.

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Having read many op-eds, posts, and comments from people around the globe, including the Middle East, it is obvious that the vast majority of Muslims are shocked and disgusted by the despicable injustice committed against the innocent victims of those attacks. Those who approve of them are (in my estimation) much less than 1%. However, those who condemn them in the strongest language differ over their root causes and the best way to avoid them in the future.

Many commentators claim if Western countries stopped their military interventions in Muslim countries, their meddling in those countries’ affairs, and their support of tyrannical regimes that serve Western interests, terrorism will stop. Some add that the West also needs to stop their discriminatory domestic policies and Islamophobic rhetoric and work to end the inequality their own Muslim citizens suffer. Did I forget something? Of course, any conversation on the relationship between the West and Muslims always has an elephant in the room – the plight of the Palestinian people. World-wide, Muslims consider the West to be the major backer of Israeli injustices against Palestine.

Now, if you are a Muslim who aims to be fair and objective, you should not exercise these good qualities with non-Muslims only. If you deny your Muslim brethren any basis for their frustrations and fail to validate their feelings, you will be dismissed before the discussion even begins. This is because, obviously, there is much truth to these statements. To admit this does not mean, in any way, that you are justifying terrorism.

However, we Muslims easily point out what the Western regimes need to do yet we often say nothing about what we, Muslims, need to do. Are we not indirectly responsible for any part of this madness? Are we, the 99% of the ummah, just victims who got caught in the middle between the hegemony of the West and the madness of the fanatics? Are the Muslims in the Muslim-majority countries not responsible in any way for the unbearable environment they have collectively created, which has pushed many otherwise benign youth into extremism? Are we, the Muslims of the West, doing our best to have functional, inclusive and supportive communities? I think not.

If we want to contribute positively to suffocating the phenomenon of terrorism, we must begin by trying to understand its roots. As Muslims living in the West, here is a common stereotype of someone who may partake in mass-scale terrorism in the name of our religion: a disenfranchised Muslim youth, who may or may not be religious, but certainly is misinformed, and who embarks on “defending the religion and avenging the ummah.” Now, to help stop him, we need to end his disenfranchisement, his misinformation, and either end the plights of the ummah or show him how to defend it in a more productive and, yes, sharia-compliant way. You think it is a lost cause! It will only be if we continue to think it is. We must start somewhere.

Countering the Misinformation

A complete rebuttal of the ideologies of those groups is beyond the scope of this article. Here, I will only attempt to share points that could assist you in helping someone out of their confusion. In one recent virtual discussion, I expressed my extreme disapproval of the attacks in Paris. Sure enough, I got this question from someone: “But didn’t Allah say: ‘and fight against the polytheists collectively as they fight against you collectively‘ [at-Tawbah: 36] and ‘…when the sacred months have passed, then kill the polytheists wherever you find them‘ [at-Tawbah: 5]”

While the vast majority of Muslims do not think that we should be fighting perpetually against the rest of humanity, it appears that some of us have a different opinion. They cite the text of revelation and the opinions of scholars, making a simple Islam-is-all-about-peace answer unsatisfying to them. Here is what we should be sharing with them:

It is true that the verses cited are the words of Allah, Most High. He also said,

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“Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth [i.e., Islam] from those who were given the Scripture – [fight] until they give the jizyah (poll tax) willingly while they are humbled.” [at-Tawbah: 29]

And He said:

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“Fight them until there is no [more] fitnah and [until] religion [i.e., worship] is [acknowledged to be] for Allah.” [al-Baqarah: 193]

and the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

“I was commanded to fight the people until they testify that none is worthy of worship except Allah, and [until] they believe in me and what I came with. If they do that, then they have protected their blood and wealth from me, except according to it (Islam), and their judgment is upon Allah.” [Agreed upon, on the authority of Abu Hurayrah]

Additionally, in the previous scriptures, namely the Bible, much more than this is attributed to God, including the killing of  infants and children, as in the books of Deuteronomy and Joshua. Certainly, we do not believe that the statements about killing children and infants are from God, because it will be too hard to provide an explanatory context for those. However, in Islam, there is an explanatory context for all of the above verses.

First, it is important to note that Allah also said,

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“And if they incline to peace, then incline to it [also] and rely upon Allah. Indeed, it is He who is the Hearing, the Knowing.” [al-Anfâl: 61]

and:

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“So if they remove themselves from you and do not fight you and offer you peace, then Allah has not made for you a cause [for fighting] against them.” [an-Nisâ’: 90]

and His Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said:

“O people, do not wish to meet the enemy, and ask Allah for pardon. But if you meet them, then be patient and know that Paradise is under the shade of the swords.” [Agreed Upon, on the authority of ‘Abdullâh ibn Abi Awfâ].

Who should be connecting the dots and reconciling these seemingly conflicting reports? The scholars well-grounded in the tradition. One of them, Imam Ibn Taymiyyah, wrote a treatise on Qitâl al-Kuffâr wa Muhâdanatuhum [War and Peace (treaties) with the Disbelievers] in which he conclusively emphasized that the effective cause (‘illah) for fighting the disbelievers is their aggression, not their disbelief. He pointed out that texts implying an open fight against them can never be used as proof for fighting the people at large. This is because they appear to contradict the other evidences (some of which are mentioned above), and even the consensus. Likewise, they contradict the life of the Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).

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Dr. Hatem Al-Haj has a PhD in Comparative Fiqh from al-Jinan University. He is a pediatrician, former Dean of the College of Islamic Studies at Mishkah University, and a member of the permanent Fatwa Committee of the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA).

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Avatar

    John Howard

    November 30, 2015 at 8:47 PM

    No where in this commentary is there stated if the author is loyal to his country which I am assuming is the United States of America. He talks in the third person when referring to western powers including the USA. The fact it is a given that for muslims an attack on any muslim where ever he resides is an attack on all of them even those of no ethnic relation as was seen in the UK when those two Nigerian murderers killed the British soldier Lee Rigby. The claim that he and the rest of the British Army along with all the western armies were murdering and raping “their sisters” in Afghanistan was given as the excuse to commit their gutless act. Simarly in the US when the 4 marines and the sailor were murdered at the recruiting stations by another member of the ummah. Just where is the loyalty of muslims is it as we suspect/realise/know that it is first and last to the religion over the country they have come to live in and take the benefits that those countries offer namely as we see every day here in the west.
    Finally let us look at Palestine shall we? The Islamic nations are all hypocrites all 50+ muslim countries. Where has there been the financial support for the Palestinians in the muslim world. It has been very little and what has been promise more often than not undelivered. I would put it to you that the plight of the Palestinians is of little or no consequence to the muslim world because it represent the ideal stick to use against Israel and the rest of the west. No uslim country takes in Palestinians and gives them citizenship but funnily enough the west does.
    Stop crying victim and look at your own standards

    • Avatar

      M.Mahmud

      December 1, 2015 at 10:39 AM

      We are sinking in the number of munafiqeen we have and that is why we suffer. Most Muslims are unable to help their brethren. The hypocrites sabotage us and are capable of doing so due to our sins.

      Muslims are for Muslims as Jews are for Jews-it has been clear to most people that whatever loyalty to their home nation Jews are foremost loyal to their tribe/religion. This is to be expected from a group with thousands of years of history as a tribe and having lived in various parts of the world split off from one another, tied in tribe and religion and shared history and split off by place.

      Likewise, whatever personal feelings and attachment I have to California, and my desire for it to grow and prosper, my loyalty first and foremost is to my nation since it is the only nation that can enter Paradise.

      Yes people have done very wrong things out of loyalty to the Ummah. However British nationalists have committed uncountable slaughter around the world in the name of loyalty to their nation. The difference between us and you is we have a command from God to reject ALL injustice while you are not even a member of the right religion to begin with.

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        Hatem al-Haj

        December 5, 2015 at 12:47 PM

        I have a different take on this issue than the two comments in this thread. It is hard for a person who belongs to the religious majority in his country to understand the intricacies of the relationship between religious loyalty and national affiliation. However, I invite Mr. Howard, who is likely from the UK to examine the issue of Northern Ireland because it is one of the manifestations of these intricacies. This is happening after centuries of attempts in Europe to trivialize religious differences in the interest of the civic good.
        As long as one’s ultimate allegiance is to the truth and cause of justice for all, Muslim minorities in the West should not have a conflict between their religious and national loyalties. Loving one’s co-religionists and having allegiance for the nation of believers (in one’s own religion) does not negate what kinship, social relationships, national affiliation and other forms of human interaction cause to arise of love and natural affection – so long as this does not include supporting them in falsehood or taking part in injustice.

