Paris attack last week (November 13, 2015) came as a shocker for the Muslims of India, who are already living under watching eyes of their friends and neighbors for their ‘inherent qualities’ of eating beef, ‘love jihad’, ‘intolerant and violent nature’, ‘keeping more than one wife’ and ‘breeding like pigs—which ultimately led to increase in their population growth percentage which is more than that of Hindus’. This attack has further added suspicion and has created a trust-deficit among the communities. Many groups organized silent marches in support of Paris all over the country the same day. Everyone was almost more than ready to condemn the barbaric attack in whatever capacity and manner they could have done. Whereas some others, while standing with Parisians in this hour of grief, also questioned the selective pain for Paris as other cities in Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey also suffered such attacks within 36 hours of Paris attack. While all these activities were going on in public spaces, I wanted to understand the common Muslims’ perspective: what they discuss in tea shops, at barber’s place while waiting for their turn for a hairdo or after disassembling from a formal meeting for a protest against the attack. My methodology was just listening to these people without intervening into the discussion so that I may not, unnecessarily, inject my understanding of the events. Here is what I gathered from the discussions:
Creation of Dayesh (ISIS)
The so called Arab Spring was actively supported by the West and French, the former colonial masters of the region were more than active in it. The way the ISIS fighters, as their propaganda videos show, run their tanks and posses all the military skills of handling sophisticated weapons and the weapon itself say it loudly that these fighters have been trained by the West intelligence or the defense departments. The West funded and fuelled the rebels of Syria and Iraq with weapons and training to overthrow the Asad regime, who in turn sought help from Shia fighters. This multiplied the problems of the region and neither the Asad regime was toppled nor the rebels remained in the hands of the West. It is a problem with the West that when they do not find a regime of their choice they seek a violent regime change, especially in Middle East (read Muslim countries). In Egypt, first they toppled the Mubarak regime and elections were held, what happened then?, Muslim Brotherhood came into power, Morsi (an elected President), who represented nativists and orthodox Muslims was again toppled to suit the West. Morsi could have again created Suez Canal crisis for Britain and France like Iran did with the oil fields contracts after the Islamic Revolution. Osama Bin Laden, Saddam Husein and the Taliban all were creations of Cold War, where their strategy was to invoke the name of religion and jihad to fight their war as foot soldiers.
The Arab Spring could have been dealt with differently
Rise of Arab Spring was hailed by one and all but nobody was ready to pay any heed to the danger of the rightist political groups such as, Banna inspired Muslim Brotherhood. If the people were not happy with their respective governments, they must have been left to protest peacefully, they must have been given moral support. UN must have kept a watch on the situation and it should have taken actions if required but rebels must not have been armed to match the might of their governments. These groups did not get time to mature their movements, the unparalleled armament and money left them unbridled. They started advancing their own personal ambitions. After all, Burma is on the verge of becoming a democratic country and all these happened with peaceful protests and demands of the people of Burma without any active support from foreign powers. It took time but this transition would be relatively peaceful. They have some of their problems but they have a tradition of mass mobilization and people’s intervention, they will handle these peacefully. What is the need of providing monetary and strategic help to the rebels? They do it for the values of democracy? Why states like North Korea, China and Saudi Arabia are not visible to them? Why don’t they fund and encourage people from these countries to throw their oppressive regimes?
What ISIS wants
ISIS is either a group of mindless youths, who have no knowledge of basics of Islam or the reincarnation of the ‘kharjites’ (khariji, a group emerged during the last days of pious caliphates, who were responsible for bringing down the pious caliphate and inciting different violent movements within Islam, killing a number of friends and relatives of the Prophet), who are mindlessly killing innocent people to satisfy their hunger for power in the Levant or beyond that. They bear no morality prescribed in Islam have no faith in Kaba talk of destroying it as for them revering it is idolatrous. They don’t believe in injunctions of even Quran, where it has been prescribed in bold letters that no innocent person be killed and such killing is like murder of all humanity. But certainly they have their political motive behind all their barbaric acts. With their act of terror: butchering innocent people in front of public and on camera, killing people in their suicide attacks and enslaving and killing of women and children is well planned policy. They want to heat the ground for Muslims who are living their lives peacefully all over the world. These acts of theirs with all kind of propaganda are to make Muslims suspicious in the eyes of their friends and neighbors. It is their strategy to make the Muslims insecure in their own homes. So that they are persecuted everywhere and they have no alternative but to leave their peaceful lives. They want all the Muslims to be pushed towards terrorism. ISIS has very dangerous plan to destabilize the peaceful existence of the Muslims all over the world.
The people fleeing from the war torn regions have become a problem for Europe and now after the Paris carnage, the debate of admitting or not admitting the refugees into their territories has become very harsh. While a number of people are standing in their support but the voices against giving refuge to such a huge number has become very loud and a section of the Europeans are against allowing Muslim refugees since they think that these Muslims are threat to their national security. Indian Muslims are of opinion that the fleeing from their war torn region is not the solution. It is their duty to fight and struggle into their own countries. If they live and struggle only then they will reach to a solution. Fleeing from their homes is not the solution at all because they are facing much more problems than they could have faced while remaining and struggling for their rights. How can you expect Europe to help you when other nearby Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Quwait and other Middle East countries are not ready to give refuge to you? The people of Syria, Iraq and other affected region should help each other in the time of crisis rather than seeking help from outside world. The organizations/people you are battling with wants you to become refugees and with these tactics only they have become so powerful. Give them a befitting reply by not leaving your home.
It was quite interesting to know the opinion of common Muslims of an international crisis, nearly all of them blamed the West for the present crisis, but at the same time they had a piece of advice for the people of the war torn zone to resist the terror of ISIS and their likes. People were very much critical of Saudi Arabia and the Arab world, which have not only been hostile to the victims of the crisis but also been a part of the problem itself. ISIS, for them, is not only a problem for the world but they are particularly the greatest danger for the Muslims.
The author teaches Medieval Indian History at PGDAV College (Eve), University of Delhi