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Don’t let a faith be hijacked

Though both Hindus and Muslims acted with restraint after the recent attacks, we need to prioritise security and vigilance, writes Firoz Bakht Ahmed.

india Updated: Aug 18, 2008 22:52 IST

Islam is once again under the scanner, with the unearthing of the Students’ Islamic Movement of India (Simi) terror trail. With the logo of its offshoot, the ‘Indian Mujahideen’, displaying guns on either side of the Quran, the connection made with Islam is ugly. And misguiding.

I wonder if this fringe group knows that, in the words of theological expert Abdullah Yusuf Ali, the Quran states that “treason against the State, combined with treason against Allah is a crime with punishments like execution, crucifixion, maiming or exile as per the situation”?

Jehad is highly misunderstood not only by non-Muslims but also by Muslims. Islam sanctions war, but under very strict rules. The true concept of jihad is the waging of war against one’s own selfish nature, vices and shortcomings. It is also the war to be waged within Muslim society to fight evil, injustice, inequity, illiteracy and ignorance.

The terrorists’ aims were clear in Hyderabad, Jaipur, Bangalore and Gujarat — to drive a wedge between Hindus and Muslims and create a riot-like situation. Further, in such tragic situations, irresponsible statements and mud-slinging by political parties have only helped terrorist outfits that were, until now, marginalised.

Though both Hindus and Muslims acted with restraint after the recent attacks, we need to prioritise security and vigilance. Given the fluid communal situation in India, the saner elements in both communities must take the lead in foiling attempts by fundamentalists to play up such incidents.

Firoz Bakht Ahmed is a commentator on social and religious views.