Are jihadis to blame for attacking us? – Maria Wirth

Jihad the Sword of Injustice

Maria WirthIf someone asks whether the newcomers to Europe even want a liberal world, he is shouted down. Never blame the migrants, is the maxim, and never ever claim that religion may be a cause why happily living together won’t work. To be precise: never mention Islam. One can criticize Christianity nowadays and malign Hinduism, but Islam is out-of-bounds. To bring in Islam as a possible cause for friction is forbidden, so much so that there is a risk of ending up in jail in our “liberal” societies. – Maria Wirth

Sword of JihadThe fear of lone wolf attacks has changed the atmosphere in Europe. Especially women feel insecure while walking alone, but even men are not keen to go out alone at night. The security business is booming. Pepper sprays and other articles for self-defense are sold out. More security, more police is seen as the solution to a problem which unfortunately is not well analysed.

On a memorial for the victims of the recent terror attack at a Christmas market in Berlin, where the German Chancellor, too, placed a white rose, a board asked in big letters: “Warum?” This “Why” naturally haunts good-natured, naive Germans who welcomed the refugees and volunteered in refugee shelters.

Yet, inexcusably, this “Why” also seems to haunt many of the political class. Chancellor Merkel considered the attack as incomprehensible. It seems she and her government have no clue why certain people turn against their hosts when they had been so generous. So how can they defeat Islamist terrorism when they don’t know what motivates the terrorists?

For the last few decades, Europeans in particular have been sold a wonderful world, where we all live happily together as global citizens irrespective of race, gender, religion and nationality. Sweden was in the forefront. In a TV clip, children from Sweden, Africa and Asia sang a song about how Sweden belongs to all of them and how wonderful it is to love each other, merrily dancing around holding hands.

No doubt, a “liberal world order”, where all human beings irrespective of differences are respected, is a worthy idea. Donald Trump has been demonized for not endorsing it and is seen as the greatest danger to it. Angela Merkel reminded him, perhaps a bit too self-righteously, of those liberal values when she congratulated him for winning the US election.

Yet, whoever has eyes to see knows that the reality is the stark opposite of a wonderful, liberal world, not only in Sweden. The huge influx of “refugees” did not make things better for Europe, as was heralded. It made things infinitely worse. And since the situation has meanwhile gone so much out of hand with crime rates sky-rocketing and the fear of terror attacks all-pervasive, the liberal elite feel compelled to explain what went wrong. The problem is, they are dishonest—or plain ignorant.

They explain: the new world order does not come about without a “cultural change”. Yet instead of embracing multi-culturalism, the natives of a place resist it. They wrongly are suspicious of “the other”. They want to stick to their old way of life and therefore we have a big problem now: the nationalist right-wing is on the upswing. This, we are told, is extremely unfortunate.

They don’t call it only unfortunate. They label right-wingers as fascist, Nazi, xenophobic, Islamophobic, and openly spew hatred against them, all the while claiming that they, the “liberals”, only want all to love each other.

If someone asks whether the newcomers to Europe even want a liberal world, he is shouted down. Never blame the migrants, is the maxim, and never ever claim that religion may be a cause why happily living together won’t work. To be precise: never mention Islam. One can criticize Christianity nowadays and malign Hinduism, but Islam is out-of-bounds. To bring in Islam as a possible cause for friction is forbidden, so much so that there is a risk of ending up in jail in our “liberal” societies.

Why is it so? Why do liberals close their eyes to the fact that Islam is not liberal? Neither is Christianity. Nor do these two religions hide it. Both insist that their followers must “religiously” stick to the doctrine if they don’t want to burn in hell for ever.

Now, how to establish a liberal world when about half the world population is indoctrinated to believe that all humanity needs to follow a particular book before peace can descend on earth? It is even more complicated: about a quarter is told that God wants all to follow the Bible and Jesus, and another quarter is told that Allah wants all to follow the Quran and Mohammed.

Whether Jesus or Mohammed had intended this narrow-minded interpretation is not the question. It is also not the question whether there are verses in those books which contradict this narrow view. The problem is that this narrow interpretation is indoctrinated since over thousand years and even today into children with terrible effect and nobody stops it.

Wolfgang Trusheim, of Frankfurt’s State Security office, gives a worrying account:

“This is about war, about children being indoctrinated. They are only in primary school and already fantasize about how when they grow up, they want to join the jihad, kill infidels. They say: ‘I’m not allowed to play football with you, but when I’m grown up, I will kill you, because you are an infidel.’” (See this Gatestone link)

On YouTube there was a clip about a religious class for Muslim boys in a German school. The teacher spoke in broken German and kept repeating to the 6 to 10 year olds that they must not make friends with German boys, as those boys are bad and will be sent to hell by Allah.

Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad (1948)Is it then a surprise that a 12-year-old boy tried to plant a bomb in a Christmas market in southern Germany? The question is: Can he be blamed for wanting to kill kafirs? And if he can’t be blamed now, can he be blamed when he is 17 or 20?

How are children supposed to get out of the brainwashing when their surrounding endorses the claim that Allah only likes Muslims, does not like kafirs and will make them suffer in hell for all eternity? When even respected leaders, like the first education minister in independent India Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, had exhorted Muslims to join jihad for a pan-Islamic caliphate, have obviously not got out of their own brainwashing?  And most importantly, when the Muslim youth has serious doubts whether he will qualify for paradise and wants to make sure that he ends up there and not in hellfire?

A very crucial tenet of both Islam and Christianity is that a human being has only one life. Belief in rebirth was banned for Christians in the Second Council of Constantinople in 553 AD even before Islam was born. This “one life only” has an advantage for those religions: the fear of eternal hell prevents their followers from relaxing and experimenting. And both religions make sure that the fear of hell seeps deeply into the psyche of children. Hindus and others who did not go through this indoctrination can’t imagine that the fear of hell can be real, but it is. “What if eternal hell is true after all?” This question often haunts lukewarm Christians and probably also Muslims and makes their life miserable and guilt-ridden.

