To Paradise - Via the Jehad in Kashmir!
"Death is just an insignificant word for them," begins the report in The News of 28 November, 1997 on the annual gathering of the Mujahidin-e-Taiba. "Killing those who do not share their set of Islamic values is the only reality. The congregation was flooded with thousands of people with these beliefs..." "And the massive gathering of people delivered one message loud and clear," the paper reports, "there is no dearth of manpower in Pakistan for the fanatic forces to indoctrinate. 'If I die fighting, I will be greeted in heaven by Allah who will smile upon me,' said a 20-year old mujahid from Okra." The paper reproduces at length the views and exhortations of "Professor" Saeed who heads the organization which is conducting the congregation, the Jamaat Dawa-wal-Ishad. He conveys a simple message, it says : "It was God who had ordered the establishment of the law of Islam everywhere in the world." He calls for a jehad, says the paper, for ending the democratic system in Pakistan and turning it into "a pure Islamic State governed by strict Shariat laws." At the congregation he rejects democracy, proclaiming, "the notion of the sovereignty of the people is un-Islamic -- only Allah is sovereign." [That has been the provision in each of Pakistan's three Constitutions since the Objectives Resolution was passed in 1949.] And these notions have been well internalized by the congregation, the paper reports : "The whole place was full of signboards with slogans like 'Jamhooriat ka jawab, grenade and blast." (Our reply to democracy, grenade and blast). "The Dawa chief said his organization's main interest in Pakistan waas to pick people and train them to wage jehad in countries wherever an un-Islamic government was in power," the paper says. "God has ordained every Muslim to fight until his rule is established," he declared. "We have no option but to follow God's order."
As usual the weapons and moral of the participants strike awe. "The mediamen covering the event were shaken" The News says, "when a mujahid addressed the gathering from Bosnia and another from Kashmir via satellite phone. The latest wireless sets were in abundance, as of course were modern weaponry in the hands of youngsters." The paper carries and account of a youngster from Canada who has joined up for the jehad, and has thoroughly internalized the poison. "I would go to Kashmir as a volunteer but I have not yet been able to persuade my leaders to let me go," the paper quotes him as declaring, and adds, "He shares the dream of martyrdom with thousands of others who attended the annual gathering of the Mujahidin Lashkar-e-Taiba, a militant wing of the group." "Rehman has no second thoughts about his decision to wage jehad against those who have enslaved Muslim brothers in the world... Abdur Rehman agrees with his leader's doctrine that democracy (sovereignty of the people) is anti-Islamic as it is against the basic principle of Islam that sovereignty belongs to Allah. He believes that it is the basic duty of every young Muslim to take up arms against those who do not believe in the Islamic system. 'We should fight against those who oppose the establishment of this system,' he states firmly. Muridke serves both as a headquarters for Dawa and a training ground for militants destined for aKashmir, Bosnia, Chechnya and the southern Philippines where Muslim communities are seeking self-determination. Rehman is ready to fight anywhere when he is needed. 'I know we are considered terrorists in the West, but I reject this title. A terrorist is someone who hates the world. We don't hate the world. I just want to bring about the system called for by God so that society can be happier', he says."
In addition to the account of the gathering at Muridke, the January 1998 issue of Pakistan's carries a detailed interview with the Amir of the Lashkar Taiba, Mohammed Khan. "There are Muslim organizations which preach and work on the missionary level inside and outside Pakistan," the Amir tells the correspondent, "but they usually steer clear of jehad. However, not only has the need for jehad always existed, the present conditions demand it more than ever."
Nor is the Amir at all reticent in naming the targets of the organization's jehad. He tells the publication,
"Our jehad is confined strictly to non-Muslims, and particularly Hindus and Jews, the two main enemies of the Muslims. The Quran too has declared these two groups to be enemies (of Islam). These two powers are creating problems for Muslims and for Pakistan. "To my mind the Hindus are what the Quran calls 'mushriks' (polutheists). This (Hinduism) is the worst form of shirk (polytheism) in which 30 million gods are worshipped. And from here shirk has been smuggled to other nations of the world. Hindus are creating problems for us directly. If God gives us the power we will enlarge the scope of jehad to include the Jews, who are the worst danger for the Muslims."
