6 January 2017, Fri

Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami’s views on terrorism

Bangladesh Jamaate Islami has been eloquently declaring that Islam has no connection with terrorism. Hence the Jamaate Islami is opposed to all forms of terrorism. The following treatise of Maulana Motiur Rahman Nizami, Ameer of Bangladesh Jamaate Islami has clearly voiced the views of the Jamaate Islami on this issue :

Islam is the only complete code of life, prescribed by Allah and exemplified by Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It aims at ensuring peace, well being and security of human beings, irrespective of nationality, creed, colour and religion. Islam guarantees justice fulfilling the basic needs and establishing rights of all people belonging to all walks of life. Islam does not fulfil the basic needs and does not protect the basic human rights only of those who accept it but also of those who refrain from accepting it.

Islam provides opportunity to all to observe freely their religious rites and rituals and creates a congenial atmosphere for peaceful co-existence.

Allah has granted freedom to all human beings either to accept Islam or not. He has forbidden to apply force to convert any one to Islam.

Allah says in the Quran: وَقُلِ الْحَقُّ مِن رَّبِّكُمْ فَمَن شَاء فَلْيُؤْمِن وَمَن شَاء فَلْيَكْفُرْ - [Surah Al-Kahf : 29] 'Say : The truth is from your Lord. Then whosoever wills, let him believe, and who soever wills, let him disbelieve.' Allah, in another verse of the Quran, says : إِنَّا هَدَيْنَاهُ السَّبِيلَ إِمَّا شَاكِرًا وَإِمَّا كَفُورًا - [Surah Ad-Dahr : 3] ‘Verily I have shown him the way : then he becomes either thankful or ingrate.' In another verse of the Quran Allah says more eloquently- لاَ إِكْرَاهَ فِي الدِّينِ قَد تَّبَيَّنَ الرُّشْدُ مِنَ الْغَيِّ- [Surah Al-Baqara : 256] ‘No compulsion is there in religion. Verily the right path has become distinct from the wrong path.'

This verse of the Quran clearly states that the duty and responsibility of the prophets and their followers are to show the true path as a separate one from the wrong path and present it to the people with super excellent argumentation. They have not been assigned the duty to force others to accept Islam. Allah has warned His prophet (peace be upon him) through the following verses :

فَذَكِّرْ إِنَّمَا أَنتَ مُذَكِّرٌ oلَّسْتَ عَلَيْهِم بِمُصَيْطِرٍ- [Surah Al-Ghashiyah : 21, 22] ‘Admonish you then, you are but an admonisher. You are not over them a warden.’ In fact, the prophets (peace be upon them), in ages, called upon the people to Islam, as their loving friends, trustworthy well-wishers and sincere admonishers. They faced stiff opposition and they were subjected to a variety of oppression and persecution. Nevertheless, they did not try to take revenge.

Some of them had to wage war, of course, when they were blessed with state power, in order to relieve the oppressed humanity from the grip of oppressors and to ensure peace. The wars they conducted aimed at the establishment of peace, welfare, justice and the protection of life, property and honour of humanity.

Islamic ideology, education, culture, history or tradition do not have the slightest connection with terrorism that we see today. Despite this, unfortunately, under a special circumstance now-a-days, when the potentiality of the rise of Islam flickers, some derailed and unscrupulous persons bearing muslim names have chosen the path of terrorism for the establishment of Islam and thereby have pushed the probable rise of Islam and the muslim ummah to a precarious situation.

To speak the truth the materialist civilization is now on the verge of collapse. The prospect of the rise of Islam has frightened the vested interests and they have started to hatch conspiracies against Islam and the muslim ummah. To actualize their conspiracies, they need a favourable situation. The terrorists bearing muslim names have been creating the favourable situation for the conspirators who intend to crackdown on the muslim ummah.

Terrorist activities are not at all compatible with the activities of preaching and establishing Islam. This is the universally reconized identity of the muslim ummah. This fact is well known to all Islamic personalities, parties and institutions, as well as, to the muslim ummah at large. Inspite of that, a section of intellectuals having muslim names, such as members of civil society and media community, strongly backed by the zionists, has been frantically trying to implicate the Islamic movement with so-called Islamic terrorism.

The efforts for the establishment of Islam have no connection with the definition, terrorist activities seen in different ages and the form of terrorism emerged today. Terrorism aims at frightening people, by causing harm to their life and property, with a view to compelling them to accept an opinion against their will. When it takes the shape of a political stand, it means the imposition of the opinion or decision of a small group over the vast majority of the people.

