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To the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces

A test for the Muslim Brotherhood

Egypt’s changing foreign policy

Egypt beyond Mubarak

The dissolution of the NDP

Remaking Cairo from below

Why Egypt should join the ICC

No citizenship without social justice

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From the Archive
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The Term (Lord) in the Quranic Chapter 12
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Why Blame Muslims Alone for Terrorism?

  by: : By Syed Qasim Rasul Ilyas

This article appeared in the 16th March, 2008 issue of
the Urdu daily ‘Rashtriya Sahara’, under the title
‘Musalmano Par Hi Dahshatgardi Ka Ilzam Kyon?’. The
author, Dr. Syed Qasim Rasul Ilyas, is an official
spokesman of the All-India Muslim Personal Law Board
and is actively involved with various Indian Muslim
organizations. He also edits the Urdu monthly Afkar-e
Milli, which focuses essentially on Indian Muslim
issues and concerns.

I do not necessarily agree with everything that Dr.
Ilyas writes in this piece, but I feel that much that
he has to say is certainly legitimate, besides being
important, especially since these issues are rarely,
if ever, discussed in the so-called ‘mainstream’
press. Hence, I decided to abridge and translate this
article for the benefit of those who do not know Urdu.
Any translation errors are entirely mine. Words in
brackets are my own, supplied to clarify what I think
the author possibly means.

--Yoginder Sikand

Addressing a convention of ulema and Muslim
intellectuals held in Delhi in late 2007, the Indian
Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, clearly declared that
it is completely wrong to associate terrorism with any
particular community. Thereafter, the Chairperson of
the UPA, Sonia Gandhi, made a similar remark. Despite
this, the tendency to link Islam, Muslims and madrasas
with terrorism and to use such words as ‘Islamic
terrorism’ and ‘Jihadism’ not only remains, but, in
fact, has become even more pronounced. The mass media
adds spice to reports issued by intelligence agencies
and projects them in such a way as to create the
impression that Indian Muslim youth, especially those
who are highly educated, are engaging in terrorism on
a massive scale. Prior to this, the madrasas were
targeted [for this by the media], but now the media’s
focus has shifted to well-educated Muslim youths,
professionals, technical experts, engineers, doctors,
etc.. Senior journalists associated with some
influential newspapers in the country sensationalise
material contained in dossiers supplied by the police
in such a manner as to present the image that these
are their own investigative reports.

The following are certain issues [and claims] that
emerge in [reporting about] terrorist incidents and
activities in the country in recent years:

1. Pakistan- and Bangladesh-based terrorist
organizations, such as the Lashkar-e Tayyeba, Jaish-e
Muhammad, Hizb ul-Mujahidin and HUJI are said to be
behind terrorist attacks. Youth associated with the
banned Indian Muslim group, the Students’ Islamic
Movement of India (SIMI), Muslim professionals and
madrasa graduates are [so it is claimed] becoming
agents for these organizations.
2. The culprits behind terrorist attacks are [said to
be] Muslims—be it in the case of the attack on the
Indian Parliament or the Indian Institute of Science,
Bangalore or the Akshardham Temple, the disputed
structure in Ayodhya or the Ajmer dargah, the bomb
blasts in trains in Bombay or the [Muslim] graveyard
in Malegaon, the Mecca Mosque in Hyderabad or the
Ansal shopping complex in Delhi. These Muslims [who
are claimed to be behind all these attacks] are either
killed in [what are termed as] encounters and [it is
said] leave behind with them proof of them being
Muslims or Pakistanis. Those who are arrested by the
police accept the charges of terrorism that the police
slap on them while they are being interrogated by
them. However, when they appear in court most of them
deny these [confessional] statements that they are
forced to make under police torture.
3. The media considers the information about dangerous
terrorists supplied by the police and intelligence
agencies as divine revelation, and exaggerates this
further on its own. The question arises as to why
‘Muslim terrorists’ would attack mosques, dargahs,
[Muslim] graveyards and Muslim localities. In response
to this question, intelligence agencies claim that
this is so in order that [they can] damage
inter-community relations in the country and spread
conflict between Hindus and Muslims. However, whether
the knife falls on the melon or the melon falls on the
knife, either way it is the poor melon that suffers
[It is the Muslims themselves who would suffer the
most as a result of exacerbation of inter-communal
conflict in India—YS].

In this context, certain crucial questions arise which
must be answered by the government, the police, the
intelligence agencies and the media:

