Islamic Terrorism in India

Most Muslims are not terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslims

Archive for July, 2008

Illegal Bangla migrants aiding Muslims terrorists in India

Posted by jagoindia on July 31, 2008

Illegal Bangla migrants aiding terrorists’
30 Jul 2008, Kingshuk Nag,TNN

HYDERABAD: Four days after the Ahmedabad blasts, Bangladesh is emerging as the deadly link to the bloody affair. The connection is not only through the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islam (HuJI), the terrorist organization based in Bangladesh which is believed to have masterminded the operations in cahoots with members of the disbanded SIMI.

The link is also through the over two million illegal Bangladeshi immigrants who have crossed over to India in the last three decades.

Intelligence officials believe that these illegal Bangladeshis are not only providing a haven to HuJI operatives but are also extending other services to them, including material required for assembling bombs.

“Although Bangladeshis enter India illegally in search of economic opportunities, some of them get into jihadi activities. If not directly then indirectly,” said a central intelligence official. These officials believe that the arc of terror has widened in India because, over the years, Bangladeshi migrants have spread their enclaves to various parts of the country. Starting with border districts of West Bengal, Assam and Tripura in the early 1980s, Bangladeshis are now in Delhi, Jaipur, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bangalore, Mysore, Hyderabad among other places.

A former BSF officer along the Bengal border believes that around 400 Bangladeshis enter India everyday through Murshidabad, Malda and Cooch Behar in West Bengal.

This makes their number around 12,000 a month and almost 1.5 lakh illegal Bangladeshis per year. Most of these illegal migrants are tradesmen: low-end fitters, locksmiths, painters, cutters, welders, rickshaw pullers, cycle wallahs or plain labourers. “These are the sort of persons whose services come in handy for assembling bombs,” an intelligence official said, adding that HuJI has purposely given up use of RDX to avoid easy detection before the act.”

The Ahmedabad bombs were assembled from gelatine sticks and used potassium and sodium. Shrapnels were put in the improvised bombs. Such stuff can be carried separately without any suspicion being aroused. Of course, a timer and detonator was added. “This is fairly unsophisticated technology which even locally based operatives can put together,” a source said.

This, however, does not mean that educated individuals are not involved; in fact it’s such people who provide ideological basis for terrorism. This is evident from, among other things, the 14 page e-mail document they sent minutes before the first blast in Ahmedabad. The document titled, ‘The Rise of Jihad, Revenge of Gujarat’, goes on to display awareness about many happenings in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh and even the terminology used by Narendra Modi such as Gujarat’s asmita (pride).

HuJI’s main aim is to establish an Islamic state in Bangladesh and assist in the formation of an international Islamic Caliphate. It has wide contacts with international Islamic terror groups especially in Pakistan.

Posted in Bangladesh, HUJI, Migrants, SIMI, Terrorism, West Bengal | 1 Comment »

IB identifies two Pak-based Indian Muslims as masterminds of Ahmedabad and Bengaluru blasts

Posted by jagoindia on July 31, 2008

IB identifies Pak-based masterminds
Vicky Nanjappa in Bengaluru

July 30, 2008 17:40 IST

Who carried out the blasts at Ahmedabad and Bengaluru? Investigating agencies say they were masterminded by two Karachi-based men — Rasool Khan Parti and Mohammad Sufiya Ahmed Patangiya.

The duo, who currently reside at Farahan Arcade Gulistan in Karachi, are originally residents of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. Prior to fleeing to Karachi, the duo were involved in recruitment of youth for jihadi activities in Hyderabad and other parts of the country. They were both allegedly members of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami, but recruited youth mainly from the Students Islamic Movement of India. Both men are wanted by the Gujarat police in connection with the murder of former state minister Haren Pandya.

An Intelligence Bureau officer investigating last week’s blasts told the duo planned the attacks during a meeting in Kotli, Pakistan, in May.

The investigating agencies have also got information on the manner in which the blasts were executed. They say the entire operation was carried out by Indians, unlike in past instances where Pakistanis or Bangladeshis were used.