Maulana Wahiduddin KhanEven moderate sounding outfits like the Centre for Peace and Spirituality founded by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan preach this basic tenet (on the back cover of the book Quranic Wisdom):

“According to the Quran, a person’s life has been divided into two phases: the pre-death and the post-death period. The present life is only temporary and is meant as a test. Depending upon our performance in this test, we shall be judged in the eternal life after death. The Quran aims to make one aware of this reality and help one lead one’s life in this world in such a way that one is rewarded with Paradise in the life hereafter.”

Reading the Quran one gets clearly the impression that paradise is only for true Muslims, not for the hypocrites among them and of course not for kafirs. And what is expected from a true Muslim? Apart from being good to other Muslims (and harsh to unbelievers) and following the rules, jihad is the surest way to paradise. A jihadi is even promised a higher status in paradise (Quran 4.95). Is it a surprise that especially criminals join jihad to ‘redeem’ themselves? Should they be called monsters or should they be congratulated for fulfilling what they (wrongly) understand as the Supreme Being’s wish?

Clearly, something has been very badly misunderstood. Killing cannot possibly be rewarded by the Supreme who is the creator, if not the essence, in all of us. Is it not the responsibility of elders to point this out and save not only the potential victims of future terror attacks but also the Muslim youth?

Especially Hindus and Buddhists need to challenge this wrong understanding. How can they “respect” it only because “religion” is attached to it? Why are Christianity and Islam treated like a protected species and must not be touched?

There is a reason: Ever since dogmatic religions (from Latin “to bind”) appeared, which insist on binding all humanity to unverifiable dogmas, criticism was violently punished for centuries. Today criticism is sought to be stopped in a more civilised way—through laws about freedom of religion, guaranteed by an UN Charter.

Yet what does the right to religious freedom actually mean? Does it mean the right to Islamize the world? Does it mean the right to Christianize the world? Do Hindus have the right to stay Hindus? If the right to freedom of religion is given to a religion which has as its final goal the obliteration of all other religions, like Christianity and Islam have, would it not obliterate the rights of other religions?

Article 20 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) requires outlawing “any advocacy of … religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence.”

Further, article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), grants the freedom of speech with the restriction, among others, “for the protection of the reputation and rights of others.”

These laws are violated on a daily basis in religious classes all over the world, yet the focus of law enforcement agencies is on social media posts and overlooks the far greater danger.

Does it protect the “reputation of others” when a clergyman tells children that their classmates from other religions will burn in hell after Judgement Day? Is the clergyman free to make such discriminatory statements, because religious freedom is guaranteed and his holy book makes those claims? Is it necessary to respect the claim that a book has been divinely revealed even if it contains what would be called hate speech? Since there are several books from different religions which all claim to be the divinely revealed truth and which contradict each other, how can those claims be taken at face value and be protected by law? Should there not be a genuine, open-minded debate on what actually constitutes truth?

Many questions, which hardly anyone asks—not even those who framed the right on religious freedom in international bodies like the UN.

We are faced with a big problem which is due to divergent and implausible religious views. A young jihadi is convinced that killing kafirs is the right thing to do as it pleases Allah who wants only Muslims in the world.

And a young Christian missionary is convinced that “bringing the light of Christ to those who wallow in darkness” by hook or crook is the right thing to do, as Jesus wanted all people baptised.

Yet ultimately, both, the jihadi and the missionary are pawns in a cynical power game. They are convenient foot soldiers. Did not the USA of all countries encourage students (Taliban) to become radical Islamists by developing religious curricula and sending schoolbooks with violent content to Afghanistan? Why? Because they wanted them to fight the Soviets ferociously as a holy war—in their own (USA) interest of course. (See this Washington Post link).

Once children are ‘taught’ the wrong truth, it is not easy to get it out from their system even when they are grown up. Their identity is intimately connected with what they believe, and reason often cannot break through their natural impulse to defend their identity especially when the people in their surroundings share the same belief.

It needs an open environment, where questions can be asked fearlessly, where sensible answers are given and where holy books are not untouchable holy cows. This atmosphere is partly there for Christianity in the West, but is sorely missing in regard to Islam.

A good start would be a debate on whether there is only one life or whether rebirth is more likely. Why is there obvious injustice in the world? Why are some born to caring parents and others to abusive drunkards? If the Supreme Being really wanted all to be Christians or Muslims, why would He give to some the advantage of being born in a Christian or Muslim family and to others not? How can the creator (or is he the essence?) of all be so cruel to damn us to excruciating pain in hell-fire for a billion trillion years after a few years of life where our only fault was that we called out to the Supreme by a different name, but in our heart we were great believers?

Those who believe (or do they know?) in rebirth have the better arguments. Research into rebirth, with over 3000 cases in the archive of Virginia University, also supports the Hindu view that everybody gets many lives on this appearance level of human existence. (See my blog link)

Humanity would gain greatly if such topics would be debated in an open atmosphere. Truth would be honoured. Trust in ‘the other’ would come back. A liberal, plural world would be possible.

Only some hard-line clerics might lose out. Yet the “liberals” in the media with their soft corner for illiberal ideologies would probably rush to their defence….

References

  1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/2002/03/23/from-us-the-abcs-of-jihad/d079075a-3ed3-4030-9a96-0d48f6355e54/
  2. https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/9614/germany-saudi-arabia-qatar-kuwait
  3. https://mariawirthblog.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/born-again-in-another-form/
  4. http://www.firstpost.com/india/global-islamism-jihadism-and-maulana-abul-kalam-azad-my-defence-lawyer-2981062.html

Berlin Attack 2016

Video: The ‘Islamophobia’ Lie – Black Pigeon

“Some liberal journalist would like you to believe that we do what we do because we’re simply monsters…. The fact is even if you would stop bombing us and usurping our lands, we would continue to hate you because our primary reason for hating you will not cease to exist until you embrace Islam.” — Extracted from Islamic State’s Dabiq magazine.

