This new adaptation to digital warfare and the rise of violent incidents in the month of Ramzan displays the rise of a new ”hate ideology” which as apologists or denialists will be shrilling from the rooftops is the ”hijacking of a peaceful religion”
Ramzan 2016 from June 6 to July 6 has been the bloodiest in modern history? This is disturbing for someone who grew up in 90s Kashmir when the Islamist factions would cease the shoot and scoot attack tactics against the Indian Army to uphold the holiness of the month in the freezing winters. That the ”cease-fire” was in respect for the hapless civilian population who had nothing but prayers to sustain them through those years of distress, grief, insanity, and brutality, romanticised the rag-tag bunch of guerrilla fighters. Shift to two decades later to the Ramzan of today and it seems incredulous that in May 2016, Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani urged supporters to “make it, with God’s permission, a month of pain for infidels everywhere.” While another online Islamist distributed a manual for using poisons, adding, “Don’t forget Ramadan is close, the month of victories.” The Islamist militant group Hamas called on Muslims to make Ramzan a “month of jihad.”
According to Maajid Nawaz, founder of Quilliam, a counter-jihad foundation, jihadis, beginning with Hamas, have developed a teaching that Ramzan is an ordained “month of Jihad,” basing this claim on their interpretation of the Battle of Badr, which occurred during Ramadan. From the ‘knife intifada’ in Israel to the Ataturk Airport bombings, to the Baghdad bombing of Sunday, Saudi bombings yesterday and the Bangladesh eatery hostage brutality, Ramzan is the month that has now been ordained by the violent factions as the month for a global war. Of course, violence occurs on a daily basis across countries – killings, assaults, murders, stabbings, drive-by shootings, disappearances, kidnappings, and so on. We are a warring species and it takes very less for that hypothalamus of ours to activate our flight or fight instinct of millions of years.
But now it is obvious that there is a sustained import of ”hate ideology” and that it stems from a fountainhead of Wahhabi/Salafist thought which has headquarters in the Middle East and is funded by oil-smeared petrodollars along with the backing of certain Western politicians. So it can be concluded that a war is being raged against a pluralistic way of life, a democratic culture, and/or multicultural civilizations. It is a war against infidels, ‘kafir‘, the ”other”, apostates, ex-Muslims, or liberal/secular ones too. That it isn’t a huge war like the previous Great Wars of the 20th century should not fool anyone. It just means today wars can be confined to conflict geographic regions with advanced military technology focusing on minimal damage to life and property as much as is possible with minimal collateral damage.
The nature of this war against pluralistic civilizations is also different in the sense that recruitment for new fighters can be done through the dissemination of propaganda literature and videos through social networking sites and sleeper cells can be monitored and directed online for terror attacks. There has to be no face to face meetings, no risks involving safe houses except at the last stage of the execution of terror plots when the ammunition and explosives need to be stored. Which further means up to the last moment there is absolutely no way that intelligence agencies can be aware of a plot taking place. This new adaptation to digital warfare and the rise of violent incidents in the month of Ramzan displays the rise of a new ”hate ideology” which as apologists or denialists will be shrilling from the rooftops is the ”hijacking of a peaceful religion.”
It doesn’t seem obvious to the apologia/moderates that the jihadis of ISIL/Taliban/Al Qaeda are stripping down their ”peaceful message” to cherry picked violent verses (which are a part of the holy text) and using them to justify their actions. The apologia/denialists need to scream hoarser that the text is infallible and can be used harmfully by those who don’t stand for humanity and who possess the base natural instinct of greed, power, and lust – the cardinal sins against which humanity has been repeatedly warned of, be it in the Abrahamic religions or the polytheistic ones. The apologia/moderates could very easily out-shout, out-scream, and out-fox the Islamo-fascists like Anjem Choudharys, Zakir Naiks, Orya Maqbool Jans and those at CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood but in defending their beloved texts as the one true word of God they are actually upholding the rogue states and rogue preachers who have ”hijacked” their beloved ”peaceful message”. That would have been the actual jihad.
It is also a fact that the depraved versions of all religions attract the most depraved minds – psychopaths, sociopaths and smart dysfunctional individuals whom you generally don’t notice amidst you or who have blended into the social landscape until the bodies are dug up in the backyard or the bomb goes off and the investigations begin. One has only to read about the methods of confessions during the ”Spanish Inquisition” and the brutalities of ISIS and see how texts can be twisted to justify psychopathology. Also, it is a fallacy that only poverty-stricken individuals fall for jihadi factories. Though the various documented and research studies into the terror networks have shown how orphans from various conflict zones and wars are the first to be brainwashed and inducted into the propagandist recruitment cycle, the identities of the latest Bangladesh terrorists reveals the opposite end of the spectrum of jihadis. Unless the above point is true – psychopaths attracted to Islamist ideology.
It wasn’t always so. Despite conservative families while growing up who insisted that we pray five times a day even if it meant the fear of God, nagging and outright beating for dawn prayers and proper recitation of the Quran, we were not taught hate ideologies. The Hindu or the infidel was not someone whom you hated or could not break bread with. Though the LGBTs were laughed at and ridiculed, nobody called for their deaths and certainly no acid was thrown on those who did not want to wear the hijab. Mid 1980s and early 90s everything changed in a very subtle, gradual way and it took years to realize what the subcontinent had become, courtesy the digital warfare of ideology. For us, a Jamaat relative meant a pious man who had withdrawn from the lures of the world, who didn’t bother which teenager was doing what as long as they stayed out of the way of his prayers and fasting.
But these days the ”hate ideology” is prevalent in homes and households across South Asia. There is an increased ”ghettoisation” of communities with Muslim colonies, and Hindu societies and Sikh mohallas coming up in every nook and corner, whether urban or rural settlements. The Partition is not a distant memory for us. The terror of mobs suddenly descending in the dead of night with swords and ‘mashaals’ (flame torches) still gives nightmares to people every time a miscreant throws a pig’s head near a mosque or a Muslim man marries a Hindu woman and is accused of ”love jihad”. It is this hatred for the ”other”, this hatred for diversity, this intolerance of difference that is now subverting the month of Ramzan that used to cease hostilities in war. It is the success of digital warfare that is now attracting elite, urban well-educated psychopaths to kill in the name of God. The great wars of the 21st century are being fought with stealth and subversion.
Author: Arshia Malik (Pakistan)