Terrorism is no body's monopoly
By M. Burhanuddin Qasmi
ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“All Muslims may not be terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims,ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ a frequent comment aired by some round the clock TV channels with tagsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â?ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œBadle bharat ki taswirÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â?, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œSabse TezÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â? or ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œNews at every costÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â? after the 7/11 Mumbai blasts on panel discussion with ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œexpertÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â?, as they term. The onslaught with assumptions and deliberate repetitions of the same ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“worksÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ rather penetrates into common hearts and it ultimately implies that terrorism is a Muslim specialty, if not a monopoly.
The Western media is the forerunner to Indians in this case. The media helped successfully create a visible Islamophobia in the West. It is as if a bearded man is a ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“bombÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ itself nowÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â? like the abusive Danish cartoonist tried to portray for his followers. People scare Muslim namesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â?Muhammad, Ahmad or Shafiq and they drop ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“on board passengersÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ mid-way to ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“humiliating destinationsÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢. The facts about terrorism might be very different, but who cares about these facts!
Well, it was in the air for some times after the deadly plague in Surat, Gujarat in nineties that Pakistan might have dropped or transported affected rates to our ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“disease freeÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ country! Who knows? And there werenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t facts to negate the idea but common conscience.
Terrorism is not new, even not a 20th century creation. In 1881, anarchists killed the Russian Tsar Alexander II and 21 bystanders. In 1901, anarchists killed US President McKinley as well as King Humbert I of Italy. World War I started in 1914 when anarchists killed Archduke Ferdinand of Austria. These terrorist attackers were not Muslims, anyway.
Terrorism used to be defined ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“earlierÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ as the killing of civilians for political reasons. Going by this definition, the British Raj referred to Kudiram Basu, Bhagat Singh, Chandrashekhar Azad, Maulana Ahmad Shaheed, Maulana Mahmoodul Hasan, Netaji and many other Indian freedom fighters as terrorists. They wereÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â?Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims.
In Palestine, after World War II, Jewish groups (the Haganah, Irgun and Stern Gang) fought for the creation of a Jewish state, bombing hotels and installations and killing civilians. The British, who then governed Palestine, rightly called these Jewish groups terrorists. Many of these terrorists later became leaders of independent Israel ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â? Moshe Dayan, Yitzhak Rabin, Menachem Begin, Ariel Sharon.
In Germany in 1968-92, the Baader-Meinhoff Gang killed dozens, including the head of Treuhand, the German privatization agency. In Italy, the Red Brigades kidnapped and killed Aldo Moro, former Prime Minister.
The Japanese Red Army was an Asian version of this. Japan was also the home of Aum Shinrikyo, a Buddhist cult that tried to kill thousands in the Tokyo metro system using nerve gas in 1995.
In Europe, the Irish Republican Army has been a Catholic terrorist organisation for almost a century. Spain and France face a terrorist challenge from ETA, the Basque terrorist organisation.
Africa is ravaged by so much civil war and internal strife that few people even bother to check which groups can be labeled terrorist. They stretch across the continent.
In Sri Lanka, the Tamil Tigers have long constituted one of the most vicious and formidable terrorist groups in the world. They were the first to train children as terrorists. They happen to be Hindus. Suicide bombing is widely associated with Muslim Palestinians and Iraqis, but the Tamil Tigers were the first to use this tactic on a large scale. One such suicide bomber assassinated Rajiv Gandhi in 1991. Not to forget the murderer of ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“the father of nationÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â?Gandhiji, was a Hindu.
In India, the militants in Kashmir are Muslims. But they are one of several militant groups operating in the country. The Punjab militants were Sikhs. The United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) is a Hindu terrorist group. Tripura has a history of rise and fall of several terrorist groups, and so have Bodo terrorists groups, mostly Christians which killed hundreds of Muslims in 1993 for autonomy, some of them are now in AssamÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s Tarun GogaiÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s cabinet as ministers. Christian Mizos mounted an insurrection for decades, and Christian Nagas and Manipuries are still heading militant groups. They have bombed trains, assassinated hundreds of innocent men, women and children. Even this year they called a boycott in at least five states out of seven northeastern states of India to disrupt 15th August (Independence Day) celebration of India.
But most important of all are the Maoist terrorist groups that now exist in no less than 150 out of IndiaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s 600 districts, according to a report in a national English daily. They have attacked police stations, and killed and razed entire villages that oppose them, there are nothing Muslim about these groups.
In September 2, 2006 another national English daily published from Mumbai reports elaborately about few dozen ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Hindu MujahideenÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ working with Hizbul Mujahideen of Kashmir for years in Jammu and Kashmir. The newspaper publishes statistical information with real Hindu names, age and year of attachment with HM along with their native locations in Jammu region. Similarly in some other non-Muslim looking groups like ULFA in Assam Muslim members are no bars. Terrorists have a common goal in IndiaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â?attack and create fearÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â?whichever way easily leads to it they just follow it. Their religion is terrorism and nothing else. .
Terrorism is certainly not any bodyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s monopolyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â‚¬Â?may I say precisely! There are or have been terrorist groups among Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs, and even Buddhists. Secular terrorists (anarchists, Maoists) have been the biggest killers.
If the earlier definition of terrorism, as stated above, is not changed we have no doubt, some more, rather ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“SuperÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ terrorists are there in our time. They are killing innocent people for nothing but politics in disguise of ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“FreedomÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢.
[A Darul Uloom Deoband graduate and Editor ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Eastern CrescentÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢, English monthly, M. Burhanuddin Qasmi, an English poet is also Director of a Mumbai based institute ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‹Å“Markazul MaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢arif Education and Research CentreÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢. He can be reached at email@example.com]