Given below is the script of the paper presented by renowned scholar Dr Javed Jamil during a conference on the topic of “How to understand and co-exist with Radical Islam” organised at Mathura. It was inaugurated by Dr Farooq Abdullah and the speakers included Mr Zafar Islam Khan and Mr. Zafar Sareshwala. Below is the text of his paper.
I am sorry to say that the very title “How to understand and co-exist with Radical Islam” is the result of a pre-conceived mindset born out of the incessant propaganda in the international as well as national media. The greatest truth of the modern times however is that it is almost the total radicalization of West and Westernism rather than that of Islam which has become the biggest foe of peace in every dimension of individual and organized human existence in recent times.
The current conference is being held almost immediately after Paris attacks. Naturally, with the kind of media coverage presenting partial and partisan truths, it becomes even more difficult to understand the whole truth. Let me declare at the outset that I condemn every single act of violence, whatever the identity of the perpetrators, whatever the identity of the victims, whatever the ideology or motive of the perpetrators, religious, non-religious, atheistic or nationalistic, whatever the methodology used, whatever the place and whatever the time. In my view every single death of an innocent is equally condemnable, and the condemnation of every category of violence has to be proportionate to the magnitude of violence. I am with all those who are ready to accept this, but if people insist only on selective condemnation based on political considerations, I am not going to support it. And if the magnitude of violence is made the criterion, I assure you that West at the global level and certain non-Muslim elements in India will have to be condemned hundreds, even thousands of times more than Muslims. Al-Qaeda allegedly killed around 6000 people including 3000 in New York. Other terror groups may have killed at the most tens of thousands. America and its Western allies have killed at least 2 million innocent Muslims in wars against Iraq and Afghanistan and in exported insurgencies in Libya, Syria and Egypt. Do the Muslim innocents deserve lesser sympathy than Western? Are they any less human? And if we examine the role of Big Powers in the wars and civil wars in the last century, these consumed 180 million lives, an overwhelming majority being at the hands of these very big powers who claim to be the champions of peace.
The war between ISIS and West is not a war between a hero on one side and a villain on the other. It is simply a war between two dreadful villains who were each other’s friends till recently. Both of them are killing innocents and whoever wins will be a loss of humanity unless both nullify each other.
India too uses its own terminologies in describing various forms of violence. While any terrorism related to Muslims is highlighted, the terrorism related to other ideologies is hardly discussed. Only a couple of days earlier, a BJP leader said that “99 pc terrorists are Muslims”. I had heard a similar remark in a TV debate with Mr Sonkar Shastri. And I told him that the truth is that the overwhelming majority of Indian terrorism over the years has been linked to non-Muslims. As I have quoted statistics in several articles, more than 95 pc of terrorism related deaths in India in recent years have been caused by Hindu terrorists, not Muslim terrorists. Out of more than 35000 terrorist related deaths in India in last 30 years, more than 33000 are by Hindu terrorists (Naxalites, Ulfa, Bodo, Maoists, and Sikhs). Those allegedly by Muslims relate to not more than 1500. They will always talk of the deaths of few Brahmins in Kashmir (which was rightly condemned by all Muslim organisations) but not about 40000 Kashmiri innocents killed by the armed forces. I condemn the killing of Kashmiri Pandits — their number varies from 30-300, according to different official and unofficial estimates — but I cannot do justice if at the same time I do not condemn the killers of innocent Kashmiri (Muslims).
I must clarify here that when I use “Hindu Terrorism”, it means a link with the Hindu community, not Hindu religion. I firmly believe that terrorism cannot be acceptable to any religion. Even if certain terrorists start describing their acts as religious in hope of attracting more people, it does not prove their case. To call ISIS Islamic is an insult to Islam, a religion that provides the most comprehensive framework of “peace” including all its aspects.