Such attempt of a small group to impose its opinion on the majority by adopting fearful inhuman, barbaric and undemocratic means may be termed political terrorism, with which Islamic values, principles and teachings have no connection, at all. The Quran clearly states: إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتّى يُغَيِّرُوْا مَا بِأَنْفُسِهِمْ -ٍ [Surah Ar-Ra‘d : 11] ‘Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves.’ Muhammad, the last prophet (peace be upon him) was born in Makkah. He received the first revelations there. He continued to invite the inhabitants of Makkah to the way of Allah, for a long period of 13 years.

He devotedly preached and professed the ideology and the principles of Islam to them. But how was it that Islam became victorious first in Madinah instead of Makkah? There is only one answer to this question. The Makkans failed to accept Islam spontaneously, on the other hand the inhabitants of Madinah embraced Islam spontaneously and accepted the leadership of the prophet (peace be upon him) whole heartedly. They rallied round the prophet (peace be upon him) and laid the foundation of Islamic social system in Madinah.

By ignoring the clear guidance of the Quran and the glaring example set by the prophet (peace be upon him) one cannot dream of erecting the edifice of an Islamic state. If one does so, one does it without the approval of Islam. Such a dream can never be termed an Islamic one. Islam is in no way related to any kind of terrorism. The question of Islam’s being related to terrorism does not arise. History bears ample evidence to this assertion. In this part of my deliberation I like to dwell on the definition and brief history of terrorism, in the light of The World Book Encyclopedia 1989 Edition, pages 178, 179, with the hope that the readers shall be able to verify the truth of our claim that there is no scope to relate Islam to terrorism.

Terrorism “Terrorism is the use or threat of violence to create fear and alarm. Terrorists murder and kidnap people, set off bombs, hijack aeroplanes, set fires and commit other serious crimes. But the goals of terrorists differ from those of ordinary criminals. Most criminals want money or some other form of personal gain. But most terrorists commit crimes to support political causes. Most terrorist groups have a small number of members. They believe the threat or use of violence to create fear is the best way to gain publicity and support for their causes. Common victims of terrorist kidnappings and assassinations include diplomats, business executives, political leaders, judges and police.

Terrorists simply choose any target certain to attract newspaper or TV coverage. They often threaten to kill the hostage if their demands are not met. Bombings make up about half of all terrorist acts. Most terrorist groups fail to achieve their long range political goals.” Terrorism may cross national boundaries. A quarrel in one nation may lead to terrorist attacks in several other countries. Some governments secretly support certain terrorist groups by providing weapons, training and money for attacks in other countries.

We shall now look into the history of terrorism, described by the above mentioned Encyclopedia.
History of terrorism: “The word terrorism first appeared during the French Revolution (1789-1799 ). Some of the revolutionaries who seized power in France adopted a policy of violence against their enemies. An American group, the Ku Klux Klan used violence to terrorize blacks and their sympathizers in 1865 and during 1900's the dictators Adolf Hitler of Germany, Benito Mussolini of Italy and Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union used terrorism to discourage opposition to their governments.** Another wave of terrorism began during the 1960's. Terrorist groups that surfaced included the Red Brigades in Italy and the Red Army Faction in West Germany. Before the independence of Israel in 1948, a Jewish group used terror to speed the end of the British rule in Palestine and create a Jewish homeland. Since 1960s various Palestinian groups carried out campaign of terrorism aimed at the establishment of an independent Palestinian state. The provisional Irish Republican Army, established in 1970 used violence in its fight to rid Northern lreland of British rule. A Puerto Rican Nationalist group called FALN committed numerous bombings in US. during 1970's.*” World Book of Encyclopedia, while tracing the history of terrorism, mentioned some Palestinian groups as terrorists. And Palestine is the only muslim state where, according to that Encyclopedia, various Palestinian groups carried out campaign of terrorism. I like to discuss two points in this regard.

One Sons and daughters of Palestine have been evicted from their birth land. They fell prey to international terrorism. They did not terrorize others, rather they have been driven out from their hearth and home. They were forced to take shelter in the refugee camps in some Arab countries. They have been compelled to live in a miserable condition, year after year. During Arab-Israel war from 1948 to 1973, Egypt, Syria and Jordan played the role of Israel's opponents. At one stage, the Palestinians had to wage guerilla warfare against Israeli occupation with a view to regaing their own birth land. This role of the Palestinians is indeed a freedom fight, which in no way can be and should be termed as an act of terrorism. To call this freedom fight an act of terrorism runs counter to justice.

Two It will be sheer injustice to relate the freedom fight of the Palestinians to Islam either. Excepting the present activities of Hamas, the activities of other Palestinian groups can in no way be related to Islam. In 1960’s Al-Fatah was the main group amongst those who took part in the freedom fight under the PLO. Their ideology was nothing more than Arab nationalism. They wanted to have a free nation-state with people of all religions in Palestine. Another group called As Saeqa was inclined to leftist politics.

