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Terrorism: Facts Versus Myths

By Ram Puniyani

01 November, 2006


The current times are full of insane acts of terror. All over the globe and also in India acts of violence by political groups seeking justice or revenge are dime a dozen. Not a month passes when one does not hear about the death of innocents in one more such act in one or the other corner of the globe. Many a times one can make the correlations, which tell us the cause of terror, the underlying group involved. The recent Mumbai blasts, 11th July 2006 took place in the first class compartment of the Western railways. Prior to this the blasts in Mumbai took place in 2002, immediately in the aftermath of Gujarat violence, and the earlier one’s taking place in 1993 were in the aftermath of Mumbai carnage. On 8th August 2006, two blasts took place outside a Masjid in Malegaon, Maharashtra killing over 40 people.

The attack on Afghanistan and than on Iraq later was followed by acts of terror in Spain, Madrid and in London. All these countries incidentally were the one’s who had been allies of US in its invasion of Iraq. In India various such acts have been sometimes been related to Kashmir issue, sometimes with the overall attacks and intimidation of minorities. On 11th July when Mumbai was rocked by the blasts, the same day saw the blasts in Kashmir and the next day one heard of blasts in Sri Lanka, forcing South Africa to withdraw from the trilateral series. One keeps hearing of the acts of violence in North East on regular basis where the ethnic issues have not yet been resolved. Irish Republican Army just a couple of months ago went on to declare that it will no longer indulge in acts of terror.

It’s not that these are only terrorist groups which are wreaking havoc. There are several States that are adding up to the problem by getting some such acts stage-managed to defame the terror outfits. Many a suspicions have been raised about, Chittsingpura massacres of Sikhs during Clintons visit to India, about the Ansal Plaza act, about the attack on parliament and even about UK claim that they have unearthed the link planned explosions in the flights taking off to US.

The picture could not have been worse at any point of time. The impact of this has been all around on the lives of people affecting their social life to a great extent. The Worldwide security has been tightened on airports. Huge forces have been deployed at airports to check and cross check the people traveling. People have become used to being frisked, searched during the travels. Muslims have bore the biggest brunt of these searches. Just being Muslim is enough of cause for someone to be thoroughly probed and searched. In the wake of Mumbai blasts wholesale arrest of Muslim youths has been the norm with the police. The ground is that they must be harboring terrorists, they must be having sympathies with the terrorists since they are Muslims. The social life is getting affected in an adverse manner. The liberal values are coming under the chopping block of security. The orthodoxy and right wing religio-political streams are coming to the fore in very aggressive and assertive manner. To cap it all some messages have been filtered down the social conduits, the one’s related Muslims and Islam, as propagating that they are the fountainhead of violence and terror. Along with this the sense of insecurity amongst average people is going up and some political elements are harping on this to increase their political clout. The atmosphere is full of suspicion. To worsen the matters there is a section of global and local media playing on this sentiment to widen the divide between different religious communities. There are sectarian groups, wearing different garbs, who are having a field day, in reaping the harvest of hate.

There are different spots in the world which are more prone and have come to the limelight due to the acts of terror. West Asia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon seem to be the high voltage area, with death stalking the streets and the gods of death having picnic on regular basis. The source of information on these issues is also very vague. The information coming from the state machineries is the major one. Such acts cannot be ratified by independent civic sources. International citizens initiatives cannot go to the extent of investigating it for different reasons and citizens tribunals, which have investigated on the war crimes against Iraq and Afghanistan are practically unheard of while the US propaganda machine rolls out its dossiers in full strength on regular basis. In India a large section of media follows the lead of Western media and also a large section is influenced by the communal propaganda of RSS combine. The odd brave journalists and human rights activists, who do try to give the alternate vision and interpretation of what seems to be the obvious, do it at great risk. Also there are few retired personnel who have been giving out the sources which give us a peep into the happening in the highest echelons. There is no dearth of books on the topic but few are the one’s which do not toe the line of big Sam or the authorities at places.

Defining terrorism is not very simple, various interpretations and definitions have come up. The states have focused on talking of terrorist acts, violence; death of innocents in this process. As such in popular parlance, in some regions, in some circles these acts of terror are legitimized as an act of political campaign. LTTE, ULFA, IRA, Kashmiri militants, who are labeled as terrorists are looked up as freedom fighters amongst a section. The case of Sardar Bhagat Singh is equally interesting. While he was dubbed as a terrorist by British, he is looked up as one of the greatest revolutionaries, as a freedom fighter. As such it can be understood “as an act of violence against unarmed civilians as a means of bargaining politically over specific demands or making a general statement.” (Hensman, Terrorism, Imperialism and War, p. 29) Further Hensman adds very aptly, “It should be irrelevant whether the perpetrators are state parties or non state parties, and other characteristics (like skin color, ethnicity, gender, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, disability, social origin or anything else) of the perpetrators or the victims should likewise be irrelevant. (Terrorism, Imperialism and War p156) While such groups have wreaked havoc, even the elected governments have also resorted to this violence. “Statist definitions (of terrorism) portray terrorism to cover sedition, conspiracy, killing, murder, arson, explosions and public disorder to undermine the state…, twist due process of and evidentiary norms against the individual and prescribe heavy punishment…political terrorism abjures the state’s definition and seeks to define terrorism as political freedom struggle to support the claims of justice and self determination with no holds barred.”(Dhavan, Times of India, August 23) Accordingly state governments formulate harsh laws and try to go overboard in their response to the extent of punishing the innocents in the process and so the “War on Terror”, POTA, armed forces acts. Dhavan further adds, “A people’s definition of terrorism draws from the experience of civilian populations. Post World War II, terrorism against the people acquired a new dimension when America bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 and later carpet bombed Vietnam with Napalm”. The experience of Afghanistan and Iraq is no different, neither the one of Israel’s attack on Lebanon.

Compared to the decades of sixties to eighties the air is thick with fear and intimidation. Values of humanism are being forced to take the backseat while the powers that be are keener to increase their powers by projecting the fear of terrorism. The global and local war on terror is a construct, which is contradictory in itself. Terrorist outfits are not a legal entity, so how can one talk of such a war defies all logic and imagination.

Myth: All Muslims are not Terrorists, but all Terrorists are Muslims.

Fact: This is widely circulating in via SMS and also by word of mouth. Since the 11th Sept 2001 WTC attack, this started being popularized and by now it has become part of social common sense. In India, the Kashmir militancy indulged in by a section of youth is again cited as example of Muslim terrorists. To add to this the incidents of Akshardham temple, Ansal plaza, high jacking of Indian Airlines plane to Kandhar, attack on parliament are blown up as, in all these either Muslims were involved or in some cases it was projected that they were. Some of these reports had serious holes in the story presented by the authorities, but since there can be no ratification by citizens committees it is difficult to doubt or believe in some of these. All said and done, there is enough number of cases where Muslims are involved and organizations like Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Tayyba, Hamas have become household names. But interestingly there are many other organizations using violence which are not much taken note of.

One of the major such organizations is Liberation Tiger of Tamil Elam (LTTE), the majority of the members of this are Hindus. One member of this group, Dhanu strapped a bomb and killed Rajiv Gandhi. Similarly Khalistani movement was the major force resorting to terror just few years ago. Those belonging to Christian and Hindu militants are active in North East India. Worldwide, the Irish Republican Army militants belong to Christianity, the one who bombed a Hotel in Cairo in 1942 was a Jew, and the Oklahoma bomber was a Christian, Timothy McWeigh. Wherever dissatisfaction goes beyond a particular level some of the people do resort to violence to achieve their supposed goal. It is not related to any one religion in particular. National Democratic Front: Bodoland, All Tripura Tiger Force, Japanese Red Army, Lords Salvation Army, ETA, Spain are some more examples of organizations which are scattered in different parts of world, using terror tactics for their political goals and have nothing to do with Islam.

During last decade and a half Islam has been projected to be violent. The media and many a state apparatus have on purpose ‘sold’ this image of Islam. Muslims are no uniform community. The basic assumption which comes from this formulation is that religion is the cause of terrorism. On the contrary, terrorism is a phenomenon, which comes into being due to social political and economic circumstances. Religion is used as a cover for the terrorist activities. The identity of terrorists is not always derived from and is not always around religion. While Khalistanis derived their identity from Sikhism. The alleged Muslim terrorists had multiple identities; the ones in Palestine, from where terrorism began had Palestinian identity, in Kashmir it began as Kashmiriayt. The Islamic identity with this sort of terrorism came more particularly with AL Qaeda, which was set up by the CIA, the US through ISI of Pakistan to fight against the USSR armies in Afghanistan.