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          john Howard

          December 14, 2015 at 7:27 PM

          To follow up finally (2 attempts have failed to go on) I would like to answer your comments
          Firstly the comment regarding the
          “These verses mean that those of us who are citizens of the West should not betray the trust of the covenant of citizenship.”
          We have a certain gentleman in the UK who uses that line frequently namely Anjem Choudhary. For me it stinks of what we crudely call in the UK Arse covering – In other words we agree not to attack the local citizenry because we have to live among them and if we want to keep all the benefits that gives us (especially here in the UK and the rest of Europe) but lets not rile the locals too much or we might lose them and get deported. It does not mean that we can’t support the killing off shore of those citizens either in the armed forces or as tourists. It does not in any way give loyalty to the nation they are in .
          Your third person style of narrative I can accept as your style and am happy to accept your argument. and that is not meant in a patronising manner on my behalf.
          Palestine a very perplexing argument! Your reasoning for not giving citizenship to the Palestinians by other Muslim countries is one I don’t accept because they also deny them the right to benefits or jobs and forces them to live in ghastly camps. In other words it gives the Muslim nations a good excuse to keep the Palestinians under control. The sectarian violence among Muslims is legendary witness Lebanon, Iraq, Syria etc, The fact that many Palestinians have taken citizenship asks the question why again is i only the west who has to carry the burden when so many if not the great majority do not?
          As for the military support for Israel well considering that the majority of Muslim countries are very happy to destroy the only truly democratic nation in the region I will support them too over the rubbish that the Muslim nations have thrown up as governments. The fact that Israeli Arabs have a far higher standard of living and freedom than any other Arab in the region speaks volumes for Israel. It is also notable that to date over 2000 so called freedom fighters have been treated by the Israelis with care they could never have gotten from their own kind. Yes Europe helped the Jews migrate to Palestine after World War 2 and for a number of reasons primarily because of guilt over the genocide. The British tried to protect the Palestinians from this influx I know this because one of my family was killed there by the Irgun while he was serving in the British Army in Palestine. My fatjer was alos there and he saw many atrocities committed by both sides and to the day he died he had little sympathy for either party. But let us not forget that Palestine was a Jewish nation long before Islam came on the scene The Temple Mount was Jewish long before it became a symbol for Islam
          Israel for all its faults is a far more tolerant society to live especially if you are a minority such as a Muslim, gay or Christian.

          Ireland. Look into the history of Ireland and what happened after the Republic was formed. Rightly or wrongly the 6 northern counties chose to stay with the UK because of the sectarian fears that they would be destroyed by the Catholics in the south. Looking back at the social standards of the north versus the republic one can understand why. The power that religion had in controlling the lives of the Irish was almost absolute (I wonder where you can see that today ????) and it is only in the last few years as the Irish have seen what their religious masters were doing in the name of God that they have woken up to them and now fortunately faith in any religion has dropped there probably at a greater rate than any other country. Amazing what education can do to people’s minds.
          Finally Sir i would ask this question of you as a Muslim. One of the many things that your fellow followers of your religion like to throw at us in the west is how you give stewardship and altruism for all the unfortunate and less well off. Why is it that so many of the educated such as yourself have immigrated to the west in your tens of if not hundreds of thousands and as such have benefitted greatly from our living standards instead of staying to help your fellow citizens whose need is far greater than ours in the services especially in medicine of having you there? How does that sit with your faith when you are just as greedy for western societies life style as we decadent westerners/non Muslims?

    • Avatar

      Hatem al-Haj

      December 1, 2015 at 1:43 PM

      Thank you, Mr. Howard, for the comment. Here are some explanations:
      As for the question of loyalty, I hope that a second reading of the article may ease your valid concerns about this issue. You do need, however, to do that while keeping in mind the intent of the article and the intended audience, as well as the capacity in which I am writing as a Muslim theologian. In case you do not have time to go through the article once again, let me share with you some statements from it.
      1- “These verses mean that those of us who are citizens of the West should not betray the trust of the covenant of citizenship.”
      This statement should ease your Trojan Horse concerns. The use of covenant (Mithâq) means a lot to the audience, because it is a Quranic term.
      2- “It can involve our youth and give them the sense (and hope) that they can gradually make a positive difference, and yes, change their unfair world, along with fair-minded individuals from other religious affiliations, to make it more just and peaceful.”
      This shows that the author is not about isolation and sequestration of the Muslim minorities in their respective countries.
      As for the third person, this is a style of speech that may be warranted, at times, if you are making an impartial assessment of the behavior of two groups, such as your own family and your aunt’s. You are right; I am from the USA. Many of my fellow Americans, from the far right to the far left, refer to the regime, government, or the “establishment” in the third person. This may also be a style of speech that certain individuals use more frequently than others. I find myself, in certain discussions, referring to myself in the third person. I invite you to reflect on this question. Had my name been a little more familiar than ‘Hatem al-Haj’, would you have felt the same way? In conclusion of this point, I thank you for alerting me to how it comes across to some people, regardless of how I feel or what I intended.
      As for the Palestinians, I will not defend the regimes in the Muslim countries, because I do not think of them more favorably than you do. Many of them only give lip service to the Palestinian cause. However, I would like to point out to you that most of the displaced Palestinians live in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and the Gulf, not the West. As for giving them citizenships, that is exactly what Israel wishes. This is like suggesting to the Germans to accommodate the French people displaced by a Chinese invasion of their country so that they may leave France to them. Additionally, I am sure you do not mean that the Western regimes are not even partially responsible for the plight of the Palestinians. Not even because they were responsible for the relocation of the Jews of Europe to Palestine during the colonial era and forcing them on the local population, or because of the Balfour Declaration? What about the ongoing immense financial backing of Israel, the declared commitment to keep it militarily superior, by far, to all of its neighbors, the multitudes of vetoes used at the UN by my own government to block resolutions condemning Israeli aggression or requesting Israel to abide by any of the UN resolutions or international laws? It seems that you do acknowledge the plight of the Palestinians, but I would believe that learning more about it from independent sources will make you even more sympathetic. May I suggest Jimmy Carter’s book Palestine Peace not Apartheid. You may also visit the UN’s page about Palestine (https://unispal.un.org/pdfs/DPI2499.pdf) or http://www.ampalestine.org. Finally, the article was not about crying victim; after all, crying does not help. Therefore, I would second your advice, but only if does not entail a denial of our justifiable grievances.
      Sorry for the long reply. Thanks again for writing and have a good day/ night!

    • Avatar

      Hatem al-Haj

      December 1, 2015 at 3:26 PM

      Thank you, Mr. Howard, for the comment. Here are some explanations:
      As for the question of loyalty, I hope that a second reading of the article may ease your valid concerns about this issue. You do need, however, to do that while keeping in mind the intent of the article and the intended audience, as well as the capacity in which I am writing as a Muslim theologian. In case you do not have time to go through the article once again, let me share with you some statements from it and their implications.
      “These verses mean that those of us who are citizens of the West should not betray the trust of the covenant of citizenship.”
      The use of covenant (Mithâq) means a lot to the audience, because it is a Quranic term.
      “It can involve our youth and give them the sense (and hope) that they can gradually make a positive difference, and yes, change their unfair world, along with fair-minded individuals from other religious affiliations, to make it more just and peaceful.”
      This shows that the author is not about isolation and sequestration of the Muslim minorities in their respective countries.
      As for the third person, this is a style of speech that may be warranted, at times, if you are making an impartial assessment of the behavior of two groups, such as your own family and your aunt’s. I am talking about the West as an entity, and more specifically the Western regimens. You are right; I am from the USA. Many of my fellow Americans, from the far right to the far left, refer to the regime, government, or the “establishment” in the third person. This may also be a style of speech that certain individuals use more frequently than others. I find myself, in certain discussions, referring to myself in the third person. I invite you to reflect on this question. Had my name been a little more familiar than ‘Hatem al-Haj’, would you have felt the same way? In conclusion of this point, I thank you for alerting me to how it comes across to some people, regardless of how I feel or what I intended.
      As for the Palestinians, I will not defend the regimes in the Muslim countries, because I do not think of them more favorably than you do. Manu of them only give lip service to the Palestinian cause. However, I would like to point out to you that most of the displaced Palestinians live in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, and the Gulf, not the West. As for giving them citizenships, that is exactly what Israel wishes. This is like suggesting to the Germans to accommodate the French people displaced by a Chinese invasion of their country so that they may leave France to them. Additionally, I am sure you do not mean that the Western regimes are not even partially responsible for the plight of the Palestinians. Not even because they were responsible for the relocation of the Jews of Europe to Palestine during the colonial era and forcing them on the local population, or because of the Balfour Declaration? What about the ongoing financial backing of Israel, the declared commitment to keep it militarily superior to all of its neighbors, the multitudes of vetoes used at the UN by my own government to block resolutions to condemn Israeli aggression or force Israel to abide by any of the UN resolutions or international laws? It seems that you do acknowledge the plight of the Palestinians, but I would believe that learning more about it from independent sources will make you even more sympathetic. May I suggest Jimmy Carter’s book Palestine Peace no Apartheid. You may also visit the UN’s page about Palestine or http://www.ampalestine.org. Finally, the article was not about crying victim; after all, crying does not help. Therefore, I would second your advice, but only if does not entail a denial of our justifiable grievances.
      Sorry for the long reply. Have a good day/ night!