 

Indian media must stop being naive about terrorists – David Frawley

Media

Vamadeva Shastri (David Frawley)Terrorists seem better defended and have more tears shed for them by the media than the numerous people they have killed. Whether it is Ishrat Jahan, Afzal Guru or Burhan Wani, the media has inflated their importance, turning them into propaganda images. – Dr David Frawley

The war on terror has become a big media event, perhaps the biggest today. It is also a big political event. Terrorist attacks can be viewed for possible major electoral gains. India is perhaps more caught up in media news about terrorism than the rest of the world. That Pakistan has been a jihadi state promoting terrorist attacks on India highlights the issue.

Political gains

Part of this media event consists of glorifying terrorists as victims or heroes, posting their pictures and expressing sympathy for their causes. This includes questioning whether such individuals should be called terrorists, and if it is lawful to try to eliminate them by preemptive measures.

Some journalists emphasise protecting the human rights of terrorists, making sure they have fair trials before being punished, to the extent of trying to ignore their atrocities. Unlike India, the USA promotes its war on terrorism by trying to eliminate as many terrorist leaders as possible by drone attacks. No media reporting or scrutiny is part of the process. India has terrorist encounters along its borders and inside the country. The media expects to be given all possible information and to monitor the battles against terrorists in person if possible. It appears that the media feels that without their presence and approval such battles cannot be legitimate. The media seems to function as if they were an independent branch of government, necessary for validating the veracity and success of terrorist operations. But they seldom keep track of the victims of terrorism.

While terrorists gain fame, those they kill fall into obscurity. The media fails to note that by excusing terrorism or overemphasizing the rights of terrorists, they may further abet terrorism. Since India has a sizeable Muslim minority, raising questions about Islamic terrorism has special possible electoral advantages.

We are reminded of Digvijay Singh of Congress who went so far to promote the release of a book claiming that the 26/11 Mumbai attacks were actually done by the RSS, not by Islamic terrorists at all. Not surprisingly, after terrorist attacks, the opposition seems to come together to defend the rights of terrorists against India’s central government, which they want to denigrate as anti-Muslim. This use of the terrorist card in an effort to gain the Muslim vote is cynical and manipulative.

Don’t be naive

Terrorists seem better defended and have more tears shed for them by the media than the numerous people they have killed. Whether it is Ishrat Jahan, Afzal Guru or Burhan Wani, the media has inflated their importance, turning them into propaganda images.The media claims that there may be something illogical about the details of terrorist encounters.

Naturally if there are terrorist attacks, or any type of fighting, there are bound to be uncertain or unexpected factors, as in the chaos that surrounds any battles—as well as different accounts as to what exactly transpired. Terrorists cannot be treated like professional soldiers or ordinary criminals, expected to fight or surrender in a predictable manner. Terrorist groups, which now include suicide bombers, are not rational people that you can have a fair discussion with.

Proxy war

Can there be excesses in the war on terror? Certainly, perhaps more than in ordinary wars. A major consideration on the battlefield is to try to avoid civilian casualties along with those of your own soldiers. In dealing with terrorists, the best way to be certain of this is to deal with terrorists quickly. It is better to err on the side of protecting the possible victims of terrorist aggression,rather than trying to insure terrorists are always treated kindly and with due legal process. Terrorism is not a law and order problem. Terrorism is a proxy war that has not only religious but also political implications.

Terrorism today is supported by various nations, either directly in the case of the Islamic State or Pakistan, or indirectly in the case of other countries. Terrorists are not criminals but guerilla fighters, specially trained to inflict as much damage as they can, and deception is one of their primary modes of operation. To treat them like misguided criminals is naïve, and may provide them more opportunities to inflict damage and further harm the innocent. – Daily-O, 5 November 2016

»  Dr David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri) is the director of the American Institute of Vedic Studies and the author of more than 30 books on yoga and vedic traditions.

Indian army at Nagrota

Tunnel from Pakistan side to Nagrota

Pakistan grenades recovered from jihadis in Nagrota Cantonment Jammu

Nagrota Indian Army Officer's cremation near Pandharpur Maharashtra

Kashmir is destroying Kashmir – Ravi Shankar

Kashmir

Ravi Shankar EttethThe fanatic establishment of Pakistan and Arab Wahhabi zealots, who fund terrorism worldwide, have used infiltration, propaganda and genocide to bring darkness to what was once called the “paradise on earth”. The assault on education in the Valley is their latest ruse. Separatists, stone throwers and murderers accuse ‘India’ of destroying Kashmir. Little do they realise that it is Kashmir which is destroying Kashmir. – Ravi Shankar

The most powerful weapon radical Islam has wielded in its spindrift of conquest through history is ignorance. By demolishing secular education, denying the miracles of the mind and reversing the transforming power of learning, it has tried to snuff out literacy and flung entire populations into the darkness of narrow theology. In India, a War on Knowledge has erupted in the bigoted battleground of Kashmir, where lessons written in blood and inscribed on the gravestones of its young fade in the treachery of its political memory. By burning schools, lumpen incendiaries are trying to impose Taliban law in the Valley. Arsonists have burned down 26 schools across the state in the last two months. Fourteen stone throwers have been arrested so far.

Umar ibn Al-KhattābIn AD 642, the fire of fanaticism consumed Alexandria, after its capture by Caliph Omar. He ordered its library burned saying, “If those books are in agreement with the Quran, we have no need of them; and if these are opposed to the Quran, destroy them.” Though the Quran declares the primary obligation of Muslims is to acquire knowledge, irrespective of gender, the obliteration of education is a hallmark of terror. In parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan, modern education is considered sacrilegious. The most horrifying event in the annals of the War of Knowledge happened on December 16, 2014, when the Taliban attacked the Army Public School in Peshawar, and massacred 132 schoolchildren. Earlier this year, seven students were killed in Kabul University. Terrorists attacked over 300 schoolgirls with poisonous fumes in Afghanistan. Music, culture and mathematics are banned in schools in Taliban areas. The worst affected are girls. Nigerian terror organisation Boko Haram—literally “Western education is forbidden”—has kidnapped, murdered, raped or sold to slavery hundreds of schoolgirls. Islamists use the sharia and the repressive seventh-century Arabic mores to keep women in a state of social and intellectual slavery.

