No link between religion, terrorism: seminar participants


New Delhi : Speakers from across the socio-political spectrum participating in a conference on "Islam and Terrorism" Saturday opined that terrorism cannot be linked to any religion and many of them attributed the rise of the phenomenon to "western imperial interests".

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Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Jaswant Singh of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said terrorism has developed among certain sections "to combat the US' 'dadagiri' (highhandedness)", but cautioned that "we don't have to harm anyone" in this fight.

Added Tarlochan Singh, another BJP MP and former chairman of the National Minority Commission: "suppression and oppression of the youth is behind terrorism… it is the media which says 'a Sikh terrorist'. I never say a Muslim terrorist. I am very clear that no qaum (comunity) encourages terrorism. But certain groups are behind it."

Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal said "Islam, I know, explicitly forbids targeting women, children, the aged and the defenceless. Islam means peace, so how can Islam encourage terrorism?

"I don't think any man of God can kill innocent people. A person who is a terrorist could belong to any religion," the minister told the conference organised by the Jama Masjd United Forum.

Among others who addressed the meet were Muzaffar Husain Beg, leader of Jammu and Kashmir's ruling coalition partner People's Democratic Party (PDP), Andhra Pradesh Mines Minister Shabir Ali and social activist Swami Agnivesh.

Beg recalled that in modern times British colonialism and neo-imperialism contributed in a big way to the rise of terrorism among the Muslims.

"The first instance of terrorism was faced by Islam at the hands of Kharjis (those excommunicated from Islam). The word assassin also comes from similar attempts by internal saboteurs against Islamic rulers," he said.

Beg blamed "the US support for authoritarian regimes in the Muslim countries, working consciously to throttle democracy" as one of the major reasons for the rise of terrorism in many Muslim-majority countries while debunking American political scientist Samuel Huntington's famous "Clash-of-Civilisations" thesis.

Beg admitted that sections of Kashmiri youth, mainly poor and unemployed, subjected to suppression and oppression "got sucked into terrorism" but added that there are also "Muslims from across the world earlier used as tools by the US in its fight against communists," who are also active in the valley.