    • Avatar

      Hatem al-Haj

      December 18, 2015 at 4:27 PM

      Here are my answers to your answers, Mr. Howard.
      First, thank you for accepting my explanation regarding the use of the third person in my speech.
      As for the issue of Northern Ireland, I was not taking sides, but only pointing out the internal conflict that may arise at a time when a certain group of people have to reconcile between their religious and national affiliations. I hope that, regardless of the details of that example, it was still capable to illustrate my point. If it wasn’t, then may be a hypothetical one could. Imagine if the USA had, for some reason or another, to go to war with Israel. Will the American Jews have some discomfort dealing with this scenario?
      As for my talk about the covenant of citizenship, I am disappointed in the way you understood my treatment of this issue. I was pointing out the high moral standard Islam holds us to concerning the honoring of all covenants. The framework of my discussion was moral, not pragmatic. I was citing verses from the Quran (revealed a long time before we came to enjoy Western prosperity). I was telling my fellow Muslims that even if your countrymen were to commit atrocities against your coreligionists, you should still not betray the covenant. This means that you are not only prohibited from attacking your fellow civilians who may never be targeted in any scenario, but you are also not allowed to attack the combatants on their way to drop bombs on your coreligionists. This high moral standard was stated in the verses I mentioned in the article and others and practiced by the Prophet who ordered one of his companions by the name of Hudhayfah ibn al-Yamân to not partake in the battle of Badr because he promised the Meccans that he was not going to fight them. The covenant applies, without a shred of doubt, to the tourists. As for members of the armed forces from our fellow countrymen, as I stated before, the covenant of citizenship bars us from attacking them regardless of where their mission belongs on the scale of good and evil. As for sympathizing with them, I hope that you agree with me that it must depend on the mission of the expedition they will embark on. If they were on the wrong side, one may still humanitarianly sympathize with the ordeal their families go through or that many of them may be deceived (and brainwashed) by those who sent them. Having said that, if you want me to sympathize with the soldiers who tortured the Iraqi prisoners in Abu Gharib and other concentration camps, after they invaded their lands on the basis of the lie of WMD, and wiped out hundreds of thousands of civilians (remaining from Gulf War I and the merciless embargo, which was called barbaric by the previous pope) I will proudly and determinedly refuse to do so. Many decent humans, Muslim and non-Muslim and American and non-American, share my feelings.
      As for greed being the motive of our immigration to the West, I would like to remind you first that more than half of the Muslims in the USA are not immigrants. They are mainly African Americans, with some from all other ethnic groups, including Americans of European descent and natives. There are also the children of the immigrants, who did not make the choice to emigrate and know of no other homeland, so your last comment doesn’t pertain to all of those. It does, however, pertain to me because I am an immigrant. I agree with you that most of us, immigrants, came to the West for economic opportunities. This was to a great extent for the mutual benefit of the Western countries, which needed laborers to contribute to their economic growth, and the immigrants, who certainly enjoy a much higher living standard in their host/adopted countries than their original ones. I don’t see a problem in that, and the “decadent Westerners” stereotypical language is not part of my dictionary. Some of us, however, came to the West to run away from tyrannical regimes, believed by many Muslims to be installed by the West in the post-colonial era to serve its interests. I usually don’t subscribe to the extremes of the conspiracy theory, but I would second George W Bush’s assertion that those regimes have been at least supported and propped up by the West for too long. There are others who may see themselves more productive and capable of serving the cause of justice-for-all by being in the West and engaging the Western audience since they have the leverage to change the conditions of the World and make it fairer and more conducive to peace. There are those who may have to come to the West to call Westerners to Islam, just as many Christian missionaries go to all corners of the World to call mankind to their religion. This may be done by some people out of zeal and religious nationalism, but for many, it is a manifestation of devotion to God and compassion for humanity.
      As for the Palestinian issue, my answer will follow shortly!

  2. Avatar

    Hamid

    November 30, 2015 at 11:52 PM

    beautifully written piece that explores the core issue through the legislative lens and supports the points with opinions of scholars.

  3. Avatar

    Adeeb

    December 2, 2015 at 1:11 AM

    Superb article clearing all misconceptions. I have one question, I had read a fatwa islamqa.Com that stated that verse of no compulsion has been abrogated by verse of sword. Hence people can be forced.
    Please explain

    • Avatar

      Hatem al-Haj

      December 3, 2015 at 8:54 PM

      I invite you to go back and take another look at that fatwa. It is impossible that anyone would say that Islams approves of forceful conversions, because you would be basically producing hypocrites. I do not recall the name of any scholar in the past or present who said that.

      • Avatar

        Abu Muhammad

        December 6, 2015 at 3:07 AM

        Sheikh Hatem, the fatwa the brother is quoting can be found here >>> http://islamqa.info/en/34770 . According to the article Sheikh bin Baz (rA) is quoted as saying,

        وقال آخرون من أهل العلم : إنها كانت في أول الأمر ثم نسخت بأمر الله سبحانه بالقتال والجهاد ، فمن أبى الدخول في الإسلام وجب جهاده مع القدرة حتى يدخل في الإسلام أو يؤدي الجزية إن كان من أهلها ، فالواجب إلزام الكفار بالإسلام إذا كانوا لا تؤخذ منهم الجزية ؛ لأن إسلامهم فيه سعادتهم ونجاتهم في الدنيا والآخرة ، فإلزام الإنسان بالحق الذي فيه الهدى والسعادة خير له من الباطل ، كما يلزم الإنسان بالحق الذي عليه لبني آدم ولو بالسجن أو بالضرب ، فإلزام الكفار بتوحيد الله والدخول في دين الإسلام أولى وأوجب ؛ لأن فيه سعادتهم في العاجل والآجـل إلا إذا كانوا من أهل الكتاب كاليهود والنصارى أو المجوس ، فهذه الطوائف الثلاث جاء الشرع بأنهم يخيرون . فإما أن يدخلوا في الإسلام وإما أن يبذلوا الجزية عن يد وهم صاغرون .

        “Other scholars said that this applied in the beginning, but was subsequently abrogated by Allaah’s command to fight and wage jihad. So whoever refuses to enter Islam should be fought when the Muslims are able to fight, until they either enter Islam or pay the jizyah if they are among the people who may pay jizyah. The kuffaar should be compelled to enter Islam if they are not people from whom the jizyah may be taken, because that will lead to their happiness and salvation in this world and in the Hereafter. Obliging a person to adhere to the truth in which is guidance and happiness is better for him than falsehood. Just as a person may be forced to do the duty that he owes to other people even if that is by means of imprisonment or beating, so forcing the kaafirs to believe in Allaah alone and enter into the religion of Islam is more important and more essential, because this will lead to their happiness in this world and in the Hereafter. This applies unless they are People of the Book, i.e., Jews and Christians, or Magians, because Islam says that these three groups may be given the choice: they may enter Islam or they may pay the jizyah and feel themselves subdued.” [Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Maqaalaat li’l-Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 6/219]

      • Avatar

        adeeb taqui

        June 13, 2016 at 7:37 AM

        >>> islamqa.info/en/34770 . According to the article Sheikh bin Baz (rA) is quoted as saying,

        وقال آخرون من أهل العلم : إنها كانت في أول الأمر ثم نسخت بأمر الله سبحانه بالقتال والجهاد ، فمن أبى الدخول في الإسلام وجب جهاده مع القدرة حتى يدخل في الإسلام أو يؤدي الجزية إن كان من أهلها ، فالواجب إلزام الكفار بالإسلام إذا كانوا لا تؤخذ منهم الجزية ؛ لأن إسلامهم فيه سعادتهم ونجاتهم في الدنيا والآخرة ، فإلزام الإنسان بالحق الذي فيه الهدى والسعادة خير له من الباطل ، كما يلزم الإنسان بالحق الذي عليه لبني آدم ولو بالسجن أو بالضرب ، فإلزام الكفار بتوحيد الله والدخول في دين الإسلام أولى وأوجب ؛ لأن فيه سعادتهم في العاجل والآجـل إلا إذا كانوا من أهل الكتاب كاليهود والنصارى أو المجوس ، فهذه الطوائف الثلاث جاء الشرع بأنهم يخيرون . فإما أن يدخلوا في الإسلام وإما أن يبذلوا الجزية عن يد وهم صاغرون .