Both Parti and Patangiya handpicked Indian youth working in the United Arab Emirates for the operation. This indicates that the youth had been picked well in advance and sent off to the UAE on the pretext of jobs there. This could have been done to avoid coming under the scanner of the Indian police, the officials say. From the UAE they were flown into Dubai from where they were taken to Muzaffarabad in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

The youth were divided in two groups and then trained personally by Patri and Patangiya. They were taught how to prepare bombs and execute the attacks. They called it training in alternate explosions. They were specifically taught how to make bombs using ammonium nitrate and directed to pick up the material locally. The use of RDX was ruled out since it was a problem to smuggle it across the border.

After undergoing training for a month, the youth were flown back to Dubai and then taken to Bangladesh. They were directed to cross over into India through the porous border. Investigating agencies say they took this trouble to avoid the police and security agencies.

Once in India, the two groups split up and undertook the operations in Bengaluru [Images] and Ahmedabad [Images] separately, although they kept in regular touch. The date and time of the attacks was fixed by Parti.

The police are now trying to ascertain how many members were in each team and also from where they picked up the ammonium nitrate and other material required to make the bombs. The police suspect that the two teams assembled the bombs separately in the cities they attacked.

The Bengaluru police believe that the ammonium nitrate must have been brought into Karnataka from Kerala [Images] via Mysore. However, police says the terrorists dumped a part of the consignment about 50 kilometres from Bengaluru as they feared detection. However, they managed to smuggle in enough material to carry out the blasts.

IB sources say they are concerned by the growing number of Indian youth being lured into terror outfits. They say that intercepts from Pakistan indicate that there are many Indian youth outside Parti’s home in Karachi daily.

Investigating agencies are also looking into the statements made by SIMI  activist Riazuddin Nasir aka Mohammad Ghouse. After his arrest in Karnataka earlier this year had told the police that he had met Parti in Karachi.

Posted in Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Bangladesh, Gujarat, home grown terrorists, HUJI, Indian Muslims, Karnataka, Pakistan, State, Terrorism | Leave a Comment »

Maharashtra emerging as Islamic terror hub

Posted by jagoindia on July 31, 2008

State emerging terror hub
Josy Joseph
Wednesday, July 30, 2008

NEW DELHI: From the blasts in Ahmedabad last Saturday to the serial explosions in some Uttar Pradesh courts nearly a year ago, the email trail leads to Maharashtra.

The email received from a group styling itself as Indian Mujahideen just before the Ahmedabad blasts has sent has prompted investigators to dig out the emails received just before the serial blasts in Uttar Pradesh courts on November 23, 2007, and soon after the Jaipur blasts on May 13, 2008.

Sources across the security establishment are beginning to agree on a few points: The emails were written in Maharashtra or by people with significant interest in the state; all the emails have been written by the same group of people; the emails were from people who are key players in the serial blasts that have rocked Ahmedabad, Jaipur and Uttar Pradesh; and the emails have significant indications about the direction in which this violent group will proceed.

The investigators are already working on the theory that the explosives and the vehicles used in the Ahmedabad blasts were brought in from Maharashtra, and the ringleaders then escaped to either Maharashtra or Madhya Pradesh.

The PDF document that was sent as an email attachment warns the Vilasrao Deshmukh government that the Ahmedabad blast is a “deadline to take heed before it is too late”. It lists several instances of “alleged” state atrocity against Muslims. Noticeably, the letter even refers to minor communal incidents as late as a week ago. In fact, the mail has details of only incidents in Maharashtra. Talking about those incidents, the letter asks: “Have you forgotten the evening of 7112006 so quickly and so easily?”

The letter also talks in detail about fast-track courts created for the 1993 blasts and how it let off Madhukar Sarpotdar while many Muslims “arrested in the bomb blast case are being tried in the courts for years and years.”

The mail has threats to Mukesh Ambani, Muslim filmstars in Bollywood, the chief minister and others. There is also a heavy dose of vitriolic on the state of affairs in Maharashtra.

Sources point out that most places across India that the letter refers to in derisive terms are also areas where SIMI’s violence preaching faction led by Safdar Nagori, who is in the custody of Madhya Pradesh police, has come under police scrutiny.

Meanwhile, sources also point out that that the regrouping of local SIMI activists in Gujarat had figured prominently in a state level of meeting on July 11 of officials from IB, RAW, state police and others. The meeting had also expressed concern over the huge amount of fake currency coming into Gujarat.

