“Almost no country needs to be more worried about jihadist Islam spreading than India”

“The ideology of jihadist Islam is the exact opposite of the idea of India.”

What is needed, and has been needed for many years now, is a global alliance of nations that are threatened by jihad.

“Fifth column: Wisdom in a dark time,” by Tavleen Singh, Indian Express, July 9, 2017:

If you are in the media and dare to say anything good about Donald Trump, you risk being called a lunatic. So it is with trepidation that I admit that I was impressed with something the American President said last week in Warsaw. His words had special resonance for me because I believe they are as relevant to India as the West. He said, “Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have enough respect for our citizens to protect our borders? Do we have the desire and the courage to preserve our civilisation in the face of those who would subvert and destroy it?”

He was speaking of the threat of jihadist Islam to Western, Christian civilisation and values. But almost no country needs to be more worried about jihadist Islam spreading than India, where more Muslims live than anywhere else, except Indonesia. The ideology of jihadist Islam is the exact opposite of the idea of India. What is the idea of India? The Dalai Lama defined it perfectly in a recent article in The Wall Street Journal. He wrote, “India, where I now live, has been home to the ideas of secularism, inclusiveness and diversity for 3,000 years. One philosophical tradition asserts that only what we know through our five senses exists. Other Indian philosophical schools criticise this nihilistic view but still regard the people who hold it as rishis, or sages.”

Islamism is based on the idea that if you do not accept the narrow, evil version of Islam, on which the ISIS founded its Caliphate, then you deserve to be killed. Does India have the will to stand up against this violent new interpretation of Islam? It is this will that is being tested in the Kashmir Valley and those districts of West Bengal that border Bangladesh. The violence that we saw last week in Basirhat is being treated as a problem of law enforcement. But is it? In the Kashmir Valley every time there is a violent upsurge, ‘moderate’ Kashmiri politicians say that the problem is political. But is it?

In the long years that I have reported on the movement for ‘azadi’ in Kashmir, I have seen it change from being a place where the values of India were enshrined to becoming our own little Caliphate. This change began in the early Nineties when Kashmiri Pandits were forced out of the Valley, but most of us political commentators ignored what this meant. When liquor shops and bars were forcibly closed, when video libraries were vandalised and women forced to cover their heads, we ignored these things too. If moderate Kashmiri politicians noticed what was happening, they spoke of it only in private, and today it is groups declaring openly that they fight for Allah and Islam that have taken over. So is it a political movement we are dealing with or a religious one that threatens the values enshrined in the idea of India for thousands of years?…


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