Even before the blood of the victims had dried on the streets of Paris, the mainstream media (MSM) in India and elsewhere started working to obliterate the traces of Islamist signature from the outrage. So, the editors of The Times Of India (November 15) termed the culprits as “Sunni nihilists.” American Leftwing website, www.salon.com found an opportunity to slam the Right and the West in the massacres, as evident from its self-explanatory headlines: ‘And so the hate speech begins: Let Paris be the end of the right’s violent language toward activists’ and ‘Our terrorism double standard: After Paris, let’s stop blaming Muslims and take a hard look at ourselves.’ In the UK, The Guardian was worried that “far-right groups may well fuel more hatred.”
The media reaction to the recent jihadist violence underlines four points. First, the MSM has not just lost its bearings; it has also started misleading the people. For the folks who say that the Muslim terrorists were Sunni nihilists are either astonishingly ignorant or egregiously nefarious.
Nihilism is a term that cannot be associated with jihad by any stretch of the imagination. It is a stream of philosophy—which disbelieves in any absolute reality, transcendental existence, values, teleology, or purpose of life. It has been nurtured in the West by great thinkers and authors. Among others, the names of Søren Kierkegaard and Friedrich Nietzsche are known to have expressed nihilistic views. In the 19th century Russia, however, nihilism acquired political overtones, with the adherents rebelling against Czarist authoritarianism and religious orthodoxy. The protagonist of Ivan Turgenev’s 1862 novel, Fathers and Sons, called himself a nihilist.
In common parlance, a nihilist is a person who is irreverent.
Being crude, murderous thugs who have no regard for human life, jihadists are untouched by nihilism or any other branch of philosophy. Nor can the term ‘nihilists’ used for them as it is used in popular usage, for they do believe in a supremacist ideology; they are surely not irreverent. In fact, their reverence for their goal is so great that they willing blow themselves up, as many of them did after slaughtering 129 people in Paris.
The second point that needs to be emphasized is related to the first: effort is on to de-Islamize terror. In the West, one will be accused of racism and Islamophobia if one dares to speak the truth: that Islamic scriptures, doctrines, and practices have a lot to do about terror. In our country, any such view would invite the wrath of intellectuals who keep telling us that no religion preaches violence—a patent lie, for in the past all faiths have promoted violence in one form or the other. The problem is that, unlike other religions, Islam hasn’t discarded much of what is rotten in it.
But opinion makers keep insisting that jihadist activities are not about Islam. So, the TOI report said about the Paris massacres, “The same deranged terrorist mindset slaughtered innocents, only the acronym was different: this was IS, the so-called Islamic State, which claimed ownership of the attack, using the template set by Pakistan’s pet proxies, LeT, or Lashkar-eTaiba in Mumbai.”
Notice the “so-called.” As if the IS were something alien to Islam, a distortion of it. The fact, however, is that what the IS is—genocide, subjection of women and non-Muslims, slavery, strict implementation of Shariat, et al—doing has been done by many Muslim regimes in the past, several of them in India.
The third point to be highlighted is a subterfuge—the subterfuge to shift the blame on the West or, more specifically, the US. Instead of focusing on the real root-cause—the Islamic canon—intellectuals look for red herrings. This is not to say that the US has not role to play in strengthening Islamic fundamentalism by its acts of omission and commission, but to assert that it is only because of America or the West (or imperialism, neo-imperialism, etc.) that the world is suffering from jihad is downright misleading.
The final, and most depressing, point is that the world may be fighting a losing battle against Islamic terror. This is primarily because of the pigheadedness of the entire intellectual class—academics, media Brahmins, sundry activists. They are responsible for the climate of opinion which no politician can disregard; and the climate of opinion in all democracies reeks of political correctness, mendacity, and stupidity. It is because of the bugbear of Islamophobia that in Europe liberty has got eroded, Islamic excesses have been tolerated or ignored, illiberal practices have been allowed to exist, the victimhood mindset has been nurtured, and a socio-cultural matrix has been prepared for the fermentation of jihad. This was also the reason that Europe foolhardily opened its doors to lakhs of Muslim refugees from Syria, despite repeated warnings from sensible people who were dismissed as Rightwing extremists.
Worse, intellectuals fail to learn any lessons from the real world; they are so engrossed with the beauty of their fantasyland—peaceful coexistence, religion of peace, etc.—that they are unable to comprehend the ugliness that surrounds other people. So, instead of studying the causes responsible for the nurturing of jihad in Europe and elsewhere, they remain focused on the troubles the refugees from Syria may face in the future. Always tilting at windmills.
Photo: Courtesy www.columbian.com