Intro : Islam is the bottom-floor root cause of Islamic terrorism. Muslims of India are fortunate that they are residing in India with Hindus, a more tolerant community.
The fights and killings had been part and parcel of Islam during its propagation and are continuing till date wherever it is being practised. It can be easily realised that more than half of Muslim countries are facing intense group clashes and civil war like situations, specifically in West Asia; here, the fighting groups are broadly divided in Sunnis and Shias besides existence of ISIS and al-Qaeda. Owing to the aforesaid reasons, there has been lot of bloodshed and mass killings in West Asia countries in last four years which has led many people to take refuge in other countries as they are forced to undergo misery and sufferings. The situation in India’s neighbour Pakistan is also not better either.
Let us take a close look at the present situation in the Muslim countries.
If we do not confine ourselves up to say last 300 to 400 years, the conditions may be understood explicitly. Let us start with Afghanistan wherein during 1747, Ahmed shah Durrani, the founder of what is known as Afghanistan, established his rule. His Empire included present day Pakistan and Kashmir. During his rule, there were wars between Durrani Empire and Sikhs in the region what is Pakistan today and later two Afghan wars occurred till 1880. Later on there were wars and treaties with British and Germans including the third Afghan war up to 1921.
Till 1976, there had been lot of tension between Afghanistan and Pakistan and even Durand line was drawn in between them as a border, however, it was seldom honoured. Between 1978 and 1989, Russia interfered and there was communist regime. After 1989, Mujahideen captured it and there were factional fighting among Mujahedeen groups to take control of Afghanistan.
By 1994, Taliban emerged and established their government in 1997 and quickly was recognised by Pakistan, UAE, Saudi Arabia, however, it was in turmoil as USA involved itself in the war against Taliban, and till date Afghanistan is under disturbed conditions because of frequent attacks by Taliban and al-Qaeda in the region and has witnessed killing of around 2.5 lakh people during the last decade.
Now let us discuss about Pakistan which has been categorised as the 8th most dangerous country in the world. Its support to Jihadi groups and growth of Jihadi culture in the country has created socio-religious turmoils, and has created more than 20 ethnic and sectarian terrorist groups like Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hizbul Mujahideen,Harat-ul-Ansar, Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM), Taliban and many others. The state institutions like Judiciary are weak and corrupt, and their legislature is non-functioning. There has been blood shedding on regular basis where in thousands have lost their lives and in addition in the latest US-led war there has been loss of about 81,000 lives the in last decade. In times to come, how Pakistan will emerge from this forced fight against terrorism will depend on its military, political and religious leadership.
Similarly, Bangladesh’s political and economic development continues to be hampered by the forces of jihad, radicalism, partisan fighting and corruption. The radical Harkut-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) is thought to have ties with al-Qaeda and is thought to have been behind an assassination attempt on Sheikh Hasina-She is the current Prime Minister of Bangladesh, in office since January 2009. She previously served as Prime Minister from 1996 to 2001. She escaped an assassination attempt in Dhaka which resulted in the deaths of 21 party supporters in 2004.
Now if we come to J&K, a Muslim majority state of India, things have not been very different from the conditions existing in the Muslim world, but thanks to Indian Army who have been able to control the situation here. There have been changes in J&K regimes from Turkish to Mughals to Afghans to Dogras and then came Sheikh Abdullah’s regime during 1951. However, J&K had been in deep turmoil in 1990s because of activities of secessionist forces like J&K Liberation Front and Hurriyat Conference who are clearly responsible for exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir.
Considering the turmoil in Syria, it is the worst sufferer amongst all West Asian countries: About two million people from Syria have taken refuge in other countries because of fighting taking place between Bashar al-Assad’s government forces, al-Qaeda, ISIS and Kurds. On daily basis, fight is on in public places and people are dying and getting injured in large numbers. The present circumstances also do not offer any hope about the ending of sufferings of Syrian people in near future.
Similarly affected is Iraq wherein ISIS took a lot of area under their control initially, however, the Kurds community that fought bravely recovered most of their areas from ISIS, and now the forces of Iraqi army in an offensive has also taken back some of the areas from ISIS. Basically, Iraq’s population is divided in three major groups, the Shias, the Sunnis, and the Kurds. And the Shias are in majority. During the time of Prime Minister Nuri al-Malik (an Iraqi politician who was Prime Minister of Iraq from 2006 to 2014), also a staunch Shia, the ISIS was powerful as Sunnis had allegiance with them, however after Haider al-Abadi replaced him in 2014, the anger of Sunnis against Iraq’s regime has subsided and has led to successful march of Iraq Army over ISIS. (The number of persons killed in Iraq during the last decade because of US-led wars has reached to about more than one million.)
In another situation what we see today is that after the intervention of Saudi Arabia in Yemen, its situation has gone from bad to worse as the war between Houthis, the Shia rebels and Saudi forces has got further intensified. After the Houthi rebels took control of two third of Yemen after having fought with Sunni tribals and forces, Yemen’s embattled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi had to fled the nation to save his life.
On the other hand in Egypt, the situation has though improved to some extent after facing disturbances for last four years, the situation in Libya and Philistine is no better as ISIS and al-Qaeda are engaged in fighting in Libya, Philistine because of their old enmity with Israel.
In African countries like Nigeria and Somalia, Boko Haram and Al Shabab respectively, have shown their allegiance to ISIS, and have continued their terrorist activities uninterruptedly by killing people at their will. The critical analysis, as presented above, clearly indicates that most of the Muslim countries are in turmoil and their inhabitants are really undergoing unbearable sufferings and butchery. However, happenings at these places reveal that the Muslims of India are fortunate for living in India with Hindus, a more tolerantcommunity rather than with their fellow community of Shias and Sunnis. Had the Muslims been in majority in India, things would have been very different, as is seen in Kashmir which never stays in peace.
Surendra Kr Gupta (The writer is ex-General Manager of BHEL New Delhi)