A War of Lies: Afghanistan 2001

A war that is supposed to feed the desperate people of Afghanistan will in fact help serve them. A war supposedly brought by Taliban in transience was actually provoked by our own government. A war that the majority of American people believe is about their grief, anger and desire for revenge is really about cold blooded calculations of small elite seeking external power. And a war that is supposed to make us safer by increasing the likelihood of future terrorist attacks.

Rahul Mahajan and Robert Jensen, Outlook Oct. 15, 2001

Myth: While terrorists coming from other religions have ethnic or other identity, those who are Muslims have Islamic identity.

Fact: This also changes from place to place. It is true that some of the terrorists are showing the Islamic identity but that’s not true all through. Khalistanis also operated on Sikh identity. Even with this large spectrum of Islamic identity, the ones trained by CIA wore this identity prominently on their sleeves and they tried to present as if they are doing Jihad, they are killing the kafirs. As such they were indoctrinated in the madras as especially set up for this purpose by CIA. These Madrasas were set up under the Kissinger doctrine of ‘Asians should be made to fight Asians’ .It was formulated in the madrasas as that the Communists are kafirs since they don’t believe in Allah, killing them is a jihad and those dying in this jihad will straight go to jannat, where 72 virgins are waiting for them. This concoction of US set up madrasas had strong impact on the Muslim youth who came in to get training in these with the readiness to lay down their lives for the US goal of occupying Afghanistan in the long run.

As such what is called as Islamic identity of terrorists, only those trained in madrasas set up by CIA-ISI nexus, that Islamic identity, jehad and Kafir are used in the main. The one’s who began from injustices heaped by Israel had Palestinian identity, the one’s Kashmir had the flag of Azadi to begin with. Even here religion has been the cloak only for few.

Here there is a clever manipulation of the words like Jihad and Kafir in particular. As we know the historical meaning of these with the origin of Islam were much different. Also there are many an interpretation of these words. During last decade and a half Islam has been projected to be violent. The media and many a state apparatus have on purpose ‘sold’ this image of Islam as being associated with terrorism. Muslims are no uniform community. And there are different interpretations of Islam. The media highlights any sensational violent act and ignores the pacifist ones’. Comments of fanatics are projected prominently as the Islamic voice. The sober and moderate statements are either ignored or find their place in some small corner of the media.

The misuse of the word Jihad by fanatics adds to the problem. Any act of Muslim terrorists is supposed to be a Jihad, as some of them project it in the same manner. As such Holy war, Crusade, Dharma Yuddha is not an uncommon usage in different religions as kings have launched their campaign for expansion of their territories in the name of their religions, times and over again, and Islam is no exception. It is believed that Allah wants to spread Islam by the sword. Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer one of the liberal interpreters of Islam states, “It is Jihad, which is one of the pillars of Islam precisely because it does not necessarily mean war. Jihad…means utmost effort, not violence and it is obligatory on Muslims to make utmost efforts (in wisely manner) to spread the message of Allah so as to create a just and compassionate society. This is what is obligatory, not waging a war at all. Prophet himself has exemplified it on many occasions especially at the time of Slh-I-Hudabiya (i.e. peace of Hudaibiyah and Fath-I-Mecca). (Engineer, Institute of Islamic Studies. Oct. 98)

As for these radical Islamist groups, jihad is being used as a cynical ruse to whip up religious fervor for their cause. “Historically, jihad was used rhetorically by the imperialist powers to justify their worldly expansionist designs. In its original sense, jihad was more of an inner moral cleansing for the community. This was called jehad-e-Akbar (The Great Jihad). But now, the whole notion of jihad is being used as an instrument for legitimizing militaristic, monarchic and dictatorial regimes. As for these radical Islamist groups, jihad is being used as a cynical ruse to whip up religious fervor for their cause.”(Mushirul Hasan, Interview,

In 1979 after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the CIA and Pakistan ISI (Inter Service Intelligence) launched the largest covert operation in the history of CIA. Their purpose was to harness the energy of Afghan residence to the Soviets and expand it into a holy war, an Islamic Jihad, which would turn the Muslim Countries within the Soviet zone of influence, against the communist regime and to eventually destabilize it. When it began it was meant to be Soviet Union’s Vietnam. It turned out to be much larger than that. Over the years CIA funded and recruited 1,00,000 radical Mujahidin from 40 Islamic countries as soldiers for American proxy war. (In Afghanistan)

(Arundhati Roy, The Algebra of Infinite Justice)

Myth-Terrorist violence is due to Religions, especially due to Islam!

Fact-It is true that some fanatical Muslims found on the fringe, use certain medieval interpretation and usage as eternally binding and believe that kafirs should be slayed. Also those hostile to Islam use this term to show the intolerance of Islam.

Most of the ideologies develop their positive and negative terminology. Christianity for example has derogatory terms like pagan, non-believer, Hinduism has maleccha, yavan etc. Islam coined the negative terms like kufr (disbelief), nifaq (hypocrisy), rafz (rejection or deviation). These terms are many a times, or rather most of the times, used against the different sects in the same religion? They are a tool in the hands of vested interests for their material gains and for the increase of social power. Many a Muslim rulers used the word Kafir while fighting against non-Muslim kings, the same one’s then struck compromises also with different kings. We are aware that the Muslim kings were in alliance with Hindu Kings and also had Hindu subjects in large numbers, whose religious and other needs were considered by them (e.g. Babar’s will to Humayun) These worldly affairs most of the times have been given religious veneer for the benefit of the ruling groups. Which if interpreted narrowly can attribute tolerance and intolerance to particular religion.

Some theologians have spread the myth about ummah, a homogenous world Muslim community. The truth is that there is no single goal or unified vision in the Muslim world. Different sects of Islam have serious differences with each other. Talibans are for example condemned by a large section of Muslims. Ummah is one of the progressive ideas as enunciated in Quran. In its original form, it struck at the roots of parochialism and nationalism. It was an effort to create a Muslim personality that would not bear the lineage of race, language colour and other parochial denominations. But in reality in later centuries this was designed as an exclusive notion.

The concepts of Dar-ul-Islam (the land of the pure) and Dar-ul-Harb (the land of the enemy) are again used to project the lack of patriotism of Muslims in countries where they are in minority. In Quran, there is a distinction between "the land of the peace" and "the land of the enemy". But this distinction made sense at a time when the Muslim communities were trying to evolve a code vis-à-vis the rest of the world. Today in the plural diverse world we have seen different Muslim countries battling against each other for material gains. Also in South Asia Bangla Desh split from its co-religionist Pakistan in 1971 due to cultural and material reasons.

Terrorism is a tactic, not a political or social force in and of itself. Anyone can use it and the idea that you can wage a “war” against it is as dishonest as the idea behind “War on Drugs.” The use of food as a political weapon, indiscriminate aerial bombardment, and arming of gangsterish groups of religious fanatics all count as “terrorism” by any reasonable definition of the word, and United States has long employed all of them-and more. This war is really about sordid material interests and power, and in defense of these interests the US is prepared to shift the label “terrorist” as it sees fit, to apply to all manner of dissident political movements and not just marginal bands of fanatics like bin Laden’s Al Qaeda. Conversely it is willing to call its own terrorists as “freedom fighters s” (the way Al Qaeda was labeled during the decade of 90s) Maybe some of them will get transformed into “terrorists” again in a few years. It’s a sick game and charade, the government is manipulating the very real grief and anger of the people of united states after September 11 atrocities to get us to fall for it again”

:From a pamphlet by Anti War committee of Students of Solidarity at university of Pittsburg

MSNBC Sept 23, 2006
WASHINGTON - Now the death toll is 9/11 times two.
U.S. military deaths from Iraq and Afghanistan now surpass those of the most devastating terrorist attack in America’s history, the trigger for what came next.
The latest milestone for a country at war came Friday without commemoration. It came without the precision of knowing who was the 2,974th to die in conflict. The terrorist attacks killed 2,973 victims in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
An Associated Press count of the U.S. death toll in Iraq rose to 2,696. Combined with 278 U.S. deaths in and around Afghanistan, the 9/11 toll was reached, then topped, the same day. The Pentagon reported Friday the latest death from Iraq, an as-yet unidentified soldier killed a day earlier after his vehicle was hit by a roadside bombing in eastern Baghdad.
Not for the first time, war that was started to answer death has resulted in at least as much death for the country that was first attacked, quite apart from the higher numbers of enemy and civilians killed, too.



