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30 November 2008



Salaam Brother,

I'm afraid I have to partially disagree with you as to MSM coverage of these attacks. Lots of media outlets have brought up underlying grievances such as Gujrat, as being motivating factors for these bestial (no other word cuts it) and frenzied attacks.

Some examples:



The next article below by Jason Burke, a (UK) Guardian/Observer correspondent who's produced some fairly decent work on the Jihadi movement, addresses the issue that you raise of local collaboration in these attacks:


The article also addresses the point that you, being of Pakistani descent would wish not to be true (understandably and in the same way that I, as a former supporter of the slain Aslan Maskhadov, wished that the Beslan attackers had no connection with Ichkeria). This uncomfortable point being that Mohammad Ajmal Mohammad Amin Kasab, a 21-year-old Pakistani national from the Punjabi village of Faridkot, is the only terrorist involved in this assault who's been captured by the Indian security forces.

I appreciate your criticism of the fundamentally shallow and sound-bite nature of MSM coverage of complex political and security issues. That, unfortunately, is the nature of the beast.

We, as in the Ummatic we, have a very serious problem on our hands. One may navel-gaze, rather in the fashion of Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment (a book that I can never stop recommending highly enough to anyone), that when a statesman kills en masse this is lauded or at least tacitly accepted by much of humankind as a part and parcel of the ‘art’ of statesmanship, yet when the ‘little’ or anonymous man kills only once or in far smaller volume, he is branded a common murderer. Yet this paradox fails to absolve Raskolnikov of intense and soul-destroying guilt, mercilessly shredding away his sanity, at his cold and calculated murder of a wicked old money lender and her sister. Our friend Rodion Romanovich decided to murder with the common and greater good in the eye of his mind. What were the wages of his ghastly labour? He felt only two options and both were a product of his moral debasement: either final self-immolation or a life of utter alienation from all mankind, utterly devoid of love and empathy.

How did our hero redeem his soul? He confessed his crime. He didn’t truly repent of his crime at the time of his confession and sentencing to a Siberian penal colony. That came later. The first step was to confess. We, the Umma, are Raskolnikov and we need to truly walk the path of genuine confession and sincere repentance.

One could object to this Dostoevskyian analogy, decry it as the paradigm of an Orthodox Christian and his peculiar prejudices. I beg to differ. Repentance is simply the acknowledgment of a sinful act and revulsion at its commissioning. What difference does it truly make if the man who urges repentance is an Orthodox Slavophil? Did not the Christians drink something from the stream of Allah’s wisdom? Of course, one could add that according to the Quran one does not bear the sin of another. This is quite right in specific, individual cases subject to jurisprudence. It is also right with regards to children. Yet does the Quran not speak of Allah’s collective punishment of transgressor nations? Does the Quran not speak of Allah bringing forth a new Umma should we fail in our duty before Him?

Forgive my ramblings dear brother, I read (and enjoyed) the Order of Light some time ago and thought that perhaps you might understand where I’m coming from. If you’re not the same Haroon Moghul, then my apologies.

I've always felt that Al Shaykh Al Akbar of Literature (for me at least), Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky, should be read by anyone seeking an understanding of the contemporary Islamic world, be they a young angry Muslim, CIA/MI6 intelligence officer or just a confused ordinary citizen of the Western world (or India). The raging social and political debates (plus terrorist bombs) of late nineteenth century Russia echo loudly today.


Please brother don't consider my post a dig at your goodself. The navel gazing I refer to in my previous post, is a comment at what I perceive to be a rather common and unfortunate condition within the gobal umma. Being fairly familiar with your written work, I do not hold you to be such a type of navel-gazer.


I suppose underneath all the verbiage that I've unleashed upon your comments box, the sin that we need to confess is that there is something intrinsic to certain readings of Islam that lead to the sort of qital that we see in Mumbai and other places.

To be specific, it seems that something within the Salafi (particularly the Qutbian variant) and Deobandi paradigms can lead a believer (with the right indoctrination and indoctrinator) to cold bloody murder.

To slightly paraphrase Abdal Hakim Murad, not all terrorists are Salafis/Deobandis but practically all terrorists/egregious murderers seem to be Salafi/Deobandi inspired in some way.

Certainly from my personal experience on the ground in Chechnya, those in the resistance with Salafi leanings had no trouble with the concept civilian 'collateral' damage. Never would the more Sufi-inclined, or simply non-ideolgical (in a religious sense) members, ever support the targetting of civilians. This included Shaheed Aslan Maskhadov and the field commders directly loyal to him


I am pretty certain you'll find discussions of 'collateral damage' in traditional Islamic texts, not just by Salafis.

As for why this received prominence. Simple. White people died or were involved in the incident. Coupled with the audacity and length of the attack (over 48 hours) and it makes for 'great' television.



Great post, as usual. Sikhs have serious grievances, too. Sometimes

While I haven't been monitoring MSM coverage systematically, I've been pleasantly surprised by a number of articles that give half decent discussions of Muslim second-class citizenship in India.

You'd probably enjoy this piece, by an anthropologist who's done brilliant work on Islam in Indonesia.


Kindly disregard that "sometimes". Just a fragment of a sentence I cut out as I was rewording sth.

Man Who Saw Tomorrow

It's funny that Muslims never talk about genocides committed by Islam.

How about genocide of Kashmiri Hindus by so called Mujahideen? Almost 80,000 killed so far and half million displaced from their homes.

It's funny that no matter how heinous the terrorist crime is, a Muslim will always condemn it with a tongue in cheek comment about how this is indirectly due to some incident of Muslim oppression.

A. Oppression is not justification of terrorism -
Worldwide many communities have faced oppression at one time or another, Blacks for centuries in USA, native Africans in Africa,Indians by British, Sikhs in India after killing of Indira Gandhi, etc. But these communities gave rise to leaders like Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Mandela, etc. No community ever resorted to killing innocent passer-bys.

B. If Muslims have Justification, then so do others - So if Muslims commit crimes because they are angry and oppressed, and other commit crime because? they are evil? Why not say that Hindus were angry about Kashmiri Hindus being driven out of Kashmir and then they went to destroy the mosque?

Muslim = no introspection whatsoever.


MWST - Were you born stupid or just raised that way?

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