Violence Doesn't Pay: Pak Scholar
20 December 2004
Hyderabad: A leading Pakistani Islamic scholar Dr Israr Ahmad has strongly condemned the acts of terrorism in the name of Islam and asserted that there was no place for such acts in the religion. He also came down heavily on the violence being perpetrated in Jammu and Kashmir in the name of Jihad and said that instead of yielding any results it had proved counter productive for Kashmiris. Similarly he said while Muslim anger against the US was understandable, the reaction of Muslims should not be such that it causes more harm to them. Dr Ahmad, who is in Hyderabad on the last leg of his tour of India to deliver a series of lectures on Islam and Quran, told a press conference here on Monday that conspiracy by others and irresponsible acts by some Muslims have led to a situation in which Islam was being linked to terrorism in the world. It is Muslims themselves who have given others an opportunity to tarnish the image and name of Islam, he said. Dr Ahmad said the biggest mistake committed by Muslims as also others was to link even struggles for rights and liberation as jihad or Holy War. He said guerrilla warfare and other similar acts have caused more damage to the Kashmiri people. If the Kashmiris had organised a massive and peaceful political campaign for their right of self-determination, it would have proved more effective and beneficial. If two lakh people had taken out a peaceful procession and 200 people had died in firing, there would have been a stir around the globe and they would have got the sympathies of the world, he said. The scholar said if somebody throws a bomb on a military truck in Kashmir, kills three-four people and then goes into hiding in residential areas, it attracts the wrath of the military which usually expresses itself in house-to-house searches by the army who indulge in humiliation and rape. 'Who is responsible for this? Isn't the person who threw the bomb responsible?' Dr Ahmad asked. 'This is not a correct method and whosoever started this has done the wrong thing,' he said. In fact the concept of jihad and terrorism have been recurrent themes in his addresses in Hyderabad and other cities in the country during his three-week long visit. ' To me even the war in Afghanistan was not jihad fi Sabeelillah (the holy war in the path of Allah.) It was a fight for freedom against the Russians. Similarly what is being done by Pakistan in Kashmir, I have never called it Jihad. I am not saying this because I am in India. Even in Pakistan I have expressed the same view,' he told a mammoth gathering of Muslims Sunday evening. Quoting extensively from the Quran and Hadith (the traditions of prophet Moha-mmed), the Lahore based Quranic authority, Dr Israr Ahmad, said jihad cannot be declared by any or every individual; there were as many as eight phases and several conditions before Holy War is declared. On the issue of Kashmir he said the people throughout the world had the right of self- determination and it should be respected. On the issue of the US attack on Iraq and victimisation of Muslims elsewhere in the world, Dr Ahmad said that the West, especially America, does not want to allow Islam to emerge as an alternative to the system they are presently following. 'They are using violence to stop Islam's emergence as a way of life,' he said. He said the way America was playing in the hands of Israel and the Jews had created a lot of resentment and hatred among Muslims, especially Arabs. 'This is getting reflected in various acts but we do not think what is being done is right,' Dr Ahmad said referring to the acts of terrorism against the US. However on the 9-11 incident, he did not agree it was carried out by Arabs or Muslims. 'This is an action replay of an incident in 1967 when Israelis in the garb of the Egyptian airforce bombarded the US fleet in the Mediterranean hoping that the US will retaliate against the Egyptians enabling them to win the war. But they were caught and the entire issue was covered up. Similarly there is no hope that the truth of 9-11 attacks will ever come out,' he said. Dr Ahmad runs Idara-e-Dawatul Quran in Lahore and his programmes on the liberal and scientific interpretation of the Quran on the Dubai-based Q TV is quite popular in the subcontinent. Expressing happiness over the improvement in Indo-Pak relations, Dr Ahmad said along with the exchanges of other sorts, visits by the religious leaders like him can also contribute a great deal in further improvement.