The Amir maintains that jehad is the cure for the sectarian strife which is tearing Pakistan -- his cure for it, in a word, is to export the conflict! The correspondent asks the Amir for his reactions to the charge that organizations such as the Lashkar have fomented a militancy which has in turn given rise to sectarianism, violence and crime. As one would expect, the Amir starts with a conspiracy theory :
"I feel that the opposite is true. For quite some time a conspiracy has been hatched against the Muslims. Shias and Sunnis have been made to fight each other, and Sunnis have been made to fight amongst themselves. A conspiracy has been hatched to encourage sectarianism, and its ill-effects are there for all to see. The conspirators did this to prevent Muslims from engaging in jehad. "The Jews have made this play in Egypt. They have made those people fight each other who could have fought against Israel. You find the same thing with the Shia-Sunni conflict. They (the conspirators) know that if Muslims are united, their wrath will be directed against the infidels."
Quite apart from everything else, if it really is the case that "if the Muslims were united, their wrath will be directed against the infidels," that would in itself constitute a complete case for fomenting the conspiracy which the Amir accuses the infidels of having hatched ! Not just that, the Amir prescribes jehad as the remedy for sectarian violence which is endemic to Islam ! He tells the publication,
"But if you study those people objectively -- those who have been engaged in jehad either in Afghanistan, Kashmir or elsewhere -- you will find that those who are making sacrifices have started coming closer together. Those who have joined jehad have been saved from sectarian conflict. "I see a large number of people who have left these useless things behind and are joining jehad in Kashmir. Neither the Milli Yakjehti Council nor Mr Nawaz Sharif can succeed in putting an end to sectarianism. The credit goes to jehad in Kashmir."
Indeed, in the Amir's considered view, jehad is the medicine not just for sectarian violence. It is the way to kick-start Islamic peoples into the new technologies!
The Amir says,
"In fact, when the Muslims were engaged in jehad, in the early days of their history, they had a grasp over science and technology. It was when Muslims gave up jehad that science and technology also went into the hands of others. This is natural. The one who possesses power also commands science, the economy and politics. The Christians won this power after a long time which began with the Crusades. It is very obvious - the technology which was centered at the Biatul Hikat in Baghdad has now been transferred to Europe. Today, if the Muslims really want to regain their former glory, it is not enough to do a PhD in Europe, although there is no harm in doing so. But achieving real power is a necessity."
He is circumspect, but only a bit, about the relationship of the organization with the intelligence and security agencies of Pakistan. Asked about it, the Amir says,
"If you wage jehad and that too against countries and organised armies, you cannot afford to make any mistakes. You must get help from wherever you can, whether it is from governments or individuals. Even if the Chinese Government agrees to help us against India, we should take the offer because, in order to break a target, you have to gather resources by all possible means. Despite the problems involved in outside funding, I feel that we should get help from wherever we can, from our Government or any other government which can help us against India."
The Amir is asked next for his views about democracy. He is explicit as can be :
"Democracy is among the menaces we inherited from an alien government. These are all useless practices and part of the system we are fighting against. Many of our brothers feel that they will be able to establish an Islamic system while working within this system. They are mistaken. It is not possible to work within a democracy and establish an Islamic system. This is trash, and you just dirty your hands dealing with it. If God gives us a chance we will try to bring in the pure concept of an Islamic Caliphate."
And how will the cadre be prepared for this overturning? The Amir comes back to his sovereign remedy, jehad :
"Pakistan is an ideal place for us to work in. We enjoy freedom to carry out our work and educational institutions are also located here. We will prepare mujahideen preachers and an alternative leadership. And through jehad, God will give this work success and countries will break. When change comes it will come when those opposing Islam will be crushed and then comes the time when you have to take the field."
"By force ?," asks the interviewer. "Yes," says the Amir, "that is a must."
The issue of The Herald carries a companion report about what it says is "the most widely circulated religious publication in the country," the Majla-al-Dawa. The magazine sold about 5000 copies in 1989, reports The Herald, now it sells around 70,000 copies. At Rs 12 per copy. It is the organ of the Dawa-al-Irshad. The Herald's account of the mind-set of the editor and his team, as well as of the contents of the magazine is as disturbing, as it is predictable.