After Maharashtra, the terror network seems to be strongest in Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Karnataka.

Posted in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, Islamofascism, Maharashtra, State, Terrorism | Leave a Comment »

Was Chennai next target of the Islamic terrorists

Posted by jagoindia on July 30, 2008

Was Chennai next target?
Chennai, July 29, 2008, Deccan Herald

The serial blasts triggered on two consecutive days in Bangalore and Ahmedabad late last week, were apparently part of an elaborate operation code-named “BACK” under which Chennai and Kolkata were to be the next targets.

Reports quoting intelligence sources said that Bangalore and Ahmedabad gave the first two letters to the operation BACK, while the other two cities were denoted by the last two letters. Acting on these intelligence reports which indicated that Chennai could be the next target, Tamil Nadu police moved in swiftly and arrested two who were plotting to plant bombs in the state capital on August 15.

One of the arrested, Abdul Gafoor (39) was believed to have shifted to Tirunelveli recently, to prepare the groundwork for the plot. The two had been planning to bomb trains starting from Chennai and Tirunelveli railway stations on August 15 and they were also targeting the Tirunelveli collectorate. A third person has also been detained for questioning.

Tirunelveli Police Commissioner M N Manjunatha said that Gafoor was arrested in Petta area of the town on Sunday.

Timer devices, model electrical circuits, battery cells and plastic containers were recovered from his house. Besides, the police have also recovered maps of Chennai, Tirunelveli and Madurai with certain places like railway stations and places of worship circled as possible targets.

Gafoor was expelled from the Tauheed Jamaat after he had allegedly joined hands with terrorists. He was working in a footwear shop in Chennai and was also an expert in assembling improvised explosive devices (IEDs), police said.

On the basis of information provided by him, the Tirunelveli police on Monday detained Mohammed Anwar Basha, an electrician who allegedly helped him in circuitry. In another development, the special division of the State police dealing with terrorism arrested one Heera in Chennai in connection with the plot which was allegedly masterminded by Ali Abdullah, a member of the banned All-India Jihad Committee and the Islamic Defence Force.

Abdullah is allegedly involved in eight cases of bomb blasts and murders. Abdullah is lodged in Puzhal Jail in Chennai since his arrest in.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

Call to probe into UK charities funding Islamic terrorism in India’

Posted by jagoindia on July 30, 2008

‘Probe into UK charities funding terrorism in India’
27 Jul, 2008, PTI

LONDON: An umbrella organisation representing over 300 Hindu outfits in the UK on Sunday appealed to the government to probe into reports about British charities suspected of sending funds to terrorist groups in Pakistan that have been launching attacks against India.

The appeal by Hindu Forum of Britain (HFB) comes in the wake of serial bombings in Gujarat in which at least 45 people were killed.

The HFB requested Home Secretary Jacqui Smith to order a probe into reports of British charities sending funds to Pakistan-based terrorist groups.

Indian authorities have said the Indian Mujahideen, which claimed responsibility for the attacks, seems to be a front outfit for terrorist organisations operating out of Pakistan.

“India has been suffering from terror attacks by Islamic militants for many years. The Ahmedabad blasts that killed 45 people yesterday are not isolated. There have been several other blasts that have taken place recently in Jaipur, Bangalore and other places,” HFB secretary general Ramesh Kallidai said.

“But what is of great concern to British Indians is that there have been several reports of British charities sending money to Pakistan that are being diverted to terrorism against India.”

According to Tahseen Ullah Khan of the National Research and Development Foundation, a Peshawar-based NGO that promotes madrasa reform, militant funding also comes from donors in the UK.

“If I go to the UK as a cleric and tell people that Islam is under attack, I can come back with lot of funding,” she had said in a statement.

Posted in Britain, Islamofascism, Pakistan, Terrorism | Leave a Comment »

Bangla infiltrators now kingmakers in Assam: HC judge

Posted by jagoindia on July 30, 2008

Bangla infiltrators now kingmakers in Assam: HC judge
Samudra Gupta Kashyap, July 30, 2008
GUWAHATI, JULY 29: “Bangladeshi infiltrators have not only intruded into every nook and corner of Assam, but have already become kingmakers. And, if this trend is not arrested they will soon intrude upon the corridors of power.” This is not a statement by any BJP or AGP leader, but an observation made by the Gauhati High Court last week.