The militant attack on education is driven by male religious insecurity. Today’s terrorist and before him the hordes of holy warriors who swept down from the steppes and the sands to lay waste  to ancient civilisations and enforce harsh tribal laws were illiterate soldiers and peasants. They were led by charismatic leaders who used divine sanction as the means to acquire riches and power. Ironically, today’s generals of terror depend on highly educated, skilled technological experts to unleash evil on knowledge with sophisticated methods of online indoctrination.

Islamists and hardline religious leaders are threatened by the power of education. The energy of enlightenment inspires the mind to learn, and seek truths that lie beyond apparent reality. Knowledge is an eternally evolving quest. Its pursuit will shake medieval control of society and upturn established notions of history. The fanatic establishment of Pakistan and Arab Wahhabi zealots, who fund terrorism worldwide, have used infiltration, propaganda and genocide to bring darkness to what was once called the “paradise on earth”. The assault on education in the Valley is their latest ruse. Separatists, stone throwers and murderers accuse “India” of destroying Kashmir. Little do they realise that it is Kashmir which is destroying Kashmir. – The New Indian Express, 7 November 2016

» Ravi Shankar is a columnist and the Executive Editor of The New Indian Express, based in New Delhi.

School burning in Kashmir

Burned-out school in Kashmir

Kashmiri boy in burned-out school

Burning school in Kashmir

India must follow Kshatriya Dharma to defeat adharmic Pakistan – David Frawley

Devi Bhavani & Shivaji Mahara

Vamadeva Shastri (David Frawley)Today India has to stand firm as a military, economic and spiritual force in the world. This is certainly its way of progress for the future in all fields and on all fronts. – Dr David Frawley

Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj was practising Lord Krishna’s ahimsa when his armies fought against the tyrannical rule of Aurangzeb in the seventeenth century. The Hindu resistance to foreign rule that continued for over a thousand years, from the first Arab invasion in the eighth century to the British rule in the twentieth century, was rooted in the true meaning of Vedic ahimsa—which is actively working to remove the forces of adharma from the world, even if force is required. Ahimsa as merely avoiding the use of force, or not using weapons, is something any coward can do.

True ahimsa does not mean non-violence under all circumstances, nor does it require surrender to the forces of darkness in order to avoid conflict. It means reducing the amount of harm going on in the world, which requires a proactive policy. It does not imply only passive resistance but also empowers active resistance when necessary. In this regard, the Indian freedom fighters that used force against the unrighteous British rule were also practising ahimsa, though perhaps not of the Gandhian variety.

Kshatriya ahimsa

The Mahabharata and Vedas extol ahimsa on several levels, notably what Arjuna practised under Krishna’s guidance, which is a good example of Kshatriya ahimsa—the ahimsa or removal of harmful forces that is the duty of the Kshatriya or the warrior/military class of society to fulfill.

Vedic Dharma only brings in the use of armed conflict if all other diplomatic efforts do not work, but does not reject it outright. Krishna though the greatest diplomat of his time could not convince the Kauravas to give up their arrogant efforts to usurp power and not give the Pandavas even five villages of their own.

Arjuna himself in the Mahabharata speaks eloquently on the use of the danda, the rod, symbolising punishment. He says that the danda protects Dharma and that if the danda is not used to protect people, the world falls into blinding darkness.

Ahimsa as the rejection of all use of force, we should note, was also never a state policy in Buddhist countries, as the great Buddhist scholar, Sri Lokesh Chandra has said. We find Buddhist kingdoms with armies and a Buddhist tradition of martial arts extending from India to China and Japan.

Mahaswami Vidyaranya of SringeriHistory of Hindu resistance from monks, yogis and swamis

Monks, yogis and sadhus took vows of ahimsa, but this did not exclude defending people from adharmic attack. The Nath Yogis stood on the front lines, protecting temples and holy sites against Muslim invaders seeking to destroy them. Swami Vidyaranya, in the Shankaracharya line of Sringeri Math, organised the Vijayanagar Empire to protect Hindu Dharma from the Islamic onslaught, inspiring armed resistance that included removing Islamic kingdoms like the Sultanate of Madurai.

The Sikhs as under Guru Gobind Singh employed the same Kshatriya Dharma in fighting the Moguls, for which they were often tortured and killed. The valiant Gurkas of Nepal have a Kshatriya tradition going back to Gorakhnath and the Nath Yogis. Even Brahmins and sadhus took up resistance to Alexander the Great’s assault on India over 2,000 years ago.

This practice of self-defence is the true history of India, not surrendering without a fight under the pretext of following a higher Dharma of ahimsa, meaning desisting from all use of force. Of course, there were instances of Hindu or Buddhist kings behaving unrighteously, but this also was in violation of Dharma and was not honoured either.

Great gurus of modern India like Sri Aurobindo raised a call for a new Kshatriya spirit, a strong military and active resistance when needed. Aurobindo supported the Allied efforts against the Nazis in the Second World War, when Gandhi did not. He also supported the American defence of Korea against the Chinese communist invasion during the Korean War, and warned India of the great dangers of communism that Nehru failed to see.

Need to defend Dharma

We should question the belief of those who hold that Hindus violate their true Dharma of ahimsa by taking up arms against those who attack them. This implies that Hindus who honour the Kshatriya Dharma are violating Dharma and yogic principles. The contrary is true. By denying the right of defence to Hindus, Dharma is violated, not supported and may suffer greatly.

