Since the Paris attacks, two lies have been repeated ad nauseam in prime time chat shows and in the editorials of our newspapers. The first is that this jihad has nothing to do with Islam. And the second is that all religions are the same and can all be misinterpreted by bad people. It defiles the memory of those who died such horrible deaths to repeat these lies, and yet they continue to be repeated, as if, as the country with the second largest Muslim population in the world, we are afraid of looking into the face of truth.
The truth is that jihadi terrorism has everything to do with Islam for those who think of the time of the Prophet as a blessed time that Muslims must return to. In that time there were wars in which the Prophet fought, so he put into the Koran verses that instruct his followers to deal in many nasty ways with those who refuse to believe in his message. It is in strict adherence to these instructions that the Islamic State (IS) commits its hideous crimes against countries it believes are filled with sinners and us idol-worshippers.
In the Caliphate’s own words. “In a blessed battle whose causes of success were enabled by Allah, a group of believers from the soldiers of the Caliphate (may Allah strengthen and support it) set out targeting the capital of prostitution and vice, the lead carrier of the cross in Europe — Paris…Thus they were truthful with Allah — we consider them so — and Allah granted victory upon their hands.”
The second lie that has been repeated often in the past week is that every religion has the same message. Not true. No Indic religion orders believers to treat non-believers as heathens or ‘kafirs’. There is not a single Indic religion that believes that it alone has all the answers and that those who do not accept this should be treated as scum. Islam not only believes that those who do not accept Islam are ‘kafirs’, it also believes that it is Allah’s wish that non-Islamic lands be treated as battlefields on which holy wars must be fought. If you are unfamiliar with the term Dar-ul-Harb, Google it up and find out exactly what it means.
As long as we continue to lie about Islam’s direct connection to jihadi terrorism, we will never be able to deal with the problem India faces as the country with more Muslims than any other except Indonesia. Our Muslims have lived in relative peace and harmony with other communities because the Islam that has existed here for centuries has been a very different religion to the one that the IS seeks to impose upon the world. But in recent years this has changed.
The Islam now preached from many Indian mosques is based more on the teachings of men like Syed Qutb and Abdul Wahhab, than ever before. And since 9/11 there has been a false narrative that has been spread by Islamic preachers in which Muslims are painted as victims of a global plot to malign Islam. In this narrative, the men who killed thousands of innocent people in New York and Washington were not Muslims at all. A disturbingly large number of Indian Muslims believe this ludicrous lie just as a disturbingly large number believe that 26/11 was an RSS plot.
These lies have to be acknowledged as lies if we are to deal with jihadi terrorism. Another lie that needs to be dealt with is the lie that what happened in Mumbai was the model for what happened in Paris. It cannot be because the killers who came to Mumbai had the backing of the Pakistani army. In a sense this makes our problem easier because we can confront Pakistan with evidence of its sponsorship of jihadi violence on Indian soil. In Europe the enemy is more nebulous and infinitely more dangerous because the Caliphate is not a country in the modern sense of that word. Europe has to find its way of dealing with jihadi terrorism and in India we have to find our own.
The key to finding answers in India lies in finding out why Islam, as we knew it, has changed so horribly in the past decade or so. Is it because there is a new kind of Islam being preached from the pulpits of mosques? Is it because Indian Muslims are beginning to identify with their brethren in other parts of the world? Is it because of the Saudi investment in spreading Wahhabi Islam? These are questions that need urgent answers, but we will not find them as long as we continue to spread lies about the nature of the threat we face. A good starting point is to admit that Indic religions are the antithesis of Islam.