The Footprints of Jihad in India

ajtr

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The Footprints of Jihad in India

I have been sharing whatever knowledge I have about security threat to India from Internal and External forces which believe in solidification of the Islamic Umma. Forces which believe it is a holy duty to carry out jihad against Dar-ul-Harb Hindustan, an imperative to create another Muslim Homeland out of present India and restore the glory of Islam all over South Asia and turn it into the main hub of an Islamic Caliphate.

These are not imaginary dialogues. These can be found in several web portals managed by the Islamists and working ethos and philosophy of scores of Islamist tanzeems.

My views are not those of an alleged, ‘rightist communal Hindu reactionary,’ as some national and international members of the Markaz-ud-Dawa-al-Islam, Muslim Brotherhood, Ahl-e-Hadith, Taliban, Al Qaeda and other tanzeems prefer to describe me.

Some others, who try to go by the nametag of secular intellectuals, prefer to call me a rabid communalist. The ruling parties consider me as a systemic pariah. No problem. The national garbage bin is better than any Swiss Vault. I am not worried about the honorifics awarded to me.

I am not a hater of anything except immoral social behavior and anything that challenges the integrity of my country. The people who call me names happily forget that soon after the serial bomb blasts in Mumbai in 2007, I was the one Hindu who dared to assist the Deoband luminaries and organise a congregation of all their Ulamas at the Parliament Annex Hall in August 2007, to bring the leaders in touch with several opinion makers and important personalities. The Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister had addressed that session. Sadly, except for one representative from All India Muslim Personal Law Board, no other Islamic theo-religious and theopolitical organisation agreed to associate with the initiative of the Darul Uloom Deoband.

The Deoband School took the lead again on February 25, 2008 when the Seminary issued a fatwa against “all acts of terrorism.”

Saud Alam Qasmi, dean of Theology at the Aligarh Muslim University welcomed the fatwa. “The fatwa should be welcomed by the entire Islamic world,” felt Maulana Yasin Mazhar Siddiqui, a senior Islamic theologist who believes that revenge killing of innocent people is unambiguously prohibited by the Holy Quran.

Then on April 27, 2008 the Deoband’s fatwa department head Mufti Habibur said that the Shariat disallowed anything against law. “Cow slaughter, therefore, was `najayaz` even though Islam allows beef-eating,” the fatwa said. It said any act which brought bad name to the community or evoked the possibility of imprisonment was `haram` and should be avoided.

`Islam sternly condemns all kinds of oppression`

Predictably, there was a counter reaction from Pakistan. The head of Darul Ifta wa Al-Qazzath of the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (Parent body of Lashkar-e-Taiba) Pakistan, Mufti Abdul Rehman Al Rehmani, demanded that the Deoband “fatwa” be withdrawn immediately, because it “encourages Hindu beliefs.” The Ahl-e-Hadith Pakistan also issued a similar fatwa. (See www.jamtuddawa.org.)

The Bangladesh Jamait-e-Islami, Ahl-e-Hadith and Deoband seminary (Dhaka) also condemned the Indian cleric’s fatwa. (Prothom Alo May 3, 2008.)

Despite these statements from powerful organizations in our neighboring nations, the influential Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband on May 31, 2008 issued yet another `fatwa` denouncing terrorism. In Islam’s view: “spreading mischief, rioting, breach of peace, bloodshed, killing of innocent persons and plundering are the most inhuman crime,” it said.

The fatwa came during an anti-terror conference organised by the Jamiat-Ulema-E-Hind and Darul Uloom in Delhi’s Ramlila Grounds. The fatwa, signed by Darul chief Riyasat Ali Bijnori, has been endorsed by representatives of some Muslim sects in India, especially a faction of the Barelwi, Khankahi and some minor Sufis sects. The fatwa assumes significance because of the Deoband (UP)-based Darul`s wide influence across the Muslim world. After the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, the Darul is the most important centre of Islamic theology.

Unfortunately, the fatwa was not signed by Firangi Mahall and Nadwatul Islam of Lucknow and the most dominant faction of the Ahl-e-Hadith, Jamiya al Salafiya, All India Muslim Personal Board, All India Milli Council and obviously the Jamiat-e-Islami and Tablighi Jammat. Therefore, the fatwa does not encompass entire Muslim theological and theopolitical shades.