Radicalisation of West is visible in every single institution, every single practice and every single war or civil war the world has been witnessing in the last century. West believes that its set of political, social and economic ideologies, what I call Westernism, is the only correct ideology for the world, and it alone has the right to define various concepts and parameters, and it alone has the right to endeavour through all possible ways, for the propagation and implementation of its ideology. Of course, they have made the world believe, even against their inner beliefs, that religion, individually or collectively, has no role to play in the modern “civilized” world. If the proponents of any other ideology, religious or non-religious, challenge the concepts of Westernism and try to prove the superiority of their ideas, they are mocked, ridiculed and rejected. They are described as “uncivilized”, “radicalized” and “extremist” forces. It is therefore no surprise that even “radicalization” has been given a definition, which suits their ends. So, according to Wikipedia:
“Radicalization (or radicalization) is a process by which an individual or group comes to adopt increasingly extreme political, social, or religious ideals and aspirations that (1) reject or undermine the status quo or (2) reject and/or undermine contemporary ideas and expressions of freedom of choice.”
“Status quo”, of course here means the dominance of Westernism, which should therefore not be challenged. Further, “Freedom of Choice” too does not mean absolute freedom of choice but only freedom of choices determined by the ideologues of Westernism. As part of the status quo, the world cannot be given any other choice except to endorse the Western model of democracy, Western paradigm of secularism, and Western definitions of “Human Rights”, free market, freedom of expression and “freedom of choice”, Western concepts of Society, West-dominated international organisations, West-sponsored treaties and Western principles of armed interventions.
Moreover, Western leaders and analysts alone have the right to interpret their own ideas, concepts, treaties and agreements in their own ways, even if their interpretations continue to change from time to time, and from country to country.
It is no surprise therefore that West alone (except a few others who have become powerful enough not to accept their monopoly) has the right to amass all kinds of weapons and use them wherever they want for the “protection” of their “interests”.
Again, it is only their interests that matter, and others have absolutely no right to work in accordance with their interests.
Categorization of violence
The most notable form of radicalization of West is its theory of violence and its involvement in violent conflicts. It is working on a well-planned categorization of violence to suit its political and economic ends. Instead of reacting on the basis of the magnitude of violence, its reaction is based on the political considerations. Any violence, which is linked or can be made to appear linked to religion, especially Islam, is worthy of highest condemnation, but any violence, which is related to the effects of West’s ideological or political positions is either not talked about or becomes “collateral damage”.
Look at the American interventions in the Middle East. The latest round of extreme radicalization of America began with 9/11 attacks. Those, whoever they were, who executed the plan perished with the planes. The accused mastermind — a formal enquiry was not even required for the American administration to act on its assumptions – was killed in an isolated attack about 11 years later in Pakistan. In between, the coalition led by the US devastated two countries and killed 2 million innocents who had nothing to do with 9/11. But the international media did never allow the role of West on Terrorism to be debated, and whenever terrorists’ attacks occur, there is a repeated focus on the radicalization of Islam and Muslims. Nobody dares to ask the Western powers why they killed 2 million innocents, and how they should be made to compensate for this colossal loss of lives.
In recent years, Western role has been prominently there in all the conflicts in the Middle East. But again, it can be seen that their weapons go to the side, which toes their lines, and against those which have refused to surrender to their diktats. And always, the media would blame the loss of lives on the forces that are not pro-West.
In Syria and Libya, they supported the rebels, supplying huge weaponry and all the intelligence required for their operations and held the governments responsible for the bloodshed. In Libya, they succeeded in toppling Gaddafi, in Syria they failed to defeat Assad.
In Yemen, they are supporting the President, who has fled to Saudi Arab, an American ally, against rebels who have already taken over the Palace as well as major areas of the country.
In Egypt, they helped the military stage a coup against an elected President. They were the major suppliers of manpower and weaponry to ISIS when it was battling Assad but are now bombarding them, as they now threaten American allies in the region. ISIS was allowed to prosper in Syria through all kinds of support in the hope that they will topple Assad, and West calculated that once ISIS topples Assad, they would move in to topple ISIS. Now their worry is that Russia has put an end to their plan by swiftly moving in Syria and severely crippling ISIS within two months. ISIS was the creation of West and its fighters were mainly from Europe who were allowed to travel to Syria just because West wanted to change the regime there. Now on the verge of defeat, ISIS fighters are hitting back at the countries which sent them.
