Though the announcement by the jihadi outfit ISIS of the formation of a Caliphate under Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has caused enormous consternation among the strategic analyst across the world, the full implications of the Islamic strategy have not been understood. Most political column writers and strategic analysts consider it as the birth of another new Muslim country for waging jihad. Apart from the creation of yet another radical Muslim entity, the caliphate presided over by Al Baghdadi, has certain far reaching and cardinal implications for many nation, including India. Some of this have been discussed in the following:
1. Historically and by the time-honoured Islamic tradition the Caliph, or Khalifah, is regarded by every Muslim as the Regent of Allah ordained to rule the world according to the precepts o f Islam. According to the orthopraxy of Islam once a caliphate is established it becomes the Quran ordained duty of every Muslim across the world to obey the command and instructions of the Caliph.
2. The Caliph is authorized by Islamic law and tradition to declare a jihad against ‘kaffirs’ (read all non-Muslims) across the world. Thereafter it becomes the duty of every Muslim to join the holy war for establishing the rule of Islam worldwide – as ordained in the Quran.
3. “Islam is a close corporation and the distinction that it makes between Muslims and non-Muslims is a very real, very positive and very alienating distinction. The brotherhood of Islam is not the universal brotherhood of man. It is brotherhood of Muslims for Muslims only. There is a fraternity but its benefit is confined to those within that corporation. For those who are outside the corporation, there is nothing but contempt and enmity”-B.R. Ambedkar , Pakistan or Partition of India.
4. A very disturbing aspect of the concept of Ummah is that a Muslim need not have any commitment to fight for his motherland. He has a higher commitment enjoined on him by the Quran, namely his allegiance to the global Muslim entity called Ummah. As explained by Dr. B R Ambedkar in his seminally researched tome, Pakistan or Partition of India, in preference to a call to defend his motherland, a Muslim is entitled to seek help of another Muslim nation calling for jihad against the supposed oppression of Muslims. Dr. Ambedkar explained this aspect very lucidly by quoting from the deposition made by the well known Muslim leader of Khilafat movement, Maulana Mahomed Ali. The Maulana had deep knowledge of Quran and Islamic law and made a canonical assertion during his trial in the Sessions Court :
On July 8, 1921, a weird resolution was passed by the Khilafat Committee at Karachi in which the Maulana had exhorted the Muslims, including the Muslim soldiers of the British Indian army, not to join the battle against the Amir of Afghanistan. For making an open defiance of the law he was charged in a Karachi court with preaching sedition against the Indian state. In his address to the Jury in the Sessions Court Mahomed Ali contested by citing chapter and verse from the Quranic law that Islam does not permit the faithful to fight against the jihadi army of a Muslim ruler like the Amir of Afghanistan. He argued that in the event of a jihad being declared against ‘kaffirs’ the law of Islam required that no Muslim should render any assistance against the Islamic warriors (called Mujahideen). The learned Maulana further reiterated that if jihadis approach the place or region where Muslims were living, the Muslims must assist the Mujahideen to the best of his or her ability and power. That was the clear and indisputable law of Islam, averred the Maulana Mahomed Ali in his long testimony.
In view of the foregoing commands of the Prophet in Islamic scriptures the diktat of the Caliph al- Baghdadi seeking total commitment of all Muslims has been attracting thousands of wannabe jihadis from different countries and continents to his mission for global jihad.
Al Baghdadi’s Quran-based exhortations to the faithful to join his global jihad have drawn a massive response from the Muslims worldwide, including several thousand volunteers (including Muslim women) from Europe, USA, Canada and Chechenya – even from India. He has already demonstrated his determination to make full use of the strategy to instill terror into hearts of Non-Muslims by recourse to barbarities which were used as powerful ‘Force Multipliers” by hordes of freebooters in the medieval era.
In the circumstances, it will be naive on our part to ignore the likely consequences of the rise of a Caliphate across South Asia, especially for a fault-line ridden country like India, which has a huge population of nearly 15 crores and more Muslims. More importantly, many radical Muslim leaders like Owaisi brothers of the MIM of Hyderabad, Imam Barkati of Tipu Sultan mosque of Kolkata and storm-troopers of Raza Academy of Mumbai keep on reminding us that have ruled over the Hindus for 900 years and were hoping to rule India once again.
