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The Islamic State and the “Caliphate” of Al Baghdadi – Implications for Indian Muslims

By Dr. Ajmal,

In the last article – The Islamic State and the “Caliphate” of Al Baghdadi – Of Power, Politics & Legality , we had discussed briefly, the origins, politics and also the legality of ISIS.

To sum up, ISIS started as an Iraqi Resistance Movement against the Shite Maliki Regime, which, with active support of Saudi and others went on to become a major force. They supported ISIS in order to derive political benefit i.e. to overthrow Maliki and to reduce Qatar’s influence in Middle East, even if it meant strengthening Assad.

ISIS and al Baghdadi as the Caliphate, has not been recognized universally by major Scholars, or even other Jihadist organizations. ISIS is a powerful force today running a parallel Government. Historically there are organization who have bettered themselves after a sectarian start. Hence its future will be known only after the goals for which it was supported, i.e. overthrow of Maliki, breaking up Syrian opposition and reducing Qatar’s influence is fulfilled to some degree.

Implications for Indian Muslims

We have to realize the fact that Muslims in India are not a homogenous group, whether ideologically or politically. We have the majority Sunnis (of various sects and denominations) living peacefully with Shias (again there are within it sub groups).

Though there are ideological differences which can mimic the differences in Middle East or even in Pakistan, we have not seen similar bloodshed in India, due to Shia – Sunni clashes, which is so common these days. (It, being the core of Iraq conflict also).

The reasons primarily being that Indian Muslims, including its Scholars have been mature in dealing with the subject, leaving the issue to be dealt with dialogue, rather than fighting over it. The fact that Indian Muslims have a greater enemy, the fascist forces against whom there is almost a constant on-going battle, the Shia – Sunni strife loses its priority or importance, and rightly so.

This balance, where we agree to have a convincing dialogue on our differences rather than fight over it, is critical for the welfare of the Muslims and also the Nation in general.

Reasons for Shia Sunni Strife

The truth is, there are ideological or textual basis for the differences between Shias and Sunnis. But the state of strife leading to killings is primarily due to efforts of some countries (primarily Iran and Saudi Arabia) to export its conflict globally, so that there is a support base for their causes. With the wide use of social media and Internet, hundreds of videos of atrocities, committed by both sides, are there for all to see and get radicalized.

The harsh rhetoric from the scholars usually deals with, why the opposite group is wrong and heretical, rather than the practical aspect of how to deal with your neighbor or a friend who might be having such a belief. These reasons are just a few fanning the fire, which can engulf Indian Muslims, as we have seen in Pakistan, etc.

The Dilemma for Indian Sunnis and Shias – Scholars and the Masses

Even though Sunni Scholars and masses, might very well take Maliki as a sectarian, they have not gone on to embrace the opposite group i.e. ISIS.

Majority of scholars even in India have rejected the Caliphate out-rightly following the footsteps of international Scholars, except a few, notably Maulana Salman Nadvi, who has written an open letter of advice to them, and highlighted civilians that even if they are Shias, they are not to be killed.

The Islamic State and the Caliphate of Al Baghdadi – Implications for Indian Muslims

News of Shias being killed by ISIS and Sunnis being killed by the Maliki regime and other fighters, affects the masses. But people need to realize, the fights taking place are NOT solely based on religion, rather the war is fought for politics, for control and power, misusing religious differences.

Shia & Sunni Youths are radicalized by the internet, by online videos from various terrorist groups and lectures from their respective scholars. Local scholars have not been able to tackle it effectively, as the masses don’t see them adept with current affairs. The lack of English or even Arabic language fluency and also access to media, play a primary role in preventing them from knowing accurate information and hence reaching correct & informed conclusions.

Because of the lack knowledge on Current affairs, the opinions itself might turn out to be wrong. Rightly so Ibn Qayyim al Jawziyya (rah) has said “So if he(the scholar) does not have (a strong) comprehension in the issue, but he has knowledge of the people, then the oppressor will appear to him like the victim, and vice versa. And the truthful person will take on the appearance of the liar, and vice versa (to the point where) the plotting, deceiving and trickery will encompass him. And then the Zindîq will appear to be a Siddîq (i.e. genuine one) to him and the liar will appear to be the truthful one. And every liar wears false clothing; underneath which are sins, lies and immorality.” ([I’lâm Al-Muwaqqi’în, Vol. 4/223-224 )

One very disturbing and absurd thing which has to be mentioned is the apparent recruitment of Shia Youths in India by some organizations to fight in Iraq. Whether they actually went on to fight, is a different question, but the media space they got has polluted the atmosphere. So if Shias of India recruit youth to fight Sunni fighter in Iraq, should Sunnis also follow suit and recruit youth to fight Shia fighters in Iraq?? Do we intent to bring home the conflict??