Myth-The present terrorist attacks on world trade center and the consequent US aggression on Afghanistan is an indication of the truth behind the “Clash of Civilization” theses of Samuel Huntington.

Fact; “It is my hypothesis that the fundamental source of conflict in this new World will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great Divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be Cultural. Nation states will remain the most powerful actors in world Affairs, but the principal conflicts of global politics will occur between Nations and groups of different civilizations. The clash of civilizations will dominate global politics. The fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future." These gems are from Samuel Huntington the new philosopher of this era representing the age in the World when America’s economic and political domination is close to complete. It is an era where America along with its minions is calling the shots. It is an era when the Non-Aligned movement of yesteryears has been well forgotten and the possibility of World Democratic order seems a Utopia. The injustices done to large section of Muslims in the Gulf region and Africa have been showing its repercussions. The militant opposition of Palestinians to the repression by Israel initially got expressed in P.L.O. led by Yasser Arafat. The other acts of commission by US and other hegemonic powers have left a sense of injustice amongst a large section of Muslim masses. Also one is aware that the chances of International grievance settlement channels practically do not exist with UN being reduced to the desk in the state Dept. of the US and its Secretary General helplessly watching the might of imperialist powers attacking Iraq, and soliciting UN sanctions for its terrorism. The same man watching from the sidelines, America’s aggression on Afghanistan and the aggressor this time not even bothering to get it ratified by the World body, the facade, which it kept so far. And this person now is being rewarded with Nobel for peace, for keeping quiet when the US is on rampage in country after country. In this phase what is the way for the people of the World, which is feeling that injustice has been done it? How should they protest? Which doors they knock for grievance rectification?

This is aggressive terror aimed to dominate and control the World. This is the terrorism of the mighty out to enslave the weak. This state terrorism kills the innocent non-combatants, like the ones in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, like the one’s dying in the US aggression on Iraq in 1991, like the one’s dying in the streets of Kabul currently.

The other terrorism is of the one’s who has been victims of the unjust policies of Nations and World, those whose ethnic aspirations have been suppressed, those who have been deprived of their home and hearth due to the greed of the World powers.

Today the ideological cover of ‘defending Freedom in the World’ is no more adequate for its expansionist goals. The resistance of the weak has to be dubbed in a more scathing manner to justify the Terror of the Mighty, and so the ‘Clash of Civilizations’ thesis. The Ideology of the imperialism in the times of Oil hunger, ideology of the hegemonic powers to crush the resistance in places where they want direct and indirect control over the resources of the World. So the ‘backward Islamic civilization’ is clashing with the Modern West, say the new ideologues of imperialists. Here in the clever maneuver, for those having oil wells, religious identity is imposed and those who aspire to satisfy their oil hunger by buying it for peanuts, the geographical category are used. The Muslims today, a two billion strong, are reduced to a stereotype, clones of Osama bin-Laden or members of Taliban. The diversity recognition amongst the target group is dangerous for the oppressors. So even in India we see the Muslims being projected as a uniform community. It is easy for the dominant group to deal with the monolithic image of minority. More backward the projection of the image, the better it is. It helps in all the ways including during the times when violence and other suppressions have to be unleashed in pursuance with their politics.

So the Muslims in Iraq, Iran, Saudi, Indonesia, and Bangladesh all become cast in a single mould. And now the next step becomes easy, since Muslims as a community can be projected to be opposed to Modernity. They are terrorists so there must be something in Islam, which promotes violence and terrorism. And so when the pogroms are unleashed against them in the form of communal violence or aggression is launched against innocent Iraqis or Afghans, consent gets easily manufactured for the aggressive acts of the super powers. The political ratings of the one saying ‘you are either on our side or on their’ (terrorists) soar to maddening heights and the those bequeathed with social common sense clap with each missile hitting the home for the old or shelter for the people or the hospital. Some applaud the ‘beauty ‘, the precision with which the missiles do their job; others rejoice that ‘they’ (the Muslims) deserve this lesson. So on overt level Uncle Sam retreats back after endorsing the ‘clash of civilization’ and to appear politically correct, the boss reverts to ‘Infinite Justice’ as the ideological cover for bombing the hospitals and children and the old people’s homes.

White Man’s burden thesis came up with the colonization, Defending freedom came up while suppressing the rising Nationalisms and now the clash of civilization is being put forward when US is trying to control the taps of oil resources. There are many an Islamic counties in and around these resources, who had to be rubbed the wrong way, in order to maintain and extend the flow of oil towards fuel tanks of the powerful countries of the West. Keeping in mind this projection, which exploiters have generally kept for their own interests some ideological cover has to be maintained. If Colonial masters are usurping the resources of colonies, it is White man’s burden to civilize the people of the colonies, if Imperialism is crushing the Nationalist sentiments to be able to continue its hegemony on the World; it is fight for freedom of the World. Here both these have been used as a cover for the proactive deeds of Imperialism. Now the ‘Clash’ theory is there to explain the ‘reaction to the injustices’ done to the section of Arab world. One knows that most of the Muslim Nations are with the US in its efforts to control the Afghan territory through the new puppet, which will be pro-US. One also knows that the Muslim dominated countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and many significant one’s are with the US for its ‘sacrifices to save the freedom’ in the World.

Terrorism as a phenomenon may never go away. But if it is to be contained, the first step is for America to knowledge that it shares the planet with other nations, with other human beings, who even if they are not on TV, have loves and grief and stories and songs and sorrows and for heavens sake, rights…The September 11 attacks were a monstrous calling card from a world horribly gone wrong. The message may have been written by Osama bin Laden (who knows?) and delivered by his couriers, but it could well have been signed by the ghosts of victims of Americas old wars.

The millions killed in Korea, Vietnam and Cambodia, the 17500 killed when Israel- backed by US invaded Lebanon in 1982 (added, and in 2006) the 2,00,000 Iraqis killed in Operation Desert Storm, the thousands of Palestinians who have died fighting Israel’s occupation of West bank. And the millions who died in Yugoslavia, Somalia, Haiti Chile, Nicaragua, El Salvador, the Dominican republic, Panama, at the hands of all the terrorists, dictators and genocidists who the American Government supported, trained, bankrolled and supplied with arms.

(Arundhati Roy, Algebra of Infinite Justice)

Myth: The US led ‘War on Terror’ will rid the world of the problem of Terrorism, as it aims to eliminate the causes of terrorism!

Fact: ‘War on Terror’ is a euphemism for the US aims to take political and military control of different areas of the World, either for acquisition of oil wealth or for military goals. The acts of terror by the groups scattered here and there are no uniform entity, which can be subject to aggression and eliminated. Since they are scattered and are faceless, it is difficult to identify them and restrain them. In the process what happens is that US and its allies have been picking one after the other areas and bombing them into deserts. The civilian population, the non combatants are the biggest victim of the same. Operation Iraqi freedom was launched after the pretexts of Weapons of Mass destruction failed miserably. UN observer recommendations were bypassed and a war was launched, which has met massive resistance from the people of Iraq? It is a war against Iraqi people and incidents like Abu Graib prison, where the prisoners were stripped naked and asked to made human pyramid, and butchering on the Iraqi streets has been made the norm by the US army. This army by now is desperate and all the attempts by US to outsource the war and to rope in the soldiers of poorer nations has not met with any success, as the US aim of making the sacrificial goats out of the poor countries people has failed. Even the US army is comprised mainly of the underprivileged sections of US population.

