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Islamic terrorism, the apologists and their flawed arguments

Nitin Rivaldo

Every time a terror attack is carried out by Islamic groups, we see a flurry of commentators rushing to say “this has got nothing to do with religion”. Every time they take extra measures to explain why religion must not be blamed, and almost every time they are wrong.

Let’s see some of the recent smokescreens that were created by the apologists for Islamic terrorism:

Orlando nightclub shooting: it wasn’t hatred for gays. It was the because of easy availability of guns.

This argument totally ignores the fact that in 10 Muslim countries, there is a death penalty for Homosexuality. Guess it was the gun that wrote their constitutions too!  Maybe in Saudi Arabia they stone women who commit adultery because of easy availability of stones? And ISIS throws gays off buildings in Syria because there is gravity in Raqqa!

Charlie Hebdo massacre: Those cartoons were provocative! It was the ISIS. There are just 0.1% extremists among all Muslims!

This argument again ignores the fact that there is death penalty for blasphemy and insulting the Prophet in 10 Islamic countries. Either their constitutions have been written by ISIS or the moderates there aren’t moderate enough. Or even they have misinterpreted the book.

If you draw a cartoon of Prophet Muhammad in Islamic Republic of Pakistan, the state will kill you. In Non-Islamic Republics like France, ISIS will kill you.

Yet leaders of these Islamic republics condemn ISIS with platitudes like ‘Islam means peace’ and ‘Killing one man is like killing the whole humanity’. Difference is – Islamic republics kill within their boundaries, while the ISIS is more amorphous. ISIS does it across the globe. At best, they should be condemning ISIS for not respecting international borders.

Istanbul airport attack: victims were Muslims, so how can the terrorists be Muslims?

Are the women who are stoned to death for adultery not Muslims? Or are gays who are executed in Islamic republics not Muslims? There are punishments for Muslims too in Islamic countries. Imagine the argument. Pakistan is not Islamic republic because it punishes Muslims for blasphemy.

We must distinguish Muslim as an identity and Islam as a faith.

Javed Akhtar is a Muslim by identity, but not by faith. He is an atheist. In Saudi Arabia, he can be executed for calling himself an atheist. Would you then argue that how can Saudi Arabia execute a Muslim? Basically, actions inspired by faith prevail over the identity.

For ISIS, faith matters more than the identity. Shias and Sunnis are both Muslims, but differ in matter of faith. That’s what the whole conflict is about – about putting one brand of faith over the others. So when ISIS kills Muslims, it’s to declare supremacy of a faith, not of any identity.

In fact, ISIS often claims that their ranks have no such identity of nationality, race, language, colour, etc. – only the faith binds them.

Dhaka restaurant attack: <the arguments were changing as the apologists struggled to find the best one>

Gun control argument doesn’t work here in Dhaka as the terrorists used knives and machetes. Provocation or hurt sentiments work neither, as the guests at restaurant were not involved in any outrageous act (unless eating in the holy month of Ramadan was that act; but even the terrorists have not said that, so I hope the apologists won’t invent such arguments).

The apologists tried to use the argument they had used during Istanbul attack – terrorists have targeted a Muslim majority country, so it has got nothing to do with religion – but that argument soon fell flat when it turned out that the terrorists let go off the people who could recite verses of the Quran (same had happened during 26/11 also; Muslim Turkish couple was let go by the Jihadis. Same during a Hotel Siege by Boko Haram.)

But the apologists are creative; they came up with a new argument – what kind of Muslims kill during the holy month of Ramadan?

I don’t know! But in 624 AD, the first Holy War (Jihad) under the leadership of Prophet was waged on Non-Muslims of Mecca during the month of Ramadan. It’s celebrated as the Battle of Badr.

Direct Action Day, which led to widespread riots and killings across India before partition, was announced by Muslim League on August 16th, 1946; during Ramadan. In fact, Muslim League mentioned the Battle of Badr as inspiration.

The statement by Muslim League

muslim-league

Apart from these, there is a long list of battles and wars that were carried out by Islamic nations and Muslim groups in the month of Ramadan.

Therefore, violence and killings in the month of Ramadan is not really as “unislamic” as the apologists would like you to believe.

Now if you counter such arguments with facts and logic, the apologists would say that these would lead to spike in hate crimes against Muslims. Apart from explaining how “it has got nothing to do with religion” they must resist Islamophobia.

But dear apologists, attacks in Paris, Orlando, Brussels, Istanbul or Dhaka don’t lead to Islamophobia, intersection of ISIS beliefs with state laws in so called moderate Islamic countries do.

Heads of these republics condemn ISIS saying it doesn’t represent Islam, yet they share the same beliefs and give the same treatments to gays, apostates and blasphemers.

How can it be that when ISIS kills gays, blasphemers, apostates, or “kuffars”, it is perversion of Islam, but when Islamic republics like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Mauritiana, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria, Qatar, do it, it is moderate version of Islam?

How come the Extremists of ISIS and Moderates in Islamic countries reach the same “misinterpretations” of the book in matters regarding Blasphemy, Apostasy, Homosexuality, and some other aspects of the faith?

When 250,000 Muslims out of about 24 million in Malda or 100,000 in Muzaffarnagar march out asking for death to Kamlesh Tiwari, yes, it gives rise to Islamophobia. It’s terrifying because 2.5 lakh ‘normal people’ from one district are sharing the same beliefs with ISIS, with regards to punishment for blasphemy. That’s about 10% of total Muslims in that district.

But if one of them joins ISIS tomorrow, and kills Kamlesh Tiwari, we will say that he got self-radicalised. That he is a lone wolf, a misguided youth. We will start asking questions about what radicalised him. Babri, Gaza, Iraq, 2002, and the list will go on.

We will forget the placard he carried during the procession that said, “Rasool e Gustakhi ki Sazaa, Sir tan se Juda!” (beheading is the punishment for insulting the prophet).

Islamic State is not a State. It’s an idea, shared by many more than we would like to admit due to fear of being politically incorrect. It’s the same idea that led to Partition of India. It’s the same idea that leads to terrorists attacks virtually every second day. And it has been this way for the past 1400 years and will remain so unless we shed the political correctness and discuss the problem with the idea.

“It has got nothing to do with religion” is a clever way to end the discussion, and unfortunately 99% of all the arguments after terror attacks are on similar lines.

(Via OpIndia)

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