"'The magazine team, and its editor in particular," The Herald says, "has traveled far and wide -- to shrines, temples, jails and even musical gatherings -- in search of 'satanic' practices. Once uncovered, these goings-on are written about in detail." The Herald's account continues,
"The enterprising editor, Amir Hamza, has traveled as far as Iran to uncover evil practices. During his travels to that country, he took the daredevil step of visiting its prisons and published a fascinating report, titled 'From Iran's jails and dungeons' ... "
In another such story, 'On the Tomb of the Homosexual Saint', the magazine reports from the annual festival of Madho Lal Hussain and informs its readers about the 'perverted ways' of the Saint and his followers. In a similar article on Riaz Gohar Shahi, another famous pir, the magazine traces his life-history in an attempt to prove that he was a fraud.
"However, no religious leader has received more attention from the Majla team than Tahirul Qadri, Chief of the Tehrik Millhajul Quran, a Barelvi Sunni group. Members of the Dawa are Ahle Hadith, expounding an austere, Arabic version of Islam. To them, Minhajul Quran's brand of religion is tainted with the influence of Hinduism. The Majla team is determined to 'purify' the Islam practiced in the subcontinent, and target Qadri so that 'those who do not know him may guard against his evil designs, and those who know him can nip the evil in the bud.'
"Not only does Majla take a hard-line against such 'evil designs', it is also severely critical of mysticism in Islam and considers this movement to be a deviation from the path of the Prophet...."
Nor are the concerns of the magazine limited to merely religious observances. The editors are in the forefront of campaigns to exorcise day to day life of the Devil and his conspiracies. The Herald mentions a special crusade which is glorified in a series of articles entitled, 'television murders'. "Here the television set is evil personified, and the ritual 'murder' of television sets at the hands of youngmen, mostly fresh converts to the Lashkar Taiba, are reported," The Herald informs us. "One such story reads : 'All the brothers and sisters were watching a film on the VCR when Nadim entered the room. His religious ghairat (pride) was stirred and, taking a brick in his hand, he broke the television set into pieces with two or three blows.' Where entire families are in agreement over the danger of television, TV sets are smashed ceremoniously on a stage at Lashkar meetings..."
And, of course, there are statements, exhortations, wills of "martyrs" who have "sacrificed their lives" for liberating Kashmir ! The Herald reproduces a typical letter from a "martyr" :
"My dear father, mother, brothers and sisters, "If you really love me, you should bear the news of my martyrdom with courage and be thankful to God. I request my mother and sisters to observe purdah, shun sin, say their prayers and pray to God to accept my martyrdom. I request my father to send my brothers for (military) training and also to educate others about jehad. It is an excellent path which leads straight to paradise. "I request you to break your television set soon after reading my will so that our house is free from the influence of Satan, and God is pleased with us all. I request you again to be thankful to God for my martyrdom. You should know that your son has died the death of a martyr. He did not die while drinking alcohol, watching a movie or television. Rather, he died fighting against the enemies of God, and is alive in Paradise forever.
"You should not pay heed to those who say that these people (the Lashkar Taiba) get our children killed in Kashmir. You should read the Quran and Hadith and see how God has ordered jehad and what great gifts have been set aside for martyrs. The Prophet of God has said, 'On the Day of Judgment, every martyr will be allowed to take 70 persons to Paradise.' It is a big gift. Do pray for me.
(Signed) Abu Marsad"
How convenient! Not only has the man made himself available for a "cause" which the Amir has selected, he has made it all the easier for the Amir to acquire replacements by making his closest relatives feel guilty if they fail to supply the remaining brothers to the Lashkar. He has advocated the very points that the Lashkar is urging -- right down to destroying the TV set! And he has so thoughtfully absolved the Lashkar from all criticism.
Notice too how very helpful are the accounts of Paradise and of the gifts that Allah has so thoughtfully provided in the hereafter for those who make themselves available to organizations like the Lashkar! But to revert to our immediate concern, Kashmir :
These accounts of the Lashkar and of the Dawa is typical. The Dawa is but one of a host of organizations which are dedicated to exterminating the conspiracies of Kafirs, in particular to "liberating" Kashmir from India.
That activity is now not just a religious mission for these organizations -- it is the honey-pot : it is the device which gets them money from Government, from the laity, from Islamic Governments and organizations abroad.
Their recruits are murdering people in Kashmir. And we are desisting from even giving information about the groups and about their proclaimed design to our own people...