        “Other scholars said that this applied in the beginning, but was subsequently abrogated by Allaah’s command to fight and wage jihad. So whoever refuses to enter Islam should be fought when the Muslims are able to fight, until they either enter Islam or pay the jizyah if they are among the people who may pay jizyah. The kuffaar should be compelled to enter Islam if they are not people from whom the jizyah may be taken, because that will lead to their happiness and salvation in this world and in the Hereafter. Obliging a person to adhere to the truth in which is guidance and happiness is better for him than falsehood. Just as a person may be forced to do the duty that he owes to other people even if that is by means of imprisonment or beating, so forcing the kaafirs to believe in Allaah alone and enter into the religion of Islam is more important and more essential, because this will lead to their happiness in this world and in the Hereafter. This applies unless they are People of the Book, i.e., Jews and Christians, or Magians, because Islam says that these three groups may be given the choice: they may enter Islam or they may pay the jizyah and feel themselves subdued.” [Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Maqaalaat li’l-Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 6/219]

  4. Avatar

    Elisabeth Jefferson

    December 14, 2015 at 12:49 PM

    That is so sad why would someone do that to thousands of people that is the worst thing i would never think about doing that to someone the terrorists are the worst am i write or not

    P.S-u can write your answer on fuzzy.org to get on my face book a count ;) or nolllllllllllllllll!

  5. Avatar

    sparky

    December 30, 2015 at 1:50 PM

    Ok if there are so many good muslims why are they not turning in the ones the know are up to no good. Supposedly your faith has
    been hijacked but you do not do anything about it. I hear muslims are afraid to turn in radical muslims. If no one stands up for
    good evil will reign. Your so called religion calls for killing the infidels (your own terms). If you try to kill us we will retaliate sucker.

    • Avatar

      Shakir M.

      March 23, 2016 at 6:29 PM

      Entire Muslim Nations and their military and police forces are arrested and fighting those that are up to not good, for the people in those countries and internationally. Do not wait on the corporate media to talk about Muslims who are doing good, operating charities, feeding the needy, or working with law enforcement. In my area there Muslims who walked off the job due to work standards and rules they felt were not welcoming to them as Muslims. The national media contacted a local rep asking to talk to a Muslim person who was angry. Your comments were based on hearsay or simply you feel that you are not informed about something happening that it is not happening at all. Below is a compilation of crimes and evil doers that were turned in by Muslims/Mosques to the authorities. Call your nearest metropolitan FBI office and ask them if Muslims in the region have been helpful and cooperative to their efforts. Hear it from the horses mouth.

      October 2008: Neo-Nazis Daniel Cowart and Paul Schesselman are arrested by local police, who received a tip from a concerned friend of the two suspects, before seeking to go on a shooting spree against African-Americans.

      July 2009: Mosque leaders in Raleigh, North Carolina contact law enforcement to notify them of “violent, threatening action… considered to be dangerous” leading to the arrest of Daniel Boyd and 6 other individuals.

      September 2009: Queens Imam Ahmad Afazali, a community liaison to the NYPD, helps local police and the FBI in the investigation and arrest of suspect Najibullah Zazi. Though Zazi is initially accused of tipping off Zazi to police surveillance, information in the court complaint and corroborating reporting from mainstream media sources found this notion to be false. (Afzali was, however, deported on charges of lying to FBI agents, but subsequent media reporting also strengthens Afzali’s claims that he was scapegoat for getting caught up in a turf battle between NYPD and FBI officials.)

      November 2009: Five Virginia Muslim youth are arrested in Pakistan, allegedly seeking to join a terrorist group, after family members told American federal authorities they went missing.

      March 2010: Michigan Militia member and Muslim convert Matt Savino refuses aid to a fugitive member of the Hutaree Militia and instead helps law enforcement authorities track him down.

      April 2010: Senegalese Muslim Alioune Niass first spots the suspicious vehicle used as a bomb to attack Times Square in New York City. Clues from the vehicle and defused explosive immediately led to the suspect, Faisal Shahzad’s, arrest.

      June 2010: Suspects Mohammed Mahmoud Alessa and Carlos Eduardo Almonte are arrested, after the FBI first receives an anonymous report in 2006 from one of the suspects’ family members. News reports indicate one of Alessa’s family members provided the tip.

      October 2010: Former Hawaii resident Abdel Hamid Shehadeh is arrested for attempting to join the Taliban. Local media noted that the Muslim Association of Hawaii “assisted law enforcement agencies in the case” and that it has “in the past reported suspicious activities.”

      October 2010: Farooque Ahmed is arrested on charges of allegedly attempting to bomb the Washington, DC metro railway system. The FBI first learns of Ahmed’s intentions from a community tip-off.

      October 2010: An attempt by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to bomb Western targets using air cargo transportation is prevented by US and European authorities. Intelligence that prevented the plot came from ex-militant Jabr al-Faifi, who voluntarily handed himself into Saudi authorities.

      November 2010: Mohamed Osman Mohamud is arrested for attempting to bomb a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Portland, Oregon. The New York Times notes, “In the Oregon [Mohamud] case, the FBI received a tip from a Portland Muslim.”

      December 2010: Antonio Martinez is arrested for attempting to bomb a military recruiting center in Maryland. Statements from Justice Department officials indicate a Muslim community member reported Martinez to the FBI during its ongoing investigation.

      June 2011: Two Al-Qaeda inspired violent criminals planning to attack a military installation in Seattle are arrested by law enforcement. FBI officials first become aware of the planned attack after a fellow Muslim who was trying to be recruited into the conspiracy went to Seattle Police and informed them of the plot.

      January 2012: Violent Al-Qaeda sympathizer Sami Osmakac is arrested for planning to attack several sites in Tampa, Florida using guns and explosives. The U.S. Attorney for Central Florida noted, “This investigation was also predicated, in part, by assistance from the Muslim community.”

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#Current Affairs

In The Name of God: A Communal Rupture Sowed By Communal Legacy

At one point of time, there used to be a mosque in Ayodhya. It stood tall and lofty for 470 long years, until a mob of extremist Hindu fanatics came at it with axes and pickets and razed it to the ground. Stemming from the popular belief that it was the birthplace of the mythological figure of the warrior Hindu god called Ram, the act was carried out for the future construction of a temple devoted to him, and one that had to be erected at the same spot where the 16th century mosque had existed for so long. 

“All we need for the betterment of life is Lord Ram, and there is no survival without Lord Ram”.

The supporters of the Ram Janmabhoomi cause kept reiterating this loud and clear in Anand Patwardhan’s documentary film Ram ke Naam (In The Name of God), that still serves as the single-most myth busting source centred round the whole dispute. But this very claim itself is based on partial accounts that stem from loose historicity, as depicted in the footage.

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On December 22 1949, Lord Ram was said to have appeared in the dream of a priest in Ayodhya, who along with a few other men installed an idol of the god inside the mosque in the dead of night. The film tracked down one of the priests who had participated in the plan, and identified him as Mahant Ramsevak Das Shastri. He claimed that the erstwhile district magistrate K.K. Nayar was also an organiser of this act and had ensured that Shastri and the others accused were released on bail. Although generally identified as the first breach of communal trust that gradually gave rise to the whole dispute, in truth, this religious fundamentalism has its roots running deeper than most of us fully grasp or acknowledge. 

Even at present, about a dozen places in India and Nepal claim to be the potential birthplace of Ram and there is no consensus among Hindu scholars and historians regarding the same. Ayodhya has been housing many Ram temples since the 19th century, and incidentally, quite a lot of them had claimed to be the birthplace of Lord Ram at one point of time or the other. After the construction of the Babri Masjid in 1528 by the Mughal emperor Babur, historic records show that the first instance of communal riots in the area was not before 1855. Sunni Muslims clashed with Bairai Hindus in the area claiming that the temple of Hanumangarhi (for the Hindu mythological figure Lord Hanuman) was built where once stood an already demolished mosque. Nawab Wajid Ali, the then ruler of Ayodhya promptly intervened and made peace, but not before the incident caught the attention of the colonial overlords. This took place just two years prior to the Great Revolt of 1857. It was the first known pan-Indian unified struggle for independence, and one that was founded upon the Hindu-Muslim unity which had been turning into a growing threat for the ruling East India Company. And of all the temples claiming to be the holy birthplace of Lord Ram, the British chose a mosque having Mughal origins to be the designated one for spreading the rumour that Babur had constructed it after destroying what was once a temple housing Lord Ram’s original birthplace. 

As this notion started gaining momentum, the British installed a fence on the premise, which led to an arrangement that had the Muslims praying inside the inner court and the Hindus being allowed to use the outer courtyard. This communal understanding and secular practice went on and in peace till 1949, until the breach orchestrated by Nayar occurred. 

The 1949 breach then led to communal rifts, which was followed by the mosque being sealed. This marked the beginning of how those in power have been manipulating the masses for centuries, either for ensuring a vote bank, or being mostly fueled by a blind sense of religious fanaticism that made them feel empowered over other religions. 

