Islamic Terrorism in India

Most Muslims are not terrorists, but most terrorists are Muslims

Mumbai attacks: The terrorist army of Muhammad is back

Posted by jagoindia on November 28, 2008


THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, 28 Nov 2008

The Army of Muhammad is back.

This was the message buzzing in radical Islamist circles yesterday as the world tried to absorb the shock of the terrorist attacks in Bombay, India’s economic capital.

While it is not yet clear which group was behind the attacks, it looks as if the perpetrators were trying to imitate the tactic of ghazwa, used by the Prophet against Meccan caravans in his decade-long campaign to seize control of the city.

The tactic consists of surprise no-holds-barred attacks simultaneously launched against a caravan or settlement with the aim of demoralising the enemy and hastening his capitulation.

The Bombay attacks differed from previous terror operations in India in a number of ways. In the past, one approach had been to place explosive-packed devices in crowded places with the aim of killing large numbers at random. Another was suicide attacks on specific targets by lone “volunteers for martyrdom”.

This time, however, the approach was “symphonic”, in the sense that it involved different types of operations blended together.

Involved in the operations were men who had placed explosives at selected points. But there were also gunmen operating in classic military style by seizing control of territory at symbolically significant locations along with hostages. Then there were militants prepared to kill, and be killed, in grenade attacks against security forces.

Whoever designed the operations had another important Islamic tactic in mind: tabarra or exoneration.

This consists of separating the “outsider”, in this case the British and American “infidel”, from the community with the intent of blaming them for the ills of the world before sacrificing them. It was no accident that one of the places attacked was a Jewish centre, where gunmen seized a rabbi and several members of the congregation as hostages.

The loud message was that a small group of individuals could turn a megalopolis of almost 15 million inhabitants into a battlefield for at least a day.

Terrorism is a beast with an extraordinary ability to mutate. As soon as its victims have learnt to cope with its methods, it develops new ones. Groups of anarchists throwing bombs follow the lone assassin who would target a king or a political leader. The hijacking of passenger jets is replaced by the transformation of aircraft into missiles against fixed targets.

All the time, the intention is to terrorise the largest number of people, eroding the ordinary man’s confidence in the ability of the authorities to protect him, and, in the long run, persuading a majority of the people, who just want to live their lives, to trade their freedom for the security that the terrorist promises in his utopia.

Although new to India, the tactic of “symphonic” attacks has been tried in a number of other countries in the past decade, notably Algeria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, at times with devastating effects.

Most recently, it was tried, on a smaller scale, by the Taliban in the Afghan city of Qala-Mussa. Theoretically, the tactic could be used in any city, from Bombay to New York, passing through London and Paris.

On Wednesday, it was obvious that India’s various anti-terror units were surprised, unable to cope with methods of operations not mentioned in their manuals.

So far the only claim of responsibility has came from a hitherto unknown group using the name the “Deccan Mujahedin”.

This may be a cover for other groups, perhaps the Lashkar Tayyiba (the Army of the Pure) and the Jaish Muhammad (the Army of Muhammad), two terrorist organisations created by the Pakistani military intelligence services.

Earlier this year, in one of his last acts as president, Pervez Musharraf announced the dissolution of both, but it is possible that the two groups and their backers in the Pakistani military and intelligence elite have returned to the market under a new brand, with new tactics.

The attacks came 48 hours after Pakistan’s new president, Asif Ali Zardari, practically threw away 50 years of Pakistani policy by announcing his readiness to end the dispute with India over Kashmir.

Zardari is an ethnic Baluch who, unlike previous Pakistani leaders who had Indian backgrounds, has no direct family history in pre-partition India. As a result, he is not as sensitive on Kashmir as his predecessors.

The Bombay attacks could be a message to Zardari that, though he may be uninterested in Kashmir, the issue is still central to many in Pakistan.

The new label used may also be significant. Deccan, a region in south-central India, was the intellectual and cultural capital of Indian Islam for centuries.

By using the term “Deccan Mujahedin”, the terrorists may be trying to pass two messages. First, that the Islamist movement is no longer interested only in Kashmir but intends to strive for the reconquest of the whole of India for Islam.

This runs in line with the new pan-Islamist thinking that propagates the will to recover all lands once ruled by Muslims – from India to Spain and southern France, passing by Siberia, parts of Russia and the Balkans. “Deccan” designates a movement that has universal aspirations precisely because it claims local roots.

