MidweekSpecial: In Quest of a Terrorist-Free World by Isiaq ‘Deji Hammed
The issue of terrorism has become a recurring decimal in our contemporary world. For over a decade now, It is mostly the dominant news items in every breaking news on mass media. This bothers the mind and elicits questions. Who are these terrorists? What factor(s) explain(s) their terrible acts? How did we get here? Is there any hope of an end in sight to these unending bloodsheds?
I will address these questions not as a security expert or scholar on terrorism and terrorist groups, but a passionate observer and a peace-lover. I have been following terrorist activities around the world with keen interest and analytical mind. Without minding whose ox is gored, I will concentrate more on Jihadist related terrorist acts. I shall see beyond the various propaganda peddled by groups with vested interests and the hollow, almost empty attack and counter-attack rhetorics from different people of different faiths.
In trying to proffer answers to our earlier-raised questions, we observed that of the greatest calamities that have befallen our world or the human race is to see evil not as evil but to see it from a diversionary or delimitational prism. Somebody engages in theft, the next thing that comes to our mind is to find his name and categorize him. Oh, Chinedu. He is an Ibo thief. The Ibos are like that. Oh, Paul. No wonder, he is a Deeper Life Christian. Oh Umar, he is a Muslim terrorist. Muslims are just like that…
Unfortunately, such unwarranted preconceived notions, assumptions and generalizations have done us more evil than good. By threading that diversionary path, we have not been able to put a halt to social vices plaguing our common existence. Remove the adjectival appellations (ethnic and religious colorations) and we could have collectively dealt with Chinedu -the thief, the extremist Paul and Umar-the terrorist. Better still, the most honorable and effective reaction that would have yielded optimal result for our collective humanity is our unity against the forces of evil. Let’s dare to even care less about the names. We must all deal with this thief, this extremist and this terrorist in our midst.
Having said that, who are these so called *Islamic* terrorists and what could their motives be? Who backs them and fuels their annihilating machinery? Needless to state here that terror or terrorism is not, has never been and will never be the exclusive preserve of a faith or race. A simple Google search will reveal the terrible terrors in Fascism, Nazism, Apartheid, Holocaust and atrocities perpetrated by groups like the Seleka forces, the Anti-Balaka Militia, The Lord’s Resistance Army etc.
Don’t mind the dichotomy rhetoric between terror and terrorism, between religious and non-religious terrorism. Terror is terror, and terrorism is terrorism. Just as evil is evil. It has no two names. Without digressing from the nucleus of our discourse here, *Islamic terrorists* can be classified in to four.
The first category are those who are being described as “Les fous de Dieu” in the French editorials. These are those who have radicalized and who believe that they must spread their own version of Islam through violent means. Their every act goes against the very basic tenets of the religion they seek to impose on others. Qur’an 2 Vs 256 states: ” There is no compulsion in religion”.
Commenting on his official Facebook page, Tariq Ramadan, the grandson of Hassan Albana, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt, and Professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University has this to say about the ISIS in Iraq and Syria:
What the Jihadi extremists are doing in northern #Iraq is hateful and anti-Islamic. Mistreating Christians and removing crosses from churches is a clear betrayal of Islamic principles. These men, supposedly acting in the name of Islam, must be confronted, first, by the Muslims from around the world, determined to denounce them (and those who control them), condemn their behaviour and resist their actions, in the very name of Islam. This is our dignity, this is our duty. And, of course, we must also condemn what they do to their fellow Muslims and all the people of other faith, without exception.
The second category are the State-sponsored or -tolerated terrorists. A mere critical analysis of the ammunition, coordination and sophistication of some so labeled *Islamist* terrorist organizations reveals the financial and logistic backing, tacit support and approval they get from some Western powers and their Arab allies. We all watched probably without questioning when some Syrian rebel groups were being armed by foreign nations in other to topple Bashar Assad’s regime.
The ISIS, Al Nusra Front and some other radical groups benefited directly or indirectly by laying their hands on these dangerous weapons. Hillary Clinton confessed in an interview sometimes ago the CIA created the Al-Qaeda network in Afghanistan to counter the Russian influence. In so doing, they even funded, trained and armed the Mujjahidins.
The third comprises of the ignoramuses Muslims who are easily brainwashed and manipulated. They are as gullible as they believe there is a *shortcut to make heaven*. In a funny picture that a Facebooker posted sometimes ago, a supposed *Islamist* suicide-bomber wore a metallic underpants so as to protect and preserve his manhood for the seventy virgins when he arrived in heaven. The simplest understanding of Islam should have revealed to that ignorant suicide-bomber that our physical body on earth and the one in heaven are not the same. And that any Muslim who commits suicide in Islam is liable to go to hell, not to talk of killing innocent people unjustly.
The last category are those I tagged as *The-Pushed-to-the-Wall*. A number of times, we push people to react violently by being unjust and oppressive towards them. And again, this has no religious undertone. It is simply natural. Even animals in the jungle are not left out. We resist with whatever means or technique we could amass. Just like the Yoruba proverbial goat that turns back and bite when pushed to the wall, the Niger Delta militants, the black South Africans during Apartheid (remember that Mandela’s ANC used to be on the US terrorist blacklist) and just like the Al Qasam Brigade and Hamas (of course they are more or less entirely Muslims).
Hypocritically, the West-dominated mainstream media tag some people *Islamic terrorists* when they are Muslims but *Freedom Fighters* when they are whites or non-Muslims. The Israeli Government even equates Palestinian fighters in Gaza with ISIS in Iraq and Boko Haram in Nigeria. Gideon Levy, an Israeli journalist who has written extensively on the brutality and inhumanity of the Israeli occupation affirms in a documentary:
Terrorism is a weapon used by the weak. It is a terrible weapon and I am completely against it. But I understand where it comes from. It comes from despair.
Muslims must as a matter of urgency and divine responsibility engage the redeemable members of various Islamic sects in intellectual discourse as regards the true and acceptable ideals of Islam. And this is in line with the Qur’anic injunction:
Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and good instruction, and argue with them in a way that is best. Indeed, your Lord is most knowing of who has strayed from His way, and He is most knowing of who is [rightly] guided.” Qur’an 16 Vs 125
As for those who are irredeemable, it is incumbent that we fight against them, just like the first Caliph of Islam, Abu Bakr, fought against the sect which entered into heresy by denying and refusing to pay Zakat, one of the pillars of the Islamic faith. This is because they are hydra-headed evil that does nobody any good. They destroy even the name of the religion they claim to defend, they destroy themselves and they destroy innocent human beings.
Muslims and non-Muslims alike must rise up together above double-standard and hypocrisy and unite against the forces of evil (both the instigators and the instigated) that seek to always put the human race at loggerheads through falsehood and deceit. Fairness and justice must also be upheld for humanity to know peace. Verily, the terrorist’s bomb does not discriminate. It destroys us all.