Coming back to violence, the categorization of violence has been on political rather than humanitarian lines. If magnitude of the loss of lives due to man-made causes is taken as the criterion of categorization, the following categories will emerge:
1. Violence caused by human actions: abortions killing more than 50 million humans before birth every year;
2. Diseases like AIDS which has consumed 40 millions in last 2 decades (owing to uninhibited sexuality);
3. Alcohol related deaths: around 3 million every year;
4. Murders: again around 20 million every year;
5. Wars which have consumed 180 million lives in last century and about 2 million since the beginning of this century;
6. Civil wars which might have consumed around 0.3-0.5 million since the year 2000
7. Terrorism, which may have killed around 0.3 million in last 25 years (including Al-Qaeda, LTTE, Indian terrorist organisations like Naxalites) (These are broad estimates only.)
Most of these are the results of the concepts of “freedom” promoted by West and political ideologies aimed at maintaining the hegemony of the world by West, which they have pursued throughout the modern history. Here are a few examples that sum up the radicalization in social, ideological, political and economic arena:
1. The United Nations is not an organization where all countries have equal status. Five big powers hold the veto power, and nothing can happen in the world without their approval;
2. While these 5 and a few more can amass nuclear arsenals, others are bound by Non-Proliferation treaty. Anyone trying to acquire nuclear technology, especially if it is not a Western ally, will have to face toughest sanctions and threats of war;
3. The Big Powers can always invade other countries on one pretext or the other; but they cannot be made accountable for their actions;
4. Western ideological positions are allowing, in fact promoting, massive commercialisation of human susceptibilities at colossal cost of human lives and health problems.
5. Their concept of “Freedom of Choice” only means “Freedoms” that suit their economic designs. They can put ban, restrictions and sanctions on anyone or any practice, which does not suit them. So, promiscuity is permitted (with men and women having an option of having as many partners as they like) but polygamy is banned. Marriage before a specified age is punishable under law, but young boys and girls are always free to have sex despite the fact that such relationships lead to huge numbers of foeticide and mortality and morbidity due to sex related diseases. Abortions are permitted but there have been severe restrictions in most countries on multiple children.
6. When they speak against religious morality, they use “Freedom of expression” as the cover to do it, but when somebody speaks against dangerous practices, he is hounded as an enemy of freedom.
7. When some rapists or murderers are given death sentences, the Human Rights Activists call for an end to death sentence on the ground of “Right to life” but they forget the same right when it comes to abortions by choice, as if the aborted foetuses are not humans. Human rights activists also never call for laws that can minimize murderous assaults. “Human Rights” in modern world have been reduced to saving criminals from gallows, protecting homosexuality as right (a right which reduces life expectancy of the population by a substantial margin) and protecting the rights of women to kill their foetuses. Obviously, “Human Rights” is a concept designed under the patronage of market forces.
8. The champions of “Women’s Rights” forget that there cannot be a bigger blot on the face of mankind than the truth that women sell their sexual services, through compulsion or choice, endangering the lives of prostitutes themselves, their clients as well as all those who come into contact with their clients.
In the name of “Equality of Women”, men have transferred a lot of their burden to women, while women continue to suffer on account of the new sex and sexuality. It is they who have to take precautions against pregnancy, it is they who become pregnant even when they do not want, it is they who have to abort killing their own children, it is they who have to look after their children if they decide to take birth and in large number of cases, they have to share the burden alone.
It is clear that radical Western ideologies and radical Western powers have disturbed the whole equilibrium and harmony in society. They first commercialise problems and then they commercialise solutions. And they think they alone have the right to invade and bombard countries, they alone have the right to decide all the major policies of the world; they alone have the right to decide the course the countries want to pursue and they alone have the right to teach lessons to others. They have forced the sciences to abandon any discussion on the role of God, they have devised all indices and parameters in a way that suits them; and they do manoeuvre statistics the way they like.
West thinks that West alone knows what is best; and West alone knows how to act or react. What else can be a more extreme form of radicalization? All others forms of Radicalization in the current world including “Radical” Islam are the product, direct or indirect, of Western radicalism. If the world is to be saved from chaos and devastation, the only solution is to abandon all forms of radicalization. And before asking others, West being the leader will have to abandon it, not in parts but in totality. Others will automatically fall in line.
If I wanted, I would have replaced “Radical West” with “Radical Christianity”. West have an overwhelming majority of Christians, and most of the Western political leaders and army men are Christians, at least in theory if not practice. It is also well-known that many Western leaders including George Bush have had deep religious commitments. But I purposely avoided it because it is not the religion but their political and economic ambitions that give rise to radicalism.
