Author: Subhodeep Mukhopadhyay.
Islam and Jihad
Muslims freely use terms like Kafir (infidel) and jihad (warfare against infidels), but Hindus are hesitant to use such words lest they be termed Islamophobic and accused of spreading communal divisiveness. So Hindus either avoid using the term altogether, or prefer to view jihad as some sort of internal spiritual struggle. Some leftists and liberal-vaadis have even claimed that jihad is no different from the Mahabharata Dharma yuddha[i]. As Intellectual Kshatriyas we must try to first understand Islam and Jihad from first principles, because only then will ideas like #Coronajihad or #Biojihad make any sense. Else we will fall in the left-liberal trap of “virus has no religion”[ii].
The ultimate aim of Islam is ostensibly to bring about world peace, and for that to happen the entire world must embrace Islam. In the Islamic world there are two groups of people – true Muslims and non-believers known as kafirs. It must also be understood that the moniker kafir is also used among Muslims themselves. Sunnis and Shias for example treat Ahmadiyas as kafirs. At the same time, Sunnis consider Shias as kafirs. To ensure that everybody accepts Islam, true Muslims must not only wage war (jihad) against kafirs but also amongst their own community if they are not considered as true Muslims, and hence we also come across intra-Muslim wars as well.
This warfare may be conventional, psychological, intellectual, chemical, biological etc. Thus we often come across terms like love-jihad or population jihad. They must be understood for what they are – warfare based different strategic doctrines to conquer the kafirs. Earlier we have also shown earlier that religion as a category is adharma[iii], and so from a Dharmic perspective, jihad is a war to establish adharma. Hence dharma-yuddha (war to establish dharma) is in fact the exact opposite of jihad and indeed an antidote to jihad, and not the same as many left-liberals and Islam apologists would want us to believe. Many scholars have in fact objected to such incorrect equivalences; Koenraad Elst has argued very cogently, that such usages are wholly “unhistorical and incorrect”.[iv]
I propose a 3 level structure to analyze jihad and its ramifications.
1. Nation state –Pakistan’s jihad against India/Saudi’s jihad against Iran.
2. Organizations – Groups like ISIS, Taliban and Al-Qaeda.
3. Mosques/ Madrassas.
So now the question that arises: if jihad is simply a type of warfare, then is biojihad or biological jihad totally out of the realms of possibility?
It is not.
Islam and Biological Warfare
Let us first try to define biojihad. I would define biojhad as biological warfare undertaken by true Muslims against non-believers to establish pure Islam. We will use the above 3-level framework to analyze and understand the issue of biological warfare.
From as early as 1960s, Islamic states in middle-east and northern Africa have been engaged in warfare involving non-conventional weapons. Whether it be the Egyptian deployment of chemical warfare agents laden bomb in Yemen in 1963, or the massacre of Kurdish residents of Halabja by chemical weapons in the 1980s, or the killing of 18,000 “undesirable” Sunni residents of the city of Hamma by Syrians using cyanide, Islamic states have a long history of usage of chemical weapons. Specifically with respect to biological weapons, a lot of Islamic states have state-sponsored programs for weaponization of biological agents[v]:
- As far back as 1960s, Egypt started a combined chemical-biological weapons project code-named “Izlis”
- Syria has been involved in this since 1985, producing botulinum toxin, ricin toxin, anthrax and cholera germs, and had hired Russian experts for anthrax weaponization in missile warheads.
- Iran has its own long-term programs to develop biological weaponry and started out with botulinum, ricin, and anthrax, weaponized for used in warheads for long-range missiles
In 1998, the then leader of al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden declared that using weapons of mass destruction was a part of his jihad. Intelligence reports indicated that Al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan conducted training programs in “chemical, biological, and radiological weapons for hundreds of extremists” and recruited experts from across the globe as instructors. Yazid Sufaat, a California Polytechnic State University graduate was the “CEO” of al Qaeda’s anthrax program[vi]. The Islamic state of Iraq and Syria (ISIS/ISIL/Daesh)[vii], a Salafist group adhering to a Wahhabi Sunni Islam has also been heavily involved in developing biological weapons. In 2014, a national security expert in US suggested that “ISIS may already be thinking of using Ebola as a low-tech weapon of bio-terror.[viii]” In 2016, an Islamic State bomber was apprehended with a bag full of explosives, animal testicles and excrement. Experts believed that they were trying to develop biological weapons to “literally sicken the public”[ix].
In a raid in Finsbury Park mosque in London, the police discovered NBC (nuclear, biological and chemical) suits designed for use during a chemical warfare attack[x] and in 2004 radical preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri was arrested and subsequently charged in both UK and later US on terrorism charges. In 2015, during a raid on a mosque in Brussels, a white substance was found which was believed to be anthrax[xi]. Even in India we sometimes read about raids in mosques and madrassas and the discovery of arms. For example, in 2019, a raid was carried out at the Darul Quran Hamidia madarsa in Uttar Pardesh’s Bijnore district and large numbers of illegal weapons were recovered[xii]. There are many such examples where weapons were found in mosques and Hafiz Saeed, the head of terrorist organizations Laskhar-e-Taiba and Jamaat-ud-Dawah said in an interview to BBC in 2003: “Islam permits to wear weapons in mosques also”[xiii].