`Islam sternly condemns all kinds of oppression, violence and terrorism`, says the Deoband Declaration. However, the next paragraphs stated that the Darul Uloom`s idea of terrorism was different to common understanding. It was not attacks by Jihadis and Islamist fidayeens on the jahil kafirs that the Deoband was worried about. They were concerned more about the branding of Muslims as terrorists whenever any jihadi terror attacks took place and subsequent attacks on Muslims by the infidels.

I quote some parts of the fatwa… “The Conference expresses its deep concern and agony on the present global and national alarming conditions in which most of the nations are adopting such an attitude against their citizens, especially Muslims, to appease the tyrant and colonial master of the West . . . the conference strongly demands the Indian Government to curb those maligning the madrassas and Muslims.”

I do not regret taking the initiative in prodding the Deoband school of India to create an atmosphere of cordiality and faith in the Indian system. I would continue my efforts, but refuse I to close my mind and crania. The truth cannot be covered up by diplomatic and political rhetoric. Being a friend of the Muslims does not mean closing eyes to the march of Jihad and feigning deafness to its foot thumping.
 

ajtr

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continued from previous post .....

.

`The scariest religious institution I have ever been to is the Darul Uloom`

Those of you who have visited Deoband in UP would have clearly noticed that this old seminary is anything but a fountainhead of modern Islam. Do not believe me? Read what celebrated columnist Tavleen Singh has to say: “The scariest religious institution I have ever been to is the Darul Uloom in Deoband. In the hour I spent wandering about its grounds on my single uninvited visit a couple of years ago I understood why it had inspired the Taliban. It is an institution that remains frozen in seventh century Arabia, a time when men were primitive and women got a primitive deal.” (Reading between the lines of the Deoband fatwa, Tavleen Singh, Indian Express, March 2, 2008).

I am not influenced or prejudiced by her views. But my visits to that seminary impressed me that Islam in its purest form was taught there, and hundreds of students from all over the world study the fundamentals of Islam from its Indian fountainhead.

Not too long ago I had the opportunity of visiting Binnori mosque of Karachi and the Deoband establishment in Dhaka. In both places I noticed that the Islamic theology and other aspects of education dated back to pre-Wahhabi (Arab) and pre-Salafi (Egypt) days. Whatever they might teach about the religion propagated by Prophet Mohammad, one could not miss the tone and tenor of ‘hatred and religious compulsion against the jahil kafirs.’

The Binnori mosque and madrasa had been the breeding pool of jihadis fighting in Afghanistan and later the Taliban force. The Deoband, Jamait-e-Islami etc had conceived Harkat-ul-Ansar and Harkat-ul-Jiahd-al-Isami. These theological and theopolitical outfits in Pakistan and Bangladesh have emerged as powerful as the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Salafiya groups and al Qaeda are in most Muslim countries and in global parameter.

The question boils down to the core issue: does the Deoband control minds of Indian Muslims and do they follow their fatwas as inviolable edicts?

I am afraid they do not. Though considered as important as Al Azhar of Egypt, the Deoband Seminary is not the only religious school that had sprouted out of the revivalist, Wahhabi and Salafi movement initiated by Shah Waliullah of Delhi and his descendants. The fall of the Great Mughals had marked the end of Muslim political power (virtual caliphate) in India and rise of Islamic puritanist movement starting from Aurangzeb to the lineage of Waliullah.

History is witness to the emergence of other Islamist educational, theological and theopolitical and ethno-theo-political schools. In short these are: Indian segment of Saudi based Rabita-al-Alam-al Islami (preaching global Islamic connectivity), Tablighi Jammat (more Salafist), Jamma’a al Islamiya, Jamma’a al Salafiya, Ahl-e-Hadith, Nadwatul Islam, Firangi Mahall (French residency at Lucknow donated by Aurangzeb to an Islamic scholar), Jamiat Ahl-e-Sunnat & Manzar-i-Islam (Barelwi sect, more Wahhabi), the Ahmadiya, the Ahrar, Khaksar and several sub-sects of the Shia’a community. While the Ahrar and Khaksrs survive in some form in Pakistan the rest are active in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

It is a fact of life that the Deoband India and its political wing the Jamait-ul-Ulema-e-Hind have stuck to fundamentals of Islam, which do not permit bid’a (heresy), dahriyat (atheism), and change in Islamic fiqh (jurisprudence), ijtihad (independent reasoning) etc, tendencies displayed by deviant followers of Islam. Most South Asian Islamic theocratic, theopolitical and theo-extremist organisations follow these tenets.