India today is faced with a hostile Pakistan that makes the Kauravas look like saints. In the face of such dire challenges, a strong Kshatriya Dharma is required, which obviously means not only diplomacy but also the possible use of force.

Gandhi’s ahimsa and Nehru’s diplomacy exacerbated the Kashmir problem in the beginning by not taking all of Kashmir back into India after the initial invasion of the region in 1947. Its overemphasis on ahimsa as avoidance of conflict and its failure to fully honour a Kshatriya Dharma discredited India’s true martial spirit and made those in the armed forces feel apologetic about their roles.

ArjunaThe Vedas speak of the need of Brahma and kshatra to go together—meaning that worldly and political power should follow a higher spiritual and yogic Dharma. This principle should be remembered.

The Hindu tradition has never promoted conversion by force, nor has India ever invaded other countries promoting religious wars of conquest. Hindu Dharma considers that moksha or the liberation of the inner self, which exists in the hearts of all, is the ultimate goal of every person. It tells us that we should seek all means of peace and reconciliation in human conflict.

Yet it also holds that we should never compromise truth or Dharma. If you appease a bully, his bullying efforts will only get worse, as Swami Rama Tirtha once said. If the forces of adharma do attack, they must be opposed by all relevant and necessary methods.

To give up without a fight, or to compromise Dharma to avoid conflict, will be taken by the forces of adharma as surrender and an invitation for them to take over. Today India has to stand firm as a military, economic and spiritual force in the world. This is certainly its way of progress for the future in all fields and on all fronts.

Following Lord Krishna today means becoming new Arjunas and boldly facing all possible modern Kurukshetras! – Swarajya, 21 September 2016

» Pandit Vamadeva Shastri (Dr David Frawley) is an author and Sanskrit scholar recognized as a Vedacharya in India. His scope of studies include Ayurveda, Yoga, Vedanta and Vedic astrology, as well as the ancient teachings of the Rigveda. He is the Director of the American Institute of Vedic Studies in Santa  Fe, New Mexico.

Indian soldiers from the Rashtriya Rifles take part in a full dress rehearsal in New Delhi January 13, 2003.

See also

Between Moolah and the Mullah – Tufail Ahmad

Saudi banker displays the new one hundred riyal note

Tufail AhmadMuslim community leaders of Kerala know only too well about this rapid radicalisation among the youth, but many of them are in denial. – Tufail Ahmad

The hammer-and-sickle is giving way to the crescent of Islamism in Kerala. This is evident in the headlines, and sometimes between the lines of reports that portend grave dangers for the state, perhaps even the whole country. On 13 September, news surfaced that a baby girl was born to Rifaila, who with her husband Ijaz and son and some two dozen other Keralites had left home to join the ISIS more than a year ago. The baby was born in war-torn Syria—a child of jihad, apparently—far from her parents’ house in Kasargode, north Malabar.

On the same day, it emerged that several of these Malayalees were indoctrinated in jihad by a UK-based couple. Though details are yet to be disclosed, it was Yasmin Ahmad who spilled the beans to Indian intelligence agencies on being questioned following her detention at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport. Ahmad is the second wife of Abdul Rashid, who had worked at Peace International School at A handout picture released by the King Faisal Foundation on March 1, 2015 shows Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz (L) presenting Zakir Naik, president of the Islamic Research Foundation in India, with the 2015 King Faisal International Prize for Service to Islam in Riyadh. Naik was honoured for being one of the most renowned non-Arabic speaking promoters of Islam. He founded the Peace TV channel, billed as the world's only channel specialising in comparative religion. Malappuram, run by radical televangelist Zakir Naik’s NGO, Islamic Research Foundation. Rashid, along with his first wife and child, is believed to be in Afghanistan.

Muslim community leaders of Kerala know only too well about this rapid radicalisation among the youth, but many of them are in denial.

On 12 September, Ismail Kangarappady, a prayer leader, told a gathering in Kochi, “One cannot even regard the ISIS as an Islamic terrorist outfit. The ideals they propagate have nothing to do with real Islam.” Sharif Melethil, an imam, told worshippers, “Seeking a mysterious paradise is not jihad.”

In Islam, there are two spiritual quests for paradise: one motivates the faithful to live for life after death, while the other often leads Muslims to migrate from non-Muslim lands to Dar-ul-Islam (‘House of Peace’), seen as countries under Islamic rule. During the Hijrat Movement, an offshoot of the 1920s’ Khilafat Movement, Indian Islamic scholars like Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad, Maulana Abdul Bari, Maulana Muhammad Ali and Maulana Abdul Majeed Sindhi issued a fatwa (decree) declaring that migration to Dar-ul-Islam from Dar-ul-Harb (‘House of War’) was desirable. As a result, a number of Indian Muslims migrated to Afghanistan, though they found themselves unwelcome there. In recent years, some Muslims of Kerala have been going to Yemen, and also to Sri Lanka, where operatives trained in Yemen have established camps.

“I don’t believe the missing youths from Kerala went to join the Islamic State,” Mujib Rahman, a teacher based in Kozhikode, had said in an interview back in July, when it wasn’t clear where the youths had gone. His hunch was that they had gone to Yemen, rather than Syria to fight alongside ISIS.

Rahman is a former president of the Ithihadu Shubbanil Mujahideen, the student wing of Kerala Nadvathul Mujahideen (KNM), a Salafist outfit that describes itself as an islaahi (reformist) group with roots in Abul A'la MaududiEgyptian and Saudi religious movements of the late-19th and 20th centuries. Bear in mind, however, that Islamic groups such as the Tablighi Jamaat, Jamaat-e-Islami, ISIS, Taliban and Al-Qaeda all call themselves “reformist” and consider their faith “purer” than that of others.

The KNM has split and reunited many times under the influence of Saudi Arabia-educated members who tend to return with a doctrinal version of Islam that’s at odds with what the group has traditionally preached. While the so-called moderate faction of the KNM has focused on such reforms (in their view) as allowing women into mosques and having the Friday khutba (sermon) in Malayalam, radicalised Saudi returnees have been propagating a kind of Islamic globalism that (among other measures) insists on Arabic for the khutba.