Therefore it is quite clear that at all three levels – nation-sates, organizations and madrassas, biojihad has existed in some form or the other, although the term biojihad may not have existed. Let us now look at the situation in India, especially in the context of the coronavirus pandemic which has been raging globally since early 2020.
Coronavirus and 21 Day Lockdown
Keeping in mind the coronavirus pandemic and its health risks in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi initiated a #21DaysLockdown starting 24th March to slow the spread of COVID-19. Even prior to that, at least for 10-15 days, there were constant missives from the central as well as various state governments to maintain #socialdistancing and avoid congregations. Most of India followed the governmental order given the seriousness of the threat. However, the Muslim community by and large seems to have disregarded the lockdown and social media is replete with clips and messages of how many Muslims are willfully violating the lockdown and often violently attacking police personnel trying to ensure compliance. There are also reports of health-care workers being beaten up when they are attempting to isolate and quarantine potential #Covid19 patients.
In Kolkata in areas like Rajabazar, Khidirpur and Park Circus, which are Muslim dominated areas, people have ignored every government announcement related to social distancing. In this video, people are seeing huddling around in shops, carrying on with their daily activities and crowding in the streets. Children are also seen playing cricket on the street. Similar situation has been seen in numerous Muslim dominated areas across India.
In Mainpuri, Uttar Pradesh, policemen were attacked by a Muslim mob when asked to avoid namaz in a local mosque, given the lockdown restrictions[xiv]. An Infosys employee, posted his picture on Facebook with the text “Let’s join hands, go out and sneeze with open mouth in public. Spread the virus.” He was later sacked by the company[xv].
Numerous such incidents have been reported from all over India.
Tablighi Jamat and Coronavirus
Let us now turn our focus to Delhi specifically. Almost 20% of all Covid19 cases in India can be traced back to a congregation of an Islamic group, Tablighi Jamat in in Nizamuddin mosque in Delhi. This congregation was attended not only by Indians but also by foreigners from already heavily virus infected countries like Malaysia, Indonesia etc. The number of infected may go up significantly since the test results on 8000 people including adherents and contacts is still awaited.
At least 19 people linked to this meet have died in different parts of India[xvi]. With hundreds of confirmed Covid19 patients and thousands under quarantine, this has already strained the existing medical, police and administration system which has been under immense pressure. The police are now investigating across states to find out where members of the congregation went, their current location and people whom they may have come in contact with. Unfortunately the search has not been easy because many people have been hiding their identity or have not come forward despite having covid19 symptoms, some have even switched off their mobiles so that they cannot be traced, and in general the attitude has been one of non-cooperation among Muslims. Followers of Tablighi Jamaat who have been moved into quarantine centers have been behaving badly with the care-takers, doctors and nurses. In the Tughlakabad quarantine center, the Tablighi Jamaat followers have been spitting on doctors and nurses[xvii]. They have been demanding food which is not in the menu and have been creating general ruckus and disturbance[xviii].
The situation is same even in Bengaluru. 10 Indonesians and 9 Kyrgyzstan nations were hiding in a mosque in Goripalya. These 19 foreigners had visited the Tablighi Jamaat event in Delhi. 12 Keralites were also hiding in the same mosque. When health officials tried to transfer these people to hospital for checkup, they tried to escape, and then started shouting and beat up the health officials[xix]. In Madhubani in Bihar, police personnel were fired upon when they went in search of Tablighi Jamaat congregation attendees. Similarly in Ahmedabad, the police team was attacked when they went to search for Tablighi Jamaatis[xx]. In Hyderabad, a Nizamuddin Markaz event returnee and coronavirus patient beat up doctors after his brother, another patient died on account of coronavirus related complications[xxi].
What is the reason for this utter disregard for governmental diktats? What is the reason for their hatred and animosity towards doctors, nurses, and administration personnel? In fact in Telangana, Muslims under quarantine in hospital have been ignoring social distancing norms while offering namaaz. What they are doing is not only harmful for them, it will likely cause the spread of the #Coronavirus infection to other areas where people are diligently trying to maintain social distancing norms and following all necessary protocols[xxii]. Or perhaps that is the intention?
An investigation by IndiaTV reveals some disturbing facts. Maulana Saad Kandhalvi, the head of Nizamuddin Tablighi Jamaat intentionally organized the congregation on 13th to 15th March completely ignoring all protocols, while being fully aware of the dangers of the virus. In one of his sermons, he tells his followers that even if they fall sick, it would not be bad, since there was no better place to die than in the mosque. He exhorts his followers to ignore the advice of non-Muslim doctors and listen to only Muslim doctors. He categorically tells his followers neither to listen to doctors, nor to obey the government or pay any heed to the news[xxiii]. Thus it is clear that Maulana Saad was very well-informed about the dangers of coronavirus. Yet he willfully allowed the congregation to happen despite restrictions by Delhi police and allowed the followers to return to different places across 18 states, knowing fully well that the infection would spread once these infected Tablighi Jamaatis came in contact with uninfected people. It is very clear that this is a case of biojihad, specifically of coronajihad where Tablighi Jamaat adherents have themselves become the bio-weapons.