In recent times (1978 onwards) the Deobandi Schools in Pakistan and Bangladesh, the Jamait-e-Islami and Tablighi Jammat etc besides the other institutions named above have joined the bandwagon of more radical version of Wahhabism and Salafism (al Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden are Salafists). These organizations and tanzeems were used by Zia-ul-Haq, the ISI and the CIA to float several jihadist tanzeems to fight their geostrategic wars in Afghanistan. Simultaneously these tanzeems were also trained and pushed into Indian Kashmir to wage another phase of jihad.

Fear stalks us, the jihadis are within us`

From 1988 onwards this experimental jihad in Kashmir was broadened to the northern hinterland of India and after 1993 the ISI, in tandem with the DGFI of Bangladesh and the tanzeems like Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Harkat-ul Ansar, Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami, Al Badr, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammad, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi Jamait ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, SIMI, Islamic Chhatra Shibir etc carried out sustained jihadi propaganda through the institutions listed above, through madrasas controlled by them and through roving ulamas and Tablighi Jammat proselytisers.

The Jamait-e-Islami provides the steady ground for recruitment of fresh rukuns (primary members) who are brainwashed and sent to Bangladesh and Pakistan for ideological and military training. The JeI connection was emphasized by Pakistan`s former Interior Minister Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat, “All of the activists and terrorists who have been apprehended in recent months have had links to the Jamaat-e-Islami, whether we have arrested them in Lahore or here or Karachi....They have been harboring them.” (Al Qaida Pakistan Ties Deepen, The Christian Science Monitor, 03.06.2003.)

Between 1989 and 2008 the ISI and the DGFI have set up camps, charted out routes and established supply depots for these trained Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi jihadis to create modules and cells all over India. The mission is nearly complete.

Let us briefly examine a few routes, areas of cells-modules and pockets of established presence of these jihadi elements. The ISI, DGFI backed tanzeems have set up bases in Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, West Bengal, Bihar, Eastern Uttar Pradesh and parts of Jharkhand.

Innumerable cells and modules have been established in collaboration with the ‘believers’, paid agents and trained cadres. For lack of space the details cannot be explained in this column. In simple words these cells exist in the northeastern and eastern part of northern India. Most of the named institutions, mosques, madrasas managed by them are used by the home-grown and foreign jihadis. It has not been possible for the intelligence and security agencies to penetrate these hubs.

The picture is even more frightening in the northern and western parts of India. It would not be possible to add an annotation on each hub or cluster of hubs in this flank. But the discerning readers can make sense out of this broad vision and explore the possibilities of delving deep into the subject. Briefly, there are innumerable hubs, modules and cells in Punjab, parts of Haryana, Rajasthan, Delhi, Gujarat, Maharashtra and certain areas of Madhya Pradesh. We should remember that the Ahl-e-Hadith sect which was started at Bhopal has now become a worldwide hinge of the extremist Islamists.

I have written in an earlier column about hidden enemies in the southern parts of the country. An illustrative map may enlighten the readers more than mere words. It would have been a pleasure to elaborate on certain hubs, modules and cells in various parts of the country.

In short the hubs in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and areas of Maharashtra adjoining Karnataka and Andhra are most vulnerable. Space is a constraint. Inquisitive readers may like to read my book: Fulcrum of Evil: ISI, CIA, al Qaeda Nexus. I juxtapose an illustrative map for easy understanding:

This capsule presentation should evoke thinking and awareness and not fear. Fear stalks us, the jihadis are within us, and they are coming in steady streams from Pakistan and Bangladesh. We have to live with periodical Jaipur, Mumbai, Hyderabad etc and look up to a God called Government which does not deliver.

The attacks are not of the nature of horsemen galloping and tanks rolling down to capture India. The evil winds are blowing in poisonous gasses to vitiate the minds of vulnerable Islamic individuals and groups. Real or imaginative acts of discrimination against Muslims elsewhere in the world are being ventilated through organised violence in the name of jihad. This phenomenon is being mixed up with the pre-partition Muslim separatism, which finally resulted in partition.

Several clusters of Muslims in India are still living together separately with the rest of the Indians. They derive pleasure by attributing this sense of alienation to neglect of the community by majority Hindus. Such feelings nursed for over 160 years since 1857, cannot be washed away by a Sachar Commission Report.