Krishnendhu R. Nath is an NRI based in Malaysia. On 14 June, the eighth day of Ramazan, she was travelling through Kerala’s Muslim-dominated Malappuram district. She felt sick and needed some lime soda. Her husband’s friend went looking from shop to shop along the highway, but was told that since it was the Muslim month of fasting, no refreshment could be sold. Startled by this, she herself went over to confront a shopkeeper. “What is the problem with selling nimbu pani during fasting season? What will travellers like us who have no fasting do?’” According to her Facebook post, the answer she got was: “It is not that we don’t like to. But our shops will be destroyed if we do that.” She got the same response at another shop. “Is this Saudi Arabia?” she exclaimed.

Non-Muslims are aghast at this aggressive display of religious identity in places that have a large Islamic presence. “The Hindu community in Malappuram is now far subdued, far outnumbered by Muslims,” says Vivek Vibha, an architect based in Kochi, observing that assertions of Muslim identity often go with indoctrination and intolerance. Hardliners then tend to gain an upper hand, many of whom manage to foist their thoughts on others and insist on old-fashioned codes of conduct. Ansiba Hassan, a Muslim actor from Kerala, faced abuse from Islamist trolls after she posed for a photograph with Buddhist monks. She was forced to remove the photograph from her Facebook page. Another female actor, Nazriya Nazim, was targeted for not wearing a hijab offscreen. Asif Ali, an actor, was abused for posting a picture from a UK cricket stadium with the caption, ‘The Mecca of Cricket—Lords.’

Professor Kausik Gangopadhyay, who teaches at Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode, notes a suddenness to the new religiosity of Muslims in Kerala. “When I moved to Kozhikode in June 2009, this was a far more open city. No shops will close in Ramazan, except for about half-an-hour at iftaar (sundown break of fast),” he says. “Now even the spelling of Ramazan has changed to ‘Ramadan’, the Arabic version. Saudi Arabia has more influence here. It’s a new influence.” Adds Vibha, “The new rise in Islamism in Kerala is due to money from the Middle East.”

The police confirm large inflows of funds from West Asia into Kerala, some of it illegal. Gold, for example, is smuggled in. Notes M. G. S. Narayanan, a renowned historian, “Money is being pumped in to Kerala. Elected governments always knew it, but did nothing about it.” Sajad Ibrahim, an associate professor of Political Science at University of Kerala, explains the phenomenon. “Don’t be under the impression that only Muslims are bringing money from Gulf countries. Christians from Kerala are working as professionals in the Gulf and get lots of money, followed by Hindus, but Muslims working there are in large numbers,” he says. “All NGOs of Muslims in northern Kerala are rich and powerful. Charitable organisations have links with political parties and exercise influence and power over them,” he adds. The situation in Kerala is unstable, he says, as the Popular Front of India (PFI) have been taking control of mosques and the acts of some Muslims under its sway have caused disharmony between Hindus and Muslims.

Tipu SultanOn 8 July, Muslims arriving for namaaz at Nadakkar, in the heart of Kozhikode, made a blatant show of defying civic rules by parking their bikes in the middle of the road in front of a police station opposite the mosque. The police say they were helpless. Some of the tensions date back centuries. The first recorded conflicts involving Muslims in Kerala go back to the time of Vasco da Gama, whose landing near Kozhikode in 1498 CE some believe brought elements of Europe’s Islam-versus-Christianity dynamics to India. However, it was attacks on Malabar in 1771 and 1789 by Hyder Ali and his son Tipu Sultan that were turning points for Islamist fervour in the region.“Hyder Ali plundered Hindu temples because there was gold there,” says Narayanan, “This was the beginning of the divide between Hindus and Muslims. And Tipu Sultan’s attacks later worsened this divide, as he gave lands seized from Hindus to new lower-caste converts to Islam.”

Ali Musliyar was a principal leader of the Moplah RebellionAbout a century and a half later, the 1921 Malabar Rebellion of Muslims against the British and Hindus marked Kerala’s lowest point in inter-community relations. Some Kerala historians and Congress politicians of the time have presented it as an agrarian conflict, but the uprising had a religious dimension, one factor being the British efforts to rehabilitate Hindus displaced from their lands in Malabar, which provoked the wrath of Moppila Muslims. A large number of Kerala’s Muslims also supported the Khilafat Movement at the time, points out Narayanan.

In 1992, the Ayodhya issue played a critical role in the further radicalisation of Muslims in a state where they have been financially, socially and even politically better off than those in other parts of India.

As a party, the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) wielded considerable clout in Kerala’s previous Congress-led coalition government. Abdul Rabb, an IUML minister, even took the liberty of parading his religious identity and power by renaming Ganga, the bungalow allotted to him, as Grace. The IUML flaunts a secular outlook, but various Islamic organisations thrive under its aegis. Last Ramazan, state-provided mid-day meals for students were stopped in the schools of Kozhikode and Malappuram after some Islamic clerics issued a fatwa against them, but IUML leaders could not oppose them, says Kochi-based lawyer Jaysankar.

Focus in Kozhikode is one of several shopping malls in the state that has prayer rooms for Muslims—separate ones for men and women—but none for Hindus and Christians. This encroachment of Kerala’s secular spaces causes unease among Hindus. A. Vinod, a school teacher in Malappuram, notes that earlier homes had names in Malayalam, but Muslim houses now have them in Arabic. Muslims offering prayers in government offices is also common. “Some places should be secular spaces,” he says, adding that there is no such overt religiosity in areas of Christian influence like Tiruchur and Kottayam. In Western countries, airports have multi-faith prayer rooms but not special ones for Muslims.

