PROFESSOR ALI SUKHANVER
The Russian capital Moscow’s busiest airport Domodedovo witnessed the first terrorist attack of the New Year 2011 on the 24th of January. At least 34 people were killed and more than 180 injured in the blast which occurred inside the airport’s international arrivals hall near the baggage area. The New York Time says, “The attack inflicted a deep injury on Moscow’s image just as President Dmitri A. Medvedev prepared to woo foreign investors at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The bomb set off in the international arrivals hall of Domodedovo, the city’s glittering showcase airport — killed and wounded visitors from the West, something that has occurred very rarely in previous terrorist attacks.”
The Long War Journal has claimed that the team of suicide bombers involved in the Domodedovo blasts had spent time in Pakistan and Iran and that one of the female team member had a relative with a flat in Moscow that might be used as a bomb-making factory. According to the journal, Moscow police had issued a warning somewhere in the last December that a suicide squad made up of three women and one man from Chechnya would be heading to Moscow. Moreover another group of five militants trained in Pakistan was also expected to cross into Russia soon, warned the Moscow police. The paper also referred to an al-Qaeda linked website which said that the group Islamic Caucasus Emirate, led by Doku Umarov, was poised to claim it had staged the Domodedovo attack. It said that Russia’s harsh military measures against independence activists in the Caucasus had provoked the attack. The name of Doku K. Umarov is not new either to the people of Russia or to those who claim to be engaged in the so-called War against Terror. He had introduced himself to the world in a very emphatic way in a four-minute video, released after the horrible suicide bombing attempt on the Moscow subway system last year on March 29th. ” You Russians hear about the war on television and the radio; I promise you the war will come to your streets, and you will feel it in your own lives and on your own skin.” That bombing took lives of more than 39 people including two female suicide bombers whereas 100 were wounded.
Doku K. Umarov is a very mysterious multi-dimensional type of character.
He remained the underground President of the unrecognized Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (ChRI) between 2006 and 2007; then became the self-proclaimed Emir of the Russian North Caucasus, which is an unrecognized Islamic state known as the Caucasus Emirate. At present he is ranked as a very high value criminal in Russia for the alleged crimes of kidnapping, homicide and treason. He is considered one of the major rebel leaders in Russia. Though he claims himself as a separatist leader fighting against the Russian government but the western media is trying its utmost to portray him as a Muslim extremist involved in heinous terrorist activities carried on in the name of Islam.
The fact of the matter is that the world around us has got in a habit of confusing extremism with terrorism though these two have altogether different identities. There is nothing common in extremism and terrorism; these are two distinct and different realities. Terrorism is a crime and extremism is simply a point of view. We add to the gravity of situation by mixing up terrorism and extremism and by further tagging it with the Muslims. Extremism could never be a threat whereas terrorism is an always impending sword of danger. The west in collaboration with our Hindu friends is trying to introduce a novel type of extremism leading to terrorism which has nothing to do with Islam.
As far as Islam is concerned, it is simply a philosophy based on moderation and self-control rejecting terrorism in all its forms and all shapes. Its message circles around the rational principles of human dignity and human welfare .The Holy Quran is simply a code of life which guides its followers to the path of goodness and piety. If the Muslims were the terrorists, they would have never targeted their own people in the countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq. If we cast a look at the list of people who suffered at the hands of terrorism during the last ten years, we would find thousands of Muslims and a very few of non-Muslims in the list. However sometimes extremism transforms into a severe reaction in response to suppression and maltreatment continued in the name of religious exploitation. Be it Doku K. Umarov or Osama Bin Laden or Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, be it Jaish-e-Mohammed or Lashkar-e- Taiba or the Taliban, all these people and groups appeared on the surface as a reaction.
We need not wander here and there in search of actuality; just cast a look at the people of the Indian Occupied Kashmir. For more than six decades they have been facing the worst situation of human rights violations at the hands of the Indian oppressors. They are so powerless that even the UN resolutions could not help them out of their troubles. In their own territory, they are leading a life more miserable than those of slaves. If they protest, they are labeled as terrorists. What else must they do, whom they should ask for help? Same is the situation in Iraq, Afghanistan and Russia. There must be a very clear line of demarcation between terrorism and extremism, between suppression and protest. All protesters are not the terrorists and all terrorists are not the Muslims; but sometimes it happens that crushed ones start looking towards the terrorists for their help and support; the world peace-makers must try their best to keep that tough time away. From Moscow to the Indian held Kashmir; same is the story of all crushed ones.
The writer is Pakistan based bilingual analyst on defence and strategic affairs