Darul Uloom Deoband, one of the oldest and most influential seats of Islamic learning in South Asia, opened a new chapter of history on February 25, when it condemned in unambiguous terms ‘all kinds of oppression, violence and terrorism’. The Declaration stressed that ‘Islam has taught its followers to treat all mankind with equality, mercy, tolerance, and justice’. It also asked Muslims not to be employed as tools of evil by anti-Islam and anti-national forces. This Declaration denounces in clear and loud words all those who indulge in violence. At the same time it criticises tarring of Islam and Muslims with the brush of terrorism. It also calls for end to victimisation of Muslims by states and their agencies by implicating them in false cases and fake encounters.
The response in media and reactions of political parties and opinion makers indicate that this Declaration will certainly help in clearing the mist of suspicion and prejudice, which has become a painful source of increasing degree of hostility against Muslims.
The mammoth conference was attended by more than 5000 representatives of big and small madrasas spread over length and breadth of the country. Leaders of influential Muslim organisations like Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Jamiat Ulame-i-Hind, Jamiat Ahl-e-Hadith, and representatives of Muslim schools of thought like Barelvis and Shias were also represented, though not in full strength. Undoubtedly, it was the most representative and powerful conference against terrorism.
Basically, Islam stands for peace, brotherhood and cooperation. It asks its followers to stand for justice and not yield to injustice and oppression. It says that ‘a word of justice before an oppressor is the highest of Jihad.’ Therefore the Declaration of the conference that Islam is against violence and terror and does not allow spilling of human blood and killing of innocent persons is not something new. But, in the present atmosphere of allegations of terror against Islam and Muslims it has assumed greater significance. It is a fact that the votaries of “war on terror” and Islamophobes, both inside and outside India, have succeeded in spoiling the common man’s mind to a great extent. At the same time it must be accepted that condemnable acts of terror in the name of Islam by misguided elements have provided excuse to tarnish the Image of Islam. Extremism and violence of these elements must be contained and tackled by the Ummah. This has enabled denigrators of Islam to use the most derogatory term of “Islamic terrorism”. There cannot be any greater travesty of truth than to associate Islam with terrorism.
Islam does not hold any brief for violence and terrorism. Human life, in its view, is the greatest gift of God. His life and honour is inviolable and should not be violated at all. Therefore is it proper to use the term “Islamic terrorism”?
At the same time some questions beg serious answers. Nearer home, was Father of the Nation Gandhiji’s murder not an act of terror? If Mr. Advani spews venom and spreads hatred and he, along with Mr. Joshi, Ms. Uma Bharati and others demolishes Babri Masjid in broad daylight under the glare of TV cameras, is it not terrorism? Is killing of innocent, non-combatant citizens by LTTE not terrorism? Should they be called Tigers, and that of liberation?
Is America not a terrorist state which has caused more than one million civilian deaths in Iraq alone? Is it an indication of benevolence that it possesses the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction? Is it not terrorism to support Israel which has been committing heinous crimes against hapless Palestinians? In the first place, these sources of terrorism must be contained to evolve a terror-free and peaceful world. After all there can be no room for double standards.