Months before Umar Abdulmutallab tried to set ablaze a US airliner in flight in 2009, his own father had warned authorities about the way in which terror groups were taking control of his son’s mind. Later, the spouse of David Coleman Headley warned the FBI when her husband was on the way towards seeking to murder innocents in the hundreds. What was clear from both these examples was that those who are genuine followers of the precepts revealed in the Quran know that committing or abetting an act of terror is wholly contrary to its teachings. Both Abdulmutallab’s father as well as Headley’s wife serve as a rebuke to those non-Muslims who equate the Wahhabi or the Khomeinist fringe with the entire community. The fact is that both Wahhabism and Khomeinism are wholly contrary to the Muslim faith, which holds that every human being is a creation of the Divine, and hence that each inhabitant of this globe is a sister or brother to every other. This universality of the human family has also been mentioned in the texts of ancient India, which talked of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (i.e. the world is one family) as the mindset that needed to be adopted by all. In distant Korea as well, the concept of “Hongkik Ingan” was born, which spoke of the need for every individual to work not for himself but for the benefit of all. Although perverted by bureaucratisation and authoritarianism subsequently in some situations, the Communist motto of “from each according to ability, to each according to need” may be said to have come from the same wellsprings of thought as the ancient Indian and Korean versions. There are those who exult in displays of wealth, forgetting that it is not a billion in the bank that merits the individual concerned being valued by society, but the opportunities that person has given to those less fortunate.
For over a century, much of the world has identified Muslims with the fringe in a manner that they have not members of other communities. Because Velupillai Prabhakaran belonged to the Christian faith as did several of his LTTE cadres, none defamed the Christian community as being inclined towards terrorism, not even in Northern Ireland, where several hundreds of individuals, both Protestant and Catholic, resorted to acts of terror as a way of proving that the two sects could not co-exist, a tenet that is demonstrably false. Among key facilitators of the ISI, especially in Nepal, Dubai and Bangkok are numerous members of the Hindu community.
However, these anti-socials would not, except in a prejudiced mind, be held to be at all representative of the Hindu faith, just as so-called Khalistan Commando Force ringleaders are completely removed from the values of the valorous Sikh community, which has fought and died to protect and defend India and its people since the time of Guru Nanak. Every faith has within it a few malcontents who follow a distorted version of its theology, and it is clear from the examples quoted above and from that now of India’s Mohammad Sartaj and Abdul Qadir that within the Muslim community in our country, such a fringe is in no way representative of the entire community.
Some elements of the Uttar Pradesh police claimed the train bomber, Saifullah, to be unrelated to ISIS (Daesh). Why? Because no letter of appointment signed by Abubakr al Baghdadi was found in his possession! Daesh operates through the internet and its leaders or even middle level personnel never communicate directly with those being trained to carry out acts of terror. By setting an absurd standard of proof (in effect, an appointment letter) or refusing to certify an ISIS-inspired terrorist as belonging to Daesh (ISIS), police in India have created a misperception that the threat from that organisation is low, when in fact it is already significant.
Mohammad Sartaj and Abdul Qadir have shown why India, a country where the very first “fatwa” against terrorism was proclaimed some years ago, is setting an example to the world. This is through the way in which those who accept the teachings of the Quran understand the significance of the lesson in almost every Sura, that compassion, mercy and beneficence are divine attributes. Consequently, these are the virtues that need to be cultivated in every true Muslim, indeed, in every human being. Where is the compassion, mercy or beneficence in acts of terror designed to take away human life on an industrial scale? Those guilty of such deeds reflect not divine virtues but devilish attributes, and this was clear to Saifullah’s father and to G.M. Khan’s son. The elevated sense of social responsibility of the father of Umar Abdulmutallab and the spouse of David Coleman Headley should form part of school textbooks so that the societally correct example gets taught to young minds. So should the patriotism of Mohammad Sartaj and Abdul Qadir. By their example, they have shown the falsity of the frequent charge that the Muslim community is somehow predisposed to acts of terror. Should the rest of society give prominence to the moderate mainstream rather than to the extremist fringe, such a libel on an entire community will soon begin to disappear, and brave and true Muslims such as Sahana will emerge in their millions from the margins of activity where they have been thus far placed by those who equate the relatively few Wahhabis and Khomeinists with the moderate super majority of India’s Muslims.