Skip to main content
Sabrang
Sabrang
Minorities World

We Indian Muslims need no sermons from the Al-Qaeda

Al-Qaeda’s supreme commander Ayman Zawahiri has recently released a standalone statement on the Hijab controversy in India

Mubashir VP 07 Apr 2022

Ayman Zawahiri
Image Courtesy:ndtv.com

Let me at the outset categorically junk the lurking innuendo evident in the latest diatribe of Al-Qaeda head Ayman Zawahiri. We Indian Muslims have never looked for external support to defend our rights guaranteed under the Indian Constitution. This is like a savage murderer crying out sermons on the value of human life.

Unlike your theocratic dictatorial regime, Ayman Zahiri, where the space for individual liberties is smothered to death invoking misconstrued religious dictates, India is the largest temple of democracy and pluralism. My country has the adequate fluidity to absorb and mitigate her inner contradictions.

Betraying the news of natural death, the Al-Qaeda’s supreme commander Ayman Zawahiri has recently released a standalone statement on the Hijab controversy in India. This comes from the head of a dispensation who has clipped the freedom of women by banishing them from schools. After initial progressive signs of moderation, the Al-Qaeda regime that was emboldened after the bungled withdrawal of American bootsfrom Afghanistan, has blatantly succumbed to pressures from hardliners. It has demonstrated, once again, that it still clings to outdated tribal Islam with a crass regard for civil liberties and multiple religiosities.

Although India has already found fleeting references in his speeches earlier, his broadcasted messages solely on an Indian issue today demand critical attention. This shows the designs the Al-Qaeda has entertained in the region in manipulating the occasional discontent innate to a democracy. In their pipedream of establishing an Islamic Caliphate, India with its large Muslim population has been a vital cog. Community leaders and security experts should proactively engage to distill the incipient trends of radicalism, especially based in the cyber world.

Al-Qaeda’s version of Islam

Understanding of blinkered understanding of the Al-Qaeda’s religious views will help better read the messages in context. Al-Qaeda believes in ethnic tribal Islamic traditions nurtured by hardcore Salafism exported from the Middle East. It is antithetical to divergent religious interpretations and follows contrived rigidity of Islamic Sharia totally expunging the spirit of religion, Sufism. Following tribal traditions of patriarchy and sustenance through war spoils, they believe in the harsh interpretations of Islam.

Islam, like any religion, embraces changes in terms of laws and cultural evolutions. Al-Qaeda refutes timely accretions to the religion discrediting them as profane innovations as they believe in a puritanical form of religious version. In their scheme of a polity, Pashtun ethnicity is endowed with hegemony. They follow a highly illiberal patriarchal social system and thus women are prevented from appearing in public.

They resort to violence to destroy and tarnish anything they deem as ‘Shirk’ (forbidden things in Islam). This is a scriptural stricture in the Al-Qaeda’s interpretation of Islam. They conveniently dump into oblivion the plural and multi-cultural teachings of Islam. To establish a Pan-Islamic Khilafat to prop up their radical ideologies is central to their political idea. According to the Al-Qaeda, also identical to political Salafism, Islam cannot survive without political establishment. 

Indian Muslims reject the Al-Qaeda’s dogma

Al-Qaeda has no moral right to guide Indian Muslims. Al-Qaeda is at loss without the rudimentary understanding of Indian democracy. Indian democracy is celebrated not for the absence of inner contradictions; but for the pragmatic forte to accommodate and diffuse differences.

The sermon of Zawahiri, although focused on the Hijab issue, is a sinister ploy to discredit democracy and send out innuendoes of subverting the system. It has in fact tried to preach misogynistic and theocratic political messages. The allegations of Indian democracy supporting pagan Hinduism is plainly misleading, and a rigid theocracy like the Al-Qaeda cannot digest the notion of mutual coexistence.

Whether Hijab is essential to religion is contentious within the religion. But, for a muscular patriarchal Al-Qaeda, Hijab is indispensable- to limit the visibility of Muslim women. The Karnataka High Court’s verdict banning Hijab from schools with compulsory uniforms, itself shows the diversity of the Indian system to accommodate diverse opinions in a rainbow polity. Indian judicial system has ample space for grievance redressal through peaceful means.

The militant ascendancy of Right-wing Hindutva poses existential threats to the idea of the nation, but the country has enough checks and brakes to prevent such aberrations from being the norm. While the recent shift to majoritarian nationalism spawns doubt, the nation has the consciousness to implement the Constitution which guarantees equal justice irrespective of religious affiliations. But the exhortations of Al-Qaeda’s supremo to disparage Indian nationhood based on this fickle aberration are like blaming the eclipse on the sun. This has actually hurt the cause of the Muslim community, evident from the statement of the Karnataka home minister who attributed the Hijab protests to ‘outsider influences’.