List of Countries that America has been at war with and bombed-since World War II

China 1945-46, 1950-53
Korea (1950-53)
Guatemala (1954, 1967-69)
Indonesia (1958)
Cuba (1959-60)
The Belgian Congo(1964)
Peru (1965)
Laos (1964-73)
Vietnam (1961-73)
Cambodia (1969-70)
Grenada (1983)
Libya (1986)
El Salvador (1980s)
Nicaragua (1980s)
Panama (1989)
Iraq (1991-99)
Bosnia (1995)
Sudan (1998)
Afghanistan (2001)
Iraq (2003)
Iran (on the list)


US as a matter of fact has been the major terrorist state in the recent times, killing he innocent civilians to get its political and economic goals satisfied. The multinational corporations who are at the back of the policies have the greed of profit and the lives of human beings, especially from other races, and other regions do not matter for them. The recent events of West Asia clearly exemplify the goals of imperialism in the region. To begin with Saddam Hussein was lured to attack Kuwait, which was pumping out the oil at massive speed. This would have affected the Iraqi oil reserves also. Due to the intense economic pressures, Iraq planned to attack Kuwait. It informed the US administration, which subtly provoked this attack. Once Kuwait was taken over by Iraq as 24th state of Iraq, US immediate planned to attack Iraq to protect the sovereignty of Sheikh of Kuwait. Saddam; s offer of withdrawal were rejected and Bush senior went for a decisive victory, Iraq has to be bombed to pre industrial age. The retreating Iraqi armies were trapped and massacred. Baghdad and Basra were bombed relentlessly. Thousands of civilians were killed. 1,50, 000 Iraqis died during this invasion. Electrical Sewage treatment system and water treatment plants were ravaged with the result that water borne dieses spread. Severe economic sanctions were put which further resulted in the loss of lives of Iraqis. Madeleine Albright when asked by a reporter that in the sanctions imposed by US on Iraq over half a million children have died due to that, whether it was worth it. To this she

After 11th September 2001 WTC attack, Osama bin Laden thanked Allah for the same. He spelt his motivation on 7th Oct 2001,

“What America is tasting now is something insignificant compared to what we have tasted for scores of years. Our nation (the Islamic World) has been tasting this humiliation and degradation for more than 80 years, its sons are killed, its blood shed, its sanctuaries are attacked and no one hears and no one heeds. Millions of children are being killed as I speak. They are being killed in Iraq without committing any sins…To America; I say only a few words to it and to its people. I swear to God, who has elevated the skies without pillars, neither America nor the people who live in it here in Palestine and not before all the infidel armies leave the land of Muhammad, peace be upon him.”

On the pretext of catching hold of culprit of 9/11, without producing any evidence against Osama, War on terror was launched by attacking Afghanistan. In this war close to a million lives were lost. While Osama is safe and sound thousands of innocent Afghans were butchers. In due course US puppet Govt. has been installed there and US multinational are swooping there to make their killing.

The lack of any credible reason for attacking Afghanistan led many an observers to comment that, “…the war against Afghans was very much in line with the US’s historical role in Afghanistan. In 1970s, the US hired seven different parties of fundamentalists called Mujahidin. These were extremists hired by the CIA during the cold war ‘to draw the Soviets in to Afghan trap’’ as later revealed by former National Security Advisor, Zbignew Brezinsky. The CIA gave arms and ammunition to mujahidin…Using these weapons and sophisticated training in the art of terror, these men successfully drove out the Soviets, but also waged terrible war on their own people killing at least 45000 people in Kabul alone.(Ninan Koshy, WOT, p.62-63)

As the invasion of Afghanistan began just within few weeks, the US claim that they did preparation for this in three weeks is to be taken with a pinch of salt. “Credible reports have appeared that the US was planning to take military action against Afghanistan to oust Taliban months before September 11.”(Koshy p.63) To train AL Qaeda US had spent over 80000 million dollars and also provided 7000 tons of armaments, including the stringer missiles. It is for this that Kissinger doctrine of “Asians should be made to fight Asians” that the Muslims youth were indoctrinated in the Madrasas that communists who have invaded our Afghanistan, don’t believe in Allah, so they are kafirs and waging a war against them will be Jihad, those getting killed in this will go to jannat, where all the pleasures of the jannat, including 72 virgins will be available for them. Most of the current myths about jihad, kafir, and terrorists being bred in madrasas start from this massive operation launched by US. It is this effort which took the shape of Al Qaeda.

The US propaganda machine, keeps dishing out different slogans to serve its foreign policy. In cold war era it was defense of freedom, now it is war on terror. The US media and other media world over following the trails of US, toe the same line.

War Crimes Tribunal: Afghanistan

International Tribunal: War Crimes against Afghanistan
17. Verdict:
I find the Defendant , George Walker Bush , President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief of United States Armed Forces guilty –
1. Under Article 2 of the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for Afghanistan and under International Criminal Law ,for waging a war of aggression against Afghanistan and the Afghan people ;
2.Under Article 3, Part I , clause (a) , (b), (c) ,(d), (f),(g) and Article 3, Part II, clause (a),(b),(c)(d),(e),(f), (h)(I),(k),(l),(n),(o),(p),(q) of the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for Afghanistan, under International Criminal Law and International Humanitarian Law , in respect of War Crimes committed against the people of Afghanistan by the use of weapons prohibited by the laws of warfare causing death and destruction to the Afghan people ; maiming men , women and children;

3.Under Article 4 , clause (a) ,(b),(d ),(e),(f) ,(h) and (i ) of the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal and International Humanitarian Law , for Crimes Against Humanity committed against the people of Afghanistan; resulting in inhumane acts affecting large sections of the population cause by the military invasion , bombing , and lack of humanitarian relief ;
4. Under Article 3, Part I , clause (a),(b),(c),(f),(g) and Article 3 , Part II clause (f),(k),(p), and (q) of the Statute of the International Criminal Tribunal for Afghanistan , under International Criminal Law and the Hague Convention and Geneva Convention (III ) of 1949 in respect of the torture and killings of Taliban and other prisoners of war who had surrendered and their torture and inhumane conditions of detention and deportation of innocent civilians;
In respect of the transport of prisoners in sealed Containers and their death due to suffocation and filing of rifle shots at the Container for creating holes for ventilation with the prisoners inside; and for conditions at Sheberghan prison; the Defendant is entitled to benefit of doubt at this trial however the issues are left open for trial, before any other court /Tribunal; as the evidence before the Tribunal is not conclusive on the involvement of United States forces;
5. Under Article 3, Part I (c ) and ( g ); Article 3 Part 2 ( a), (b) ,(c) ,(d ) ( e) (h) ( i) ( l) and Article 4 (b) ,(l) of (n) ,( p),(q) of the ICTA in respect of the serious humanitarian situation resulting from the refugee exodus in Afghanistan due to the bombing of civilian population and civilian infrastructure in a country already affected by serious famine resulting in mass exodus of people and death from bombing , hunger ,displacement, disease ; and absence of humanitarian relief ;
International Tribunal on War Crimes against Iraq

The Jury of Conscience
Istanbul, 27 June, 2005
27 Jun 2005

(Excerpts from Press Release)

‘The attack on Iraq is an attack on justice, on liberty, on our safety, on our future, on us all’ –- With a Jury of Conscience from 10 different countries hearing the testimonies of 54 members of the Panel of Advocates who came from across the world, including Iraq, the United States and the United Kingdom, this global civil initiative came to an end with a press conference at the Hotel Armada where the chair of the Jury of Conscience, Arundathi Roy, announced the Jury’s conclusions.

The Jury defined this war as one of the most unjust in history: ‘The Bush and Blair administrations blatantly ignored the massive opposition to the war expressed by millions of people around the world. They embarked upon one of the most unjust, immoral, and cowardly wars in history. The Anglo-American occupation of Iraq of the last 27 months has led to the destruction and devastation of the Iraqi state and society. Law and order have broken down completely, resulting in a pervasive lack of human security; the physical infrastructure is in shambles; the health care delivery system is a mess; the education system has ceased to function; there is massive environmental and ecological devastation; and, the cultural and archeological heritage of the Iraqi people has been desecrated.’

On the basis of the preceding findings and recalling the Charter of the United Nations and other legal documents, the jury has established the following charges against the Governments of the US and the UK:

• Planning, preparing, and waging the supreme crime of a war of aggression in contravention of the United Nations Charter and the Nuremberg Principles.
• Targeting the civilian population of Iraq and civilian infrastructure
• Using disproportionate force and indiscriminate weapon systems
• Failing to safeguard the lives of civilians during military activities and during the occupation period thereafter
• Using deadly violence against peaceful protestors
• Imposing punishments without charge or trial, including collective punishment
• Subjecting Iraqi soldiers and civilians to torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment
• Actively creating conditions under which the status of Iraqi women has seriously been degraded

The Jury also provided a number of recommendations that include recognizing the right of the Iraqi people to resist the illegal occupation of their country and to develop independent institutions, and affirming that the right to resist the occupation is the right to wage a struggle for self-determination, freedom, and independence as derived from the Charter of the United Nations, we the Jury of Conscience declare our solidarity with the people of Iraq and the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the coalition forces from Iraq.


Panic Over Pacific Flights From London

In the middle of August 2006, a great splash of News from London declared that a plot to blow several aircrafts going to US has been unearthed and several arrests have been made. Following this severe security mechanisms were installed at different airports. As such there are some doubts about thee whole incident. “The fact is more than a week after the arrests, the police have not found any of the liquid explosives that were to have blown up the aircraft none of the 24 arrested had bought the air ticket, nor have the police found any sign that they had planned to buy them on A week of investigation has mostly produced. only a globally orchestrated allegation. The fact that stood out is the extent to which people are prepared to believe what some Muslims might get to; the suspicion itself stood as a fact…The evidence is being searched now; it wasn’t in hand before the arrests were made.” (Suri, Outlook 28th August 2006)

Myth: Islam’s teachings lead to violence. Islam is a violent religion. Islam spread through violence.

