Note from the editors at Faith Freedom:
The following article stands on its merit; however, the editors at Faith Freedom continually fail to find the distinction between “Islam the faith” and “Islamic terrorism”. Our collective view is that while all Muslims are definitely not terrorists many still support the ideology of Jihad as taught by “Islam the faith”. It may not be a radical view of “Islam the faith”; however, “Islam the faith” definitely can find support in the Quran for “Islamic terrorism”.
We have often made this distinction when dealing with Dr. Pipes. We appreciate all of his work but we cannot understand how the world of Islam can be totally separated into two distinct factions: “Islam the faith” and “Islamic terrorism” knowing full well that “Islam the faith” is not totally innocent and cannot be used to turn normal peace loving Muslims into “Islamic terrorist”. We have seen far too many peace loving Muslims being turned. Without the support of the normal “non-terrorist” Muslim could we have “Islamic terrorism”?
It is our view that the only way to stop “Islamic terrorism” is to defeat “Islam the faith”.
By: Amitabh Tripathi
In the last one and a half decade the world has changed a lot. On one hand the flow of information has brought people together from various nationalities , race and languages on the other hand due to this globalization some ideologies has also become global. One of these ideologies is Islamism. It has been described in various ways and its adherence to terrorism to achieve its political goal has put the civilized world before a grave and immediate threat. Being an Indian, terrorism was no more than a law & order problem and an abetment of insurgency by our neighboring country Pakistan. No one was ready to buy the argument of its global reach and ideology or political goals behind it. Few groups who were apprehensive of terrorism in J&K as a part of Islamism were termed as frenzies with their vested interest to vitiate communal atmosphere with their pre partition syndrome.
All these arguments and assessment went wrong when 9\11 happen and the world exposed to a new threat. But was it really a new threat which emerged suddenly, a trend of this happening never came under scrutiny? If we jump to this conclusion it would be naïve. Various scholars and academicians were aware of this new growing trend and trying their best to make people aware of this menace but most of them were dismissed as Islam phobic. After 9\11 when the threat was so visible and incidents were focused on rampant efforts being initiated to analyze the cause and motives behind these ghastly acts that now the situation has come to such extent that every government is forced to reshape its internal and external policies in the background of Islamist terrorism.
When we talk of Islamist terrorism and ideology we do not have to scratch our heads for long to find out those figures to who we can claim as an authority on this subject. I have two names of well known figures in America and one of them is renowned on this subject across the world and that name is Dr Daniel Pipes. The other name which is not known to the world at this juncture but very soon will become a familiar name in South Asia is Dr Richard Benkin.
Dr Daniel Pipes and Dr Benkin have few similarities. Both are American citizens and Jews. From their faith as well as Zionist they don’t hesitate to be called conservative. Dr Daniel Pipes could be called an intellectual warrior without any hesitation and the same is true with Dr Richard Benkin. I had the chance to meet both of them.
In January this year when one leading Hindi newspaper named Dainik Jagran organized a conclave on Asian subjects, they invited Dr Daniel Pipes to speak and in that talk it was like a dream come true. It was a funny story also that I came to know about his programme in India. One of my friends told me about his programme seeing the advertisement on that very Hindu newspaper which was organizing the conclave. Before meeting him I was in touch with him through electronic correspondence and trying to assess myself how right I was in reading his writings.
We had two meetings for at least two hours and chatted on various contemporary subjects. I am repeatedly calling him warrior because he is so clear in his perception. He expresses himself frankly to give the next generation freedom and a free world. Dr Pipes described how Islamism, communism and Fascism are a big threat to the civilized world. His definition of Islamism gives us hope to take on this problem. According to Dr Pipes Islam as a faith is not an enemy and it is Islamism which is enemy. He described this Islamism as an ideology which gets inspiration from communism and Fascism of the 20th century to use Islamic faith as a tool to achieve its totalitarian goals. He very frankly talks of his theory that radical Islam is the problem and moderate Islam is the solution. In America there are several takers of this theory.
Dr Pipes proved my objective that he is an intellectual warrior because he was the person who was writing and warning US from the 80’s against growing tendency of Islamism. Being a big reader of Dr Pipes I was surprised to know how much clarity he has in his thought that in his few articles he has given examples of ambitions of some Mujaheedeens fighting with America in Afghanistan against USSR to destroy America also after Russia to pave the way for Islamisation of America. He is the only person who had sensed the Islamist movement very early and I will say because of his scholarly acumen America was able to handle the situation after 9\11 to some extent in such a manner that other countries did not.
Often people come to his most visited site and some of them made allegations against him of being an Islam phobe but if you meet him not from any stretch of imagination will he appear as an Islam phobe. He is very logical and rationalist person with deep insight and analytical power. Some other qualities which make him different from the others is his commitment to truth. In the last year of the President-ship of George W Bush he did not hesitate to criticize him for some of his failures of policies at implementation level. If one would say that Dr Pipes has emerged as a necessity among intellectuals across the world then it is no hyperbole.
Other intellectual warrior who has emerged from the soil of America is Dr Richard Benkin . I was first introduced to Dr Richard by Dr Daniel Pipes when he referred my name to him and I responded to him with an email. I was a little bit surprised and amused to get back the reply from Dr Richard calling me as brother. In the meantime I had a chance to go to his website http://www.interfaithstrenght.com and visiting that site I came to know of his fight for his friend Salahudin Shoaib Choudhary. His fight for Salahuddin proves him a warrior who is slightly different from Dr Daniel Pipes because of his activist nature. We could call him intellectual activist warrior. Like Dr Daniel Pipes I also got a chance to meet Dr Richard Benkin and it was much more time than I had spend with Dr Pipes. I got this chance when Dr Richard visited India to know the status of Bangladeshi Hindus in West Bengal. Being a Hindu I was little hesitant also to know that he had come from America to fight for the cause of a Bangladeshi Hindus and I am unable to do any help for them even living in India. Dr Richard is very energetic, enthusiastic and youthful person. He has sharp learning capacity and zeal to learn. In his visit to India he showed lots of energy. Accompanying him for three days it was very easy for me to assess his fighting instinct. He is a true warrior who is committed for human rights. Some times back he was professor in Human psychology and his wife also works for disabled children.
I still have in my memory one story which Dr Richard told me on how he told his daughter not to beat anybody only because you are in anger. His fight against extremism revolves around this theory that you are not justified to harm anybody only because you are angry. He has seen how his mother, wife and daughter had a narrow escape in a suicide bombing in a restaurant. According to Dr Richard this incident compelled him to think about the psyche of suicide bombers and ideology which allows them to enjoy the human causality and how these people could not be our friends. They are enemies and we should deal with them in that manner. His thought is not confined to only debate and lectures he is ready to fight for the cause of the oppressed and repressed. His resolve to fight against all odds makes him a warrior.
Earlier it has been stated that Dr Daniel Pipes and Dr Richard Benkin has something common in both of them. The most common thing for them is their faith and legacy. They belong to that legacy which fought ceaselessly for thousand of years for their promised land and finally got their nation but unfortunately the whole Islamist ideology and Islamist terrorism has propagated the birth right of Jews as pivotal to resurgence of the Islamist movement. In the history of mankind no community has been persecuted to such extent as the Jews (It only has the parallel of Hindus who were murdered, slaughtered and butchered in 800 years of Islamic rule) but it is their chivalry and gallantry which survives them. It is not a coincidence that again two Jewish intellectual warriors have come out openly to fight against Islamist terrorism.