Indian Islam is one among the multiple interpretations of Islam. It is fundamentally different from puritanical bare dogmas of the Al-Qaeda in its inclusiveness, localism and syncretic moorings. Indian Islam is malleable and adaptive to timely evolutions as a religion is supposed to be. It reposes faith in multicultural society and plural cultural ethos. Indian Muslims are not hapless lots to seek guidance from the rugged terrains of uncertainties.

The Zawahiri’s call to arms should not be taken as such and dismissed, as the wails of a self-styled evangelist. It is part of a larger plot to promote radical insurrections in multi-religious societies. Indian Muslims have earlier repudiated the call to join ISIS to fight the infidel state. The Muslim community has to maintain extra vigilance from radical overtures from ‘outsider forces’. Along with this, governments have the constitutional onus to assuage the grievances of the minority communities to assure safety to all.

*Mubashir is a journalism student at Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Delhi currently on internship with SabrangIndia

Related:

Muskan’s father gives fitting reply to Al Qaeda chief
Now Al Qaeda intrudes into the Hijab controversy
Hijab row: Udupi girls dubbed terrorists by BJP leader
Karnataka: Minority dept bars hijab, saffron scarves in govt schools, PUs

We Indian Muslims need no sermons from the Al-Qaeda

Al-Qaeda’s supreme commander Ayman Zawahiri has recently released a standalone statement on the Hijab controversy in India

Ayman Zawahiri
Image Courtesy:ndtv.com

Let me at the outset categorically junk the lurking innuendo evident in the latest diatribe of Al-Qaeda head Ayman Zawahiri. We Indian Muslims have never looked for external support to defend our rights guaranteed under the Indian Constitution. This is like a savage murderer crying out sermons on the value of human life.

Unlike your theocratic dictatorial regime, Ayman Zahiri, where the space for individual liberties is smothered to death invoking misconstrued religious dictates, India is the largest temple of democracy and pluralism. My country has the adequate fluidity to absorb and mitigate her inner contradictions.

Betraying the news of natural death, the Al-Qaeda’s supreme commander Ayman Zawahiri has recently released a standalone statement on the Hijab controversy in India. This comes from the head of a dispensation who has clipped the freedom of women by banishing them from schools. After initial progressive signs of moderation, the Al-Qaeda regime that was emboldened after the bungled withdrawal of American bootsfrom Afghanistan, has blatantly succumbed to pressures from hardliners. It has demonstrated, once again, that it still clings to outdated tribal Islam with a crass regard for civil liberties and multiple religiosities.

Although India has already found fleeting references in his speeches earlier, his broadcasted messages solely on an Indian issue today demand critical attention. This shows the designs the Al-Qaeda has entertained in the region in manipulating the occasional discontent innate to a democracy. In their pipedream of establishing an Islamic Caliphate, India with its large Muslim population has been a vital cog. Community leaders and security experts should proactively engage to distill the incipient trends of radicalism, especially based in the cyber world.

Al-Qaeda’s version of Islam

Understanding of blinkered understanding of the Al-Qaeda’s religious views will help better read the messages in context. Al-Qaeda believes in ethnic tribal Islamic traditions nurtured by hardcore Salafism exported from the Middle East. It is antithetical to divergent religious interpretations and follows contrived rigidity of Islamic Sharia totally expunging the spirit of religion, Sufism. Following tribal traditions of patriarchy and sustenance through war spoils, they believe in the harsh interpretations of Islam.

Islam, like any religion, embraces changes in terms of laws and cultural evolutions. Al-Qaeda refutes timely accretions to the religion discrediting them as profane innovations as they believe in a puritanical form of religious version. In their scheme of a polity, Pashtun ethnicity is endowed with hegemony. They follow a highly illiberal patriarchal social system and thus women are prevented from appearing in public.

They resort to violence to destroy and tarnish anything they deem as ‘Shirk’ (forbidden things in Islam). This is a scriptural stricture in the Al-Qaeda’s interpretation of Islam. They conveniently dump into oblivion the plural and multi-cultural teachings of Islam. To establish a Pan-Islamic Khilafat to prop up their radical ideologies is central to their political idea. According to the Al-Qaeda, also identical to political Salafism, Islam cannot survive without political establishment. 

