The only way to wipe out the menace of terrorism is to attack at the roots of the ideology which is nurtured in the Madarsas and propagated through the mosques. Merely killing terrorists makes no sense when the ideology is flourishing in the madarsas and terror camps. This murderous ideology has no connection with Islam – as a religion. So, there is a need to separate the two. It can only be done effectively by Muslims alone.
Rise Of Global Terrorism
After climate change “Jihadi terrorism” is the most serious global threat. If climate change is a purely ‘secular’ phenomena the menace of jihadi terrorism rides on what should have been a god philosophy of peace. However, both these demons do not recognize national or geographical boundaries. Like flash-floods, landslides and earthquakes, the jihadis also strike suddenly anywhere. Their global brand ambassador, the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has lost its ‘Caliphate’ territory in the Middle East but its “virtual Caliphate” continues to thrive in the cyberspace – radicalizing and recruiting Muslims to eliminate all ‘infidels’ from the world. Thanks to its high-tech marketing propaganda on the internet and social media platforms, the glamour of jihadi terrorism has spread widely and penetrated deeply in the Muslim societies around the world. Of around 7.6 billion global population, around 6 billion are certified “infidels” who must not exist on the planet without conversion. It’s a monumental undertaking for the global jihadis!
Walking on the footsteps of the ISIS is the Islamic State of Pakistan (ISP) in the South Asia – the biggest Islamic State in the world, with over 200 million potential jihadis. While the ISIS was born and gone just in few years the ISP has managed to survive , since its Islamic birth in 1947, despite the bifurcation in 1971. It has proudly created a highly flourishing world class “terror industry”; corporations like the Haqqanis, Taliban, and Al Qaeda are just a few known global brand names among dozens of other jihadi enterprises, each carries out some specific ‘useful’ task for the mother nation. They are vital unofficial organs of foreign policy. The ISI runs numerous jihad factories inside the country but also actively nurtures terror cells in the Muslim community in the neighboring countries. Rohingya Muslim refugees from Myanmar offer them another fresh source of jihadi raw material. They are given active support to infiltrate India where they would prove helpful in future jihad against Hindu India.
Pakistan Turns into an “Islamic State”
If breakage of Pakistan in 1971 was a severe blow to Pakistan’s Islamic pride and mockery of the ‘Two Nation Theory’ on which the nation was founded, the shameful surrender of over 90,000 troops also convinced it that it can’t face India in conventional warfare. But it had to carry on its hate-India agenda through some other means. It got that opportunity after Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989. It diverted out of job trained jihadis for violence in Kashmir. So, the Pak sponsored terrorism has been going on since then, unabated. Kashmiris are paying the price for being Muslim. In the meantime, the terrorist also attacked the Indian Parliament in 2002 and Mumbai city in 2008 Mumbai. These are among the most precious victory trophies for Pakistan, in its holy jihad against the “infidel” Hindu India.
However, Pakistan could not escape the karmic justice; the Pak society is now badly infected with all types of jihadi viruses while the nation stands fully exposed internationally as the global hub of terrorism. World leaders are worried not only about Pakistan’s future stability as a country but also about its nuclear arsenal falling in the hands of jihadis.
However, the US President Trump has put Pakistan in a very tight spot by demanding that it eliminates terror groups from its soil because it is adversely affecting the US Afghan policy. Pakistan, of course, drags its feet and claims to be victim of terrorism itself! As a result, the new US Afghan policy dumped Pakistan despite its geographical proximity. The US now sees India as a crucial player in the development of Afghanistan and peace in the entire region.
Radicalization Through Social Media
A peculiar angle has emerged about the Jihadi violence in recent years due to increasing penetration of Internet and popularity of social media around the world. Now global terror groups actively use social media and net connectivity to radicalize Muslims (lone wolf tactic) in any country. They can even give online training in bomb making and various criminal ways to create panic, disrupt societies and kill people. Social media is a great channel for brainwashing and radicalization through videos, chats and multimedia material. Thus, people around the world have to be constantly watchful – there is no way to know if the Hafiz Saeed, Imran Khan or Pervez Musharraf living next door is not a radicalized lone wolf jihadi waiting for his chance to attack them.
The global Muslim population is around 1.6 Billion. Imagine if just 0.1 percent of this population is radicalized. That’s staggering 1.6 million potential terrorists threatening humanity.
How To Fight The War “On Terror” More Effectively
President Trump must evolve ways to plug online radicalization along with closing the sources of weapons and terror funding so that as the existing jihadis gets killed, no more crop up to replace them. But it would still not counter the ideology that creates terrorists at the first place.
President Trump’s two predecessors after the 2001 9/11 attack, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, did not see Jihadi terrorism on ideological lines. Bush, however, was close in his description of jihadi terrorism as Islamic fascism of the terrorists who had perverted the ‘peaceful teachings of Islam.’ But he carried on his “War on Terror” as a “war against the evil” – not against the ideology.
His successor Barack Obama, wanting to be more politically correct, further distanced himself from the ideological reference and downgraded Bush’s “War on Terror” to a “fight” – a fight against specific terrorist groups. The phrase “terrorism has no religion” became fashionable among global leaders. He introduced drones to chase and kill terrorists. But the more he killed, many more were ready to replace them. The supply chain of fresh terrorists kept working, in fact more efficiently than ever. He failed to realize that the ideologically motivated jihadis are not like other underworld criminals who happen to be Muslims. Thus he only killed terrorists – and ‘terrorism’ continued flourishing.
Republicans have long condemned Obama for failing to properly assess the threat. Trump and his team are more straightforward and quite close to calling a spade, a spade. Dumping the deception of ‘terrorism has no religion’ and the compulsion of ‘political correctness’ they chose to talk pointedly in terms of ‘radical Islamic terrorism’.
Interrogation of captured terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan also revealed that the top brains of terror outfits like the Al Qaeda and Taliban were genuine ideologues, adherents to the fundamentalist Salafi/Wahhabi strain of Islam. This ideology exploits the dual role of Mohammad – a social reformer saint and a political leader who fought wars. It solely focuses on the later and interprets Quranic verses out of context and in a totally distorted manner to create an ideology of violence – presented as a god given duty. It is absolutely no connection with the religion Islam as a way to lead a pious life. But the deception remains, because same words are spoken in entirely deceptive context.
Muslim scholars can make significant contribution here – in puncturing their distorted narrative. In fact, they should have prevented misuse of their religion in such as a gross way long time ago. But alone they are vulnerable because of the very real fear of being killed – killing dissenters has a long tradition in the Muslim societies. Thus, Muslim societies remain at the mercy of gun wielding radicals.
President Trump must collaborate with progressive Islamic elements such as scholars, intellectuals, and Muslim activists and create a vocal global entity that would counter and expose radical preachers and brainwashing experts who prepare Muslims to die. Saudi Prince’s recent desire to wipe out global terrorism gives some optimism. The king of Jordan is another wonderful asset. The following video shows where to attack for the most effective counter-terrorism strategy: