No reason to celebrate

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Wishing you a belated Eid Mubarak. I say this as a formality. In reality, there is no reason to celebrate. This has been the bloodiest holy month in history. Meant to be a period of peace and piety, Ramazan was punctuated by despicable acts of murder, orchestrated by clerics, fanatics and terrorists.

From the spate of suicide bombings in Baghdad, Istanbul, Jeddah and Medina, to the attack on a Dhaka cafe by gun-toting Bangladeshis, Ramazan has never seen more cold-blooded murder and such a staggering scale of carnage.

As the world has grown immune and accustomed to violent news from Iraq, the attacks, killing almost 300, didn’t receive as much attention as they should have, even as the Islamic State (IS) continues to suffer military defeats at the hands of Iraqi security forces.

The umpteenth attack on Turkey, this time at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport, has sounded the death-knell for the country, which is a convenient bridge that links the Muslim world to the West. IS sleeper cells are now Turkey bound and the latter is used by terror recruits from the neighbouring Syria to pass through to Europe. Immediately after Ankara began tightening its borders following mounting international pressure, the IS, to retaliate, has been frequently roughing up Turkey.

The ending of Ramazan, a day before Eid, saw unthinkable attacks on religious sites in Saudi, resulting in an outpouring of global condemnation and outrage. Targeting Islam’s holiest city meant that the IS and its sympathisers hold nothing sacred. The attacks were consistent with the modus operandi of the radicals in their targeting of sectarian Muslim groups, US representatives, and Saudi royals whom they view as allies of the West.

In Dhaka, six affluent and educated Bangladeshis stormed the Holey Artisan Bakery, taking hostage 35 people before killing 20 of them. While the IS was quick in claiming credit for these religious extremists, the Bangladeshi government tried downplaying the IS connection and blamed homegrown radical elements instead. All those who had been propagating the “terror has no religion’ line, entered mute mode when it emerged that the hostages were asked to recite verses from the Quran, and those who failed to do so, were killed.

Bangladeshi PM Sheikh Haseena immediately appealed to parents to stop their children from treading on the fatal slope of radical Islamism and keep closer tabs on them, though, ironically, the son of her party colleague, turned out to be among the hostage-takers.

The brutal wave of violence that swept across Muslim countries got members of the community to jump up and hastily conclude that there was no link between Islam and terrorism. After all, no real Muslim will kill a fellow Muslim. But this may be a futile denial of the existence of the rogue elephant in the room that needs tackling. Peace-loving Muslims, appalled by the atrocities committed by radicals, have to rise in fury against Islamists who are not only killing them more than non-Muslims are, but are giving the community a bad name.

Radicalism, preached by mischievous hate-mongers and extremists, has bred the jihadist mindset, giving birth to brain-washed youngsters who have lost perspective and mindlessly commit heinous acts of crime in the name of religion. Time to eliminate these poisonous clerics and their madrassas. If we fail to act, the next Ramazan will be worse, if not as bad.

Tailpiece

When Catherine Zeta-Jones married Michael Douglas, many assumed that it was a marriage of convenience to fuel her career. But after 16 years, two children, his cancer scare and their brief separation, the two, no longer at their professional peak, are still together, holding hands. A happy film ending! 

The article first appeared HERE

 

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