Fact: This again is a concoction built carefully in various stages. While on one hand the US propaganda machinery picked up Islam as the “New threat”, after the collapse of Communist states, especially after the US stooge, Raza Shah Pehlavi was up rooted in a revolution by which came to be high jacked by Ayatollah Khomeini. Since US was claiming to take control of the oil zone, which it had been planning since it implanted the state of Israel in the middle of Arab states, near the oil rich zone. Now with a vengeance US propaganda machine started projecting every political happening in the region in the color of religion. As such Islam stands for peace and it the message of peace which Prophet brought to the warring Arab tribes. Its scriptural meaning has many a times been distorted by the Muslim rulers at times to use it for their political purposes, and lately by the US propaganda machine for promoting the demonization of Islam to give it the pretext to attack country after country in the oil zone. In the past also Kings belonging to all religions have resorted to violence for their political goals, Crusade, Jihad and Dharmayuddh were the cover for the expansions of kingdoms, involved lot of violence and were sanctioned by clergy. The people, the downtrodden were on the path of peace and harmony despite being exploited by the landlords and kings. It is they who were more with the message of peace of saints of all religions. Today violence is again related to power. Earlier as Kings used the language of religion for appropriating power, today again a section of powerful countries, especially the imperialists are using the garb of religion for their political goals.

The spread of Islam was multifaceted, mostly by the saints of Islam. Wile Kings ruled for power and used sword for the same the Saints used the humane approach to give the message of religion, that of peace. Today also Islam is spreading in the pats of US, more so amongst the African American, who detests the oppression by the dominant section of US society. In India also Islam spread mainly through the teaching of Sufi saints. The untouchables of India, the Shudras were denied entry into temples, were oppressed by the dominant Hindu tradition of Brahmanism, and to escape this tyranny they embraced Islam to strive for social equality. As Swami Vivekanand, in his collected works volume VIII, page 330 points out, Vivekananda "Why amongst the poor of India so many are Mohammedans? It is nonsense to say that they were converted by the sword. It was to gain liberty from Zamindars and Priests....."

Conversions were not the aim of Kings (except Ashoka) Formation of Muslim community took place in various stages. To begin with it started emerging along Malabar Coast when the Arab traders used to come for trade during Seventh Century A.D. They had a religious influence and many people through their interaction took to Islam. Arab army conquered Sind early in 8th Century, but it had a marginal impact on the society. During 11th and 12th Centuries Turkish invasion brought in a larger influence of Islam. Initially this resulted in emergence of Muslim military aristocracy. But this spread was restricted in numbers. Another small trickle came from Hindu upper-classes, some of whom became Muslims either out of conviction, or (mainly) out of hope of reward from the Muslim ruler.

But the main conversions came from the poor low caste untouchables, who despite being the formal part of Hindu fold were under the severe oppression and repression of upper caste Brahmins and Brahmanism.

Myth: Islam and Democracy are not compatible!

Fact: Most of the religions emerged during the phase of Human society when there was prevalence either of Tribal cults, or Feudal relations. With the industrialization process the process of secularization (weakening of the grip of clergy on social affairs and development of relations of Liberty Equality and Fraternity) started coming up. The Nation states, which formed during this phase, had Christianity as the main religion and the secularization process had to confront the church and bring in the new relations of society.

The countries where Islam was the major religion were mostly colonies. And here the freedom struggle did introduce the process of secularization. Unfortunately these countries were also the one’s where the oil was discovered. Second WW was for the division of markets amongst the imperialist countries. With the discovery of oil in the Middle East, with the emergence of America as the super power and the leading industrial Nation, the dynamics of the freedom movements changed. US began to thwart the democratization process in different colonies and opposed the freedom movements of many a countries in the name of ‘Defense of Freedom’. In many a countries it had to loose face. In Vietnam, where despite facing heavy odds the Vietnam people held out and US had to retreat from its mission of “Saving Freedom”, but in some of them it could achieve the installation of puppet, feudal or the dictatorial regimes. In Chile the democratically elected Salvador Allende regime was overthrown and Pinochet, a military dictator was installed. In both these countries the leader of the Govt. or revolution was Marxists. It is interesting to note here that in some of the colonies the freedom movement and industrialization process could not be undertaken by the Industrialist class and so the collective bureaucracy assumed the functions of the industrialist class.

Second WW also saw the formation of Israel in the heart of the Islamic Nations, surrounding the oil resources. Here the democratization process was quelled or counter-revolutions managed to push back the secularization and democratization process.

1. In Iran the Govt. of Mossadegh was overthrown and Raza Shah Pehalavi was installed as the ruler in 1953 under the watchful eye of CIA. Mossadegh was considering the Nationalization of Oil industry. Shah acted as a puppet and permitted the plunder of his oil resources, brought in the symbols of Modernization, while suppressing the social transformation. The result was the widening gulf between the rich and poor. Also he stifled the democratic institutions. The anger, frustration and helplessness of the people gave rise to the massive uprising against the Shah and installation of the clerical regime of Ayatollah Khomeini. Khomeini called America as the great Satan. Iraq and Iran had a long stretching war following this. In the war America supported Iraq and pumped in funds and ammunition to get the war going.

2. The story of Afghanistan, currently facing the death from the bombing is very peculiar. In 1978 People’s Democratic Party came to power and went in for democratic reforms on Secular lines. Following year, this Govt. was overthrown by conservative elements. Soviet Russia sent its army to bring back the rule, which could go in for social reforms and Modernization. America decided to promote the most fundamentalist sections of rebels like Osama bin-Laden and the fundamentalist outfit called Taliban, and helped them through and through to overthrow the Russian army. And that brought in the rule of Taliban, which was nurtured by US through the conduit of Pakistan. Meanwhile US did practically everything to violate the unwritten and written rules of the International behavior.

3. In Iraq on the pretext of restoring the freedom of Sheikh of Kuwait, which had been merged into Iraq as its 23rd state, US launched a massive attack on Iraq with aim and purpose of restoring the ‘Freedom of Sheikh’. Sheikh of Kuwait is a puppet to the US through which US is able to control the oil taps of Kuwait. In the ensuing aggression of US, nearly 2 Lakh people died and later 5 Lakh died due to the sanctions imposed on Iraq due to which its supply of Medicines and necessary items were stopped by the US.

4. Pakistan was the product of British policy of Divide and rule. It quickly came under the grip of Military Mullah Complex. US backed up Pakistan in all its internal repression of democracy and its offensive role in Kashmir. Bangla Desh broke away from Pakistan in 1971. It has been trying to restore democracy in some way, though slowly.

5. In Malaysia and Indonesia, which are predominantly Islamic Nations, there is a good effort to nurture democracy, despite limitations.

In nutshell in the countries with Muslim majority population there have been efforts to bring in democracy. The imperialists have crushed most of these efforts in order to control the oil wealth of the region. Most of the Islamic nations are postcolonial states caught up with the limitations and are unable to march comfortably towards democracy. Despite these limitations the ones away from the oil zone have been more successful in planting the seeds of democracy in their countries. Wherever the colonial hold and restrictions are there, the feudal relations and pre-democratic systems are promoted and sustained by the imperialist countries. The Imperialist countries promote the Fundamentalist elements in the society. So the “Free World”, the imperialist countries first ensure that democratic transformation should not take place in these countries as it goes against their material interests and in the second step they blame that these countries do not have a democratic set up due to Islam. It serves the double purpose for them. They can launch the general anti-Islam tirade to sustain their control in these regions.

As we seen earlier Religions have come in period of time when democratic institutions were not existing. None of the religions, in that sense can be the basis of democratic society. “As such there is a concept of society rather state (in Islam). As per some interpretation of Islam basic task of Muslim Ummah is to build a moral society based on good and negation of evil. The unity of Muslims is possible only if they remain basically a religious community engaged in building a just society, which has no element of zulm (oppression and injustice), though there may be different ways of approaching the truth.”