Repeated petitions were filed to open the locks and allow namaz inside the mosque. While the inner court was kept out of bounds, puja was allowed to be carried out in the outer courtyard. As many as four suits were filed between 1950 and 1961 asking for the restoration of the Muslims’ right to pray, none of which were heeded. Twenty years later, the Sunni Waqf Board finally filed a suit for complete possession of the site, and the one which turned out to be the final blow. Hindu groups in turn formed a committee to protect their rights, and the plan to construct the Ram temple was spearheaded, causing the Ram Janmabhoomi movement gaining momentum like never before, with erstwhile Bharatiya Janata Party (B.J.P.) member L. K. Advani giving leadership to the same. 

It was no less than a “political game”, according to the court appointed priest Laldas, who was charged with tending to the Ram idol after the mosque was sealed. During his tenure from 1983 to 1992, he was known to have been critically vocal against the whole Ram Janmabhoomi movement and the premeditated conspiracy that was growing around Babri at that time. He was removed from service 9 months prior to the demolition act and was found to be shot dead a year later under mysterious circumstances. 

“BJP does not believe in Ram, only in hatred…the Hindu Parishad members have never made a single offering or prayed at the temple even once,” he had told Patwardhan during an interview clip in the documentary. 

Surprisingly, none of the subjects that Patwardhan approached in the film knew exactly when Lord Ram was born, or at least even in which century. Not the poor tanner squatting on the ground, not the first year law student brandishing a sword before the march to Ayodhya and not even the saffron clad priest inside the air conditioned Toyota van. But all of them were unwaveringly certain in their belief that Ram’s birthplace was none other than Babri, and how it has been a known fact for many years. 

It was December 6, 1992 that witnessed the right wing mobilisation movement carry out the act of political vandalism quite unparalleled in the modern world, leading to subsequent communal riots, and a massacre which the country has not completely recovered from since. Babri was destroyed. 

Twenty seven years, varying heartbeats, deadly communal violence acts and the loss of about 5,000 odd lives later, the landmark justice on the Ram Janmabhoomi dispute was delivered. 9th November 2019 was a date that meant too much to too many people. It was a day that either meant the end to so many years of rioting, divisibility and cut-throat communalism, or a further tint in the already widening secular fabric of the nation. 

2019 was also the year that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was sworn in for a second term and had implemented a number of administrative decisions that gave BJP’s Hindu supremacist ideology a new momentum and utmost urgency. One of the first things that he did after taking office was revoke the Article 370 of the Indian Constitution on August 5, 2019, which had so far granted the internationally disputed Muslim dominated region of Kashmir a special status independent of Indian jurisdiction. The abrogation allowed Kashmir to be reinvaded by a strong Indian military, annexed to the Indian subcontinent and put under complete curfew with an internet blackout. And exactly one year later, Prime Minister Modi is about to lay the foundation stone for the newly constructed Ram temple in Ayodhya on the site of the demolished mosque on August 5, 2020, as thanks to the landmark verdict on the decades-spanning historic wound that has completely redefined the politics of the country, the forces responsible for the demolition had found themselves in complete legal possession of the land. 

For many blinded by irrational faith and hyper nationalism, the judgement reinstated the inherent vice of fanatic Hindutva ideology in the sense that their religion is all superior, and one that fuels the necessity to construct the Ram temple at the very spot of the Babri Masjid. But to others still believing in the idea of the independent India that awoke at the stroke of the midnight hour on 15th August 1947, the judgement could have very well been a bigger, and more dangerous rupture in the democratic and secular pillars of the country than the actual act of the demolition itself. 

The current chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, who was charged with overseeing the construction of the temple had gone on record as early as 2017 during a pre-election campaign to promise a Ram Mandir

Agar Samajwadi Party jeetegi to Karbala-kabristan banega, jabki Bhajapa ki Sarkar banegi toh Ayodhya mein Ram mandir banega.

30 years ago it was L.K. Advani who had promised that Mandir wahi Banega and today, it is Yogi Adityanath, the third face in line on the saffron political firmament, who is delivering on this promise.

Vikas Pathak, who is a professor at the Asian College of Journalism in Chennai, said that this is Hindutva’s true and unalloyed form, one that was supposedly hidden beneath layers of political exigencies for so many years leading up to this. This claim is further supported by an independent multimedia journalist in Kashmir, who said he feels the same due to the obvious choice of the date of inauguration. Requesting to be anonymous, he expressed his thoughts on how this is more of a planned move than a mere coincidence, and one which gives out a clear message.

The fact that it’s happening on the anniversary of the repeal of Kashmir’s autonomy, accentuates the importance that the Modi government places on its aggressive pursuit of a Hindu nationalist agenda”, also augmented Michael Kugelman in his comment on the matter. He is senior associate of the Wilson Center and the deputy director of its Asia Program. 

Just like Jai Shree Ram, this Mandir agenda too had been normalised into one which sounded like a clarion call for battle. In Patwardhan’s film, an unnamed Congress politician held a campaign where he asked the Vishwa Hindu Parishad that if indeed a Ram temple should be built, why could it not be anywhere else in the city, as Ayodhya is such a large place. 

“I am amazed at this stubbornness that they will build the temple at the very same spot! And that too, only after destroying the mosque… He (Advani) can easily build a temple anywhere in Ayodhya, but please do not insist that this can only be possible by demolishing an existing mosque. I want to promise that the temple will most definitely be built, but the mosque must also remain.”

As we went on to see in the film, and even twenty seven years down the line, it was firmly decided that Mandir wahi banega, and one existing holy site was destroyed to give rise to another. Come November 2019,  the temple plan gets sanctioned by the Supreme Court of India as well, ironically granting the Sunni Waqf board an alternate piece of land to construct their mosque instead.

While the 5-judge bench lay claim to the demolishing act accepting it as a crime, and while they also accepted that the installation of the idols inside the mosque was an act of desecration, it also gave the land over to those who desecrated it at the same time. A judge on the bench had called it “one of the most important cases in the world,” but when the perpetrators of what the Supreme Court has openly identified as a crime find themselves to be the main beneficiaries of the judgement, it brings to question how just the verdict actually is.

Quite bizarrely, the court had declared that while there was some evidence of Hindus worshipping on the disputed site, no such documentary evidence could be found in the case of Muslims until before 1857. 

“The mosque was built in 1528, and the area was under Mughal occupation till 1722. Then it was ruled by Nawabs, and finally annexed by the British in 1856. It must be self-evident that during this entire period of being under Muslim rule, Muslims were offering namaz inside the mosque and not the other way round”, said a Kashmiri student currently studying at Jadavpur University in Kolkata on the condition of anonymity, adding how such a reasoning based on “balance of probabilities” as one of the reasons to give it to the Hindu side is itself one of inequality. 

On the other hand, the judgement also referred to a 574 pages long report published by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) 15 years ago, which claimed that Babri Masjid was not built on vacant land. Reading the unanimous judgement and considering the report valid on the assurance of being scientifically tested, Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi who was leading the bench said: 

“There was a structure underlying the disputed structure. The underlying structure was not an Islamic structure.”

While the court relied heavily on this ASI report, independent archaeologists who observed the site on behalf of the Sunni Waqf board differed entirely with the ASI findings. While the six month long court ordered investigation did reveal the existence of an underlying structure beneath the mosque, eminent archaeologists Supriya Varma and Jaya Menon believe that the evidence collected on their part do not support the claims made by ASI. 

Their report read: “underneath the Babri, there existed older mosques.” 

They further added that even if the underlying structures were not of Islamic origin, they closely resembled Buddhist stupas at the most, and in no way anything remotely close to a Hindu temple. This particular claim is in turn also supported by the archaeological surveyor Alexander Cunningham, who was the first individual to survey Ayodhya (around 1862-63), and was known for his interest in tracking down and identifying places associated with Buddhism.

Had India as a country boasted of a very robust and strong judicial institution, such an incident would not have been dragged all the way from 1949 to 2019, let alone pave the way to constructing a temple on the disputed land. December 6, 1992 should have been permanently brought an end to it with strict actions being taken against the perpetrators. While the B.J.P. indeed is directly linked to the whole incident, the Congress government led by Rajiv Gandhi allowed the locks to be opened in the 1980s. Following the demolition, the Congress Prime Minister Narsimha Rao allowed them to get away with the violence in 1992. And in 2019, the Supreme Court judges have done the same. 

Ayodhya, for more than a quarter of a century, had been turned into a place of cynical and political revanchism. And thrust between this politics of a loosely manufactured historicity aiming to upend the Republic of secularism by replacing it with a system running on Hindutva ideology, were those that represented what India truly stands for. Of the numerous subjects that Patwardhan interviewed, both Hindus and Muslims, most of them unanimously awaited, and wanted peace. Something that was so easy to understand for someone who lived a simple life of an ironmonger, belonging to the low Bishkarma caste, was at the same time completely unimaginable to those amassing trucks and weapons to demolish the mosque:

“Once it exists, it is wrong to break. If someone tried to break our temple, would we allow it? We’d say go build your mosque elsewhere.”