Indian Muslims reject the Al-Qaeda’s dogma

Al-Qaeda has no moral right to guide Indian Muslims. Al-Qaeda is at loss without the rudimentary understanding of Indian democracy. Indian democracy is celebrated not for the absence of inner contradictions; but for the pragmatic forte to accommodate and diffuse differences.

The sermon of Zawahiri, although focused on the Hijab issue, is a sinister ploy to discredit democracy and send out innuendoes of subverting the system. It has in fact tried to preach misogynistic and theocratic political messages. The allegations of Indian democracy supporting pagan Hinduism is plainly misleading, and a rigid theocracy like the Al-Qaeda cannot digest the notion of mutual coexistence.

Whether Hijab is essential to religion is contentious within the religion. But, for a muscular patriarchal Al-Qaeda, Hijab is indispensable- to limit the visibility of Muslim women. The Karnataka High Court’s verdict banning Hijab from schools with compulsory uniforms, itself shows the diversity of the Indian system to accommodate diverse opinions in a rainbow polity. Indian judicial system has ample space for grievance redressal through peaceful means.

The militant ascendancy of Right-wing Hindutva poses existential threats to the idea of the nation, but the country has enough checks and brakes to prevent such aberrations from being the norm. While the recent shift to majoritarian nationalism spawns doubt, the nation has the consciousness to implement the Constitution which guarantees equal justice irrespective of religious affiliations. But the exhortations of Al-Qaeda’s supremo to disparage Indian nationhood based on this fickle aberration are like blaming the eclipse on the sun. This has actually hurt the cause of the Muslim community, evident from the statement of the Karnataka home minister who attributed the Hijab protests to ‘outsider influences’.

Indian Islam is one among the multiple interpretations of Islam. It is fundamentally different from puritanical bare dogmas of the Al-Qaeda in its inclusiveness, localism and syncretic moorings. Indian Islam is malleable and adaptive to timely evolutions as a religion is supposed to be. It reposes faith in multicultural society and plural cultural ethos. Indian Muslims are not hapless lots to seek guidance from the rugged terrains of uncertainties.

The Zawahiri’s call to arms should not be taken as such and dismissed, as the wails of a self-styled evangelist. It is part of a larger plot to promote radical insurrections in multi-religious societies. Indian Muslims have earlier repudiated the call to join ISIS to fight the infidel state. The Muslim community has to maintain extra vigilance from radical overtures from ‘outsider forces’. Along with this, governments have the constitutional onus to assuage the grievances of the minority communities to assure safety to all.

*Mubashir is a journalism student at Indian Institute of Mass Communication, Delhi currently on internship with SabrangIndia

Related:

Muskan’s father gives fitting reply to Al Qaeda chief
Now Al Qaeda intrudes into the Hijab controversy
Hijab row: Udupi girls dubbed terrorists by BJP leader
Karnataka: Minority dept bars hijab, saffron scarves in govt schools, PUs

Related Articles

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

Theme

Stop Hate

Hate and Harmony in 2021

A recap of all that transpired across India in terms of hate speech and even outright hate crimes, as well as the persecution of those who dared to speak up against hate. This disturbing harvest of hate should now push us to do more to forge harmony.
Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.

Campaigns

Sunday

03

Jan

Pan-India

Saturday

05

Dec

05 pm onwards

Rise in Rage!

North Gate, JNU campus

Thursday

26

Nov

10 am onwards

Delhi Chalo

Pan India

IN FACT

Analysis

Stop Hate

Hate and Harmony in 2021

A recap of all that transpired across India in terms of hate speech and even outright hate crimes, as well as the persecution of those who dared to speak up against hate. This disturbing harvest of hate should now push us to do more to forge harmony.
Taliban 2021

Taliban in Afghanistan: A look back

Communalism Combat had taken a deep dive into the lives of people of Afghanistan under the Taliban regime. Here we reproduce some of our archives documenting the plight of hapless Afghanis, especially women, who suffered the most under the hardline regime.
2020

Milestones 2020

In the year devastated by the Covid 19 Pandemic, India witnessed apathy against some of its most marginalised people and vilification of dissenters by powerful state and non state actors. As 2020 draws to a close, and hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers continue their protest in the bitter North Indian cold. Read how Indians resisted all attempts to snatch away fundamental and constitutional freedoms.
Migrant Diaries

Migrant Diaries

The 2020 COVID pandemic brought to fore the dismal lives that our migrant workers lead. Read these heartbreaking stories of how they lived before the pandemic, how the lockdown changed their lives and what they’re doing now.

Archives