1. Without any investigation being conducted,
immediately after a terrorist attack—sometimes just a
few hours or even a few minutes after—the incident is
attributed to an Indian or foreign Muslim
2. Why are judicial inquiries not ordered into major
terrorist attacks? Why are they not given to the
Central Bureau of Investigation to investigate? For
instance, in December 2001 there was an attack on the
Indian Parliament. The attackers were killed. It was
announced that they were Pakistanis and that they
hailed from certain places in Pakistan. Now, an attack
on the country’s Parliament is a very serious event,
but, why was there no high-level investigation? How
could it be possible that an Ambassador car, filled
with weapons and explosives and terrorists, crosses
all security barriers with ease and arrives at the
door of the Parliament? [How could it be that]
terrorists emerge from the car and spray some bullets,
killing several policemen and security officials and
injuring several more and then they are shot dead by
the police? Some questions related to this attack are
still to be answered. For instance, [how did the
terrorists] acquire a security pass from the Home
Ministry? Every car that approaches the Parliament is
stopped and its occupants have to undergo a security
check. So, how were those dangerous armed terrorists
allowed to go inside? According to information
supplied by the police, the car was filled with
explosives and RDX, and in it were some terrorists who
had planned a suicide attack. So, why did they limit
themselves to firing some bullets only? If they had
simply banged the car into the Parliament building,
then, God have mercy, immense, unimaginable damage
would have been caused.
3. Take the case of the Ansal Plaza attack. A
non-Muslim doctor who witnessed the event himself has
been crying out in front of the media that the person
who was branded as a dangerous terrorist [and accused
of being involved in the alleged terrorist attack] and
who was later shot dead was actually made to sit in a
jeep by the police, and the police brought him in such
a state that he could not even walk properly. And then
he was showered with bullets and killed. For a few
days the statements of this doctor appeared in
newspapers, who also reported that he was being
threatened by the police. The, suddenly, these
statements stopped being published. One does not know
what punishment that helpless man received for his
commitment to truth.

[…] Thanks to God that in many states, leaving aside
Gujarat and some other places, the seemingly
never-ending conflicts between Hindus and Muslims have
now subsided. At the time when communal riots were
raging throughout the country there was a possibility
that some Muslim youth might have reacted, but now
what reason do they have to pick up weapons?

[…] In many cases, [Muslim] people accused of being
involved in terrorist activities have been ordered to
be set free by the courts. For instance, Abdur Rahman
Gilani, who was cleared by the courts of charges of
being involved in the Parliament attack case. Those
[Muslims] accused of being behind the blasts in
Ghatkopar in Bombay have also been cleared of charges
by the Bombay High Court. Many of those [Muslims]
accused of involvement in the Coimbatore bomb blasts
have been cleared of charges by the Tamil Nadu High
Court. The court found SIMI activists accused of being
involved in an attack on the RSS headquarters to be
innocent. Aftab Ansari of Calcutta, who was arrested
on being accused of involvement of attacks on courts
in Uttar Pradesh, had to be later released by the
police. Likewise, many other people [wrongly] accused
of being terrorists have been saved by the courts. But
they have been forced to spend many invaluable years
of their lives in jail, being wrongly branded as
terrorists. Later, the courts respectfully ordered
them to be released [on finding them innocent],
although the media had all along [wrongly] labeled
them as ‘dangerous terrorists’.

In the cases of certain alleged terrorist attacks,
human rights’ and other impartial organizations found
the charges that were made [against innocent Muslims]
to be bogus, but the Central and state governments
took no notice of this. For instance, the report
issued by the Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties on
the attack on the RSS headquarters, the report of the
Andhra Pradesh Minorities’ Commission on the attack on
the Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad, and so on. What does
the government have to say about this?

In some places, such as Nanded, Aurangabad and Jalna
in Maharashtra and Tenkasi in Tamil Nadu, activists
belonging to the RSS and other Hindu fascist
organisations have been caught red-handed while being
engaged in terrorist activities. Bomb-making factories
were discovered in some of their houses. Muslim-style
clothes and beards and maps of mosques were also
recovered from them. But, far from accusing them of
terrorism, they were given the opportunity to get bail
from the courts and be released. Why so?

After the serial bomb blasts in trains in Bombay,
Muslim localities in the city were surrounded by the
police. Scores of Muslim youth were arrested and
tortured. After harassing several hundred persons, 13
innocent people were arrested under a draconian law,
although till this day the actual perpetrators of
these blasts and their motives remain unknown.

[…] The Students’ Islamic Movement of India has been
banned for the last six years. All its activities have
been suspended. The Government has sealed its
headquarters and provincial offices. It is another
matter that the court has not had the chance to
examine the appeals, issued several years ago, against
these restrictions [on the SIMI]. All of the SIMI’s
leaders, who were arrested on different charges, have
been cleared of charges by the courts or are out on
bail. […] Is the SIMI being made into a scapegoat like

[…] Why do the Central and state governments not also
discern the hand of [Hindu] fascist communal
organizations, the [Israeli secret service] Mossad and
the [American] Central Intelligence Agency behind
terrorist attacks? The first-mentioned of these are
well known to be vehemently against Islam and Muslims.
Likewise, the destructive role of the other
organizations throughout the world is widely-known.

Various forms of terrorism afflict the country
today.[….] But these are not associated with Hinduism
or Christianity [although many of those engaged in
these forms of terrorism belong to these religions].
So, why should [earlier mentioned] forms of terrorism
be branded as ‘Islamic terrorism’ and ‘Jihadism’? Is
it the case that by seeking to link Islam and Muslims
with terrorism attempts are being made to spread
hatred against Muslims across the country and to
instigate conflict so that [Muslims] are suspected by
the majority and are treated as Untouchables, and that
anti-Islamic sentiments are fanned?

The [previous BJP-led] NDA Government rushed in to
embrace the ‘War against Terror’ launched by America
and the West against Islam. Will the [present
Congress-led] UPA Government unthinkingly, or because
of certain other interests, also pursue the same

The Muslim leadership must […] demand from the
Government an answer to all the questions raised
above. They must demand that all incidents of
terrorism must be investigated at the highest