In Kerala, the expressions “Sunni Muslim” and “Mujahid Muslim” are heard often. Both belong to the Sunni sect of Islam but “Sunni” here refers to a moderate Muslim, perhaps a peasant, with no hostility to non-Muslims and their lifestyles and religious practices. A “Mujahid”, however, means an unarmed radicalised Muslim who advocates piety, detests local rituals and ways of life, and actively opposes them when possible. At Narikunni, 20 km from Kozhikode, Naveen P. K. had opened a Patanjali ayurvedic shop, but posters for the brand’s products were removed by neo-Mujahid Muslims. Fewer Muslims now come to his shop, he says, adding that even Mujahids secretly send their servants to pick up ayurvedic medicines.

Mujahid Muslims represent what would be known internationally as the Wahhabi-Salafist version of Islam, which Jaysankar says has existed at the level of ideas in Kerala since the 1920s. Mujahids preach a puritan version of Islam and oppose Sufi practices at shrines. These are views held increasingly by the KNM as well, and it is from this corpus of ideas that grew the National Development Front (NDF), a radical Islamist group now known as PFI, which has roots in the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), a banned militant group that broke away from the Jamaat-e-Islami.

Abdul Nazer MahdaniAbdul Nasser Madani is a leader whose name figures in the radicalisation of Muslims. He spent jail terms in the cases of the Coimbatore blasts of 1998 and the Bangalore blasts of 2008. P. Unnikrishnan, a former Vigilance Department officer, says that after the demolition of the Babri mosque on 6 December 1992, Muslim zeal was stoked by fiery speeches made by Madani. “In 1999, we arrested some youths for radical activities who confessed that they were attending evening classes led by disciples of Madani,” he says, adding that it was through him that the Tamil Nadu-based group Al Ummah had links with the NDF, which was once the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) which he had launched. Unnikrishnan argues that young men and women joining ISIS is an outcome of Islamist fervour in Kerala. He had arrested Ayub Ilyas Sabir for radical activities, he says, but he was granted bail and escaped to Pakistan. At least four infiltrators killed trying to enter Kashmir from across the LoC have turned out to be of Keralite origin. N. P. Balakrishnan, a former police officer, says that there were many arson attacks in the 1990s on cinemas in Malappuram that were the result of incendiary speeches delivered by Madani against the RSS. Over the years, the PDP was transformed into the NDF, and after assimilating other outfits, into the PFI as it is today—the spearhead of radical activism in Kerala and beyond.

There are also conflicts among Muslims in Kerala which reflect the sectarian schisms found in Islam elsewhere in India and abroad. Sayeed Muhammad, author of many books on Islam, says that both Sunnis and Mujahids—in the Kerala terminology—do not consider Ahmadis and Shias as Muslim. In Kerala society, while there are tombs of Muslim mystics, there is no Sufi movement to counter the radicalisation of Muslims, but some Sufi practices are found among Sunnis. While there might not be formal organisations representing Barelvis, Wahhabis and Ahl-e-Hadeesis (another extreme group), their radical ideas filter through to Malayalee Muslims in general. In this context, the gruesome murder in 1993 of Islamic cleric P. K. Muhammad Abdul Hasan Baqavi aka Maulvi Chekannur—whose body was never found—is an important marker on the state’s timeline of Islamist radicalisation. The maulvi had written a book arguing that everyone, including non-Muslims, could go to heaven by the dint of their good deeds, not faith per se. Salim Haji, an uncle of Maulvi Chekannur and president of the Koran Sunnat Society (KSS), which observes his 29 July death anniversary as anti-terrorism day, says that the cleric’s liberal views provoked orthodox groups which felt that he was against the hadiths, the collected sayings of Prophet Muhammad.

An RSS worker based in Thiruvananthapuram, who asks not to be named, rejects the idea that Hindus should worry about Muslim radicalisation. However, he says, “Although there are no cases of open violence, T. J. Josephthere is apprehension among Hindus…. This means that Muslims become followers of political Islam, [arguing for] the necessity of establishing an Islamic state. They are no longer nationalistic. They create hate against the pagan culture of Hindus,” says the RSS worker, “Radicalisation weans away Muslim youngsters from local society. They are taught to be part of only Muslim society. This introduces puritanical elements and they declare local festivals ‘unIslamic'”.

A move to have a sculpture of Tunjethu Ezhuthachan, an eminent figure of Malayalam literature, installed at his birthplace Tirur had to be abandoned because the local municipality opposed it under Muslim pressure. A plan by the Kerala government in 2012 to install a statue of the legendary Muslim actor Prem Nazir, who has a Guinness Book record for acting in over 700 movies, was also opposed by the Kerala Muslim Jamaah Council on religious grounds. On the campus of Cochin University of Science and Technology, the breasts of a plant figurine had to be pruned over similar protests. Even a bust of Mahatma Gandhi could not be put up in the nearby Union Territory of Lakshadweep, which is about three hours from Kochi, due to opposition from Muslims who are in a majority there.

In 2010, when Professor T. J. Joseph’s hand was chopped off—for the alleged blasphemy of Prophet Muhammad in an exam paper he had set—by goons of the PFI, Christian groups and the Left did not stand up in his support. M. G. Radhakrishnan, editor of Asianet News TV, says the Church and the Left were afraid that showing solidarity with Joseph could antagonise Muslims and worsen Christian-Muslim tensions.

The spiralling influence of moolah and the mullah can’t be missed along the Arabian Sea. – Open Magazine, 29 September 2016

» Tufail Ahmad was as Director of South Asian Studies Project at the Middle East Media Research Institute, Washington, D.C. He is now described as a Contributing Editor at Firstpost and Executive Director of the Open Source Institute, New Delhi.