The designation is also intended to show that India now has a home-grown Islamist terror movement.

This started to form more than a decade ago after Hindu nationalists won power in New Delhi through the BJP and its radical anti-Muslim allies. The Islamist terror movement has adopted what is known as the Matryoshka method, after the Russian dolls nested one into another. The outer and bigger doll in this case is the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (Simi), which claims millions of members.

Indian authorities call Simi an antechamber of terrorism. Within it are nested other dolls in the form of cultural associations, charities and political lobby groups. The smallest and deadliest doll represents the kind of groups that may have been behind these attacks.

The need for a home-grown terror movement in India may have been further emphasised by the success of the US-led coalition in destroying virtually all Islamist training bases and safe havens in Afghanistan.

With Pakistan also becoming inhospitable, partly thanks to Zardari’s apparent determination to move his country close to both India and the United States, Indian Islamists are forced to look for training centres and safe havens at home.

While many have mentioned al-Qaeda as the perpetrator of the latest attacks, the connection is not easy to establish.

Many experts believe al-Qaeda has ceased to exist as an organisation, although it survives as a model and inspiration. Al-Qaeda’s number two, the Egyptian-born Ayman al-Zawahiri, has been calling on militants to refocus their efforts on winning power in Muslim countries such as India, which is home to 150 million Muslims, and thus the largest “Muslim” country in the world, ahead of Indonesia.

This is in contrast with Osama bin Laden’s theory that the US and its Western allies must be prime targets because, if they fall, the world system they dominate will disintegrate, opening the way for Islam’s final triumph.

It is possible that al-Zawahiri’s writings influenced the Bombay attackers. But it is unlikely that he and al-Qaeda had any direct role in planning or executing them.

There are other reasons why India is targeted. Over the past five years, it has emerged as the largest aid donor to Afghanistan and the second most important backer of President Hamid Karzai’s regime after the US.

The buzz in jihadist circles is that once the US and its allies have left, India will emerge as the principal foreign power behind the new democracy in Afghanistan. India is already playing a leading role in training and equipping the new Afghan army and police.

India has also moved from its traditional anti-Americanism to a new policy of close friendship with the US. Earlier this year, India signed a landmark nuclear co-operation agreement, paving the way for massive purchases of American military hardware in the future.

In jihadist circles, the new Indian economic boom is often described as the “House of the Spider”, a reference to a sura of the same name in the Koran, Islam’s holy book. On Wednesday, the attackers may have wished to show the flimsy nature of the “House of the Spider” by attacking Bombay, the engine of India’s economic transformation.

However, if that was the intention, the terrorists are likely to be disappointed. Bombay and India in general have been victims of terror before, although not in so spectacular a fashion. And yet they have managed to absorb the shock and move ahead.

As always, the terrorists may end up like the man who, having won a great many tokens at the roulette table, is surprised when the casino tells him his winnings cannot be cashed.

Amir Taheri is author of ‘Holy Terror: Inside the World of Islamic Terrorism’. His new book, ‘The Persian Night’, will be published next month.

2 Responses to “Mumbai attacks: The terrorist army of Muhammad is back”

  1. Hassan said

    This kind of attacks have been carried out by terrorists before also when they attacked our Parliament and killed security men.Alleging Muhammed did that…Muhammed did this is just a propoganda agianst islam which is growing in todays world.Sometimes Hindutva propogandist dont know this that prophet(pbuh)’s life history is well deocumented and he was the most kindful human on earth.If prophet(pbuh) was creatiung terror, then Baghwan Krishna who asked Arjuna to fight agisnt his cousins also must be creating terror.The war Muhammed(pbuh) fought agianst non-believers(Kaafir), the term used to address non-Muslims, was for defence.More than 13 years the Muslims were under persecution of the Qureshis.But they started defending in the war of Badr.And the total death toll in the whole wars Muhammed(pbuh) fought was merely 1200.It proves that the allegations Muhammed(pbuh) created terror in the world is just a mere part of propoganda of Anti-Muslims and Hinduytva brigades who kill their own brothers to divide Indians.

  2. xxxxmohmad said

    Hassan. don’t tell anything about your cult leader. the pedophile had legally(what a joke) 100 wives under burkhas, the freak who stole his son’s wife. the same people from his cult are following him all over the world. wherever there are muslims there are problems. wake up you dumb and come back to your old paganic scientific hindu brethren for your own sake.

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