Out of my mind: Jihadi or shaheed?

We have war crimes as a new category in international law, for which there is an international court.

Written by Meghnad Desai | Published:August 31, 2014 12:02 am
Army and police officers said the attack on the Musab bin Omair Mosque in Diyala yesterday came after Shiite militiamen were killed in clashes, while other sources said it followed a roadside bomb near one of their patrols. When the video depicting the beheading of James Foley appeared along with a masked man speaking in a distinct London accent, there was a near nervous breakdown in British political circle.

The first jihadi from India has just reportedly died in the Iraq/Syria war. Do we know how many have gone to fight there? The British media are agog with dread. As many as a thousand or even more British Muslims may have gone to fight for the Iraqi al-Qaeda, which has now become the Islamic State. Reports are that around 200 may have re-entered the UK. No one knows for sure.

When the video depicting the beheading of James Foley appeared along with a masked man speaking in a distinct London accent, there was a near nervous breakdown in British political circles. No one disowned them as children of foreign immigrants. How could ‘our’ boys do this? Where did we fail to teach them British values? Where and who are the extremists who incite and recruit these boys to go and fight for the Caliphate, which is now reaching new depths in brutality? Can we deport these people? Is this a failure of multiculturalism that we failed to integrate young Muslims into British life?

Welcome to globalisation and a tech-, media-savvy generation. Get plugged into youth culture around the world and then you can begin to separate the normal from the abnormal. Cinema across the world glories in violent films, be it Sylvestor Stallone’s or Salman Khan’s. Parallel cinema is even more gruesome. Rappers have violent lyrics which command huge sales. Computer games are also bloodthirsty.

The young have adrenaline flowing through their systems and are more daring, more likely to take risks and more unmindful of the physical damage they inflict on themselves than their seniors. We are celebrating the centenary of the First World War when thousands of young people went out to kill an enemy whom they had never seen and who had personally done them no harm. But their elders told them these were the ‘Enemy’. That was enough for perfect strangers to kill each other. The Church on both sides egged their soldiers on to kill. All thought systems, religious as well as secular ideologies such as Leninism, Fascism, Maoism, encourage people to kill each other while claiming to be peace-loving. The Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, a Leninist Party, killed one-seventh of the population on the grounds that they were middle class and hence did not belong to the classless society the Khmer Rouge wanted to construct. Many young people during the inter-War period from India and elsewhere dedicated their lives to the October Revolution which sometimes asked them to kill their nearest and dearest. British Communist volunteers who went to the Spanish Civil War fought the Socialists on their side as cheerfully as the Fascists.

The Sunni jihadis in the Islamic State want to kill all apostates, including Sunni tribes which do not adhere to the al-Qaeda sectarian view and also, of course, all Shias, to say nothing of Yazidis and Christians. Nouri al-Maliki, the just ousted prime minister of Iraq, created a Shia-majority democracy where no Iraqi Sunni family could feel safe. He was only taking revenge for what Saddam Hussein had done to his people.

Young men, and some women, fight and die for the cause in the full belief that this is the martyrdom worth having. Be it the Anushilan martyrs, who threw bombs at the British, or the Irish Sinn Fein ‘terrorists’ fighting to throw out their rulers, violence confers honour from your side and hatred and calumny from those who are being attacked. One man’s shaheed is another man’s terrorist. There is no moral high ground here for any nation or any people. We may hope that as we progress with time, all will become peace-loving and friendly with others. But there is a long way to go yet.

We are perhaps more aware of human rights and the idea that a lot of adversarialp killing is unjustified. We have war crimes as a new category in international law, for which there is an international court. But these courts cannot prosecute without a superior force to apprehend the criminals and bring them to trial.

There is no such force left in the world. The prospect is of more anarchy and more martyrdom.

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    Paul
    Sep 6, 2014 at 8:26 pm
    They are muslims first British afterwards. They will never be fully British and never understandBritish values. To call them British is wrong. To them Islam is first and their country last. Importation/muslim immigration is in the form of a curse to Europe. There is still time to control this religious disease. As time pes and we come to the next generation, the game will be lost. England,France, Germany will be like Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia. Scary, more Scary and yet more scary.
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      Brijkhanna
      Aug 31, 2014 at 10:55 am
      Some time I wonder how "Informant strategy(Policia mukhbar)" worked very well during British rule over India. Have British Govt forgotten this strategy in finding out how many young Muslims are being converted to JIHADIS. With all respect to ISLAM, I feel their clerics/Maulvis are responsible to convert them into JIHADIS.Besides, liberal funding from Saudi Arabia Govt or trading community in the name of Zakaat and encouragement from Rogue Muslim States, are responsible for all this useless blood shed.I recall a joke some one circulated on mobile that a suicide bomber after his death talked to another suicide bomber that he is is Heaven( JANAT), here every one is roaming about naked. No bar on . Friend where from and what are you.First Jihadi told other that he is in streets of KARACHI as DOG.
      Reply
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        Alok Asthana
        Aug 31, 2014 at 2:21 pm
        Maybe you should read the BJP man - Arnab Goswami.
        Reply
        1. A
          Alok Asthana
          Aug 31, 2014 at 6:25 am
          Very true. Wonder why people refer to ISIS as terrorists? They are fighting a full blown conventional war, risking their lives for their beliefs. Whether we believe in their cause or not hardly gives us the right to call them terrorists. Indians claim POK, a huge chunk of territory, since last 67 years. What risks have they taken, or even dream to take, to recover their part of 'motherland'? Those who are ready to die for their beliefs are terrorists but those who sit at home when part of their motherland is begin further handed over by Pak to China, are nationalists!
          Reply
          1. S
            Suresh Suresh
            Sep 4, 2014 at 6:24 am
            Let Desai stay in England and preach his phoney pacifist views,we in India don't care if Britain wants to own up the jehidists as their own it's their funeral,but in India we still have horrible memories of Muslim rule of thousand years and we certainly will not look upon kindly on any so called shahid and neither do we want these monsters back under any post modernist pretence.We will make sure to make clear to these evil forces that they are no more welcome in India
            Reply
            1. J
              jason alphonso
              Aug 31, 2014 at 6:39 am
              Rot. Meghnad desai is trying to give excuses for the animals that are the Islamic state
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                Pradip Bhattacharya
                Aug 31, 2014 at 4:21 pm
                Mr. Desai has tried to dilute the horrors of jihadi terrorism by equating the same with other violent struggle for independence. It is a shame.
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                  Manish Bimari
                  Aug 31, 2014 at 1:39 pm
                  Meghnad is as confused as his mentor Burkha and both of them are trying their best to spread mayhem amongst the faithful without realising that for sure one day they will also be in line for their heroes to devour. They will obviously follow the sheep to the slaughter house. That's the lagacy of following the seventh century butcher. Bloody fools!
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                    mukesh kale
                    Sep 8, 2014 at 6:39 pm
                    I agree but facts remain and they are not my theories. Please try to understand us, in spirit of your tolerance ! . The greatness of Hinduism is it does not acknowledge poverty but strives for stupid purity of the poor !!
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                    1. M
                      mukesh kale
                      Sep 5, 2014 at 6:41 pm
                      Nice !We were not alive for 1000 years but we have to just look around these Sharia (so called law) driven countries and condemn the way they punish "human" criminals and force "human" citizens go about all aspects of life miserably.No, we simply cannot have such laws in 20th century and UN bodies must act.
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                      1. M
                        mukesh kale
                        Sep 4, 2014 at 10:56 pm
                        The fanatic Hindu theory is that , these attacks ( by oil money) are equally against Hindus and Christians so RICH Christians must support WANNA BE RICH Hindus and help them to make POOR Hindus POORER so that they accept Islam (like Afro-Americans) and Hinduism will be cleansed and present superpoverty will convert into superpowerdom !That covers all the departments, ain't?When and How will you stop dreaming guys ?
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                        1. M
                          mukesh kale
                          Aug 31, 2014 at 12:36 pm