A minority report that alienates the majority

This requires serious introspection by the enlightened Muslims and religious congregations like the Darul Uloom Deoband. Without introspection and faith in the Indian national identity, no amount of reservations and/or financial packages can bring them up to modern global standard. Starting from the Morley-Minto reforms (1909) to the Congress-Muslim League Lucknow Pact (1916) to the Khilafat bonhomie to Partition, we have covered vast grounds. Our Muslim brothers have no reason to live together separately under the same roof. Our roof should be our common heart.

Your editor willing, I would like to elaborate on certain illustrated jihadi modules and cells in the next column. In the meantime, like governments and agencies, do not go to sleep. This country is ours and we have to protect it together-irrespective of our professed religious proclivities.

Maloy Krishna Dhar started life off as a junior reporter for Amrita Bazaar Patrika in Calcutta and a part-time lecturer. He joined the Indian Police Service in 1964 and was permanently seconded to the Intelligence Bureau.

During his long stint in the Bureau, Dhar saw action in almost all Northeastern states, Sikkim, Punjab and Kashmir. He also handled delicate internal political and several counterintelligence assignments. After retiring in 1996 as joint director, he took to freelance journalism and writing books. Titles credited to him are Open Secrets-India`s Intelligence Unveiled, Fulcrum of Evil — ISI, CIA, al-Qaeda Nexus, and Mission to Pakistan. Maloy is considered a top security analyst and a social scientist who tries to portray Indian society through his writings. He can be reached at: www.maloykrishnadhar.com.
 

ajtr

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India's strategic role in countering Jihadism

by Walid Phares, Ph.D.
World Defense Review columnist


The confrontation in the Indian subcontinent between al Qaeda, the Taliban and their allies on the one hand and the three democracies they target, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, on the other hand must be reevaluated in terms of international cooperation against the Jihadi threat. A regional system should be established to integrate the struggle against all Jihadi forces in the subcontinent. There needs to be a separation between the ethnic and territorial questions from the fight against terrorism. Once that distinction is made the possibilities of internationalization of counter-terrorism will be high. Jihadists based in any country of the subcontinent must not be given legitimacy by any Government on the ground of a local ethnic issue. Jihadi forces must be confronted collectively, while diplomacy and international mediations assist in solving the local problems.

India's particular role

The West can help all players in the subcontinent under internationalization of the struggle against Jihadi terror. But India has enough international credibility to help the West and other democracies in building an international basis for this counter Jihadi platform. There are initiatives India can take within the Third World and international organizations which can weaken the Jihadist propaganda against India's partners worldwide. India can help build this international platform because of its unique history in the non-aligned world so that the West and other democracies can in return help India fight against its Jihadi threats locally. India must play a strategic and international role in the said campaign worldwide. Some of that role must be on a military and security level, but India can also play a significant role in diplomatic and political realms to consolidate the international campaign.

Strategic suggestions

Hence in conclusion, I advance the following suggestions to be considered by the Indian Government and counter-terrorism experts.

1. That Indian think tanks would initiate a series of bilateral seminars and discussions with think tanks and research centers in the various regions potentially involved in such a future strategy, including with the United States, Europe, Russia, Sub-Saharan Africa and moderate Arab and Muslim states.

2. That the results of these regional workshops would be integrated under an international framework where India could play an important role.

3. That such an international framework or document would be submitted to the United States by all member states whose think tanks have been involved.

Evidently such architecture demands efforts, resources and good architects. I do believe, based on my work with groups and lawmakers interested in the issue worldwide, that interest in finding a new global strategy to confront the growing global threat is very high.

The impact of an Indian strategic involvement in countering the Jihadi threat on the military, security, and also on ideological and political levels will bring an important addition to the global efforts against the terror forces. Hence, a dialogue between US, Western and Indian strategists, lawmakers and decision makers to establish the basis of such coordination is a must in the current state of the struggle in countering the common threat. A Western dialogue with India should open the door to a wide array of regional platforms of cooperation including, for example, between India, Australia and New Zealand on the one hand and between New Delhi and its three south Asian potential partners against al Qaeda: Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. From its unique position India can also dialogue with Russia and China (despite disagreements on many issues) on joint efforts to isolate the Jihadi networks which threatens the stability of central Asia as a whole. This cobweb of Indian outreach to countries already fighting the Jihadists in Asia and internationally is needed to achieve an unprecedented isolation of al Qaeda and its Taliban-like allies across the largest continent on the planet.
 

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