By Atul C. Sarma
Louisville, KY: The unsuccessful bombing attempt at the New York Times Square represents the newest version of the multi-forked acts of terrorism. Faisal Shahzad, a US citizen of Pakistani origin and apparently without expertise in making and handling custom-made bombs, manifests another facet of complexity of modern terrorism. Indeed, he is an ambitious, moderately competitive and reasonably successful young man belonging to highly privileged family and society of Pakistan. His father served the Pakistani Air Force as a top Air Marshal. Faisal received education in computer science and business management, and immigrated to the US in pursuit of American dream like any one of us. With his homegrown wife with two children, he made the US his home to start with a promising career. With so much of an elite heritage in his blood and with a bright future ahead, how could he turn into a fundamentalist and fanatic terrorist? As journalist Fareed Zakaria summarized, the radicalization of young generation in pretext of fostering faith and religion starts the root of such alienation.
Only a week or so ago, when interviewed by a national network in New York, a typical capped and gowned Islamic clergy expressed clearly that terrorism is a part of Holy Koranic command: There is nothing wrong to terrorize un-Islamic “infidels” at the service of the faith. No Islamic scholar or intellectual comes forward to defend or reject such preaching of the Holy Koran to this date. There may be such a statement, but that is not the only teaching of Holy Koran to today’s Islamic followers. Indeed, since the Caliphate dynasty tool over the major fraction of the Islam 1300 years ago, the terrorism was the prime weapon applied in pretext of expanding the faith throughout the world. The histories of Middle East, Africa, Asia and Europe depict its impacts throughout the world. Now, if the stated reason is the root cause of modern terrorism, it will surely be arguable. No faith or religion promotes terrorizing acts.
Coming out of affluent heritage to the modern world with dreams and hopes ahead, it does not have any kind of rationale for Faisal to return to clergy-led fundamentalism. If it did to him, it would be a deep-rooted sickness reaching the bone of a magnificent human faith; and the progressive Islamic scholars and intellectuals should re-evaluate the necessity of re-accessing needs and wants to fit the faith-based culture to match the values appropriate to time and reality.
When the world’s media have inundated with endless stories on the act of Faisal Shahzad, the Indian laws have finally established the heinous crime committed by Pakistani terrorist, Ajmal Kasab, the only surviving member of the terrorist group invaded from Pakistan that waged war against India, massacred over 166 innocent people, and terrorized the metro Mumbai for days two years ago. The trial found that there could have no other reason other than pre-conceived and ill-taught teaching that promoted hatred, jealousy and bigotry. Now the civility of Indian criminal laws has established the crime.
The young man is now sentenced to death not by the laws, but by his own learning, training and life built on misinformation that concocted by his mentors and cultural ignorance. He was programmed through his life in anti-Indian depiction misleading through his life through wrong notion about Islamic society in India. Until he stands the trial he hardly realizes that there are over 150 million Muslims dispersed through the Indian society with equal rights and privileges like anyone else. He was never told about the human value of secular demography of the world.
Unlike Faisal Shahzad, Ajmal Kasab came out of South Asian poverty-stricken rural environment where clergy-led faith-based teachings shape up the young minds. If the clergies would preach hatred, jealousy and evils of social faith that radicalize young minds leading them away from the true religious principles of good life, there could have been generations of Ajmal, who would look for premeditated killing and chaos in the name of serving the faith.
Soon after Ajmal’s conviction, ironically a section of the Pakistani media and some people of his native area suggested that he should be excused from capital punishment to restore “peace between India and Pakistan.” The fact is even if he would be excused and set free to return home to Pakistan, there would always have anti-Indian social, political and personal hatred and enmity.
Recently another Islamic neighbor, Bangladesh, arrested and handed over to India a notorious Indian terrorist, Ranjan Daimary, the supreme head of one of the North-East India’s insurgent groups, NDFD, that conducted massive destruction and massacres in North-East India. Upon continuing interrogation, Daimary admitted that all those terrorizing activities became possible due to material assistance, tactical guidance and training from Pakistan’s national ISI organization. According to his statement, most of the insurgent organizations of India, including those of North-East India, continue to have close ties with ISI and with Pakistan’s variety of terrorist organizations.
Unless the leadership of all national and international entities, scholars and intellectuals of individual society would put forth genuine and collective remedies, the menace of global proliferating terrorism will continue and the humanity will encounter self-destruction.