Saudi-funded Koran study in a madrasa

See also

Modi scripts an Army reset – Madhav D. Nalapat

Uri Army Base near Srinagar

Narendra Modi chairs meeting on air strikes against Pakistan terrorists

Prof M. D. NalapatGiven the complete support that the Pakistan army is getting from its Chinese counterpart, senior officials expect that PM Modi will follow up his bold decision on Uri by enforcing accountability mechanisms and procurement systems that ensure that the military in India is made fully capable of “offensive defense” in case of need. – Prof Madhav D. Nalapat

The removal of the Uri Brigade Commander is the start of a new accountability drive led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, senior officials say. They add that the cross-LoC post-Uri operation was from start to finish “a PM Modi initiative”. Highly placed sources confirm that the Prime Minister was emphatic from the start of the crisis that he was “not in the same pacifist mould of some of his predecessors”, and that on his watch, the Indian armed forces would need to react in a manner such that GHQ Rawalpindi finally begins to pay a steeper and steeper price for its terror operations against India. The decade when Manmohan Singh was in charge of governance was “a disaster for military preparedness in India, a fact known to the Pakistan army”, which consequently sought to unsettle the Narendra Modi government with an unprecedented series of cross-border strikes across the Line of Control as well as Punjab, 23 in total since 26 May 2014, which have involved attacks on security forces. In the process, more than 60 suicide bombers from GHQ Rawalpindi’s kamikaze squad have been sent to hell, with a further 98 despatched in a similar direction through interdiction on the LoC. This is not counting the 14 suicide bombers killed during two attacks on Indian diplomatic missions in Afghanistan. All this has taken place in the shadow of a very public outreach by Modi to his counterpart in Islamabad, Nawaz Sharif, who it is well known has less power over the Pakistan army than the donkeys used by that country for the transport of equipment and supplies along the Karakoram route.

High-level sources expect Prime Minister Modi to “enforce accountability on the highest echelons of the military” for the fact that fully 15 of the 23 security installations whose perimeter and sometimes inner line defences were breached, were managed by the Indian Army. What is termed as “Modi Luck” played a major role in ensuring that casualties and damage on the Indian side were small in almost all these security breaches. However, thus far the Manmohan Singh policy of refusing to enforce accountability on the top brass of the military had been largely continued by the present government “and this has now been replaced with a (Modivian) insistence on accountability and punishment”, a senior official opined. He claimed that “credible reports existed that GHQ Rawalpindi was informed that there was a celebratory party at the Uri Brigade Headquarters on the day of the attack and that consequently, security would be more relaxed”, in view of the high spirits common on such occasions.

Lt Gen Philip CamposeWho informed GHQ Rawalpindi of the party, if indeed such celebrations took place? There is also a report that “the brigadier in charge of the post was a golf aficionado who spent much time on his favourite game and to whom tending the golf course was a priority”. It is expected that “in place of the cover ups which took place after the Kargil infiltration and occupation and subsequent lapses in security, this time around there will be an intensive investigation into not just Uri but Pathankot as well”. Another official warned that “any slackness in bringing those responsible for security lapses to account would facilitate a fresh incursion by GHQ’s kamikaze squads. “There has to be 100% prevention of enemy breach of security at important military infrastructure, and the repeated attacks show that such a situation has yet to be ensured”, a top official warned, adding that “as yet, action on few of the recommendations made by the Lt-Gen Philip Campose April 2016 report on security in military installations have been initiated, leave alone completed”.

Manmohan SinghUnder Manmohan Singh, the ratio of revenue expenditure to capital expenditure in the armed forces has risen to 5:1 in the Army, as against 1:1 in the Navy and 2:1 in the Air Force. All three are below desirable norms for the respective services in any calculation of military “tooth to tail” efficiency. During the UPA period, the War Wastage Reserve in the advent of all out conflict fell to less than ten days, as against a desirable level of 40 days, while the quantum of ammunition inducted was less than a fifth of what would be needed in order for full combat readiness. Matters have, however, improved significantly after Manohar Parrikar took over as a whole-time Defence Minister, despite the Raksha Mantri’s Antony-style weekend forays to his home state. “However, as yet the top brass has resisted the drive for greater accountability in their ranks, having gotten used to the laxity of the Manmohan period”, an official revealed.

Among the many issues unaddressed by Manmohan Singh was the fact that the orange stock and butt of the INSAS rifle make it easy to spot by terrorists armed by GHQ Rawalpindi with night vision goggles. Also as yet, the need for 200,000 more 7.62mm assault rifles has not been met, while in sectors of possible future action such as the Northeast, even sand bags are in short supply, not to mention body armour, air defence systems, night vision equipment, artillery and ammunition. Bureaucratic objections by babus, who cannot recognise a rifle from a golf club, have stalled the induction of critically needed equipment such as 4,000 light machine guns and 40,000 carbines. Manmohan Singh left office leaving behind an Army with a shortage of 31,000 soldiers and 9,000 officers, and a sniper force of only 3,000, a third of what is needed. Apart from the fact that not even a single new artillery gun has been inducted since 1987, the crucial Arjun Mk-II tank program is lagging dangerously behind schedule, as are other DRDO procurement programs because of laggard implementation and superfluous changes in specifications masterminded by those secretly in the pay of international arms cartels. Even an item as needed for combat as bulletproof jackets have been pending procurement since 2008, with less than 50,000 available against a need of 400,000, while A. K. Antony’s much touted 17 Mountain Strike Corps remains a dream, rather than an operationally significant reality.

As for the Air Force, the Rafale has had a chequered record in Libya, although the IAF version is considered better, while the Navy needs many more platforms than it has at present. Given the complete support that the Pakistan army is getting from its Chinese counterpart, senior officials expect that PM Modi will follow up his bold decision on Uri by enforcing accountability mechanisms and procurement systems that ensure that the military in India is made fully capable of “offensive defense” in case of need. – Sunday Guardian, 2 October 2016

» Prof Madhav Das Nalapat (M. D. Nalapat) is an Indian academic and columnist. Currently Editorial Director of The Sunday Guardian and ITV Network (India), Vice-Chair of Manipal University’s Advanced Research Group, and Director of the Department of Geopolitics, Manipal University, Karnataka.

Narendra Modi