Zahir Adil, the lead on Save India From Fascism Project of the human rights organization Justice For All also expressed a similar sentiment, saying how he would have actually welcomed it if the temple was not built after illegally destroying a historic mosque. 

“Apart from being a day that RSS criminals are rewarded with a new temple after perpetuating systemic violence in India, 5th August 2020 also goes down in history as the day that the words Jai Shree Ram will be displayed in the iconic Times Square as the Prime Minister will lay the foundation stone for a Ram Temple on the site of the demolished mosque”, informed Masood Rab, spokesperson of Coalition of Americans for Pluralism in India (CAPI). It is one among the coalition of organizations that  have refused to carry forward the programming by the pro-Modi group in Times Square. 

The RSS, or the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, being the parent organization of the current ruling party in India has its roots in pre-Independence times and were also known for openly supporting Hitler’s Nazi agenda. They were banned as many as four times when India was ruled by the national Congress, but it has now become the de-facto power under BJP rule, with Modi himself being a known RSS member. 

Indian American Muslim leaders, as well as human rights organizations, having categorically denounced this display of religious bigotry has called for a day long protest in the iconic Times Square from 8 AM, asking for this display of vehement arrogance to be stopped. Those like Adil and Dr. Shaik Ubaid (President of the Indian Minorities Advocacy Network) have also expressed concern on how the proponents of this fascist ideology have become so confident that they are celebrating an illegal and bloody act in the middle of Times Square, and for the entire world to see. But others like Kugelman expect, and have pointed out that while there will be messages in Times Square blaring out communal rhetoric, there may also be messages expressing solidarity for Kashmiris.

“It is perhaps fitting, in this globalized era, if the incredibly polarizing Kashmir issue plays out under the bright lights of Times Square”, said Kugelman over a brief electronic conversation, but added how this juxtaposition is also extremely divisive within the country on the whole.

The mandatory in this case seems more like a political campaign trick than anything to do with actual Hinduism, and essentially a symbiotic Displace perpetrated by a fascist government.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that this could be the rise of divisive Hindu supremacy as never seen before. In all its entirety, the day of August 5, 2020 marks the end of an era and the possible beginning of a new one. It detriments the idea that our founding forefathers had envisioned for the nation, and while we may not like it at the same time, this is essentially a new India that is emerging for everyone to see – one that is a land of strident Hindutva and religious dissonance at the forefront. 

LINK to the documentary: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GMT18TMNQbY

 

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#Current Affairs

The Perennial Siege: Kashmir’s Tense Lockdown Anniversary

A year after the revocation of Article 370—special status of the valley, Kashmir continues to be under security lockdown, intermittent internet restrictions, almost negligible functioning of education system, amid reports of continuous detentions and across-the-board human rights violations.

Two-day curfew has been imposed in Indian-administered Kashmir in anticipation of containing any form of dissent ahead of the 5 August anniversary—the day Indian government stripped Kashmir of its special status. Officials say the curfew is meant to prevent violence by groups planning to observe 5 August as “black day”.

On August 5 2019, the state was split into two federally administered regions and its semi-autonomous status was revoked. The decision to revoke article 370—part of Indian constitution that guaranteed Kashmir special status—an action with potentially devastating consequences for Kashmiri identity and community was met with anger and feeling of betrayal in the region although it was widely welcomed in the rest of the country. In preparation for this, it put Kashmir into a complete lockdown at midnight on Aug. 4, 2019. Eight million Kashmiris were restricted in their homes. In-an-effort to impose a complete communication blockade, internet connections were cut, and phone connections were terminated.

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Everything seems to have come to a halt, and the past experiences have begun to conjure the images of unprecedented violence. Since the revocation or illegal annexation of Kashmir on August 5, the betrayed and besieged population, including me, treated like a prisoner in a forsaken paradise on earth, continue to mourn India’s deceptively organized virulent manifestation of democracy. The fact-finding report, Women’s Voice, counters the state narrative of “return to normalcy,” indicating that 13,000 boys and young men were detained illegally after August 5, including some as young as 14, with some imprisoned for up to 45 days, and with families paying as much as 60,000 rupees ($850) for their release

Kashmiris, however, saw their integration as a threat to the state’s ethnic character, and a milestone on the road to the realization of the BJP’s dream of a fundamentally Hindu nation. Many legal commentators decried the Indian government’s unilateral abrogation as “illegal,” calling it an “unconstitutional deed,” which was “accomplished by deceitful means” (Noorani 2019). 

The Problem oF Kashmir

A brief context of the conflict offers a perspective to understand the problem of Kashmir. “The world is reaping the chaos the British Empire sowed,” Amy Hawkins wrote in Foreign Policy, and “local populace is still paying for the mess the British left behind in Hong Kong and Kashmir.” The anti-colonial uprisings in the Indian subcontinent, China, the Arab world and elsewhere did not result in freedom or democracy for the nations ruled by the British Empire”. In Kashmir, the British left a bleeding wound amid the partition of colonial India. Kashmir in post-partition and to be more succinct, post-1947 emerged as a boiling pot from the cultivation uterus of the two-nation theory.

Since then, Kashmir is known to be the most heavily militarized zones in the world. More than 7 million soldiers have been deployed, as per the reports, to counter what the Indian army itself claims as “cross-border terrorism”. This myth has been busted time and again because of the actions of the Indian government in the last three decades. If there were any doubts earlier, they should have cleared by now. Their real enemy is the Kashmiri people, especially “Kashmiri Muslims”, the hindrance in the way of turning India into a “Hindutva nation” claims Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan in 2019 U.N. general assembly speech.

India’s decision to abolish the state’s nominal autonomy last year is the most far-reaching move in the region in the last 70 years and has been pushed by the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) as a development-focused action to “mainstream” the only Muslim-majority state in the subcontinent. While the government —which justified the shutdown as “preventive” — and the leading Indian media outlets are propagating an image of the region as slowly returning to “normalcy”, the reality on the ground, as documented by the New York Times, is very different. 

Kashmir continues to simmer under the siege.

Post 5—August SiegeAnd  Defiance

This season’s siege is more crushing than ever, possibly the worst since the first one nearly 30 years ago, a stratagem designed carefully to humiliate an entire population. There is also an unwavering manifestation of defiance, as by now the Kashmir street is sufficiently educated politically to not pin its hopes on an infusion of benevolence in the government’s Kashmir policy or any practical outcome from the partial solidarity from the international community. The mass arrests, in thousands, including minors and pellet victims [including a cancer patient] holding 7 million populations under eight hundred thousand jackboots has unveiled the façade of Indian democracy. 

“No government in the world has blocked Internet access as frequently as India. An incredible 213 times in just three years”, reports Time Magazine, “which is far more than Syria, Iran, Turkey, and Egypt together”. And more than half of those shutdowns have been enforced on Kashmir—is that because, questions Abid (PhD scholar, Dept. of political science department, Kashmir University) “of the special (autonomous) status Kashmir “enjoyed” in the larger Indian union? Will they also ban clean air, now that the special status has been erased?” 

Picking out promising adolescents; sometimes old men and even women, they branded them, as with batons and red-hot irons, to forcefully teach them how to behave. Abid Khan, 28, and Idrees, 29 from Shopian district in South Kashmir were raided in the middle of the night, tortured for hours by dozens of army men. Khan says he was dragged out and blindfolded along with his brother, who has learning difficulties, on August 14. “They gave electric shocks to my brother on the road outside our home. I heard him scream painfully,” quoted in AFP story, showing marks on his arms, legs and buttocks. Khan said. “Then they gave me electric shocks again on my genitals and wounds. One of them said ‘I will make you impotent’.” On September 13, Irshad Ahmed, a 12-year-old boy from neighboring Buchpora, Srinagar, suffered a serious head injury. His hospital registration card noted that it was a ‘fire-arm injury’, adding the word “alleged”. Those accompanying him said he had been hit by a cluster of pellets in his head. The bar has been raised so high for all forms of political dissent, and the detentions, numbering in thousands have choked any form of political activity on the ground. What remains still is an unwavering manifestation of the overarching defiance against the government-enforced execution of oppression. 

Pandemic Lockdown- In and Out of Kashmir

Since the world has now entered the sixth month of Covid-19 restrictions. With self-isolation, physical-distancing and e-learning online education, for most populations the robust internet and phone service has still provided a lifeline to let them work and be engaged and entertained. But in the Himalayan territory of Kashmir, the repression and militaristic method in the latest indignity in a 73-year cycle of oppression, militarization and scarcity especially since last year August in Kashmir has intensified: communications were completely cut in August 2019 and were only beginning, even after weeks pandemic broke out. Since March, only 2G is available, and only sporadically. As Waheed Mirza, novelist and political commentator on Kashmir asserts “A military siege is like a chokehold on an entire people”.  

