ISLAM AND TERRORISM

*Our views on terrorism are a plate of scrambled eggs consisting mostly of fear and fiction*

Terrorism has become a global scourge these days. It is a menace, which does not distinguish between Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus or anyone. Hence, it would be unrealistic to compartmentalize this global menace on the basis of religion and geography. It is simply inhuman, cruel and barbaric which must be condemned in all its forms and manifestations.

Terrorism as a subject of discussion and study requires a deeper understanding and unbiased approach. Any presumptuous or reductionist approach to study this problem may lead to dangerously wrong propositions. Unfortunately, many scholars and mediamen have taken an over simplistic view of this complex problem. Consequently they usually associate terrorism with Islam. Hence, the term like ‘Green menace’, ‘Green Peril’, ‘Islamic militancy’, ‘Islamic terrorism’, ‘Islamic fascism’ are often used in the media and books. However, those who are using these terms so frequently perhaps do not realize that they are not denouncing a menace but condemning a particular religion.  If a heinous act like terrorism is called ‘Islamic’ it hurts the sentiments of millions of peace loving Muslim across the globe. Moreover, by certifying crime against humanity, as Islamic they also sanctify this act. Those who call terrorism of any group, nation or individual as Islamic should know that terrorism goes against the very teaching and spirit of Islam. Thus, an act of terror which involves the killing of innocent people is contrary to the spirit of Quran and Islam because the holy book itself declares that to kill one human life is to kill entire humanity, and to save one human life is to save entire humanity. (Holy Quran, 5:32).

Islamic militancy is a misnomer in another sense also. The so-called Islamic militancy has killed more Muslims than any other community. In fact the Muslims are the worst affected victim of terrorism. Algeria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Chechnya, Pakistan, Egypt, Indonesia, Turkey, Somalia all are the Muslim countries along with other countries like India, U.S.A., U.K. etc. facing the menace of terrorism.

There is no denying the fact that Islam is being used by many Muslim groups for political indoctrination but Islam should not be blamed for this phenomenon. In fact, there are many reasons for this and the reasons are more political economic and cultural than religious.  One should know that it is not Islam which is guiding the people to fight or to resist but it is the people who use Islam for sanctifying their movements or acts.

Also, identifying Islam with violence and terrorism is highly unfair. In fact when we try to analyse violence as a means adopted by the groups and individuals, we find that it has got justification by all ideologies and by all organised religions. No religion or ideology can claim that violence has not been adopted and justified by his or her followers. 

It appears that Islam has been singled out for demonising and condemning. The record of cruelties of other dispensations are deliberately ignored or painted in a different colour.  But whenever any misguided group or individual belonging to Islam is found in any crime, the group or the individual is not blamed for it but his religion is made the target of attack.

So let me put it in this way; it is intellectual and academic dishonesty to put Islam in the dock for what a handful of its misguided followers do.

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