(Asghar Ali Engineer, Aman, April-May 99)

Kalshian (Outlook, Oct.15th, 2001) states, nor is Islam specifically opposed to individual freedom. It, for one, doesn't recognize the priestly class and the individual is expected to exercise ijtihad, or interpret the Quran, to follow what s/he thinks is the true path. It is
quite another matter that the practice of ijtihad has been hijacked by the ulema, some of who take it upon themselves to issue fatwas to suit their whims. But then the problem is not of Islamic tenets, it's more an outcome of anxiety that modernity breeds.


Myth: Amongst religions Islam is the one, which gives rise to Fundamentalism. It is opposed to democracy and individual freedom.

Fact: It is necessary to define the term Fundamentalism first. It is used in two senses. The orthodox believers of religions or ideologies use it the sense of going back to the Fundamentals of a particular religion or the doctrine. Here the emphasis is on the original scripture of that particular ideology or religion. The second meaning pertains to the use of Religion for political goals of dominant section of society. In this sense the selectively culled out parts of the scriptures or practices, which are against the Human rights and equality of weaker sections, are implemented to suppress the libertarian aspirations of these sections. We are using the term in its second sense (political misuse of religion).

Fundamentalism comes up in different situations. Mostly it is a response of declining sections (Feudal elements) backed by clergy to put brakes to the process of social transformations towards Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. First this phenomenon came up in the Protestant sect of Christianity in America in the face of the Industrialization process in the late Nineteenth Century and early Twentieth century. Ten small booklets were published, which emphasized the basic values of Christianity. Most of these were against the vassal’s and women’s legal equality. This phenomenon withered away with further Industrialization. From the late twentieth century one is witnessing this phenomenon, particularly in the Islamic countries for reasons, which are a bit different. Ayatollah Khomeini’s regime was a Fundamentalist one. It was the only available channel of rebellion as Raza Shah Pehlvi of Iran stifled the democratic mechanisms. In many a Middle East countries similar value systems, mostly targeting at the liberation of women came up, by suppressing the rights of Women and other weaker sections of society. Similarly many an Arab countries also were already resorting to this ideology. In most of the Islamic countries around the Oil zone, US encouraged the rule of Sheikhs and Mullah backed regimes as these were easy prays for satisfying the oil lust of US.

The status of clergy in Fundamentalist regimes is very exalted. In our own neighboring Pakistan, these trends were there from the beginning as the Feudal lords and Mullahs dominated it. With Zia ul Haq’s regime it got institutionalized. At different times different religions have been used as a cover for the political goals of sections of society. Islam based fundamentalism is just one of them. In that sense Islam is no different as far as its political misuse is concerned. Lately new terms have come in to offing. These convey the fundamental politics while retaining the religious root of the term like-Hindutva, Islamism. These are not religions but since their names have the components of religion to mislead the gullible into supporting this politics. These terms help in mobilizing the broad sections of society, who get the impression that it is part of their religious striving.

“Islamism began in 1920s. The 1980s saw a third generation come of age. Because of their militancy they are mostly referred to as Jehadists, and they state in all clarity that for them jihad is not a matter of moral rearmament (as many Muslims wish jihad to be understood), but armed struggle, their favorite form of self purification being ‘martyrdom’(Khalid Durran), The Globalization of Terrorism, In Review, Fall 2000). The concept of Jihad as armed struggle began from 1927 with a book on Jihad, Al-jihad fil-Islam; parts of this were translated into English Muslim self statements in India and Pakistan (Wiesbaden, Harassowitz, 1970). Just to reiterate as per Quran Jihad means striving, expending power and effort, to spread the word of Allah to crate a just and compassionate society.

The other definition of Islamism is spelt in Political Islam in the Indian Subcontinent (F. Grare, Manohar, 2001). This one goes on to state, ‘Islamism can, indeed, not be reduced to religious fervor or to extreme moral rigor-ism characteristic of the Taliban or be reduced to the recourse to violence. It is defined essentially, in its relationship to politics and hence to the state, by its efforts towards realization of a truly Muslim society.” in Islamism the conquest of political power is justified by the will to impose the Sharia, the sole juridical basis of social relationships before which no other non-Islamic law can exist. “It is an assumption which makes Islamism totalitarian.”(Ibid) And that conforms to any political system deriving its legitimacy from religion or race. Asghar Ali Engineer a noted Islamic scholar, who has interpreted Islam in a liberal manner, points out, ‘The concept of Jihad in Islam has been grossly misunderstood by Muslims and non-Muslims. It is thought that Islam encourages violence and force and that Allah wants to spread Islam with sword or at the point of gun. The acts of some Muslim extremists and terrorists provide proof for this violent image of Islam…Truth is quite otherwise” (Islam and Modern Age, Vol. I,1998, Mumbai). Engineer further points out, ‘there is no question of force or violence in spreading Islam. This was popularized by the West after the crusades, which again had nothing to do with spread of religion. It was, in fact the wars of territorial conquest. As far as the spread of religion is concerned Quran rules out violence completely through number of pronouncements. It very forcefully states, la ikrah fi’al-din (there is no compulsion in religion (2:256). Also it makes it plain that one can invite to the path of Allah through wisdom and godly manner (16:125). It is no less important that Quran accepted the truth brought by Prophets before Muhammad. (Ibid)

The Khalistani movement was also fundamentalist in nature. It remained only a movement of rebellion and did not achieve power to exercise its control on the weaker sections. Hindutva had come up in response to the rising secular movement of Indian National Congress. It did not grow to threaten democracy in India. But during last two decades it has assumed menacing proportions due to the rise in the number of middle classes, (Rich peasants, rich professionals, petty industrialists etc.) It also derives its legitimacy from a particular version of Hinduism (Brahminical) and is repressive to Women and Dalits. The Islamic terrorists harbor the same values i.e. being repressive towards weaker section.

This use of Religion for retrograde politics, which is against the Human rights of weaker sections of society, cuts across different religions. It is true that currently the major fundamentalist stream derives its legitimacy from Islam but that is more because of peculiar circumstances and the role of Imperialism and not because of any peculiarity of Islam as a religion.

Myth: RSS is actively fighting against Terrorism!

Fact: On the contrary, RSS combine’s certain wings are directly involved with acts of terror. On April 6th 2006, two Bajrang dal Activists were killed while making a bomb in the house of an RSS sympathizer. The event was not much taken note of by the national media. Maharashtra’s Anti Terror Squad, after investigating the event confirmed that these activists were being trained in making bombs. On the site, a powerful IED, pipe bomb, and a diary with the tips for making bombs was found. All the functionaries of RSS affiliates went to offer condolences for the dead and most of them visited other activists who were in hospital. The BJP MP of the area asked the police not to ‘harass’ the ‘innocent’ members of Bajrang Dal. The bail was granted to the collaborators of the accused while the police prosecutor had no objections to bail being granted.

After this incident, police conducted many a raids in nearby places and haul of explosive material and other ammunition was found. It was claimed that this was seized from the ‘usual suspects’, the ‘Islamic’ terrorists.

On 1st June 2006, in Nagpur, in an early morning encounter, the police claimed to have killed three dreaded terrorists of Fidayeen group, who as per the police version, were planning to attack the RSS head office. In this encounter, no eye witnesses were there, and police version was the only source of knowing the truth. The police commissioner claimed that the car had huge quantities of ammunition, but all the same, police could decimate all the three terrorists, without getting any serious injury. The next morning police hogged the lime light for its act. It was claimed that police had got a diary from the car giving the details of the terrorists; they were Islamic terrorists from Pakistan, and were cremated in the Islamic manner. As usual it was a screaming headline in most of the national media

So far in such incidents, the police version is accepted by the media and the nation in an uncritical way. Since all around the air of terror perpetrated by Islamic terrorists is heavy, one more such incident is received with some alarm, demonization of Muslims and Islam is taken one step higher, and the matter rests there. In this case two of the RSS trained politicians, Gujarat Chief Minister Modi and MP Chief Minister Chauhan, gave cash rewards to the police personnel who killed the terrorists, in other state. Not to be left behind, the ex Chief of Bajrang dal, another RSS prachark, announced a hefty cash reward to any civilian who kills the terrorists. Here all the legal niceties were kept aside and two CMs and one top BJP leader, as if reading from a prepared script, went on to maul the norms of Indian constitution and talked of things which cannot stand the scrutiny of law of the land...