For the world, asserts Arundhati Roy:

“Kashmir and Kashmiris signify as a prototype to learn the craft of surviving under a lockdown. For the former, it is a self-imposed precautionary measure experienced for the first time in the recent history by the world to fight against an unseen disease; as for the latter, it is the endless fight against the continuation of a seven month long enforced siege against their will.”

 This reality soon turned into a buzzword “the world is turning into Kashmir”. Azad Kashmir President Sardar Masood Khan asserted India has been using the “cover of the coronavirus” to “mow down” Kashmiri youth and change the Muslim-majority character of the disputed region.  

According to news reports on Kashmir, anyone who violates curfew–even those with valid passes allowing them to leave their homes–risks being detained by soldiers or police and possibly beaten. Even doctors, who’ve been celebrated as heroes elsewhere in the world, report being harassed on their way to work in Kashmir, which already suffers an acute lack of medical resources and staff. Limited access to information has also obstructed Kashmir’s coronavirus fight. The region uses 2G internet, an online connection so slow that it is nonexistent elsewhere in the world. Indian authorities have cut online access in Kashmir 55 times since it was restored in March 2020. According to the Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Societies, a local group that documents and litigates human rights abuses “this has delayed doctors’ ability to read emerging treatment guidelines and new research on the disease”.

For some, the repressive methods allude to the fact that the Indian government’s priorities in Kashmir have not been changed by the pandemic. “Any administration that is willing to impose the longest Internet shutdown in history only believes in the right of censorship and surveillance,” says Mishi Choudhary, the legal director at the Software Freedom Law Center, a group that campaigns for Internet freedoms. The period post 5 August 2019 has changed the whole political landscape of the region. This season’s siege is more crushing than ever, possibly the worst since that first one nearly 30 years ago, a stratagem designed carefully to humiliate an entire people. 

Mental health workers say “Kashmir is witnessing an alarming increase in instances of depression, anxiety and psychotic events”.  Doctors Without Borders estimated after surveying 5,600 households in 2015. Nine of 10 have experienced conflict-related traumas. The figures are much higher than in India, according to other surveys.

Education: The Perennial Casualty

Ten months after India unilaterally revoked Kashmir’s autonomy, reports New York Times, “education stands as one of the crisis’s most glaring casualties”. Previously, Kashmiri Valley in particular suffered huge education losses as the students were forcibly kept away from schools and colleges by frequent official curfews and restrictions, shutdowns, incidents of violence and prolonged political unrest stretching for months, the worst of these witnessed in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2016. “The long school closures in the valley cause major disruptions in young people’s educational and professional development, producing feelings of insecurity, helplessness, and demoralization,” said Haley Duschinski, an anthropologist at Ohio University specializing in Kashmir.

Around 1.5 million Kashmiri students remain out of school. All educational institutions are closed, and most government and private schools are shut—except for few intermittent opening of educational institutions for some weeks, one of the clearest signs of the fear that has gripped Kashmir since the Indian government locked down the disputed territory. Parents in the Kashmir Valley also show this fear that “they are terrified of sending their children out with any exception reaction from the public amid troops deployed everywhere and on the prowl for trouble”. 

“What if the school or a bus carrying children is attacked?” asked Saqib Mushtaq Bhat, a father worried about violence by Indian troops or militants. “What if there are protests and their faces get shot by pellets?’’ Amid only 2G internet services working in the valley, G.N. Var, chairman of Private Schools Association of Jammu and Kashmir (PSAJK) which has 2,200 schools associated with it, termed it ‘denial of right to education’. The research scholars across the valley have equally suffered due to low speed internet and hugely affected the mental stability of people across the spectrum of the society. 

He said, “The restrictions on high speed internet are making it difficult for our students to avail online courses and access information which is vital in their career-building. We see it as a denial of the right to education.”  Reports suggest “no government in the world has blocked Internet access as frequently as India with 55 Internet blackouts in 2019 alone, including the longest in recorded history, 213 days, when Delhi put the valley on lockdown last year August.

Settler Colonialism

So far, anti-insurgency operations have proved equally devastating for Kashmiris amid the pandemic. As of June 30, 229 killings, 107 CASO’s (cordon and search operation), 55 internet shutdowns, 48 properties destroyed in the first half of 2020. Children and women continued to be victims of violence in J&K as 3 children and 2 women were killed in the first half of 2020. India continues to take possession of Kashmir despite being hit ever harder by the pandemic.

With all the constitutional amendments and new laws India has instituted in Kashmir especially since 5 August last year, the Palestinian case is often invoked to find the parallelism of how this sounds like the beginning of settler colonialism. The recent developments that highlight this process are, on the contrary, a further deepening and expansion of a matrix of control characteristic of such a project, duly aided through laws, to ensure the eventual elimination of the native.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration’s order to withdraw a 1971 circular that made it mandatory for the Indian Army, the Border Security Force and the Central Reserve Police Force to obtain a “no objection certificate” to acquire land in the region is also seen as part of a settler colonial project. Not only has the decrees evoked a sharp reaction among locals, which have long feared Delhi’s forceful integration of the restive region with the Indian union, but observers are also accusing Modi’s right-wing dispensation of using the Covid-19 pandemic to advance its Hindu settler colonial enterprise in the region, saying it is a page right out of the Israeli playbook to transform the region’s demographics. United Kingdom-based Kashmiri lawyer Mirza Saaib Bég argues that “J&K’s demography is bound to be altered beyond belief. And at a speed so astonishing that the procedure for issuing a domicile certificate will seem, unfortunately, a quasi-colonial project”.

Around 400 thousand people have been granted domicile certificates in Indian-administered Kashmir till July, 2020 proving right the fears of the beginning of demographic changes in the Muslim-majority Himalayan region. The certificate, a sort of citizenship right, entitles a person to residency and government jobs in the region, which till last year was reserved only for the local population. “The whole purpose of revoking Article 370 was to settle outsiders here and change the demography of the state. Now this provides the modalities and entitles so many categories of Indians whose settlement will be legalised over here.” – Kashmiri law professor and legal scholar Sheikh Showkat Hussain (Al Jazeera, April 1, 2020).

Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden said, “India should take all necessary steps to restore the rights of all the people of Kashmir.” He also asserts “Restrictions on dissent, such as peaceful protests or shutting or slowing down the internet weakens democracy,” in a policy paper posted on his website. Pakistan’s ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement that India’s latest step was a vindication of the country’s “consistent stance that the major intention behind the Indian Government’s illegal and unilateral actions of 5 August 2019 was to change the demographic structure of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and turn Kashmiris into a minority in their own land”.

“This has long been part of the RSS-BJP’s ‘Hindutva’ agenda,” the statement added.

An  Indian Consul General in New York, Sandeep Chakraborty’s recent call for the ‘Israel model’ in Kashmir should ring alarm bells for the Muslim world. He flagrantly asserted “I don’t know why we don’t follow it. It has happened in the Middle East. If the Israeli people can do it, we can also do it,” Chakravorty said.

Kashmiris on Twitter were quick to call out Al-Jazeera, accusing them of “promoting settler colonialism”. The social media users were mainly drawing a parallel with expansionist or colonial settlements of Israeli Jews in Palestine or of Han Chinese in Xinjiag to forcibly settle and diffuse indigenous identity.

Tailpiece:

Kashmir is transformed into an open prison where the state works with a self-proscribed impunity to confiscate or mitigate basic universal rights, while the Indian state is trying to entice assimilatory participation of the common people. That territory-wide control by the state and its various institutions is countered through years of survival, persistence and resistance against the state’s operations over Kashmiri lives.

One inevitable fact that successive union governments since India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru have arrogantly with military highhandedness ignored is the political question of Kashmir. The recent political expedition of the Indian government in Kashmir paradigmatically problematized the political destiny of Kashmir and future of Kashmiris. Even in the 21st century globalized world, in the middle of a global pandemic, 8 million people are denied access to education, livelihood, entertainment, and health respite via a medium that has become an essential service for the rest of the world.

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#Current Affairs

Indian Myths Channel Genocide in Kashmir

India is a land and society of myths. More so now than ever before, under the Hindutva-inspired Bharatiya Janata Party government led by the claim of the myth manufacturer Modi: “India is a democracy; it is in our DNA.”

A much talked about myth has been that India is a secular state, and in the light of the post August 5 2019 developments in Kashmir and the Indian mainland, much sighing is being aired that Indian secularism is endangered.

However, the question arises, when was India secular? Was India “secular,” when it invaded Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) on October 26, 1947 on the pretext that a non-Muslim should rule a Muslim-majority state, or was it “secular” when Hyderabad Deccan was invaded and annexed on September 23, 1948 on the pretext that a Muslim could not rule over a Hindu majority?

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Based on a myth about the birthplace of the mythical “Lord Rama,” the 600-year old Babri Mosque was attacked and demolished on December 6, 1992. India’s Supreme Court validated the goon squad’s action on November 9, 2019. Today, the mosque’s attackers rule India.