Justice B K Sharma, disposing 23 petitions moved by 61 people who had been declared foreigners by the Foreigners’ Tribunals, passed a 95-page order last Friday, directing the police to immediately take 49 of the 61 petitioners in custody and keep them there till their deportation to Bangladesh.

“The day is not far when the indigenous people of Assam — both Hindus and Muslims and other religious groups — will be reduced to minorities in their own land and the Bangladeshis who are freely and merrily moving around the fertile land of Assam, will intrude upon the corridors of power,” Justice Sharma observed.

In July 2005, the Supreme Court had scrapped the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act of 1983.

In his order, Justice Sharma pointed out that the 61 petitioners were not only avoiding proceedings against them in courts and migrant tribunals, but had also got enrolled as voters in India.

“Till now, the petitioners have been successful in avoiding the proceedings against them as well as their deportation from India. In the process, they have incorporated their names in the voters’ lists on the basis of which they must have cast their votes. Thus the petitioners and such other large number of Bangladeshis present in the State of Assam have a major role in electing the representatives both to the Legislative Assembly and Parliament and consequently, in the decision-making process towards building the nation. They have become the kingmakers,” he noted.

“It is no longer a secret or in the domain of ‘doubt’ that illegal Bangladeshis have intruded every nook and corner of Assam, including forest land. In some cases, the petitioners themselves stated before the police that they were occupying and living in government and forest land,” he said.

Posted in Assam, Bangladesh, Migrants, State | Leave a Comment »

Tension in Hyderabad as Muslim legislator opens fire

Posted by jagoindia on July 30, 2008

Tension in Hyderabad as legislator opens fire
26 Jul 2008, 1737 hrs IST,IANS

HYDERABAD: Tension prevailed in the Andhra Pradesh capital Saturday as a legislator was arrested for firing in the air to stop municipal authorities from demolishing illegal structures.

The arrest of Afsar Khan, who belongs to the Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM), sparked unrest in Abids, an upscale commercial area in the heart of the city, and led to a massive traffic jam in the city centre.

Police said Khan opened fire from his licensed revolver when officials of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) were demolishing an illegal structure on Chappel Road in Abids.

The legislator, who represents Karwan assembly constituency in Hyderabad, protested the GHMC’s action and wanted the officials to stop the demolition immediately. As the officials continued their work, he whipped out his revolver and opened fire, creating panic among the GHMC personnel.

Police arrested Khan as employees of GHMC’s town planning wing took to the streets and staged a sit-in to demand action against him.

Tension prevailed in the area as a large number of MIM workers sat outside Abids police station to demand the legislator’s release. MIM floor leader in the assembly Akbaruddin Owaisi and three other party legislators also rushed to the police station demanding Khan’s release.

The protest led to a huge traffic jam in the busy area as MIM workers also forced shops to down shutters. Hundreds of vehicles were caught in the nearly five-kilometre-long traffic snarl.

MIM leaders said that Khan rushed to the scene after some GHMC employees manhandled another party legislator Moazzam Khan, who along with his supporters, tried to stop the demolition.

However, GHMC employees alleged that the MIM legislators manhandled them and prevented them from doing their duty.

Khan was also involved in the attack on controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen during a book release function here last year.

MIM has five legislators from the Muslim-majority old city area. It also represents Hyderabad Lok Sabha constituency.

Posted in Andhra Pradesh, Hyderabad, Islamofascism, State | 1 Comment »

e-mail threat to Deshmukh, R.R. Patil and Mukesh Ambani by Muslim terrorists

Posted by jagoindia on July 30, 2008

e-mail threat to Deshmukh, R.R. Patil and Mukesh Ambani
Special Correspondent

MUMBAI: The 14-page booklet that “Indian Mujahideen” e-mailed to the media claiming responsibility for the blasts in Ahmedabad, has stern threats for Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, Deputy Chief Minister R.R. Patil and business tycoon Mukesh Ambani.

