Indian Free Press Journal
Global Jihad and America
— By M.V. KAMATH, October 05, 2014
Global Jihad and America: The Hundred-Year War Beyond Iraq and Afghanistan. Taj Hashmi. Sage Publications; pages: 324; price Rs 995
Global Jihad and America questions the assumption if Islamist terrorism, or “Global Jihad,” poses the biggest threat to modern civilization in the East and West.
Ask anyone interested in politics what they think of Jihad and the finger will point at various Muslim organisations the world over as the perpetra¬tors of terror. There are books galore on jihad but hardly has any writer dared to point the finger at West in general and the United States in particular.
Taj Hashmi is practically among the first ones to do so and he has argued his case brilliantly. In the final analysis, who is to be blamed for global terror: the United States or the Muslim fraternity, based primarily in the Middle East.
Hashmi has no illusions. He makes a good case against the western world and the US specifically but at the same time he is very critical of Islamists. As he says, “many Islamists are out and out fascist in their outlook. They believe and promote the concept of global jihad or total war against all non-Muslims, either to forcibly convert them into Muslims or perform qital or mass slaughter of non-Muslims and deviant Muslims”. What has gone wrong?
The trouble with Islamists is that after a couple of centuries of Islamic ascendancy, the Muslim world went on a downward curve because of a number of factors such as complacency, lack of creativity, neglect of science and technology, internal feuds and the rise of European colonial expansion, Muslims were not only overtaken as great rulers but were subjugated. It understandably created international tension.
Hashmi quotes figures exten¬sively to show Islamic backwardness. A clash between the western world led by the United States and Islamists had become inevitable. But Hashmi argues that global jihad is a myth which only exists in the imagination of Islamic fanatics, misinformed people and most importantly in the vocabulary of Islamaphobia. As Hashmi sees it, the prefix ‘global’ only widens the scope of the holy war either to glorify it or to demonise it. “In sum,” says Hashmi, “as it is too simplistic to demonise all mujahideen as terrorist, it is equally wrong to glorify them as freedom-fighters. There is a fine line between them.”
While Hashmi dares to expose Islamist ‘terrorists’ he is not afraid to expose US terrorism, simultaneously. The death toll in World War II, he says, was between 60 to 85 million, but he points out that US-led invasions of dozens of countries since the Korean War, by 2013 led to more than 75 million deaths, mostly civilians. The US invasion of Iraq in March 2003 alone killed more than a million Iraqis by 2007. Since then “hundreds and thousands of Iraqis have died in sectarian violence. And in 37 countries the US invaded since the Korean War, the death toll has been between 20 to 30 million, some 9 to 14 million in Afghanistan alone. What kind of jihadi has the US employed in the circumstances, Hashmi wants to know.
In one chapter, Hashmi asks: “Is America the biggest problem towards world peace? Is not the American legacy of expropriation, mass murder of indigenous people, slavery and apartheid at the core of the American psyche, while the American dogma of freedom and democracy is quite superficial, not applicable to non-Americans?
Hashmi, in the circumstances, believes global jihad is a ‘loaded concept’. He has a warning to give to ‘narco jihad’ and state-sponsored terrorism such as emerging out of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
As he sees it “trans-national conflicts, crimes and proxy wars always transcend sub-regional boundaries and, if not contained, they might adversely affect countries beyond particular regions or sub-regions.
One chapter is devoted to highlight “the extra-Islamic dimen¬sions of crime, terror and proxy wars that are destabilising South Asia and the adjoining sub-regions, posing serious threat to global peace. It addresses the issues that have turned Pakistan and Afghanistan into the eyes of the storm that is likely to hit the world very badly in the coming years.
Yet another chapter (Chapter VII) appraises the bogey of nuclear threat from Iran and other ‘rogue states’ in the Muslim world that justifies America’s post Cold War diplomacy or hegemonic behaviour and military intervention in the Muslim world. The point is made that the main challenge to world peace today comes from state-sponsored terrorism and one must be aware if only smaller states or Super Powers are also responsible in the promotion of state-sponsored terrorism and proxy war. Adds Hashmi: “We need to worry about the im¬plications of the New World Order – to perpetuate American global hegemony and the never-ending story of Islamist terrorism in the coming decades.”
Hashmi’s condemnation of the United States is total and unforgiving. Thus he says: “America’s divisive policies and promotion of Muslim autocracies are also responsible for the lack of democracy and civility in many parts of the Muslim world, including Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Iron and Pakistan. America’s post World War II policy to¬wards the Muslim world has not been about strengthening democracy, secularism and good governance. It was all about serving America’s short-term geopolitical interests. Its State Department hardly has any long-term vision and program, at least not in the third world.” If this isn’t the truth, what else is? For that reason one must give Hashmi the last word.
Hashmi deserves high praise for telling the hidden truth in plain words. We now get a better understanding of global jihad in all its manifestations and who else could have done it except a true-blue Muslim.
M. V. Kamath is a nationally awarded journalist and author in India.