Similarly, if a few Muslims fall to radicalism, it is their reaction to West’s political designs and not their (West’s) religious beliefs, which drive them to react in a violent way. Even otherwise, it is nonsense to describe violence more worthy of condemnation if it has any direct or indirect relation with religion than if is related to any secular ideology. The magnitude and not the identity of the perpetrators and victims nor the motive and the method should be more important in planning the solution.
If anyone has the misconception that we are living in a world of science, he is wrong. If anyone thinks ethics have any role, he too is wrong, Religion of course has little role to play in the current world order. Today’s world is solely a world of economics with economic fundamentalism virtually ruling the world. Thanks to the think-tank of the economic fundamentalism, we are living in a world where justice has been sacrificed before the eyes of the Statue of Liberty They have transformed through political manoeuvres the state into their estate. They have incessantly and relentlessly been trying to organise a grand farewell for religion. They have captivated the imagination of the people through the media. They have got the attire of society redesigned so that it looks gorgeous and inviting to their eyes. They have industrialised sex, in which they have discovered the hen that always lays golden eggs. They have relocated the entire educational set-up on the Wall Street. They have monopolised the tree of economy whose fruits and shadows are only theirs; others can only admire its beauty from a safe distance. They have taken science and technology as their mistresses who are always keen to offer their glorious best to them. They have nipped all the challenges in the buds by masterminding popular movements. They have lynched ‘civilisation’, which has been given a new incarnation; and now Bohemians are called civilised. Last but not the least, they have been busy colonising the good earth in the name of globalisation.
Out of more than 50 Muslim countries, “terrorism”, the kind of violence West loathes, has affected less than a dozen countries, 5-6 in a major way. Indonesia, Malaysia, the erstwhile Soviet Union countries like Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan, Turkey, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and many other countries have none or a few incidents of terrorism. Much bigger kinds of terrorism has been witnessed by Sri Lanka in the last 3 decades (resulting in death of more than one hundred thousand), and Indian terrorism is mainly a non-Muslim phenomenon involving Naxalites, Ulfa, Bodos, Sikhs, Tamils and Maoists, most of them being born as Hindus.
It can be easily seen that terrorism in Muslim countries is born out of anger against the West, which has continuously tried to keep its puppets in power in those countries against the wishes of the people. Terrorism has obviously been directly proportional to the Western involvement. This is true for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Most Arab countries. Moreover, all the major “terrorist outfits” have been the friends of the West in the past. Al-Qaedah was a close friend when it was fighting the Russians along with Talibans. ISIS too was a friend till it was fighting the Syrian government. Where from did ISIS get its heavy weaponry? Of course, most of it came from West or Western allies in the region. If even now, America is not launching a full-fledged onslaught on ISIS, it is simply because ISIS is expected to put pressure on Syrian regime. Till Syrian regime does not wilt under ISIS pressure, ISIS will remain a friendly enemy.
If Indian Muslims have not radicalised, it is chiefly because India has remained free of Western intervention, and Indian polity, despite its recurrent communal ups and downs, has largely remained plural in nature. If Indian Muslims ever get radicalised, it will be due to Indian issues and not the ones that interest West. If however, West succeeds in pulling India into its own wars, which Obama tried during his talks with the Indian Premier; India may also go the Pakistan, Afghanistan or Iraq way. But Indian Muslims are confident that sanity will continue to prevail in Indian polity, and India will not join the Western aggression against Muslim countries. India recognises it well that, in the longer run, Muslim countries, with their enormous wealth and population, can be of great economic value to India.
For well over a decade, the global media has been busy discussing the role of Islam and Muslims in violence. But nobody questions the role of West and its ideologies. People blame “Jihad” or “Jihadism,” for violence, but nobody bothers to challenge the military ideology of West, its use of violence to perpetuate its hegemony, its readiness to wage wars on the slightest pretext, its continuous arming of the rebel groups, its sordid machination in the Muslim countries, and its own record in all kinds of violence. Nobody asks them “How come West killed 2 million innocent Muslims when al-Qaeda did not kill even 6000 Western innocents?” Nobody asks them about their own ever-rising crime rates, killing of millions of foetuses, their own statistics of suicides and their own wars against other countries and instigation of rebellions against the regimes they do not like. Nobody questions their resolve to support Israel even if it is killing women and children in thousands.