The State government has beefed up security at all vulnerable points in Mumbai as top police officers held meetings on Sunday to review the situation and update threat perceptions.

“To the Maharashtra Government and Vilasrao Deshmukh and R.R. Patil, we announce the deadline to take heed before it is too late. Don’t think we are unaware of the SRPF [State Reserve Police Force] attacks on our mosques and our homes, insult to our Quran and your enmity with the Muslims in Digras and nearby areas in Yavatmal,” the document warns. “You will face the ill consequences thereof.”

The booklet titled, ‘The Rise of Jihad, Revenge of Gujarat,’ says, “We also alert Mukesh Ambani to think twice before usurping and building a citadel on a land in Mumbai that belongs to the Waqf Board, lest it turns into horrifying memories for you.”

The terrorist outfit asks the Hyderabad Police “to release the imprisoned Muslim youth immediately, and be wise. We are watching you, and our groundwork to gun you down has already begun. Insha-Allah, we will be (getting) rid of you very soon.”

It also warns Anti-Terrorist Squads and Special Task Forces of different State governments and asks them to release all SIMI activists they have arrested “lest, you become our next targets and victims of our next attack.”

Besides lawyers of the UP Bar Council, the outfit threatens the ‘Times of India’ and its TV channel, ‘Times Now’ for their “propaganda war” against the Muslims.

“You become dumb when it comes to the oppression and torture of the Muslims, and your propaganda turns violent to project the ‘brutality’ of ‘Islamic terrorists’ and their ruthlessness and their ‘merciless mentality.’”

“We warn you to end this hypocrisy or get ready for a bloody slaughter,” it warns.

Posted in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, Indian Mujahideen, Islamofascism, Maharashtra, State, Terrorism | Leave a Comment »

Nationwide movement against Jehadi terrorism: VHP

Posted by jagoindia on July 30, 2008

Nationwide movement against Jehadi terrorism: VHP

Ahmedabad, Jul 27: A nationwide movement against Jehadi terrorism would be launched by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) from tomorrow by organising dharnas, demonstrations, protest rallies and mashal processions at thousands of places all over the country.

Furious over two consecutive days of Jehadi attacks in Bangalore and Ahmedabad, International General Secretary of VHP Pravin Togadia said ”it is a matter of grave concern for all Hindus that Jehadi terrorism and government appeasement of those involved in it may destroy India very soon.” He alleged that instead of fighting jehad, governments are giving quotas to those involved in it in government jobs, police and Army. It is ridiculous and dangerous to India’s safety, if governments do not have political will and capacity to finish Jehad and provide security to people, all of them must resign and give the nation in the hands of the Army.

Mr Togadia also demanded closing down all Madarsas, stopping all trade and other relations with Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries who promote Jehad, make family planning compulsory, enact and implement stricter anti-jehadi terrorism laws, stop all special quotas and facilities being given to muslims and implement article 370, giving all Indians equal rights in Kashmir.

He said Jehadi terrorists are going all out to destroy India’s economy and infrastructure system, adding that government must act immediately before it is too late to save the nation.


Posted in Islamofascism, Jihad, Terrorism | Leave a Comment »

Why The Deobandi Fatwa Against Terrorism doesn’t work

Posted by jagoindia on July 30, 2008

July 28, 2008
The Deobandi Fatwa Against Terrorism Didn’t Treat the Jihadi Root
By Walid Phares
Many in the West and in other regions of the world were impressed by the issuing of a fatwa (Islamic theological edict) condemning Terrorism by one of the leading religious centers in the Muslim world, the Darool-Uloom Deoband in India. An Islamic seminary said to have ‘inspired’ the Taliban has, according to the said document denounced “terrorism” as against Islam, calling it an “unpardonable sin.”

Hoping for a major change in ideology, international counter terrorism authorities and policy makers have been asking experts to determine if the Deobandi declaration will help counter the calls for violent Jihad by al Qaeda and its ilk around the world. In the war of ideas with the Jihadists, many Western architects of strategic communications look for any sign that hearts and minds may be changing course and sympathies. From Washington DC to Brussels and beyond, bureaucrats tasked with exploring the Muslim world for new trends, shop around for what they call “counter-narrative against extremism.”

