Continued threat of terror inspired by Islam

Posted on July 28, 2008. Filed under: India, Muslims, Politics, terrorism |

One of the primary mistakes, intentional or otherwise, in trying to understand the reasons behind terror under the banner of Islam is the failure to realize the ideological motivations provided by the theological structure of Islam itself.

Why do people make these mistakes :

(1) Deliberate mistakes both on the part of certain clerics and intellectuals from across the Muslim as well as non-Muslim groups in the hope that (a) no retaliation on and deconstruction of Islam itself takes place as Islam can be painted to be a religion of peace (b) the practical hope that maybe some of the potential converts to extremism will desist from extremism by believing in the “peace” theory

(2) Unintentional ones, resulting from a lack of thorough understanding and reading of the core texts of Islam, lack of knowledge of independent archaeological and historical analysis of the times and regions of formation of Islam, and comparing the teachings and diktats with that of actual Islamic behaviour since its formation.

(3) A deliberate misconstruction of Islam as a much desirable alternative to the non-Muslim apologist’s own culture from which he/she feels alienated (White European ex-Christian converts to Islam such as the really good ex-singer Cat Stevens)

With increased access to the translations of the core texts, more and more people can now read the various versions of these texts. Some of these translations were made at a time when European colonialism was sufficiently powerful and sufficiently romantically indulgent towards the “Orient” to not shy away or edit away too much of the horror of what is described in the core texts of Islam. Definitely translations done by Guillaume, or Muir (even Muir says he left out portions he thought were too gross and too sensuous) would not have found press today, as both governments and interested pressure groups would successfully lobby to preserve the “oh so good” image of Islam being reconstructed all over the world.

The problem that non-Muslim elite never understands is that even if Islam is painted as a peaceful and non-violent faith for the consumption of non-Muslims, the core texts are always taught in the Muslim educational system through their original language, Arabic. There are of course some important versions in old Persian. None of these two languages are widely known to non-Muslims. The Arabic language versions of the Quran or the Hadiths or the Sirah, are not edited clear of the references to recommendation of violence towards “unbelievers” or “hypocrites”. This is one of the primary reasons that Muslim communities everywhere insist on teaching its young Arabic, and goes to great lengths in establishing faith schools. Where it has the means and is allowed to get away with it, it targets secular schools (such as in Indian Kashmir, where almost no secular school has been left intact in the Muslim dominated part, so that children are forced to go to the Madrassahs or Muslim theological schools).

For the consumption of the non-Muslim public only isolated verses or Suras from the Quran are broadcast and quoted with great emotion and fanfare to try to establish that Islam is extremely peaceful towards non-Muslims. These are typically quoted out of context, without mentioning which chapter of the Quran they are coming from and the verses before and after it, without explaining the links to the events they refer to, etc. The reason apologetics can get away with this is because (1) non-Muslims do not have access to full, unabridged, unedited Islamic texts as well as chronological and historical/narrative details (2) the confusion about the interpretations of the words meaning “unbeliever” or “hypocrites”.

Those who try to paint Islam as peaceful, usually refer to two or three Suras that appear to talk of Allah’s displeasure on shedding innocent lives, or that non-believers can under certain conditions (such as paying taxes or protection money or a short term peace treaty which however can be overturned at will at any time by Muslims) be treated as “dhimmis” – protected. When they are confronted with Sura after Sura of violent indictment on “unbelievers” or “hypocrites”, they try to explain it away as only referring to a particular group in Arabia at the time (those refusing to submit to Muhammad’s authority – in almost all case of authority in the Quran – submission is required to both Allah and his Messenger, simultaneously), and not applicable to subsequent times or peoples. However nothing is said in the Quran that specifically declares that in the future these interpretations cannot be applied to other peoples, where in fact the Quran definitely speaks of future behaviour – such as the banning of the remarriage of the widows of Muhammad – (the ban being specifically for Muhammad’s case only – widow remarriage in general is recommended, and some of Muhammad’s own wives were war-widows). The “peaceful” Suras have to be interpreted as meaning a desirable behaviour towards “believers” and not towards “unbelievers”, in the context that unbelievers are almost never mentioned without indictment of violence, either that of Allahs’ or that of Muslims. This becomes clearer from the Hadiths.

The key to understanding the core of the revealed traditions is to model their origins as philosophies of small minority groups, struggling to survive in unproductive regions of the world, at a low level of technological and intellectual sophistication, and with over-exceeding jealousy of the “good life” of technologically, culturally sophisticated urban societies. So their faiths are overwhelmingly obsessed with obtaining and securing biological resources – thus their “Gods” guarantee them their rights over the agriculturally productive lands of “others”, the “women” of the “others”, the minor children of the “others” (who can be brainwashed and absorbed to swell the numbers) – their “Gods” require them to eliminate the “males” of the others (as chief obstacles to dominance ), and the whole societal system is based on the “primitive natural hierarachy” – where men have power over women, the community has power over other communities, etc. Such a culture will also jealously guard its valuable biological resources be they their own or of others which they have looted – typically we should expect an overwhelming obsession in their legal injunctions (which of course comes from their “God”) with sexual “deviance” (as this can reduce reproductive capacity) and sexual “offences”, insistence on “one way traffic” of women into the group, a violent repression or penalty for crimes that would be considered small in a more well -off or economically richer society, and supreme penalty for not believing in the “commander” (just as the importance of court martial for insubordination in an army). These tendencies will increase inversely in proportion to the starting cultural level of the group – the Jews may not show these tendencies to the extent of Muslims.

The main target of Islamic terrorists is increasing the number of Muslims. There is also no doubt about it that Islam recommends continuous unrelenting militant Jihad to spread Islam. Such an ideology will appeal to a large number of youth who do not have the inclination or capacity to face the challenges of a modern education system together with its technological complexity in order to succeed in the modern economies. Everything associated with modern societies will be a threat to them – independent, educated, capable women with sexuality not under male control, an increasingly complex system and body of knowledge, the enforced use of intellect and not mere muscle power, lack of physical, testosterone driven adventure (which have all been converted to the virtual world).

Maybe we can suggest to Muslims themselves to think of abandoning Islam, to become agnostics, or convert into one of the other faiths which do not require Jihad as the supreme duty. In the Quran, there is not a single Sura that says that a Muslim who goes out of Islam has to be immediately killed physically. (I am sure Muslim theologians know what I mean). A public promise by the leaders of Muslim communities to convert into other religions if blasts or killings occur of non-Muslims by Islamic fanatics, would go a long way towards defeating the target of Jihadists – the message will be clear, “if you do not behave, your numbers are actually going to decrease rather than the increase you hope for”.

It is hard to believe that the Indian State authorities which could so easily and ruthlessly crush the Sikh militants, or the early batch of Bengal Naxalites, are not able to crush Islamic militancy – does the state find it rather useful to protect Islamic militants for some reason or somehow the word Islam gives a tug at its heart strings?

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