A group which was known to be more aggressive was named Popular Front. George Habash, an aggressive leftist Christian was its leader. Laila Khaled, a member on the Polit Bureau of this group succeeded in drawing the attention of the world by hijacking an aeroplane. This act can obviously be termed an act of terrorism. Islam or an Islamic group cannot be blamed for this. Later on Hamas called for a resistance movement in Palestine, earned people’s support and won in the election. It is strange, Al-Fatah group is acceptable to the west, but Al-Fatah group was the main group of the Palestinian guerilla fighters.

On the other hand, Hamas conducted resistance movement inside Palestine and at the same time tried to win support and sympathy of other countries, through diplomatic and political efforts. In spite of that Hamas is painted as a terrorist organisation and not an acceptable one to the West. Why so? We ask this question to the world conscience. In this sub-continent of ours the ulama (the religious leaders) stood against the British colonial rule and initiated independence movement. As the pioneers of the independence movement they fell prey to various types of torture and oppression. Some of them were deported to the Andamans. But these religious leaders did not deviate from the constitutional way. They never chose the path of terrorism. It is a fact that at one stage of the anti-British movement some persons under the leadership of Surja Sen chose the path of terrorism. They looted arms of the government. All this they did to spearhead the independence movement. History bears evidence that ulama or Islamic personalities had no connection with this group. Not a single person can be discovered from amongst the Islamic political activists who support Surja Sen. In spite of that a section of the media through media terrorism tries to implicate Islamic parties and institutions with terrorism, though in vain.

This section has specially targetted the Jamaate Islami which is a constitutional and democratic movement, based on Islamic principles. The principles which the Jamaate Islami has been following, since its inception, have not the slightest connection with terrorism. I quote here the standing principles of work incorporated in the 4th article of the constitution of Bangladesh Jamaate Islami :

1.At the time of taking a decision in any affairs the Jamaate Islami shall attach importance only to the injunctions prescribed by Allah and His messenger (peace be upon him).

2.To achieve its aims and objects the Jamaate Islami shall not adopt any ways or means which run counter to honesty, trustworthiness or which gives birth to chaos and disorder in the world.

3.To achieve its cherished social reform and to bring about a total change in society, the Jamaate Islami shall pursue the constitutional way. That means, the Jamaate Islami shall propagate its message, build up organisational network, change the thought pattern of the people and mould their character through training and mobilize the opinion of the people in its favour.

These declared standing principles of the Jamaate Islami do not remain in the pages of the constitution only, but all its activities have been conducted on the basis of these principles. If any member or any branch of the Jamaate Islami violates any of these principles, the Jamaat never hesitates to take constitutional corrective steps.

Side by side this citation from the constitution, I like to draw the attention of the readers to a part of the speech of Sayed Abul Al’a Maudoodi, founder of the Jamaate Islami, addressed to the leaders of the Islamic world, gathered in Makkah at the time of haj (pilgrimage) in June 1963 (16 Zulhijja 1382). The title of the speech was “The process of work of the Islamic movement in the Islamic World.”

This speech was very important, meaningful and significant. In his speech the Maulana presented a brief and objective analysis of the prevailing situation in the Muslim world and put forward, seven recommendations, as good as wise directives. In the seventh recommendation he categorically said that secret activities and the use of arms must not be adopted for conducting an Islamic movement. An Islamic movement and organisation must strictly be kept free from all such things.

It may be mentioned that in the 6th recommendation the Maulana advised the Islamic luminaries to adhere to patience in the truest sense of the term and to adopt appropriate strategies for ensuring the onward march of the movement. Resorting to secret activities and using arms at any stage of the movement means a deviation from the path of patience. He opined that such steps are very harmful for an Islamic movement. A true revolution can be brought about only on the basis a massive support of the people.

The Maulana adivised the leaders present to carefully avoid that harmful path and fervently asked them to try vigorously to reach the people with the message of Islam, to try hard to change their mind and mentality and to strive to win their hearts with a view to equipping them with a very high standard of moral character. He also advised them to remain undaunted and steadfast in the face of all obstacles and oppositions.

If this strategy is strictly followed, in course of time, a revolution is certain to be brought about, based on a solid foundation, with a promise to last long. A revolution which takes effect in this way cannot be uprooted by the storms created by the opponents of Islam. A revolution, quickly brought about by an artificial means, can never be an everlasting one. Rather it is bound to disappear in the same way as it appears.

The Jamaat-e-Islami has been strictly following its declared principles incorporated in its constitution. In the same way, the Jamaate Islami has been strictly and sincerely following the constitutional and democratic process in the light of the guidelines enunciated by its founder.

Those who try to implicate the Jamaate Islami with terrorism, concocting stories, are either ignorant or they do it knowingly with rancour in their minds. There is no iota of doubt about this.