The Deobandi School, a classical third branch for Salafi Islamism (along with Wahabism and Muslim Brotherhood), has significant weight in the South Asia Theater. Its teachings based on a strict interpretation of Islamic law have reached many countries, including Afghanistan and Britain, where they are said to have indoctrinated the Taliban.

“If they change course, al Qaeda and the Taliban are finished,” I heard in Europe and the United States. So the question now is have they changed doctrinal direction and is this fatwa the evidence?

I regretfully conclude that it is not the case yet.

It looked good at first

Tens of thousands of clerics and students from around India attended a meeting at the 150-year-old Deoband, north of New Delhi, and declared that they stand “against acts of terrorism.”

“There is no place for terrorism in Islam,” Maulana Marghoobur Rahman, the older rector of Deoband, told Reuters. “Terrorism, killing of the innocent is against Islam. It is a faith of love and peace, not violence.”  Rahman said it was unjust to equate Islam with terrorism, to see every Muslim as a suspect or for governments to use this to harass innocent Muslims.

“There are so many examples of people from other communities being caught with bombs and weapons, why are they never convicted?” said Qazi Mohammed Usman, deputy head of Deoband. The meeting defined terrorism as any action targeting innocent people, both Muslim and non-Muslim, whether committed by an individual, an institution or a government.

These statements could be seen as impressive when quoted by news agencies rushing to break the good news, but to the seasoned analysts of Salafism, the solid doctrinal roots of Jihadism were kept untouched. Here is why.

Goals of the fatwa

From the fatwa itself and the statements made as it was issued, the following political goals likely motivated the gathering and the fatwa.

Create a separation in the eyes of the public discourse between Islam (as a religion) and terrorism as an illegal violent activity.

Such a move is legitimate and to be encouraged as it diminishes the tensions towards Muslims in non-Muslim countries, particularly in the West, as some are claiming that the Islamic religion is theologically linked to the acts and statements of the Jihadists. The logic of “we are Muslims and we are against Terrorism,” helps significantly the disassociation between the community and the acts of violence. However, without criticizing the ideological roots of this violence, the fatwa seem to state a wishful thinking, not an injunction. A more powerful fatwa should have openly and expressly said: “we reject the calls for violent Jihad regardless of the motives.” For the followers of Jihadism do not consider their Jihad as “terrorism.” Their answer has always been -to these types of fatwas- “but we aren’t performing terrorism, we are conducting Jihad.” Thus, at this crucial level, the Deobandi fatwa missed the crux of the problem.

Deny governments the ability to use the accusation that Islam condones Terrorism to oppress Muslims.

The fatwa is concerned with geopolitics more than theological reform. Concern for the safety of one’s co-religfionists is of course legitimate and should be addressed. But Jihadism, the legitimizing root of political violence, cannot be ignored in any effort to protect the lives of Muslims.

There is no evidence that modern day governments have expressly linked religion to terrorism; quite the opposite. Almost all national leaders involved in the confrontation with Jihadi forces since 9/11 have clearly made a clear distinction between religion and terrorism.

Some even went further by negating any link whatsoever between theological texts and Jihadism, which of course is not accurate. For in the texts, there are passages used by the Terrorists in their indoctrination. Hence, the Deobandi fatwa should have instead asked clearly the Jihadists not to use these citations or else they would be considered as sinners themselves. But instead of using their religious prominence to remove the theological weapon from the hands of the Jihadists, the Deobandi clerics are attempting to shield the Jihadists from the actions of Governments by denying that these extremists are indeed using — and abusing — religion.

Some may argue that the fatwa’s open goal is to defend Muslims from being unjustly targeted by non-Muslim governments (a positive move) but a thorough analysis of the text used shows that the main intention of that declaration is to defend the Islamists from being contained by both Muslim and non-Muslim Governments around the world. In other words by denying that Jihadism is the root cause of many acts of Terror in Europe, the US, Africa, the Greater Middle East and Asia, the Deobandi fatwa in fact is shielding the Jihadists from the accusation of Terrorism, thus protecting them.

Who is “innocent”?