Coronajihad is real. It is a specific form of biojihad and the latest of many modes of jihad. There is a reason the term #coronajihad has been trending on Twitter and social media platforms, as more and more people are realizing the grave threat being posed to the nation because of this. Given that it is a form of bio-terrorism, biojihadis should be dealt with by Anti-terrorism squad (ATS) like any other terrorist. Scarce medical resource should not be allocated to such people who have absolutely no intention of receiving any help, medical or otherwise from Kafirs. This is national security threat and must be treated as such.
Subhodeep Mukhopadhyay is a civilization studies researcher with a background in data science. His writings on culture, philosophy and economics have appeared in various newspapers, online platforms and academic journals. He has authored two monographs titled “The Complete Hindu’s Guide to Islam” and “Ashoka the Ungreat“, and is a recipient of the Foundation for Indian Civilization Studies award for 2017.
[i] Dharmayuddha is not Jihad: What Sitaram Yechury gets wrong https://www.opindia.com/2019/05/dharmayuddha-is-not-jihad-what-sitaram-yechury-gets-wrong/
[ii] ‘Virus has no religion’: Pinarayi Vijayan on criticism of Tablighi Jamaat meet https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/virus-has-no-religion-pinarayi-vijayan-on-criticism-of-tablighi-jamaat-meet/story-Rd1mlpC9mNkFQp0B8OUZjL.html
[iii] Religion is Adharma – 1: Understanding Religion https://intellectualkshatriya.com/religion-is-adharma-1-understanding-religion/
[iv] The Difference between Dharma Yuddha and Jihad http://koenraadelst.blogspot.com/2013/06/the-difference-between-dharma-yuddha.html
[v] The Chemical and Biological Threat of Islam, Dany Shoham http://www.acpr.org.il/pp/pp118-Muhammads_Monsters-Shoham.pdf
[vi] Al Qaeda’s Pursuit of Weapons of Mass Destruction https://foreignpolicy.com/2010/01/25/al-qaedas-pursuit-of-weapons-of-mass-destruction/
[vii] Ideologically ISIS is no different from any other Islamic nation state like Pakistan, except that their methods are more extreme, violent and brutal, since they don’t have to hide behind a veneer of “modernity”. In a historical sense, their exploits are no different from Mahmud Ghazni or Aurangzeb’s brutality in India
[viii] Ebola As ISIS Bio-Weapon? https://www.forbes.com/sites/brucedorminey/2014/10/05/ebola-as-isis-bio-weapon/#75c8decd7319
[ix] Animal testicle bombs are a dangerous step towards ISIS biological warfare, says expert https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/667874/isis-daesh-biological-warfare-dirty-bomb-animal-testicles-brussels
[x] Chemical suits found in mosque raid https://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/6270816.chemical-suits-found-in-mosque-raid/
[xi] Chemical teams attend Brussels mosque after powder found https://www.straitstimes.com/world/europe/chemical-teams-attend-brussels-mosque-after-powder-found
[xii] Uttar Pradesh: Arms found in madrassa during raid, 6 arrested https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/uttar-pradesh-arms-found-in-madrassa-during-raid-6-arrested-1566498-2019-07-11
[xiii] ‘Islam Permits Weapons In Mosques’ https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/islam-permits-weapons-in-mosques/212031
[xiv] Uttar Pradesh: Muslim mob attacks police for asking to avoid mass namaz in view of coronavirus https://www.opindia.com/2020/03/coronavirus-uttar-pradesh-muslim-mob-attacks-police-avaoid-mass-namaaz-mainpuri/
[xv] Infosys fired an employee over outrageous post on coronavirus https://www.thehindubusinessline.com/info-tech/infosys-fired-an-employee-after-his-outrageous-post-on-coronavirus/article31190750.ece#
[xvi] How Tablighi Jamaat meet led to Covid-19 spread https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/how-tablighi-jamaat-meet-led-to-covid-19-spread/articleshow/74942850.cms
[xvii] Tablighi Jamaat attendees spit at doctors at Tughlakabad quarantine unit https://news.abplive.com/videos/news/india-tablighi-jamaat-attendees-spit-at-doctors-at-tughlakabad-quarantine-unit-1187234
[xix] 9 foreign-delegates of Tablighi picked up from a city mosque https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/19-foreign-delegates-of-tablighi-picked-up-from-a-city-mosque/articleshow/74939138.cms
[xx] Bullets in Bihar, stone-pelting in Gujarat: Police face challenges in locating Tablighi Jamaatis https://www.opindia.com/2020/04/bihar-muslim-mob-attack-stone-pelting-police-mass-namaz-coronavirus-lockdown-gujarat/
[xxi] COVID-19 patient attacks doctors after his Nizamuddin Markaz returned brother dies of COVID-19
[xxii] Telangana: Muslims under quarantine in hospital ignore social distancing norms while offering namaaz. See Pics https://www.truescoopnews.com/newsdetail/muslims-under-quarantine-offer-namaaz