The time has come now when all the right-thinking intellectuals must ask the West to stop talking about Islam’s and Muslims’ role, and instead focus on its own role. Let the global media discuss Western military ideologies in details and their roles in the destruction of human lives! Before studying Islamic Jihad, let Western philosophies of confrontation, combat and wars be discussed in all its minute details. Let this continue for at least one year before debating the Muslim factor again! Instead of criticising the others, let the West learn to face criticism! Let the West allow their own people to know the whole truth, rather than the truncated truth. Violence cannot be minimised unless every single factor responsible is discussed and effectively addressed.
Radicalisation is a universal phenomenon these days, but it is the radicalisation of West, not Muslims, which is the biggest breeder of the global violence. Radicalisation is bad –Western, Hindutva or Islamic. And it is bad in proportion to the amount of fire power each possesses. The powerful indulges in wars and instigates civil wars and riots. The weak indulges in terrorism and guerrilla wars.
Let me make it clear that this paper may appear to be a statement against West, but it is not against Western people or Western nations; it is at the most a commentary on the socioeconomic and political system that prevails in West and has become rapidly globalised. However, it is not the common Western people who are primarily responsible for it. They are as good and as bad as any people can be on the surface of the earth. I have great respect for their scientists and many thinkers who have given comforts to mankind through their inventions and discoveries. But like all people, they too become the victims of the designs of the few who tend to reign and rule the countries, societies and communities. Like all the people most of the time they have failed to realise what their masters are up to. Like all the people though, one day will come, hopefully sooner than later, when they will realize the vices of the system that has brought havoc in their lives and the lives of their brothers and sisters in rest of the humankind. Hopefully they will rise to the occasion and challenge the system that has claimed to give them certain prosperity but has ravished peace, has claimed to give them freedom but through this freedom has made them addicts of dangerous practices and attitudes and has made them perpetual captives of their ever increasing material needs.
If the so-called Islamic radicalisation has to be controlled, following steps will have to be taken:
1. Total disengagement of Western and other foreign powers from Muslim lands;
2. Full stop to attempts to change regimes;
3. Respect to Islam and its role in international system;
4. Equal powers to all countries in the UN;
5. Full stop to Islamophobic campaigns in the media.
Lastly, a word about India. Time has now come when the religionists belonging to all religions need to be emphatic about the true aims of religion. They must recognize the fact that the anti-religion economic forces have successfully turned one religion against another. Religions seem to be fighting one another instead of fighting their common enemy: Irreligion and the dominance of the ideology of economic fundamentalism in the affairs of life. The people today are merely interested in the rituals of the religion without inculcating the morality, honesty, integrity, perseverance, patience, purity and God’s fear and love in their minds; they are not interested in waging a campaign against the social vices. The market forces are commercializing human susceptibilities in a big way. Beaches, Casinos, Bars, Nightclubs, nude shows, prostitution, etc have become symbols of freedom. Foetuses are being killed in the name of Women’s rights; criminals are being protected in the name of human rights. Everybody talks of Rights. Nobody talks of Duties and Fundamental Prohibitions, without which a peaceful society cannot develop. While all religions are to unite, the primary duty lies with four big religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity and Islam. Christianity, Judaism and Islam need to work together in West, and Hinduism and Islam need to initiate the movement in India taking Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jainis along with them.
But if any two communities can be the true leaders in the revival of true religion, it is Muslims and Hindus of India. India is a deeply religious country where 95 pc of the people believe in God and the importance of the religion. Hindus and Muslims together form more than 90 pc of the population. If they come together, they can become a role model for the whole world. Their views regarding the integrity of family system, sanctity of marriage and against prostitution, pornography, alcohol, gambling, economic disparity, corruption and inflation are almost the same. Why can they not come together on these issues and work for a cleaner, purer, healthier, more peaceful and more prosperous society? The only condition is that they have to see religion in terms of religious morality and not in terms of the identity of the communities. Communalism has nothing to do with religion, and is in fact the product of political and economic fundamentalism. Religion teaches love for all; communalism teaches hatred for other communities. Let us kill communalism and revive religion!