The narrative behind extremist radicals and Anatomy of the Muslim Response to a Terrorist Attack.
We have had enough of this knee jerk response from Muslims:
“This is not true Islam”,,
And “No true Muslim can do this”,
and “Terrorists have no religion”.
Well, I hate to burst your bubble.
We Muslims are all in a perpetual disbelief, a never ending denial, and we are fooling, misleading and lying to ourselves and to the rest of the world.
These murderers ARE Muslims and they ARE terrorists, and their ideology DOES come from folds of the traditional Islamic narrative itself. Yes, THAT Islamic narrative that makes it incumbent upon all Muslims all over the world to wage a war against the “Kaafir”. Any Muslim who refuses to accept this narrative, and preaches otherwise, also becomes a “Kaafir” by default. He is no more a Muslim. The specific term murtad (apostates) is used for such individuals. There is only one punishment for them – death. This narrative indoctrinates and authorizes one human being to make judgements of others faiths, declare them guilty and then execute the punishment.
It is time that all Muslims recognize and acknowledge the role of extremist ideologies embedded in this particular traditional narrative of Islam. We must reform our thought process and all need to make our own decisions. Your cleric should not make that decision for you. If he does, and you accept it, then be prepared for total annihilation. World has had enough.
“Radicalism” is not an “on or off” phenomenon. It is a spectrum and a continuum. The suicide bomber or the terrorist, who pulls the trigger, is only the final manifestation and the final stage on that spectrum of extremism. It is the cutting edge, the tip of the iceberg. However, there is much more than what meets the eye. Thought processes of Many of extremist Muslims are somewhere along that spectrum. Eventually, some of them will progress to go on, and become the ones who will pull the trigger. Others will simply watch and endorse in silence. One must acknowledge that many of the Muslims truly are in denial out of disbelief. They are not extremists, nor are they even aware that such a narrative exists. “How this could be?” How could something I believe in so dearly could have such an ugly hidden personality? They are well meaning. They truly watch in disbelief and thus come up with rather naïve questions /excuses.
The driving force behind this radicalism is a religious narrative within the folds of Islam that is taught in the religious seminaries (medressahs). This venomous narrative is the ideological fuel that drives the engine of extremist radicalism. During his tour of USA, in 2015, the well-known Muslim scholar Javed Ahmed Ghamidi highlighted four core themes that are the foundation of this narrative:
- All “shirk”, “Kufar” and apostasy, anywhere in the world, are punishable by death and “Muslims” have a religious duty and right to implement this punishment.
- Non-Muslims have no right to have their own independent states. Whenever possible, they can exist only under Islamic government. The only right to govern is that of Muslims, and nonmuslims can only live as subjugate citizens in a Muslim state.
- All Muslims of the world are to exist under the rule of a single Islamic government, called The Their independent, states have no legitimacy.
- All nation states and governments (including those in Muslim countries) have no legitimacy in Islam and are an act of Kufar.
It is important to understand that this particular aspect of Islam being taught in medressahs is completely different to the Islam a good proportion of Muslims believe in, or the one that the Mullah preaches at the pulpit to lure nonmuslims and Muslims alike. Although it is impossible to give exact, or even approximate figures, it is evident unfortunately, that many Muslims are aware of this narrative and actually do endorse it.
When confronted with tragedies like Paris attacks, the world witnesses different responses from the Muslim community. Nobody knows the actual stats but at least to the extent of what appears in media, it is reasonable to state that predominantly the response is along the lines of “This is not true Islam”. This confuses the world. At least I am. It appears that Muslims are confused too. I certainly am. In a recent survey in Pakistan more than 60 % Pakistanis said they were not sure what to think of Daesh. It clearly points out that even Muslims may not be aware of this narrative. The alternate possibility that can be entertained is much more sinister-they are aware of this narrative but are not admitting it openly. I, therefore, propose a functional classification of Muslims’ responses:
- People whom we see openly endorsing, promoting, and praising this narrative. This group needs no further introduction.
- People whose responses are along the lines of “This is not Islam”, or “Not in my name”, or “No Muslim could ever do this”. This is our main concern, because this is what confuses me too. People with these responses can be put in one of the following categories:
- Those who deny it because they GENUINELY believe that no such narrative does or could exist. They are well meaning. They simply cannot fathom how such a narrative could exist, or how the peaceful Islam they believe in, could have such a heinous darker side.
- Those who are aware of this radical extremist narrative, but do not agree with it. However, they are unable to denounce it openly because of risk to their own and their families’ lives. These are the ones who are living mostly in the Muslim states where the extremist elements have repeatedly silenced and murdered such dissenting voices. However, since they are devout Muslims, they have to defend whatever comes with the tag of “Islam” attached to it.
- There is another group that is aware of this narrative. They also do not agree with it but are too embarrassed to openly admit it for obvious reasons. Some of them although living in west, still defend Islam because they are Muslims, and it is wrong to criticize “brothers” in faith.
- Those who “secretly” agree. Whereas their public statements may be “This is not Islam”, when in their own circles they admit and endorse it.
- Those who unequivocally disagree and denounce this narrative:
- The Muslim religious scholars who have been challenging this narrative, and many of them were either murdered for their dissent, or were forced to live in exile.
- Muslim citizens who are mostly living in western countries and feel safe enough to denounce it publicly. Luckily this number appears to be increasing.
IT is obviously upto the academics to examine this more objectively. I am only endeavoring to clear the fog that follows after each and every atrocity committed by radical extremists.