If seeking justice where it is denied and claiming honour when humiliated are called terrorism, yes, I am a terrorist, too. And yes, I want to terrorize the unjust, the wicked, the cruel. So, do I endorse violence? No, I am completely against unjust, mindless violence. Which is why I strongly condemn Mumbai 7/11.
Currently the term is applied virtually to all Muslims and to all struggles against the established order. Abusing Muslims is good fashion, though few take the trouble to ascertain the truth or the totality.
The blatant falsehood and hypocrisy on the Muslim question leads even “cultural Muslims” that would ordinarily not assert their identity now to belong. For that matter informed and secular Hindus, Christians and even some Jews echo this sentiment.
In Palestine I am fighting for reclaiming my homeland forcibly occupied by the Israelis with the connivance of the colonial powers who themselves evicted the Jews from their midst and then allotted to them my territories. I am fighting for my identity and honour in Bosnia and for my liberty and freedom in Chechnya. In Afghanistan and Iraq I am struggling to throw the occupier out. Show me places where I am fighting for other’s land. Look, I held Spain for 700 years but I am not claiming a metre of that land.
They occupied my Palestine. I treated my Jewish brethren with respect till they carved out a state out of my territories. They threw me out of my home. While they brought the Jews from all over the world we had to flee our homes to settle in many different countries. For generations now I am living in refugee camps.
My leader Arafat gave up violence in the hope of a peaceful settlement. He was insulted, rendered powerless, virtually imprisoned and widely discredited. They said his democracy was sham and promised to do serious business if I held “genuine” elections.
But when I elected the Hamas under international supervision they call it terrorist organization and refuse to do business with it. For this democratic exercise we are being punished severely.
In Iraq they set the Sunnis against Shias. In Palestine the Hamas against Fatah. In Afghanistan Masood against Osama. By promoting civil wars they ensure their continued presence.
What was my fault in Iraq? They came ostensibly looking for weapons of mass destruction. After killing thousands and destroying entire cities they found none. Have they apologized and offered a compensation to me?
Dictatorship? But I was comfortable with it, you see. It was way better than the present sectarian and civil war that I face there today. I don’t trust the democrats of US and Britain – the best friends of my Emirs, Kings and Sheikhs who have trampled my freedom in the Middle East for ages. In any case, how can I value democracy that involves the humiliation of being undressed, kicked around, tortured in my own home? Wasn’t I only doing my honourable duty of defending the motherland against occupiers. They terrorized me and I am called the terrorist.
In Afghanistan I was sandwiched between them and the Talibaan that was promoted, nurtured and funded by them to check the Russians. My country has been ruined beyond recognition adversely affecting the destinies of generations to come. My schools, wedding parties and playing children have been bombarded by their precision weaponry. Was this called terrorism?
Look, what they have done to Lebanon? “But who lit the fire first” they ask, referring to the capture of two Israeli soldiers by the Hizbollah. Who is Hizbollah? Where did it come from?. Thousands of Palestinians live in Lebanon as refugees. Hizbollah emerged as a reaction to Israeli invasion of Lebanon a decade ago. If Israel can illegally hold hundreds of my brethren what is so cruel about the Hamas holding two Jews? But Hizbollah is not the government, you see, they say. I ask, is Israel one? Many of us have not recognized it as such. In any case, is state aggression not terrorism? So, who lit the fire?
Despite the carnage Israel has committed at Qana they say, sorry, but no cease-fire yet, till the “fundamental issue” is resolved, till the region is “stabilized”. OK, so hand over the occupied territories, free my brethren from your custody and compensate me for the damages caused, and the fundamental issue is resolved.
When the media depicts the little children maimed and murdered, both Israel and America assert that everyone “in the line of fire” is an enemy. Indeed, the rabbis have given a “fatwa” justifying these killings. Isn’t that about how Osama justified 9/11?
No, they won’t exit Lebanon until Hizbollah is dismantled. How is it any of their business who runs my country? What right do they have to kill my innocent children, destroy my roads, schools, bridges and buildings? It is not terrorism when they bulldoze my entire villages and towns. But it is when one of my frustrated brothers goes and blows himself up in their midst injuring a few.
Wasn’t this Beirut where their dreaded bete noire, Osama Bin Laden once roamed, spoke their lingua, sported bell-bottoms, wore long hair and patronized its night clubs. It was their gruesome cruelty, their hypocrisy that made him a fundamentalist, an icon of Muslim Terrorism.
Now they are talking of a multi-national force to regulate Lebanon. They already have some in Africa, Afghanistan, Iraq and now one in Lebanon. They are controlling my monarchs, Emirs and dictators through their military support. I believe this is the bad old colonialism from the back door.
Terrorism is not born in vacuum as no one is happy committing suicide. Though India is not a member of the league they are trying to drag it in. Let us remember that India did not witness Muslim terrorism until demolition of Babri Masjid. The Mumbai blasts of 1993 were preceded by prolonged violence by the Shiv Sainiks against Mumbai Muslims.
What was my fault in Gujarat? Four and half years later they are yet to prove it was I who set the Sabarmati ablaze. Nearly 4,000 of my brothers were murdered and scores of my sisters raped, thousands of homes destroyed. Even today lakhs remain displaced. Adding insult to injury some brazenly celebrated the “gaurav” of killing me and elected the marauders to power. Those that destroyed entire colonies are roaming Gujarat’s streets free; some even adorn its legislature. You must be a Muslim to experience my dilemma. I will take long, very long to recover from the after shocks of Godhra.
Make no mistake. All those that you call terrorists are not “rabid religious fundamentalists”. Frustration arising from perpetual denial, pent up anger at facing blatant discrimination, unimaginative leadership and to an extent the clash of religious ideology with challenges of modernity have all led Muslims to this sorry state.
So, am I condoning 7/11, Mumbai? Am I not angry that terrorists killed the innocents? I am not only angry but also ashamed. A victim of violence myself, I am against unjust violence in any form, by anyone. The Mumbai carnage was most despicable. Its perpetrators deserve severe punishment. But just as there are black sheep amongst professionals, business, clergy etc I too have looters, rapists and self-serving militants in my ranks. I will challenge them, take on them everywhere. Are you willing to appreciate my just causes, treat me fairly and give me my dues? I know that the worst victim of Muslim terrorism is none other than me. Partner me to fight all kinds of terrorism, for a just and fair society where reason and fair play replace violence and exploitation.