                          The problem started with Taliban formation by master of "US" all, in 1989 to fight Najibullah in Afghanistan and apparently USSR. Taliban was used just like Mujahidins in Kashmir. On stani soil within three months Al-Queda was formed and sources of its funds too can be traced back to USA. Could be 9/11 was outrage against betrayal by USA in a torrent and covert love affairing to Moslem psyche, the capitalist world has turned so rotten on social scale (except in NW Europe) that Islam scores much better. But this has been misused by fundamentalist forces in Islamic world to recruit poor/confused men to combat modern law. They have confused modern Moslem potion so much that 70% Turkish want now Sharia law and 33% stanis want rule by clergies.West is afraid of Islamic extremism only because it has oil which west needs badly uninterrupted. Saddam had no support left in Arab world so USA could easily destroy Iraq (and use its oil for free) but could do nothing to much weaker aad. What's the difference between Saudi Arabian law and law forced by Taliban in our Waziristan ? Will USA drone Saudi Arabia? NO.Pan-Islamism has future only in Turkish model i.e Quranist but not Sharia. Otherwise these several Islamic groups will be fighting even among themselves all along as they did in Lebanon in 80s.The tragedy is, Western powers are greedy enough and coward enough not to confront these anarchists to put an end to all these worldwide "attacks" which are actually part of war waged against modern civilization.
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                            mukesh kale
                            Sep 5, 2014 at 10:29 am
                            Who the great is this guy ? He is sorry for having NOTHING !What deptts. hes is talking about ? Is he fit to enter them ?
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                              naidu kare
                              Aug 31, 2014 at 4:56 am
                              Is Meghnad desai some sort of FDI in Indian journalism? Week after week why are we forced to read his opinions and critique? Is india short of journalists?
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                                Narayan Krishna
                                Aug 31, 2014 at 2:34 pm
                                I am surprised that the preachers of Islamic rule always wear masks and carry out the operations. If this was really a struggle for religious reasons, let them come out with their faces uncovered and show their leadership.
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                                  Sandm4n
                                  Aug 31, 2014 at 4:05 pm
                                  Here we go again....the senile old "Lord" with a confused origin tortures everyone once again. ISIS is a walk in the park compared to his litany of inane logic.
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                                    Raj gopal
                                    Aug 31, 2014 at 1:02 pm
                                    I don't completely agree with your opinion Mr. Desai. You have generalized and in doing so, trivialized a very complex issue by equating political terrorism/war with religious terrorism/war. Secondly, I hope you will not write about the Indian freedom fight in the same breath.
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                                      Raj gopal
                                      Sep 6, 2014 at 10:30 am
                                      This is also unfit for a reply. Mukesh Ji, you got it all wrong and are in a fit of anger.
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                                      1. R
                                        Raj gopal
                                        Aug 31, 2014 at 3:56 pm
                                        Unfit for a reply. There are serious fundamental flaws in your theory. It fails in every department. So sorry, I can't reply to you.
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                                          Yatharth
                                          Aug 31, 2014 at 2:30 pm
                                          I don't believe how intelligent and literate people like Desai holding exalted positions in society (Professor at London School of Economics) can be so naive as not to understand that it is not the modern means of communication that is behind ISIS emergence, it is Islam. Pure and simple. This is like saying that Facebook is responsible for rapes happening in India. Can anything be more ic than this? If that were the case, what explains the brutality and absolute savagery of Islamists who murdered close to a hundred million Hindus in less than 200 years of savagery? Which modern technological tool was responsible for decimation of Sumer, Mesopotamia or Babylonian civilizations, at one time, at the prowess of human intelligence and intellect? Today these cesspools of lowest in human depravity are called Iraq, Iran, what is Middle East and Egypt. What made Muslim savages burn Nalanda University? Let us stop the charade of Islam being like any other religion and based on that premise, look for some socio-economic and technological reasons for their savage actions. The answers, if the intelligentsia bothers to look into, can be found in the verses of Islamic holy books, particularly the second half, the Medina verses. But this will take courage. A lot of courage. Courage to acknowledge the ugly truth. So ugly that no one wants to see it, no one wants to hear it and no one wants to talk about it.
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                                            Srikanth Krishnan
                                            Sep 7, 2014 at 12:26 pm
                                            Conversion by any means to islam is accepting depravity, barbarism and intolerance bordering on schizophrania. So do not come out with your theories of poor and rich. Many of the UK jihadists lived a comfortable life in Britain but still became terrorists
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