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    OpinionsDemocracies like India face a threat of jihadism

    Democracies like India face a threat of jihadism


    Democracies like face a threat of jihadism

    Tufail Ahmad

    On December 19, a terrorist ploughed a lorry into a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people and wounding a dozen others. On July 18, an Afghan teenager used an axe to launch attacks on a train in the German town of Wuerzburg. On July 22, a teenager of Iranian origin shot dead nine people in Munich.

    On July 24, a Syrian refugee killed a woman with a machete and another Syrian refugee exploded himself in the German town of Ansbach. Similar attacks have taken place in Western cities in recent years.

    In India too, such attacks have occurred regularly; for example, jihadis cut off professor TJ Joseph's hand in Kerala in 2010, or Guru Teg Bahadur was hanged in Delhi in 1675 for refusing to convert to Islam.


    Nations are nowadays invaded by ideas, not necessarily by militaries. Recently, television debates about the use of pellet guns in appeared more threatening to the cohesion of India than the actual terror threat from Pakistan.

    Similarly, immigrants arriving from Syria in Germany and other nations of European are bodies and carriers of ideas, which run into conflict with the Western mores of conduct. In India, we might think that the problem is elsewhere. But exactly for religious reasons, this great nation was partitioned in 1947, a phenomenon worse than jihadism in the West.

    In case of the migrants from Syria arriving in Europe and the US, since most immigrants are Muslims, it is inevitable that they will carry some Islamist ideas that will come into conflict with the values of host countries. Although not all immigrants will take to violence, some of them will look at the cultural norms and values of host countries in negative terms.

    There is a risk that such immigrants may be radicalised by Islamic clerics in European mosques, by Arabic-language jihadi literature available to them, or by Islam-related websites promoted through Google and other search engines by Wahhabi groups based in the Middle East.

    In 1901, US President William McKinley was assassinated by a refugee who was inspired by a philosophy. Jihadism is a philosophy. Islam is a philosophy, a system of ideas, a type of , an ideology, a movement of ideas – all rolled into one. Islamism is Islam's methodology. Jihadism is the weaponised version of Islamism.

    This methodology flourishes by multiple means, peacefully and violently. For example, on October 19, a political rally of Bahujan Samaj Party at Bahjoi in Uttar Pradesh, began with the recitation of Quran. Earlier, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi visited Nadwatul Ulama of Lucknow and Darul Uloom Deoband. While it can be argued that terrorism has originated from all religions, the current wave of terror emanates from Islam.

    Some writers say that lone wolf jihadis should be called stray dogs, but both the terms used for self-radicalising jihadis are disrespectful to animals. The phenomenon of self-radicalising jihadis is being seen as new but it is not. For several decades from the 1920s onwards, India witnessed self-radicalising jihadi attacks. The so-called lone wolf jihadis have come from all branches of Islam, including the Sufi school.

    For example, on August 8, 1936 Murid Hussain of Pakistani town Chakwal, who had offered baiy'a (oath of allegiance) to Sufi mystic Khwaja Abdul Aziz Chishti, procured a dagger and killed veterinary doctor Ram Gopal allegedly for naming an animal after the prophet. Hussain's radicalisation happened after Prophet Muhammad visited him in a dream.


    In understanding jihadism, the common mistake made by democracies is that they think of religion and politics as two different things. This distinction is not clear to Muslim minds, as Muslims are taught right from childhood to think of Islam as a complete way of life.

    Islam is not merely a religion, but it is also a system of government that is now engaged in a conflict with democracy which is the accepted form of government for our age. This conflict worsened after the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran.

    Even if the conflicts in the Middle East end, some form of this conflict between Islam and democracy will last but the violence ensuing from it can be minimised and managed.


    At the end of War II, democracies faced threat from the state-backed weaponised version of communism originating from the Soviet Union and its allies.

    In the early decades of the 21st century, democracies are facing a new threat from jihadism as well as its unarmed version known as Islamism, which has become acceptable at political rallies, or with regard to public debates about burqa, triple talaq and Sharia banking.

    Free societies like India can fight jihadism in two ways: when people are aware and the rule of law is enforced strictly.

    (Courtesy of Mail Today.)

    The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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