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Roots of extremism lie in India

Roots of extremism lie in India

Author: Prafull Goradia
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: January 21, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/151282/Roots-of-extremism-lie-in-India.html

While the Government turns a blind eye to divisive forces, the Muslim League, AMU and Darul Uloom Deoband continue to sow seeds of religious extremism in India

The Indian Union Muslim League, led by Janab Panakkad Syed Mohammadali Shihab Thangal and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs E Ahamed, has called for India snapping ties with Israel for launching military offensive on Hamas-infested Gaza strip.

Hamas is a proxy of oil-rich Iran, which would like the nuclear installations of Israel to be destroyed. Hamas had been previously launching missiles towards these facilities and thus, Israeli's attack is in self-defence.

It was inexplicable charity of then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his followers to permit the Muslim League, known for its extreme communal ideology and eventually led to the Partition in 1947, to continue to function in India. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has done better than Nehru by making the League a coalition partner and its only MP Foreign Minister. Uncannily, it is not the only communal and divisive force in India. The Aligarh Muslim University is another cradle of communalism and divisive ideology. Its teachers' association has condemned what its secretary Qazi Ehsan Ali has described as Israeli savagery. Their resolution has reiterated that the Palestinians have every right to respectable life. As if Indians and Israelis have no such right.

Neither the Muslim League nor the AMU condemned the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. Each one of the targets and victims was either a guest or an Indian citizen. The Muslim League has not asked for snapping ties with Pakistan.

At the UN council meet Mr Ahamed not only excluded the fact that Nariman House was attacked but he also didn't condole the deaths of Jews in the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. Whatever Mr Ahamed's intentions were, the popular perception is that in his eyes killing of Jews was legitimate and, being such a small number in India, the incident would not matter. Was Mr Ahamed influenced by his sympathy for Hamas which has been fighting a war against Israel? He had at one stage expressed his anger over the assassination of Hamas leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

Pakistan's permanent envoy to the UN, Mr Abdullah Hussain Haroon, has openly blamed the clerics of Darul Uloom at Deoband for being the fountains of extremist mischief in the subcontinent. Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Maulana Masood Azhar is also of Indian origin. What Mr Haroon meant was that the seed of terrorism was in India which had also brought problems for Pakistan. If we introspect objectively we would know that much of the Islamist ideology is being inspired by institutions in India.

The prototype of the AMU was Anglo-Oriental College founded in 1877 by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan. The university was a hot-bed of separatist ideology providing a large number of 35 Muslim eminences who called on the Viceroy in 1906 at Shimla for reservations for the community in employment as well as the introduction of separate electorates which would ensure for Muslims parity in numbers with the majority Hindus. This visit to Shimla was followed up by the establishment of the Muslim League in December 1906 under the presidentship of the Nawab of Decca.

Darul Uloom, which began as a maktab or school, was chosen by its founder Maulana Muhammad Qasim as Deoband was away from British strongholds. There prevailed a persecution mania amongst the Muslims as a result of the mutiny of 1857. The environment appeared harsh to them with several ulema like Haji Imdad-Allah going away to Mecca for good. The course of study was strictly Islamic; no English or modern science was taught. The inspiration was obviously anti-British and continues to be anti-ruler to this day. The ulema of Deoband pride themselves on being ahl al-sunna wa'l jama a. In other words, they are utterly faithful to the practices of Prophet Mohammad who lived and preached 14 centuries ago.

The first graduate of the Darul Uloom in 1877 was Mahmood ul-Hasan who founded Samaratul Tarbiyat, a quasi-military body whose volunteers known as fidayeens were taught to prepare themselves for armed jihad. This then was the Gangotri of Taliban. The Darul Uloom at Deoband continues to propagate strict pro-tawhid, pro-ulema, anti-innovation, anti-polytheist, fundamentalist revivalism first initiated in Syria by Ibn Taymiyya, in Arabia by Al-Wahhab and in India by Shah Waliullah.

In contrast, AMU was founded in order to educate and prepare pro-British Muslims. Remember, Sir Syed's policy was to befriend the British and thus counter the Hindu majority. After Partition, the same tradition has continued; an illustration being the founding of SIMI at the University in 1974. Yet, the Indian Government pays for the whole institution.

All in all, this situation proves that Mr Abdullah Hasan Haroon is right when he alleges that the ideological root of extremism lies in India and not in Pakistan.

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