Even the national anthem ‘Vande Matram’ is not secular, where Muslims object to its idolatrous aspects. For instance, the fourth stanza, addresses motherland India as, “Thou art Durga, Lady and Queen, with her hands that strike and her swords of sheen, Thou art Lakshmi lotus-throned…”

When a Muslim sings these words, he is forced to equate his country with the Hindu goddesses Durga and Lakshmi, thereby deifying the land of India. This goes against the concept of tawheed (the Absolute Oneness of God), according to which a Muslim cannot supplicate to anyone except God.

The other long-standing myth, which India validated through a presidential fiat last year, is that J&K are its “integral” part – a territory it has occupied since September 1947 with a million-man force. In doing so, it served up another myth: the constitutional relationship between J&K and India.

Subodh Varma (“Some Myths About Article 370, 35A and Kashmir”, Sabrang India August 8, 2019) explains that in the process of effectively scrapping Article 370 of the Constitution through a presidential order supported by a Lok Sabha (lower house) resolution, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its supporters regurgitated a slew of myths, half-truths and sleights of hand that have been part of its parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) propaganda for decades. Ironically, many parties and opinion leaders who do not subscribe to the RSS ideology also repeated them, which show how far these myths have traveled. Meanwhile, social media went ballistic with RSS/BJP supporters posting bizarre claims while others started offering land for sale in Kashmir.

Arun Jaitley (d. August 24, 2019), who served as finance minister from 2014 to 2019, had tweeted on August 4, “J&K integration with India took place in October 1947. Article 370 came into force in 1952, Article 35A came in 1954, four and seven years later respectively. How can Articles 370 and 35A be a condition precedent to merger?”

He had sought to prove that Articles 370 and 35A were somehow unrelated to J&K’s “joining” [albeit perforce] the Indian Union implying that they are unnecessary and also that they were the result of some [past] Congress governments’ stupidity.

This is a lie.

On October 26, 1947, India invaded J&K, obliging its ruler, Raja Hari Singh, to sign the Instrument of Accession (IOA); the Dogra ruler’s ancestor having purchased the territory and its citizen from the British. However, this document states that the Indian parliament could only legislate on the state’s defense, external affairs, communications and some ancillary subjects. The agreement’s Clause 5 reads: “The terms of this my Instrument of Accession cannot be varied by any amendment of the Act or of Indian Independence Act unless such amendment is accepted by me by an Instrument supplementary to this Instrument.” Clause 7 says: “Nothing in this Instrument shall be deemed to commit me in any way to acceptance of any future constitution of India or to fetter my discretion to enter into arrangements with the Government of India under any such future constitution.”

Simply stated, it says that many things left pending in the IOA were to be settled later through negotiations. After its invasion, India, which faced the Kashmiri resistance till 1949, finally seeking a UN-negotiated armistice, has yet to lay out the laws and governance mechanism. Accordingly, the UN Security Council adopted successive resolutions call for a plebiscite where the Kashmiris would vote freely to decide their future.

The UN continues to recognize Kashmir as a disputed territory.

The 1947 partition agreed upon by Muslim and Hindu leaders with Britain, the departing colonial ruler, reads that Muslim majority states would merge with Pakistan. Kashmir is a clear case.

To preserve the IOA’s spirit and to reassure the Raja, Article 370 was moved in India’s Constituent Assembly in May 1949, which was voted to be part of the Indian Constitution in October 1949. Consequently, Presidential Orders were issued in 1950, 1952 and 1954 to settle various issues. Jawaharlal Nehru  -India’s first prime minister- and his interior minister Vallabhbhai Patel (d. 1950) were part of these negotiations, which negates the RSS myth that Patel opposed Article 370.

The RSS propped up the full integration bogey to stir up agitation against the land reforms initiated by the Raja-appointed Sheikh Abdullah government. The RSS gave it a communal hue as the landowners were mostly Dogras and Pandits and most peasants were Muslims.

The RSS/BJP propaganda about Article 35A hides the fact that Raja Hari Singh had proclaimed the Hereditary State Subject Order in 1927, which allowed only the state’s residents to own land and to government jobs. The state’s assembly voted to include this order in the J&K Constitution. In keeping with the IOA terms regarding the preservation of rights of state’s residents, Article 35A was added to the Constitution through the Presidential Order of 1954.

Kashmir’s annexation falls under RSS ambition of a pure Hindu India.

The RSS states that J&K, with its “oppressive Muslim-majority character, has been a headache for our country ever since Independence.”

RSS alleges that forces “inimical to Bharat never wanted Kashmir to integrate itself with Bharat …  and in October 1947, these elements conspired with the enemy to defeat every move to save the situation from our [Indian] side.” While, India continues to loudly claim that it was Pakistani tribal fighters and not Kashmiri freedom-fighters who confronted the Indian invading army, RSS claims that it was its fighters who fought alongside Indian troops, adding that if a ceasefire had not been agreed upon, its fighters would have helped completely conquer J&K.

RSS blames the large Muslim presence for J&K being conferred a special status under Article 370, even after its total “accession.”

On December 11, 1991, BJP president Dr. Murli Manohar and Narendra Modi, and also, the now interior minister Amit Shah, led the 15,000 mile “Ekta Yatra” (Unity March) from Kanyakumari -a Tamil Nadu coastal town, the southernmost town in mainland India- which culminated in Srinagar’s Lal Chowk on January 26, 1992 to hoist the Indian flag, signaling that they had “arrived to settle the account.”

RSS claims: “The endless appeasement of the Muslim population, especially in Kashmir, practiced by the successive governments at Delhi, has been the bane of our government’s Kashmir policy. Just as too much mollycoddling and lack of discipline spoil the child, so has been Kashmir, a problem created out of our own folly.” RSS alleges that Pakistan arms militants for armed revolt from within India.

Amit Shah has harped the long-repeated party line that Article 370 is the root cause of spread of terrorism. As a corollary, it is also said that the article was the source of sentimental belief in a separate Kashmir, providing ground to cross-border terrorists to exploit.

However, it is the erosion of Article 370 that has led to increasing disenchantment of Kashmiris and their search for a way out. For instance, Article 370 provided for extending provisions of law to J&K through Presidential Orders, issued after concurrence of the state assembly. However, the 1954 Order has extended almost the entire Constitution to J&K. Out of the 97 entries in the Union List, 94 have been made applicable to the state and out of the 47 entries in the Concurrent List, 26 have been extended to the state. This has largely reduced the state’s powers. Overall, Article 370’s provisions were used at least 45 times to extend Constitution’s provisions to J&K.

Not only have the J&K rights been increasingly restricted, but also the spirit of the section has been violated by simply getting the state government to rubber stamp such extensions.

Also, the J&K Constitution was amended several times using Article 370. For instance, Article 356 was extended removing a similar provision in the J&K Constitution (Article 92), which called for President’s concurrence for imposing President’s rule. Article 370 was used for the extension of President’s rule. Even Article 249 (parliament’s power to make laws on State List entries) was extended to J&K through a recommendation of the governor, bypassing the state legislature.

In the past, Congress governments and later BJP, used these measures to manipulate the politics of the state to install ministries or impose President’s Rule.

Another myth, really a blatant lie, proffered by BJP, is that development was not possible because Article 370 didn’t allow it. Post-August 5, Indian politicians and opinion leaders continue to harp that with the removal of special status, including J&K will now become part of global India. Seriously, how Article 370 stopped any government from providing or encouraging more investment and industry in the state when most provisions of the Constitution, including Union list entries were extended to the state. The Union governments could have undertaken any economic measures or programs they wanted in J&K. In fact, there was nothing except unkempt promises of colossal special packages. No Indian government undertook any economic or political measures that would provide sustainable and long-term benefits to J&K.

Simply, the removal of Article 35A will now free real estate sharks to gobble up properties and use it for setting up private businesses including private schools. It is difficult to believe that private investment will flow into J&K, when an occupied people there are discontented and uncertain.

Indian propagandists in and out of government harp on the myth Articles 370 and 35A, and the arrangements they enshrine, were unique to J&K. In fact, Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh, and Goa enjoy similar provisions. In other states too, there are laws preventing non-domiciliary persons from owning land.

The Narendra Modi-led central government had, after the revocation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, recently announced that people will now be able to buy land in Kashmir. As a result, the 1971 circular, which restricted land acquisition and requisition without a ‘No Objection Certificate (NOC)” from the Home Department, has now been replaced by the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013. And, the displacement of Kashmiris with the replacement of Indians has begun the process of ethnic cleansing, leading to a genocide of the Kashmiri people.

Citizens of India ought not to live by the myth of living in the largest democracy and in greatness but instead should heed to Gandhi, “as human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world – that is the myth of the atomic age – as in being able to remake ourselves.”

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