Thursday, October 07, 2004

Tackling Radical Islam

These days, more often than not, ideas about Islamic radicalism overwhelm my mind. The killings, the beheadings, the tortures--from Iraq to Beslan to Darfur--is so humiliating for me as a Muslim. And how do I react? What do I say? I have been wanting to write something on this. Needs research and time.

Liked the following stuff from Anirudhha Bahal's opinion piece in Outlook:

"Osama bin Laden, Zarchawi and others. These Arab Bismarks hate the west more than they wish to live. It's also time to rethink the view that Al Qaeda and co are reincarnations of some medieval djinn. They aren't. Radical Islam is now a globally transportable ideology stemming primarily from the belief that a new world order can be crafted by a theatrical display of force. The idea that it can so be possible is an influence of radical European belief and not Islamic thought. It's a byproduct of globalisation.

Says John Gray in Al Qaeda and What it Means To Be Modern, "Anyone who doubts that revolutionary terror is a modern invention has contrived to forget modern history. The Soviet Union was an attempt to embody the world without power or conflict. In pursuit of this ideal it killed, enslaved tens of millions. Nazi Germany committed history's worst acts of genocide. It did so with the aim of breeding a new type of human being. No previous age harboured such projects. The gas chambers and the gulag are modern."

And so are the beheadings set to Quranic chants. Right now, the only weapon of choice we seem to have against the terror that radical Islam wields is military power. But if our battle against terrorism has to be made more sophisticated, we have to realise sooner than later that the greatest tool at our disposal is the piety, decency, and courage of the world's vast majority of Muslims. Beslan might be a catalyst for that introspection—on both sides."

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