New Challenge In Kashmir

Recently a masked youth went on the pulpit of Jamia Masjid Srinagar & raised ISIS flag & slogans were raised in support of “Daulatulislam (Islamic State of Baghdadi)”. This incidnt has hurt sentiments of all Kashmiris and all are in one voice condemning the incident and as usual some are seeing governments hand in it. 
Before we get away by just cursing government of India for everything wrong we have in our house as it has become new normal here in Kashmir, I want to analyze where as a society we have failed to curb this radical ideology from spreading in Kashmir. For this let us go back to July 29, 2014 when Srinagar saw ISIS flags & banners being waved during protests. As reported by ‘Indian Today’ on 30 July “Security forces have been alarmed over the appearance of masked men waving flags & banners of ISIS & Al Qaeda on the streets of Srinagar on July 29”. The protesters were protesting against Israel’s attack on Gaza.  Since then it grew & youth were seen raising such flags frequently during protests across Kashmir. From 2014 July now let us come to June of 2015, when a group of youth marched from Jamia Masjid to Nowhatta Chowk waving flag of dreaded terror group. India Today reported on June 12, 2015: “ A group of youth, with faces covered & carrying a black banners resembling Islamic State flag, marched from Jamia Masjid towards Nowhatta Chowk soon after Friday prayers. “Since then it became a normal scene of Friday protests at Jamia Masjid Srinagar. 

8th July 2016 turned out to be cataclysmic day when Burhan Wani was gunned down by Indian forces. His killing pushed Kashmir into a new and dreadful phase of militancy. Kashmir witnessed increasing number of youth joining militants ranks after that. In the following year of 2017 protests were held across Kashmir on January 14 against an assault on Mualims allegedly by RSS men in Kathua district of Jammu region. During these protests held after Friday prayers at Jamia Masjid some masked youth set ablaze J&K Bank calendar for not featuring 2016 pellet victims. As reported by a local newspaper, “Protestors also burnt posters & banners having pictures of Hezbollah Secretary General Syed Hassan Nasrullah & Iranian religious leaders”. These elements were then widely condemned but no action was taken against those whose act was clearly aimed at stocking sectarian unrest in Kashmir.  Kashmiri Shia leaders urged people to be vigilant against such elements & agencies that were trying to disrupt the unity & harmony of Kashmiri Muslims.

Soon afterwards started a new trend of black shrouds. Sajjad Gilkar of Nowhatta had his body wrapped in black Daesh (Islamic State) flag despite opposition from his family. At the funeral of Mukhtar Lone of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Pulwama district, hundreds of mourners gathered and his body too was wrapped in the Daesh flag.

In the funeral of Eesa Fazili of Soura, Srinagar there were thousands of mourners & here too Eesa Fazili was wrapped in Islamic State flag. He was buried amidst pro Zakir Musa slogans. 

Zakir Musa openly advocates caliphate for Kashmir. In a series of audio-video messages, Musa advocated that his fight in Kashmir was to establish caliphate. A video clip went viral on social media from South Kashmir in which a known religious figure Molvi Mushtaq Ahmad Veeri was heard praising ISIS openly. In the video he said, “See What Salafis can do. Look at Iraq how Salafis have created an Islamic Government.  A Salafi namely Abu Bakar Baghdadi has done it.”  Earlier on many other occasions Molvi Veeri was allegedly spreading radical ideas of Islamic State though he later gave clarification on his alleged hate speeches.

 The question that Kashmiri should ask themselves is, how could ideology propounded by ISIS make inroads into Kashmir? This despite the fact that ISIS ideology has failed elsewhere after scholars and Ulema of all schools of thought rejected it and termed this a conspiracy against Islam and Muslims. This question should have been asked when ISIS flag was first raised in Kashmir but unfortunately callous attitude of people & leaders as well played a role of encouragement for these Takfiri elements.

To understand why ISIS and TTP like groups are created one has to delve little deeper into recent history. When world witnessed fall of USSR journalists asked the then Prime Minister of United Kingdom, Margret Thatcher whether NATO will be dissolved now since the Soviet threat which had led to its creation had gone, she responded:  Islamic extremism today, like Bolshevism in the past, is an armed doctrine. It is an aggressive ideology promoted by fanatical, well-armed devotees. And, like communism, it requires an all-embracing long-term strategy to defeat it.

A quarter of a century later new threats posed by armed groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS, have given Nato a new lease of life. West has long been accused of destabilizing the third world which mostly comprises of Muslim countries, so that it retains the position of an arbiter. 
If we go further, after the First World War where Turks were holding sway over a major chunk of Muslim lands under Ottoman Empire, British engineered its split into pieces & then granted each piece to loyalists of the English Crown who had helped them during the war. In 1914 unrest had broken out in Central Arabia, where Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, in alliance with the Wahhabi Islamist Movement openly rebelled against fellow Muslim Ottoman Empire & sided with Imperialist Britain while condemning the government of young Turks as anti-Islamic.

We as a society must be vigilant against such machinations that are creating disunity & disharmony among Muslims. Kashmiri leadership should have come strong against these elements at first place.

With all these incidents & lapses in past, there is a huge responsibility on Imam sahiban of all mosques to make people aware about conspiracies hatched by Global Arrogance. I request all Islamic scholars to work together for unity of Islamic Ummah and humanity in general. It is time to address issues facing Muslims rather than promoting internal bickering. We need to be united for our sacred cause for humanity & especially for our motherland Kashmir. The countless sacrifices of the people of Kashmir must be remembered and political leaders must give up their egoistic differences for the sake of oppressed and defenseless people of Kashmir. We hope for peace and stability for all.



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