Smelling a rat, some civic action groups formed a citizen’s inquiry committee to know the truth of the incident ( So far not many citizens groups have investigated such acts of terror. The team had retired Judge of Maharashtra high court as the Chair person and many prominent social activists as the members. The team did all in its means to piece together the available information from local media and people concerned and concluded that police version has too many holes to be trusted. The committee has demanded a probe by the competent authority from the center. Despite its frequent requests, the police officials refused to talk to them as if they have something to hide. On the contrary police cast aspersions on the motives and linkages of the team members. Police claims of the terrorists carrying 5.4 Kilos of RDX and a sealed box of hand grenades does not match with the meek surrender of the terrorists. Some of the local people whom the committee met said there was a firing in the air few days before in the same area where the incident took place. And this firing sounded like a repeat of the earlier one. Had this act been rehearsed already?

One realizes that investigating such incidents by civil groups is very difficult. Police and authorities don’t cooperate; on the contrary they put up all the roadblocks. In the Ansal Plaza case also Kulpdeep Nayyar’s petition to human rights commission, doubting the police version, went unanswered. Interestingly, all such attacks hog the headlines for days, and eyes are closed to the holes in the police version in the name of national security.

Anti Terrorist Squad’s concluded that the activists who were involved belonged to Bajrang Dal, despite that this organization continues to be a legal entity. Also the affiliate and sister organizations have not been touched. Despite the alarming fact that they were being trained in bomb making, the state govt is sleeping over the issue.

Is RSS A Terrorist Organization?

One does not know as to what criterion the US based Terrorism Research Center (2005), the US think tank on this issue, has used but it has gone on to label RSS, the patriarch of Hindutva organizations, BJP, VHP, Bajarang dal etc., as a terrorist outfit. RSS shares this category with other organizations defamed in different parts of the World as terrorists like Al Qaeda, Lashkar-e-Tayyaba, Hamas etc. Sangh's (RSS progeny) own definition and understanding of terrorists has been summed up by RSS pracharak (propagator) and current Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi in the sentence, "All Muslims are not terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims!" How come a Muslim baiter organization itself has been so labeled!

It is important to concede here that terrorism emerges from ideology of groups with specific goals. It is also important to realize that all those who manufacture this goal and ideology, which leads to violence are terrorists or rather they are the real ones'. And if the blame is to be apportioned, theyshould be held more responsible before the finger is pointed to those who use sword, bullets or AK 47 or who pilot the planes to ram into WTC or the like.

No doubt the RSS pracharks will never even go to pick up arms, to kill anybody personally. Even in RSS shakhas training is given only for wielding lathis, batons. Of course keeping with times RSS progeny Bajarang dal and Durga vahini have begun to give training in the use of firearms and VHP is distributing knives, disguised as trishuls in thousands, but in RSS shakhas these are no. Apart from the lathi wielding the other part of the training is bauddhik (intellectual). This training is based on the spread of hatred for minorities, hatred for secular and democratic values. It goes on to say that in this nation of Hindus, others, Muslims and Christians are aliens, also that Communists, Muslims and Christians are internal threat to Hindu nation.

The venom of hate is tailor made for each community. Muslims are equated to yavan snakes. Prof Bipan Chandra narrates his experience in listening to the shakha training. While on a morning walk he overheard the young boys attending the shakha being told that Muslims are like snakes. It is easier to kill a young snake rather than the grown up one. The message of this 'intellectual' exercise is too clear. The inspiration and methods of Hate are picked up from the Nazi Germany. RSS ideologue Golwalkar articulated it, “German race pride has now become topic of the day. To keep up the purity of nation and its culture, Germany shocked the world by her purging the country of Semitic races-the Jews. National pride at its highest has been manifested here. Germany has also shown how well-neigh impossible it is for races and cultures having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by." (M.S. Golwalkar, We or Our Nationhood defined, Nagpur 1938 p.27).

The RSS ideology's outcome first got manifested in Godse's murdering of Gandhi. Of course RSS never owned the fact that Godse was trained by RSS and was RSS pracharak before he decided to join Hindu Mahasabha. His brother Gopal Godse maintained in different interviews that they (his brother Nathuram and he himself) had never left RSS. Most of the inquiry commission reports on the communal violence (Justice Reddy, Vithayathil, Venugopal, Madon and others) have shown irrefutably that their has been a role of some organization affiliated to or floated by a pracharak of RSS, which has played crucial role in the violence.

The strategy is very clear, RSS trains the volunteers who carry on the RSS work by joining or floating different organizations. The advantage of this strategy is that the blame of riots can never come directly on the RSS. One recalls that after the defeat in 1937 elections, Muslim Leagues and Hindu Mahsabha stepped up their Hate other campaigns as they could not win the elections on the appeal of their religion. RSS also stepped up its hate other campaign. These poisonous seeds of hatred were dormant and are bearing the poisonous fruits more so after the decade of 1980. This hate other ideology passes through different conveyor belts and its final stop is that where the poor gullible sections take up arms, intoxicated by the opium of hate ideology which is laced in the language of religion for desired effect.

RSS and Muslim League in pre-partition times were the expression of the fears of feudal elements that their norms and values are under threat in the wake of modern education, industrialization and the values of Liberty, Equality and fraternity becoming the major ideology of the struggling masses. The same fear, existential anxiety, of another middle classes has got crystallized in the politics of RSS. And this is the coming up of dalits and women demanding social and gender justice some themselves. Whatever is the deeper societal agenda, RSS methods and mechanisms of action do give rise to the VHPs, Bajarang dals and Durga Vahinis. It is probably this deeper understanding of the dynamics of RSS functioning which must have prompted the research center to label it as a terrorist organization.

RSS training is on twin tracks. One is the physical one, games and all that. The second is the bauddhik one. It is the latter which motivates its progeny to incite people to take up arms and kill the 'other', the 'enemy' in the ruthless fashion. The anatomy of a riot, violence, is very interesting and complex both at the same time. How the average dalit, adivasi, worker with empty stomach and non existent future is mobilized as the foot soldier of RSS agenda, is something social scientists have to explain. RSS pracharak may be at the same time sitting and giving a quiet discourse on Hindu values, Hindu rashtra while RSS ideology will grip the section of population to unleash violence, to kill the innocents. It does achieve the political goal of consolidation of section of Hindus behind RSS; it does make them come back to power or strengthen its power. The definition with which we began was killing of innocents for power or political agenda is terrorism. And that's precisely what RSS work does.

The only point of overt confusion some times can be that unlike Osama, or the AK 47 wielding terrorist in parts of the World, RSS volunteer will appear to be the apostle of quietness. And this is the wiliest and cleverest part of RSS operation. To achieve its goal, to get the minorities beaten and killed without taking up the arms oneself. The violence is leased out by clever social and psychological manipulation. In that sense AK 47 may miss the target but a mind poisoned and initiated by Hate ideology propagated by RSS will come out as violence some time or the other, here or there, it's just a question of time. Culture, the cloak of this organization is the most subtly disguised cover for the terrorist goals of this organization. This terrorist outfit kills many birds in a single stone, the birds being minorities and weaker sections of society. But of course there will be much noise that name of RSS should be taken off from the list of this research center. In case of RSS, this outfits' culture is the terror for large sections of minorities and weaker sections of society in India.


Al Qaeda or Al Fayda- Roots of Global Terror

"These gentlemen are the moral equivalents of America's founding fathers."

(Ronald Regan while introducing the Mujahideen leaders to media on the White house lawns. (1985)

"Americans are asking: why do they hate us? They hate our freedoms-our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other."

George W. Bush, in his speech in US Congress in the aftermath of 9/11. (2001)

These two statements reflect the so-called transition of freedom
fighters of which US administration was proud to the same one's being called enemies of US. When Tony Blair in the aftermath of 7/7 uttered his feelings that our resolve to uphold our values is stronger than their resolve to break it, he was referring to the people with same ideology and politics whom Regan praised to the sky and about whom GW Bush had the totally contrary view.

What has changed during last one and a half decade, have 'they' changed? Or is it that US needs have undergone a rapid transition during this decade? The reference to the ghastly acts of terrorism of 9/11 and 7/7 does send the shivers down one's spine. Not only the killings of innocents, non combatants in 9/11 and 7/7 is extremely heinous and cowardly, but also the aftermath of such actions is something one needs to mull over. The ongoing terrorism and 'war on terror' both are affecting the societies in a painful manner. While on one hand killings of innocents is a matter of deep anguish the post terror polarization of
communities on religious ground and the demonization of Islam are the consequences, which have deeper impact on the lives of people world over.

To begin with, the question is, who did it? Surprisingly after 9/11 the investigation has not been very definitive. It was presumed, Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda is the ones' behind the tragic event. Afghanistan was invaded on the pretext of catching hold of Osama, nearly sixty thousand people were killed by the US attack, but could not be caught hold of. Incidentally it was bin Osama who was projected to be the primary culprit against whom the war is being waged. US did 'succeed' in installing its puppet Govt. in Afghanistan and also in taking control of the huge oil reserves around Afghanistan.On the ground that Iraq is a threat to US security, and also that it is harboring Al Qaeda, it was invaded; thousands of Iraqis have since than perished and hundreds of US armed personnel have been killed.

