Today, Islam is under scanner owing to so many voices stating that the religion advocates violence. Not all of them can be wrong as people judge by what they see and today these terrorists speak and act violently in the name of Islam.
Jaipur, Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad like many others are global cities and the terrorism that struck here, too, is a global phenomenon. As a human being and an Indian Muslim, I literally wept over the needless deaths of those who died or were maimed while shopping during the beginning of the summer break.
Kafeel in Glasgow, Mumbai blasts by Memons and others in India, the jehadis in Kashmir, 9/11, 7/7 (London), 13/12 (Delhi), 29/10 (Delhi) and the Al-Qaeda at a global level - all these make my head go down in shame as a Muslim.
Muslims must come out openly against terrorist outfits like Hu-JI (Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islam), Lashkar-e-Taiba, Al-Qaeda, Harkat-ul-Ansar, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Sipah-e-Sahaba and others - all committed to desecrate peaceful coexistence and harmony.
The jehadis have been slaughtering innocent lives at railway stations, bus stops, trains, airplanes, temples and markets. The ideologically networked jehadis kill without mercy, specialize in suicide attacks and when cornered fight to the finish. They derive their strength from Al- Qaeda.
These radical jehadis are part of an intricate web of nationalist insurgent groups that act autonomously and are difficult to track down. From 9/11 US to 29/10 and 13/12 Delhi, theirs is a bloody tale of hate and kill.
Many of the terrorists acting in the name of Islam cite Kashmir, Palestine, Chechnya, Iraq and Afghanistan to justify the killing of innocent lives. They have lost their moral compass. For them, anyone who does not agree with their point of view is an infidel and should be eliminated.
They are able to misinterpret verses from the Quran to justify their heinous designs. Muslims must separate themselves from 'Muslim' terrorism.
The word jehad comes from its Arabic root 'jahada' meaning 'to struggle'. The word jehad has been so badly misused both by some wayward Muslim terrorists and Islam-baiters that it has completely lost its meaning.
Jehad is essentially a struggle against evil, both within and beyond us. Jehad-e-Akbar (The Greater Jehad) is a complete surrender to the Will of Allah. It calls for a total subjugation of ego and anger.
The SIMI (Students Islamic Movement of India), the rhetoric of Shahi Imam Bukhari, fanatics in Coimbatore and Maharashtra, the calls for jehad and the distribution of inflammatory posters have enraged middle class Hindus.
Minor issues like a few Muslim leaders opposing the singing of the national song "Vande Mataram" on national occasions add fuel to the fire increasing animosity between the two communities in India.
Those who kill innocents have nothing to do with Islam. Sura Al-Baqr (Verse: 114) in the Quran states that Allah dislikes those who indulge in arson, loot and killings. Sura Al-Kafirun (Chapter: 30) mentions "Lakum dinokum waley yadeen" (You follow your religion; let them follow theirs).
Islam rejects violence in all its forms, but the jehadis take the terror path without bothering about the impact it can have on a common Muslim by making him the usual suspect. They don't read those verses that declare that taking the life of even one innocent individual means killing whole humanity.
The jehadis use those verses from the Quran that are 'contextual' and by twisting and bending them they act self-deceivingly as human bombs. Islam has no room for suicide. There are many verses in the Quran that are 'contextual', in the sense that they are the verses used during a war and are not of a general nature.
Take for example the verse, "Slay the pagans wherever you find them, seize them, beleaguer them, lie in wait for them with every stratagem" (Chapter: 9, Verse: 5).
No doubt these verses call upon the believers to fight with determination against perpetrators and all odds, and these are not necessarily against non-Muslims. If taken out of context, they might appear to advocate violence; misguided Muslims are doing exactly that.
According to the Khwaja Iftekhar Ahmed, an Islamic scholar and president Inter Faith harmony Foundation of India, what is so abominable is that the extremists select these (some 20) verses only to express 'righteousness' to act 'righteously'. Frankly speaking, to a common Muslim, it is abhorrent to attach such acts to the teachings of Prophet Mohammed, who is known to be merciful not only to Muslims but the whole humanity.
The so-called jehadis have no right to misinterpret the verses to suit their dastardly machinations.
Jaipurites with characteristic calm have got on with life despite the blasts on Tuesday evening at Manak Chowk, Sanganeri Gate Hanuman Mandir, Jauhri Bazaar, Tripoliya, Chhoti Chaupar and Chandpole Hanuman Mandir. Curfew was clamped. Fortunately, there was no backlash. Muslims are at a crucial point. It has been observed that ordinary Muslims in many countries have turned away from militancy after they witnessed what was done in their name and what it did in turn to their communities.
We have seen this in Egypt and in Algeria. The need of the hour in cities like Jaipur, Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai is that the moment the community observes any suspicious people living in their neighborhood, they must, without delay, inform the police.
Muslim voices of sanity are not heard loudly. Even the London Muslims while condemning the July 7 killings added a 'but' (root cause) to it, as if they were justifying the murders.
We have to agree in principle that killing of innocents cannot be justified irrespective of race, religion, place or ethnicity. Many are also guilty of not speaking out against the unjust acts of Muslims against non-Muslims.
These jehadis prefer the Muslim ghettos as nobody is bothered as to what activities are going on. Besides, in Muslim 'mohallas', these jehadis offer a handsome rent and the landlord falls for the bait realizing the truth only when anti-terrorist squads surround his house. These neighborhoods serve jehadis as water to the fish. It is also important that the Muslim community itself develops a broad range of tactics from traditional counter-terrorists methods to softer more sophisticated strategies to destroy this jehadi trend.
A liberal Muslim must check a communalist Muslim and a communal Hindu be checked by a liberal Hindu. Muslim voices of sanity aren't loudly heard. There shouldn't be "ifs" and "buts" while condemning terror acts. We have to agree to the principle that killings of innocents cannot be justified irrespective of race, religion, place or ethnicity.
(Firoz Bakht Ahmed is a commentator on social and educational issues. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)