The fatwa defined terrorism as violence “targeting innocent people.” Such a definition is not new and doesn’t set clear boundaries. For the question at hand is what does “innocent” mean? On several web sites and on many shows on al Jazeera television, Jihadi apologists often use the Arabic term”bare’e”  for “innocent” and assure the audience that Jihad cannot target the latter.

But Usama Bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri, and to some extent Hassan Nasrallah, all claim that innocence is relative. Al Qaeda explicitly targets innocent civilians and has authorized the massacre of 4 million US citizens as of 2001. Bin laden explains that civilians who vote for and pay taxes to the infidel enemy are not “innocent.”

Hezbollah targets innocent civilians as well, not only in Israel but also in Lebanon and overseas (as in Argentina). The concept of “innocent” isn’t that innocent in Jihadism. For the militant ideologues can render individuals and groups “bare’e’ or not “bare’e” at their discretion.

Leading Islamist scholar Sheikh Yusuf al Qardawi expounds at will on the innocence of civilians, detailing how civilian populations have been considered as part of the war efforts of the enemies of the Caliphate. In short, the status of “innocence” doesn’t overlap fully with the status of “civilians.” It is a matter of discretion in Jihadi warfare. Hence, to claim that Terrorism is defined as targeting innocent people is to claim that not all civilians are innocent, and that not only breaches international law, but gives credence to Jihadi violence.

Who is a “terrorist”?

Moreover, still the fatwa doesn’t identify al Qaeda, or any other similar group, including the Taliban, as Terrorist organizations. And as of now, no subsequent fatwas based on this Deobandi fatwa have done so yet. Therefore, in terms of identification of terror entities, the edict has failed to show its followers who is the terror perpetrator.

This text simply doesn’t bring novelty to the debate about Jihadi-rooted Terrorism. For years, particularly since 2001, Islamist ideologues and militant groups have refrained from simply naming those terror groups as such. Spokespersons have constantly repeated that condemning terrorism in general is enough.

If the Muslim scholars followed this logic on the question of occupations, then neither Iraq nor Palestine should be specifically mention. But that is not the case.

Legal basis

The Deobandi fatwa didn’t explain what where the legal basis for the edict. Was there any new ground broken? Which were the previous rules that have changed regarding terrorism? Is the fatwa a reminder of a principle or a new principle to be adopted? Is the rejection of terrorism a duty (wajib) and what kind of obligation?

All these questions are warranted so that a fair assessment of the statement can be issued. Unfortunately, the legal grounds are not specific enough to enable readers — and eventually followers — to understand the absolute injunction of rejection of Terrorism.

The body of fatwas
Historically, there have been similar statements and fatwas issued in other quarters of the Middle East, yet they haven’t had a definitive impact on reality. And by exploring the reason behind the inefficiency of these declarations, one finds that the body of fatwas remains below the level of a reform, of a doctrinal radical rejection of Jihadism as a aqidah (doctrine).

The Deobandi fatwa — like its predecessors — tells followers that the principle of Jihadi wars (efforts) is sound and that the level of innocence of the target is discretionary but that engagement in violence has to be disciplined and not chaotic. In short, don’t give the infidels an alibi to compromise the ultimate goals by waging irresponsible acts of violence. Simply put: we don’t need Jihadism to be labeled as Terrorism.

Because of its unclear stipulations, there is room for more precise fatwas calling for violence against one or another targets, and receiving support from indoctrinated segments of society. These future fatwas could undo this Deobandi fatwa.

So in the end, how to deal with this and with similar edicts? At first one should welcome any statement that delegitimizes al Qaeda’s hot-headed Jihadism, even if the fatwa doesn’t cross the doctrinal line. Any call to stop terrorism is positive and should be built upon.

In principle the Deobandi fatwa should be considered as a step that needs more steps in the direction of a doctrinal reform. Minimally, these fatwas should name al Qaeda and similar groups as Terrorists. But to be considered as breaking a new ground, they must render Jihadi violence illegitimate and terrorism against non combatants illegal, regardless of any theological, ideological or political goals.

Dr Walid Phares is the Director of the Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies in Washington and a visiting scholar at the European Foundation for Democracy in Brussels. He is the author of The Confrontation: Winning the War Against Future Jihad.

Posted in Deoband, Fatwa, Islam, Islamofascism, Quran, Terrorism | 2 Comments »