The sexual torture of Abu Ghraib prison might have been just a tip of the iceberg hiding more, which we will never come to know. There are also doubts about the real culprit of 9/11 so to say, as conclusive evidence has not been produced by the US. Tony Blair did not loose even minutes to hint that 'same' culprits are involved. Some reports pointed out that it is the act of Secret Organization Group of Al-Qaeda, which in it’s temporarily put up web site, claimed, ".We continue to the warn the Governments of Denmark and Italy and all Crusader Governments, that they will be punished in the same way if they do not withdraw their troops from Iraq and Afghanistan."

Even in the aftermath of 9/11 there were serious doubts raised about the perpetrator of the event, whether it was Al Qaeda or was it some other agency. Any way, a pretext to attack Afghanistan could be cooked up with ease. Even now doubts are being raised that since there is a pressure on the UK Govt. to withdraw the troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and this incident will ensure that troops continue to be in Iraq. On one hand we have Al Qaeda and the like, who in the name of Jihad are committing havoc. These actions in the name of Jihad, are the worst enemies of Muslims as a community. These create hatred against this community and the demonization process against Muslims and Islam gets a boost after every such event. The targeting of average Muslims as terrorists and criminals get biggest justification from such acts. These actions are the ones', which have laid the foundation of the ideology guiding many Western powers and also other countries.The other factor is the policy of Western powers, which so far has been steadfastly supporting Israel's violation of the rights of Palestinian
people and its blatant vandalism in the neighboring region. The Jihadi terrorism as such was consciously brought up and promoted not by any Muslim country. It was the handiwork of US, CIA in its goal to contain the influence of Communism during the era of cold war. During that period many a countries strived for nationalism to get rid of the clutches of colonial powers. Most such endeavors were opposed by Western powers with US in the lead. With the success of communists coming to power in Afghanistan, US administration started promoting the opponents
of communist regime. Communists tried to bring in land reforms, curtail the opium cultivation, and this hurt the interests of the feudal and orthodox elements.

These opponents to communist regime, the elite, were right wing
Islamists. It was from this Muslim right wing that Al Qaeda was formed with the direct patronage of U.S. Billions of dollars of aid and armaments, including stringer missiles were given to Al Qaeda by U.S. Al Qaeda grouped together with the help of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. With the defeat of communist forces US became more assertive and started interfering in the region with vehemence, the attack on Iraq in 1993 was the first manifestation of the same. The Right wing Islamists felt the
threat of US presence and the rest is too fresh in our memories to be recounted. Anti Islamism now came to substitute Anti Communism as the 'other' of imperialist powers. Lured by the oil wealth of the region US-UK axis has violated every possible international law and has removed all roadblocks to its pursuits for profit (Fayda). This axis also attacked Afghanistan and Iraq telling the World that this is the only way to make their countries safer for themselves. Can such blatant violation of human and international norms make the world safer? And pray tell me, which is the bigger curse of the World today: Al Qaeda or Al Fayda?

Wish of an Iraqi Child

Avalyn Mathis

When I look
At the purple blue sky
At night,
I want to see stars,
Not bombers, circling the moonilight.

I want to watch shooting stars
or comets
Instead of the flare
Of crashing bombs
Of the streets
Out there

Stars are the angel-bridges
Of comfort –nothing should bloc
Their light

Poems by Children on Diversity, Tolerance and World Peace


Ahmad, Ajiaz, On Communalism & Globalization: Offensives of the Far Right, Three Essays
Ahmad, Aijaz, Iraq, Afghanistan & the Imperialism of Our Time, Delhi: Left Word Books, 2004,
Ali, Tariq, The Clash of Fundamentalism: Crusades, Jihads & Modernity, Delhi: Rupa Co., 2002, Pages: 428
Armstrong, Karen, Islam: A Short History, Phoenix Press London:
Koshy, Ninan, WAR ON TERROR: Reordering the world, Leftward, p. 146, Delhi
Maley, William, Afghanistan & the Taliban: The Rebirth of Fundamentalism? Delhi: Penguin Books India, 2001, p.253
Mamdani, Mahmood, Good Muslim Bad Muslim, Orient Longman, Hydrabad, 2003
Puniyani, Ram, TERRORISM IMPERIALISM & WAR, Mumbai, BUILD, Mumbai, P.227
Prashad, Vijay, War against the Planet: The Fifth Afghan War, Imperialism, & Other Assorted Fundamentalisms, Delhi: Left Word Books, 2002, Pages: 110
Price: Rs. 75
Imam, Zafar, Iraq-2003: The Return of Imperialism, Delhi: Aakar Books, 2004, Pages: 112
Said, Edward W. The End of the Peace Process: Oslo & After, New York: Vintage Books, 2000, 389


Again, in Turkey, the Islamic Refah (Welfare) Party was banned in 1998, to deny it the chance to repeat its spectacular performance in the 1995 elections. In Algeria, the Islamic Salvation Front was proscribed in 1992 after it swept the first round of elections, sucking the country into a horrific vortex of violence.

Ironically, all these countries have secular regimes-as do Egypt, Libya, Iraq-and look askance at attempts of Islamists to capture the levers of power through election. This exacerbates existing tensions in the society. Be it the checkmating of Nasser in Egypt, opposing Nationalist upsurges in Algeria, Syria and Lebanon down to bombing the pharma factory in Sudan.Critics say the real motive of the argument that Islam and Democracy are incompatible is political. It serves as an alibi for the West's complicity with the worst of Islamic tyrannies (on the grounds that the West must respect their “cultural specificity") and also justifies the suppression of their radical movements in the name of democracy. Thus, if there has to be dictatorship, at least let it be pro-West.
Rajesh Kalshian, Outlook, October 15th, 2001

Islam did not introduce veiling or seclusion in Arabic countries. Long before the advent of Islam, veiling and seclusion appear to have existed in the Hellenistic-Byzantine era and among the Sassanians of Persia. In ancient Mesopotamia, the veil of women was regarded as a sign of respectability and status. Decent married women wore the veil to differentiate themselves from women slaves and unchaste women. The latter were in fact forbidden to cover their heads.

(Behind The Veil, Dr. Zeenat Shaukat Ali, Asian Age, Nov 21.200103

“...Quran makes number of statements accepting plurality of religion. In one of the verses (5:48) it says, ‘for every one of you we appointed a law and a way. And if Allah had pleased He would have made you a single people, but that he might try you in what He gave you. So vie one with another in virtuous deeds’. The Quran emphasizes three things in the above verse. One, that every Nation or people have a law and a way. The people follow this law and the way. While law refers to legal requirements, ‘way’refers to spiritual path. The law and the way will naturally be conditioned by requirements of people though the universal principles may be common.”

Islam And Other Religions, Asghar Ali Engineer, Institute of Islamic Studies. Vol. I, No.4 April 1998)

Asghar Ali. Engineer, Islam and Modern Age, Vol. I, 1998, Mumbai

Asghar Ali Engineer, Islam and the concept of Jihad, Institute of Islamic Studies, Vol.1, Oct 1998Asghar Ali Engineer-Concept of Islamic State, Aman, April-May 99
Dhavan, Rajeev, Get the Guilty, Times of India, August 23
Grare,F. Manohar, New Delhi, 2001
Hasan, Mushirul, (Interview,
Hensman,Rohini, Terrorism, Imperialism and War, Build Mumbai 2002,p.29
Khalid Durran, The Globalization of Terrorism, In Review, Fall 2000
Imam Raghib Asfahani Mufradat al-Qur'an, pp-916-17,Lahore,1971
Suri, Sanjay. The Great Britain Bust, Outlook 28th August 2006
Puniyani, Ram, Communal Politics, Sage Delhi 2002
Puniyani, Ram, Terrorism, Imperialism and War, Build Mumbai 2002

Ram Puniyani is a writer activist, working on the issues related to preservation of democratic values. He has been focusing on the threats of sectarian politics in the name of religion and the threat posed by the imperialist aggressions for the lust of oil. Has written, Communal Politics: Facts versus Myths; Contours of Hindu Rashtra; Second Assassination of Gandhi; Indian Democracy: Pluralism and Minorities, amongst others. Contributes a fortnightly article, Issues in Secular Politics.,

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