The Fundamentals Of Fundamentalism

What I am about to say is based on what I read on Facebook rather recently, and it may sound controversial. So I’d advise you to read it carefully:

The terrorists who bombed Beirut and massacred in Paris are Muslim. The terrorists who halted Bombay seven years back were Muslim. Yes, they’re Muslim. And they aren’t fringe elements either. Unequivocally they’re Muslim and no amount of denial can or will change that.

All religions have radicalization tendencies entrenched in its dogma while ironically promoting peace and brotherhood. Islam is the biggest and the most prominent example because, let’s face it, most of the terrorists who killed innocents were Muslims. The problem lies in both vested interests and dogma. I will address both.

Islam, on the whole, is a good religion

Islam, on the whole, is a good religion. It has no class or caste based divisions- though gender issues are a big problem. The ideals of Islam helped the Arabs to spread their political and cultural influences throughout Europe and Africa, and, of course, Asia. They gave us Ibn Sena, Firdausi, Rumi, Salahdin, Akbar, Bahadur Shah Zafar and Mirza Ghalib.

But nonetheless, there are certain Quranic verses which grievously mars Islam. For instance its attitude regarding homosexuality, patriarchy, violent propagation. Since Muslims and Islamic law are derived from the Quran, the entirety of the Quran is the source for Sharia and Islamic jurisprudence. So, Islamic fundamentalism as an ideology was present as a seed in the Quran. It only needed the tendings of Salafi and Sayed Qutub to come out as a movement, and it was abetted by the Capitalist West- which brings me to my second point.

Islamic fundamentalism

Islamic fundamentalism was already present, and when the world went to war in 1914, the Western Allies were fighting the Central Powers. The Ottomans owned Turkish and Arab lands, especially the holy cities of Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. For this, the Caliph was regarded as the religious head of (particularly, Sunni) Muslims. After the war, when the Ottoman territories were divided amongst the victorious powers as Mandates, House Saud- with its Wahabist ideals- began unifying the Arabian lands to form the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

We are all aware of the Wahabi ideology of Islam, with its regressive doctrines. However, the West did not bat an eye until three things happened- the emergence of the USSR and the USA as superpowers after World War II; the need to “contain” Communism by the bourgeois states and the discovery of oil deposits in the Gulf in the 1960s.

The Capitalists, especially the USA, understood that the best way to contain Communism in the Middle East was to use the seeds of Islamic fundamentalism already present in the Quran with the help of Saudi and Gulf money; this was done because the Soviets had a large Muslim population in its Central Asian and Caucasus Republics. This was all being done in the 1970s, in conjunction with the Vietnam War. Curiously, this is the time when the Egyptian Sayed Qutub promoted hatred of the West by radical Islamic means as well. And it all went hellishly after the Soviets (stupidly, to be very honest) invaded Afghanistan in 1979. The rest after this is known history, about how the West created and helped the Mujahideen against the Soviet troops. That led to the rise of Osama, al-Zawahiri and others.

So my point is, those who kill and bomb places are doing it in the name of Islam, justifying it by citing those very Quranic verses and Hadiths, which proved to be the foundation for Islamic fundamentalism. They’re Muslim. This is a Muslim problem.

Let me be clear, I have Muslim friends and they’re one of the most rational and the most peace loving folks I know. However, they have to raise their voice and solve the inherent radicalization present in their faith. They, and we have to face the contradictions in our own beliefs to destroy the nemesis once and for all. Not all Muslims are terrorists, not all Hindus are Hindutvawaadis. But most terrorists are Muslim or Hindu or any other faith, depending on what that personality has been indoctrinated with.

Comrades, don’t just pray for Paris or France or any other place marred by death and destruction. Look into yourself and face the realities as they are. Let us all resolve to wipe out fundamentalism and bigotry of all hues and forms; from Islamism and Hindutva to Christian extremism and Zionism. Let us not rest until we find the courage and will to free ourselves from this circle of hatred and murder.

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Anush Ghosh