Is Islamic fundamentalism meeting a backlash by right-wing groups? Religions must reinforce inclusivity, offer more than seek, dilute identity than create and must love more than hate. If we do not then fundamentalism with terrorist ambitions and their counters hold the dagger to the neck of societies; irrespective of the fact that who is on which side. We need to ask questions and reply honestly. There are answers which only unbiased eyes can pick.
Shailesh Kumar, National Defence
New Delhi, 18 March 2019
Peace is an undisputed slogan of every religion while terrorists’ sole aim is to destroy global peace. On March 15, 2019 a gruesome act of mass killing occurred in New Zealand and the world is yet to come to terms. The world is looking for answers. Some are shrouding it and many still are coloring it to their advantage. But at the bottom of it is hate, hate your enemy and hate who steps on your toes.
The attack at two mosques in New Zealand by a non-Muslim should serve as an eye-opener for those indulging in wanton violence around the world. Radical extremist Islam as a reaction against modernity and inclusivity has been around for decades. Many states have used Islam to further their agenda, create divides and closed societies which are intolerant and violent. These states and fundamentalist groups have converted their members into a near-zombie state, and have heavily exploited them. On March 15, the incident appears to be a backlash by a white supremacist who in his 74 page memorandum displayed acute hate, the same aspect of fundamentalism which was being exploited by Islamic fundamentalist to create sectarian zombies.
Scapegoating is an essential component of the fanatic’s weaponry. Generating hatred against an enemy held responsible for the debasement of the present and the destruction of the glorious past focuses energy and that has been exploited by fundamentalist groups who preach separate identity, looks and behaviour. Such groups spreading hatred are disliked and act as catalyst to the backlash.
Religion is often seen as one of the main causes of extremist violence, such as attacks in New Zealand. It is a common observation that religious practices and attitudes, perceived threat, and demographic variables contribute to support for extremist violence.
Why did Brenton Tarrant, pick up the gun to kill innocent people offering prayers at mosques on a Friday morning? It is not difficult to find the answer. If parts of communities decide to be non-permeable to the ideas of brotherhood, appear to be against cultural-synthesis, start hardening their beliefs and begin to relive their past, then they are obviously spreading hatred. Not an easy answer but answer that is natural and logical.
India has been subjected to invasion across the Himalayas for years and with it came Islam to an otherwise homogenous peace-loving society. Islam merged into the social fabric of our Nation and then emerged the resurgence of the Caliphate. Such medieval Caliphate ideas have made societies closed, closed to cultural synthesis and then intolerant. Relive history, no matter whatever be the costs and you have a situation of violence.
Preachers of Islamic fundamentalism have thrived on hatred and creating a vitriolic sense of insecurity. In Kashmir, they drove out Kashmiri Pandits from their land of birth. They sought demographic inversion with an idea of ‘produce more to increase your strength by numbers, focus on establishing identity through beliefs and dress codes’; signs which are becoming increasing visible.
Even in Nepal; an erstwhile kingdom based on one religion, is witnessing similar resurgence of Islam and Christianity at a pace never seen before. What the future has in-store for Nepal is not difficult to predict.
Hate, has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.
Who then is to blame for the kind of violence that is happening even in relatively peaceful Nations like New Zealand?
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 15 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal and web channel, National Defence.