Tackling Terrorism – Counter Its Ideology
Dr Satya Pal Singh*
The 26/11 Terror attacks in Mumbai exposed the systemic failure of the administration. It not only brought on fore the weaknesses and pitfalls of police, other security services and intelligence agencies, it also expressed the deep crisis of confidence in the polity of the nation.
Today, - terrorism has become a hydra – headed monster, a contagious dreaded disease and a dangerous virus. It has no preference for any caste or creed, race or religion, country or community. While most nations are serious about fighting this scourge, the sting of terrorism has not been blunted.
The roots of terrorism lie in the mind, in the feelings of fear and insecurity, in hatred and intolerance. The extreme manifestation of hate reflects in violence and acts of terrorism. The radical ideology creates extremists, radical groups and terrorist organizations.
The major source of spreading terror in India and elsewhere are the preachers of radical ideology. Their members might not be large, but they keep moving from one place to another in different guises and groups. Their network is being effectively coordinated through internet and mobile telephony.
These radical organizations and groups morphing in name and form may be deceptive having camouflages of educational, social or cultural tags. The terrorist organizations have global reach and have no dearth of financiers, contributors, fund-raisers and disgruntled teachers of technology. No one knows how many terrorist sleeper cells or modules are operating in our towns and cities.
The radical ideology is being applied to subvert young impressionable minds in our educational institutions because the proponents of terrorism know that students and youngsters are highly energetic and if convinced about a cause, they can even be molded to conduct suicide attacks.
The biggest myth associated with terrorism is that terrorism is rooted in injustice, frustrations, poverty and social economic backwardness. Scholars like Alan Krueger and Jitka Maleckova, have shown that the terrorists are not poor people nor they are from poor societies. Poverty does not cause terrorism and prosperity does not cure it. We all know that Osama bin Laden and Dawood Ibrahim, the world's most wanted terrorists, are billionaires. The terrorists come from places which have a concentration of radical preachers.
The first and foremost requirement to tackle terrorism is to counter this radical/jihadi ideology. Unless the radical ideology and their preachers are neutralized or effectively countered the respective crop of terrorists will keep on resurfacing and growing.
How to impact the minds of the youth to divert them from the path of hate, intolerance and violence, how to demotivate the believers from the clutches of false dreams of an all-blissful paradise are some of the vital questions which require the urgent attention of psychologists, educationists, strategists, parents, politicians and planners
The plurality of religions are creating contradictions and conflict in society. If all religions lead to peace and happiness, then what is the need for variety ? And if they are different and contradictory, then how can they lead to harmony and peace ? The truth is that only the common concepts and practices in all religions are scientific, beneficial and true. This commonality and this core of religions is called Dharma.
Intellectuals, not religious teachers, of the world have to come on a single platform and declare that religion means only one thing the courage to follow righteousness or right conduct in life. The core of religion is what we expect of others, we must do to others
Similarly, we have to debunk the Clash of Civilizations theory advocated by Samuel Huntington. A true civilization does not divide the humanity into colours, race, religion or region. How can we divide physics, chemistry, mathematics, medical science, psychology etc into Christian, Muslim or Hindu sciences? The educationists and planners must rethink the role and design of our education system. There is a need to introduce a comparative study of all religions in our schools and colleges.
The advanced science of today has not found any fourth or seventh sky, heaven or paradise in any part of the universe. Hell or heaven is part of this earth and the result of our doing. Misleading the youth and believers in the name of heaven or jannat is against the tenets of truth and humanity.
Today, the messiahs of hate are using Internet to spread hate and violence. There are hundreds of Internet sites providing terrorist manuals, encyclopedia of violence, techniques of bomb-making etc.. Can't we think of some strategy to ban such sites or to punish persons misusing the medium for sowing the seeds of hate and violence in society ?
Similarly, we have hundreds of books available in the market and being taught in different ashrams, madrasas and seminaries which generate hate against other sections of society, and help spread the fire of violence. We should have the courage to ban such books too.
Most of the radical preachers are generally committed people who are unwilling to accept any compromise, nor are they open to dialogue or discussion. They should be tackled with the policy of ‘ Iron fists in velvet gloves ‘ – surrender or suffer.
Our positive ideology has to be much more powerful to counter the radical ideology of all hues and colours. It must appeal to the hearts and minds of people, especially the youth. The publicity and information department in government establishments has to be revisited, strengthened and made more professional and accountable.
Our educational institutions, social clubs and platforms; our films, television and media have to put their heads together to create and sustain a campaign against any kind of extremist or terrorist ideology or act. Let us remember that half-hearted measures are destined to defeat.