Time for Hindus to Listen to Wisdom of Tony Blair
Reacting with alacrity to the dangerous developments in Middle East, Tony Blair, the Former British Prime Minister, delivered a keynote speech on 23rd April 2014 at Bloomberg HQ in London. In his talk titled ‘Why the Middle East Still Matters.’ Blair spelt it out in no uncertain terms that radical Islam was the greatest threat facing the world today.
He argued “there are four reasons why the Middle East remains of central importance and cannot be relegated to the second order.” The first three, namely the oil, proximity to Europe and Israel were quite important, but these were not the focus of the speech.
Tony Blair rapidly moved on to the fourth and most important reason: Islamic extremism also known as Islamism. According to him the conflict in the Middle East is one between an open and tolerant society and a fundamentalist Islamist ideology. He further commented that “wherever you look – from Iraq to Libya to Egypt to Yemen to Lebanon to Syria and then further afield to Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan – this is the essential battle.”
Addressing members of the civil society who often disregard or try to minimize the likely consequences of these conflicts he observed, “there is something frankly odd about the reluctance to accept what is so utterly plain: that they have in common a struggle around the issue of the rightful place of religion, and in particular Islam, in politics.” He hammered home this aspect of Islamism again and again during his forty minute speech. He argued that this struggle will not end at the borders of the region. Rather the reason, according to his perception why this matters so much is that “this ideology is exported around the world.”
The former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom stated:
Take a step back and analyze the world today: with the possible exception of Latin America (leaving aside Hezbollah in the tri-border area in South America), there is not a region of the world not adversely affected by Islamism and the ideology is growing.
Blair concluded by reminding the listeners :
The Muslim population in Europe is now over 40m and growing. The Muslim Brotherhood and other organizations are increasingly active. They operate without much investigation or constraint. Recent controversy over schools in Birmingham (and similar allegations in France) show heightened levels of concern about Islamist penetration of our own societies……The first is the absolutely rooted desire on the part of Western commentators to analyze these issues as disparate rather than united by common elements. They go to extraordinary lengths to say why, in every individual case, there are multiple reasons for understanding that this is not really about Islam, it is not really about religion. They adduce the plea that there are local or historic reasons which explain what is happening. There is a wish to eliminate the obvious common factor in a way that is almost willful.
Predictably, the opponents took the opportunity to argue exactly that. For example, the Guardian quoted a Saudi Daily paper which blamed Israel. The well known commentator Mehdi Hassan blamed Tony Blair himself for the problem, because of his participation in the Iraq war launched by George Bush !
Blair went on to argue “The second thing is that there is a deep desire to separate the political ideology represented by groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood from the actions of extremists, including acts of terrorism.”
The motivation behind these fears was that “We feel almost that if we identify it in these terms, we’re being anti-Muslim, a sentiment on which the Islamists cleverly play.” He swept aside these imaginary distinctions while acknowledging that the motives behind such interpretations were laudable. But he also pinpointed the profound danger posed by the Islamist ideology and concluded that Islamic preachings were incompatible with the modern world. He therefore urged the West and indeed the entire world, to unite against the growing ideology of Islamic extremism.
It is difficult to imagine how many Indian Muslims will respond to the call of al Baghdadi to join the jihad which has sights of their guns firmly fixed on ‘kaffir India’. According to the deposition made by Mohammed Danish Ansari (an associate of the I.M. operative Yasin Bhatkal) under Section 164 Cr.P.C. by a Magistrate, Yasin Bhatkal had told him in 2010 that he had raised a spynest of 33,000 jihadis in India. The said statement is in possession of the National Investigation Agency. Time has come for Indian strategic analysts to assess the approximate number of Indian volunteers who may respond to al-Baghdadi’s call for jihad against India. Will their numbers run into thousands or lakhs ? Well, your guess is as good as mine.
Ram Ohri is a former IPS officer and writes regularly on security issues, demographics, and occasionally, on policy.