Who Benefits from the conflict and who takes advantage of it??

Its high time people realize “who” gains from these intra muslim conflict. Like what was highlighted in the preceding article, to spread and fan out Shia-Sunni Conflict, has been an established strategy of USA post 9/11, the details of which are very clearly depicted in the documents published by the elite and powerful US Think Tank the Rand Corporation. ( http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-post-9-11-strategy-in-the-muslim-world-promote-sunni-shiite-arab-and-non-arab-divides/514 , http://www.rand.org/pubs/monograph_reports/MR1716.html, http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/MG574.html )

Not only US, the policies to promote infighting and breaking up of Muslim states into smaller entities ie Balkanisation of Middle East serves the purpose of Israel, which wants to further its goal of being the sole super power in Middle east, thereby ensuring its own security. Similarly certain Muslims countries are also playing the game of fire to further their own goals of influence and control over the Muslim world. ( http://www.globalresearch.ca/greater-israel-the-zionist-plan-for-the-middle-east/5324815 )

Leaving aside the global players, regionally there is no need to mention that the Fascist forces in India have wanted this for long. And this works in their benefit to weaken the Muslim community and further target the Muslim community in the name of terrorism.

The story of the 4 Youth from Mumbai and Aadil Dalore

The whole of last one week, Indian media attention was towards this issue, and it was prominently highlighted, that the young men form Mumbai who had gone to Iraq and disappeared, could well have gone on to join ISIS. In some article, the name of Aadil Dalore and of Islamic Guidance Centre in Kalyan, cropped up and in some accounts it was even said Aadil Dalore who sponsored or supported them, is also missing. ( http://www.mumbaimirror.com/mumbai/cover-story/Thane-bizman-radicalised-Kalyan-youth-who-joined-ISIS-funded-their-Iraq-trip/articleshow/38443604.cms )

The parents of the youth have categorically told, that their children are not extremists, but the Government and also the Media line has been to hound them as some masterminds rather than misguided and brain-washed young minds. If a person has no history of crime and all of a sudden there is a claim of him joining some terrorist organization, it is prudent to wait and analyze rather than jump to conclusions.

The Islamic State and the Caliphate of Al Baghdadi – Implications for Indian Muslims

Whatever be the story of those four twenties youth, the organization targeted was involved in Dawah activities and welfare of Muslims in general. Aaadil Dalore, the Businessman who was supposedly behind all this, and was claimed to be missing – was right in Mumbai and gave an interview to NDTV ( http://youtu.be/XB6s0QEFpLE?t=4m20s ) that, he had met those youth only few times a year and not even a single police person has asked about these youth to him until now. His reputation was tarnished by the media which didn’t know the facts and when the false claim was made in front page, the denial is tucked deep inside the 4th page!! ( http://www.mumbaimirror.com/mumbai/others/Kalyan-businessman-denies-radicalising-youth-for-jihad-in-Iraq/articleshow/38507864.cms )

It has been known that after meeting with the Police Department and clarifying, they have proceeded to launch FIR against those involved in this propaganda. ( http://youtu.be/BcejgpmT0tg?t=55s )

This targeting of an innocent man for no crimes of his, as well as a Muslim organization, seems to be the handiwork of Fascist forces, in which Media and the “Various Sources” from intelligence or security Department playing a role. This ISIS related conflict might well be used to further stigmatize and target innocent Muslims Youth.

Prudence, Patience and Priority

It is very important on the Indian Muslim community to be prudent, in knowing the various reasons and implications of these Shia-Sunni conflict going on globally including the role played by various states (Iran, Saudi Arabia, ISIS) in it.

Rather than highlighting and sensationalizing the conflict and going on a recruitment drive to send volunteers to fight in Iraq or elsewhere, patience, compassion and understanding during adversity is required.

Over all, keeping the Indian Scenario where we ourselves are beseeched by fascist forces, the Muslim Masses and the scholars need to re assess the priorities locally, rather than to just react and get radicalized by the extremism elsewhere.

(Dr.Ajmal is a Medical Doctor, and a Social Activist – with a passion for Islam and politics.)