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What Moily Commission says about Islam, terrorism, Deoband?

By Mumtaz Alam Falahi, TwoCircles.net

New Delhi: “Another disturbing trend is that the so-called war against terror is seen as a war against Islam. This is unjustified and terrible for the Muslims as they now face religious discrimination along with being socially underprivileged” says the report of the Administrative Reforms Commission headed by Congress party leader M Veerappa Moily.

The 185-page report titled “Combatting Terrorism Projecting by Righteousness,” which is the Eighth Report of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission headed by Veerappa Moily, has been much talked about for the last few days, thanks to the demand by Bharatiya Janata Party national general secretary Vinay Katiyar, based on a portion of the report mentioning Deoband in context of terrorism, that the most revered Islamic seminary in South Asia Darul Uloom Deoband should be banned.

The BJP leader’s demand is completely absurd as the Moily Commission does not mention Darul Uloom Deoband even once in the entire 185-page report. However, what is the base of Katiyar’s demand is a line in the report’s Chapter 3 on Terrorism in India. The line says that in 1994 a terror group leader visited India with an aim to bring reconciliation between two terror groups and the terror leader had interacted extensively with some Deoband Ulema.

“Thereafter, in January, 1994, Mohammed Masood Azhar Alvi arrived in India with the task of working out the reconciliation of the cadre of Harkat Mujahiddin and Harkat-ul Jehad Islami whose parent organizations had merged to form the Harkat-ul-Ansar. His organisation’s main objective was to liberate Kashmir from Indian rule and to establish Islamic rule in Kashmir.
He also interacted extensively with the leading figures of the Deoband Ulema,” says the subsection 3.5.1 of the Moily report which was submitted to the government on June 7, 2008. “Terrorism Based on Religious Fundamentalism” is the title of the section under Chapter 3 on Terrorism in India.

Being leading Islamic seminary in India Darul Uloom Deoband has long attracted students from all over. It is possible that some of those doing “Jihad” – in their own sense – in Kashmir, Pakistan or Afghanistan are graduates of Deoband. But it is foolish to think that the seminary has motivated them to do so. Rather, they seem to be motivated by their own geo-political factors. The seminary has nothing to do with terrorism in India or abroad. That it does not teach terrorism is a fact as its campus has always been open for all to see what is going on there. The seminary and its leaders can be described more nationalist in their approach to social and political issues in India than many others.

While the report makes it clear, as the portion quoted in the first paragraph of this story says, that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism the report cannot be said completely fair in taking up the issue of terrorism.

“The Koran is very clear: ‘let there be no compulsion in religion’. Nothing could be more explicit than this. So, the whole mythology about the spread of Islam through the sword is baseless. There is no Koranic sanctity for spreading faith with the sword” says the preface of the report.

But the report ends up clubbing terrorism with Islam and Muslims alone as it describes everywhere Muslim terrorists as Islamist terrorists. The report claims it “deals with the menace of terrorism and how India’s legal and administrative framework can be refurbished to tackle it” but it does not talk about Hindutva terrorism. Moreover, while mentioning major terrorists attacks in India the report does not talk about the terrorist attacks in which the victims have been Muslims alone.

While talking about major terrorist attacks in the country since 2001 the Moily report mentions the Parliament attack in December 2001, the attack on Akshardham temple in 2002, the killing of Haren Pandya, the former Home Minister of Gujarat State, in 2003, serial bombings in Mumbai in 2006 and Jaipur blasts in May 2008. But it is silent on September 2006 Malegaon blasts and the Mecca Masjid blasts on May 18, 2007.

Talking about terrorism based on religious fundamentalism the report singles out banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). It says: “It is important to take a look at the role played by the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) in the promotion of Islamist extremism in India.” SIMI was banned by the Government of India under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, in September, 2001. The report does not say a word about Hindutva groups which have been found involved in violence in the country.

This despite the claim of the report: “In our anti-terror strategy, if we take the human being as the focus of our collective work, we will be able to do the right thing. But if we begin from abstract ideologies and impersonal categories that divide society along various boundaries based on religion, language region etc. we may end up fighting each other and doing each other harm.”


http://arc.gov.in/8threport.pdf : Moily Commission report