By Ram Puniyani
Terrorism Worldwide has assumed horrific proportions. We have witnessed worsening acts of terror from 9/11 2001. After this terrible act; terrorism got to be linked a religion, and the term ‘Islamic terrorism’ was popularized by American media. The turmoil’s in West Asian countries due to the intervention of American Imperialism for the control over oil resources created an unprecedented crisis in this region. Acts of terror became an everyday affair. The reactionary backlash was not too far behind and surfaced when Andres Behring Berwick, a Norwegian young man, shot 86 youth with his machine gun in 2011. The phobia created against immigrant Muslims in ‘White majority countries’ and global Islamophia are supplanting each other to create the scene, where terrorism is assuming horrendous proportions.
The attack by suicide bombers in three Churches and two luxury hotels in Sri Lanka killed nearly 250 innocent Christians celebrating the Easter on 20th April 2019. While ISIS has taken the credit for the same, Sri Lankan Administration attributed it to local National Thowheeth Jama’ath, a militant Islamist group. As per defence minister of Sri Lanka Ruwan Wijewardane, the attack seems to be in retaliation against attack on Muslims in New Zealand, Christchurch mosques in which nearly 53 people died. This attack in New Zealand was done by an Australian immigrant, who is a white supremacist. The Jamath has been banned now in Srilanka.
In the aftermath of the grave tragedy in Sri Lanka, the media was abuzz again with narratives centred around ‘Islamic terrorism’ blaming Islam for such acts of terror. We need to have a deeper understanding of the issue in order to label and analyze today’s terror tales. The major story begins with the America’s planning and funding of the Mujahedeen, Taliban in especially set up Madrassas of Pakistan. The use of the Wahabi-Salafi version of Islam, prevalent in Saudi Arabia for indoctrination into acts of terror is the beginning point. This version of Islam is ultra-conservative, focuses on Sharia and targets those opposing it.
In these madrasas meanings of words, Jihad and Kafir were distorted to train the youth into what emerged as Al Qaeda. America’s funding of this enterprise to the tune of 8000 million dollars and seven thousand tons of armaments was the key to raise a group which led the anti-Russian forces. The key to unravel the mystery lies here. In post-Vietnam demoralization of the US army, US planners banked on raising the terror force through training Asian Muslim youth. The primary goal was hegemonic control over oil resources in West Asia.
The trajectory of Mujahedeen, Taliban, Al Qaeda, ISIS and then IS and its local offshoots, are a grave tragedy for human society. Not only this goal of controlling West Asia by America has given birth to Islamophobia, now it’s equal and opposite reaction in the form of Anders Behring Berwick and Brenton Tarrant has completed the circle of insanity. ‘An eye for an eye’ seems to be ruling the globe. The cancer of terrorism could be given birth by indoctrinating the youth, but to put the genie back in the bottle is much more difficult. Now Muslim immigration is being used a pretext by the likes of Berwick and Tarrant. There may be many more supporting this superficial understanding about the issue of immigration.
There is a great deal of overlap in ethnic and terrorist violence also. Right in Sri Lanka, Bodu Bala Sena (Buddhist Power Force) has been targeting Muslims and Christians. In Sri Lanka itself, the Tamil (Hindus) have been targeted. In Myanmar Ashin Wirathu, a Buddhist monk is advocating the use of violence and has been targeting Rohingya Muslims. In India, the likes of Pragya Thakur, the terror accused in Malegaon and Ajmer blasts, had targeting the places where Muslims congregate in big numbers. Currently, sectarian politics is not only wearing the clothes of religion it is justifying the use of violence for its narrow political goals. The tragedy is that since its language is laced in that of the religion, the whole religious communities get coloured in the vicious hatred spread by these groups.
One fallout of it has been the demand for banning burqa by Mumbai Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana’s editor Raut. He taunted that burqa has been banned in Ravan’s Lanka, when will it be banned in Ram’s Ayodhya. This is as such a distortion of what happened in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka President, using his special powers has put a restriction on any apparel which hinders identification the face. Niqab or Burqa was not named in particular.
This has set cat among the pigeons in India. Following Raut’s statement, Javed Akhtar, the noted poet-writer, said that he was not averse to such a ban on Burqa so far as it is accompanied by a similar measure against Ghundhat, the practice which is prevalent among Hindus in some parts of the country. Meanwhile, Kerala’s Muslim Educational Society put out a notice which prohibits girls from wearing “any dress which covers the face” in its 150 educational institutions across the state. This is a laudable move in social reform, the move coming from within the community. Still, no one has a right to impose any dress code on the women. We have witnessed regular campaigns by the likes of Bajrang Dal, opposing girls wearing jeans. Dress code for women is one of the mechanisms of strengthening patriarchal values in society.
The Sri Lanka suicide bombing, New Zealand shootings are a wake up for the global community to put this cancer to rest, the cancer of using religion for the political goals. One of the major reasons for genesis and perpetuation of this violence is the interference of imperialism in the oil-rich zone and America’s promotion of retrograde leaderships in the region. The promotion of democratic impulse at a global level coupled with restrain the US designs in the area do remain the key in wiping out the terror of all shades from the World!