Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Winds of War: A Tale of Two Jihads

India is struggling with its own Islamist factions in the country. Recently, Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat has expressed concern over growing militancy in the country and called for an action plan to deal with the problem.

The problem?

He said the problems of militancy and naxalism would not be solved until the political system improves or a coalition government continues to pull in different directions on issues of national importance. Shekhawat made these observations on Monday evening while releasing a book, ‘Global Jihad: Current Patterns and Future Trends’, written by Rajeev Sharma, a senior journalist with The Tribune, who has been covering strategic affairs or long.

“If people in Pakistan read the book, they will at least realise that Jihad is not a religion,” said Shekhawat. “They (some people in Pakistan) have been holding the delusion that if somebody attacks a temple in India or the Indian Parliament, it is jihad,” he added. This book will help you understand terrorism and see the cover it has got in the guise of religion.’’

OK. So far so good. His solution?

He said the chunk of the population is jobless and this is very humiliating and frustrating for the youth. He said it is this joblessness that fires the youth to join Ranbir Sena in Bihar or some mafia. ``If you call Jihad a clash of civilisation, it will not sort out the problem.’’

The same old liberal line. It’s the poor downtrodden youth with no future who are responsible for the terrorism.

Or is it?

Between 2001 and 2003, a French academic named Farhad Khosrokhavar interviewed terror detainees in French prisons, including 10 suspected members of al Qaeda and 4 other Islamic radicals. His interviews and commentary have now been published in a French book, Quand Al-Qaida Parle, "When al Qaeda Speaks." Khosrokhavar's research suggests that al Qaeda has something very different to say from what most of us would expect to hear.

1) The terror suspects in French custody are not poor and not unsophisticated. One of them warns Khosrokhavar against the risks of using invalid sampling techniques in his research! The most radical are also the most privileged.

2) These French radicals tend almost never to come from religious families. Their religion is self-taught, and largely self-invented.

3) The pre-eminent target of their hatred is not the United States or Israel, but France. In fact, they know almost nothing about the United States or Israel - and what they do know, comes not from al Jazeera, but from the French media: Almost none of them speak Arabic.

Pretty interesting, huh? Here’s more.

Europeans across the political spectrum share a belief that their comfortable lives have been jeopardized by an American-imposed "war on terror" that has radicalized their Muslim populations. Khosrokhavar's research suggests exactly the opposite conclusion: It is the failure of European societies to assimilate their Muslim migrants that creates a security threat for America.

Shekhawat & Khosrokhavar seem to be living on two different planets.

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1 Comments:

  • Historically, radicals and revolutionaries have been men who were born to at least some degree of affluence, but whose status had not risen to a level they thought adequate. So their solution is to say "Well, if this society does not appreciate how great I am, I will rip it down and replace it with a society that will better appreciate me

    By Blogger Papa Bear, at 7:18 AM  

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