ArpitGarg's Weblog

An opinion of the world around me

Terrorism Apologist: What does it really mean?

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Recently I was having a discussion with my friends over Mumbai terror attacks. It started from Taj, moved over to the usual Pak bashing to Jehadi terrorism to the sensitive topic of role of Indian Muslims. One suggestion was a stern action against the terrorists wiping out each and every sleeper cell in the country. It supported a free hand to security agencies to do what needs to be done. It was countered by equally deft argumnet that not all Muslims are terrorists and that terrorism has no religion. No sooner was this statement made than there was an off-cut remark about us being terrorism-apologists. I was very much intrigued with the term terrorism-apologist. I tried to Google it out but it seemed to be a relatively new term and not much could be found. I found few articles in which this term was used. No exact definition was found though.

From the articles and reports in which it was used, lets try and find the real meaning of the term terrorism-apologist.

During war on Iraq too, this term “terrorism-apologist” was much in circulation in US. There was a professor at UT-San Antonio who was termed a “terrorism-apologist” in an article. My understanding of the term goes something like this, terrorism-apologists don’t try and justify the terror attacks as the term might suggest. It’s clearly not their intention. What they do is raise some social issues in the support of the terrorists. According to them, it’s we who have made them terrorists (coz agar hum naa hote, toh yeh terrorist bhi naa hote waala funda), so it’s we who are to apologize for making a terrorist out of them. Let’s be fair, they don’t defend and justify the work of terrorists, they try and defend the terrorists instead. They invoke the cause and effect theory as an argument.

To quote the professor from the said article, “It is rejection of U.S. and British policies in the Middle East, not Islam, that has promoted terrorism against America…95 percent of Middle Easterners are Muslims…it is only natural that those opposing the United States and Britain in the region would be Muslims. In India, they would have been Hindu; in Latin America or Northern Ireland, they would have been Catholic.”

Their arguments that, “Islam does not preach terrorism” and “Not all Muslims are terrorists” is well respected and not much disputed, but usually they tend to overdo themselves, create a ruckus thereby posing as a hindrance to the security forces.

I found once such example in India recently. A leading lady from Bollywood tried to connect terrorism with the poor and illiterate state of Muslims, “Injustice to Muslims is the foundation of terrorism”, she commented. To quote her further, “Do you know what percent of Islamic population is living below the poverty line? It’s 40%…There are certain segments of the society which have not got its due, whether you agree or not…When people are poor and have no where to go, they have no choice but to turn into radicals…”.

Ideally her views should have created mixed feelings. However given the backdrop of Mumbai attacks, there was an outrage against her comments and she needed to tender an apology. One may find her to be a terrorism-apologist. After all, Naxalism and Terrorism are two different phenomenons. Let’s not try and mix them. Those who mix them may be termed terrorism apologists.

Some say that this whole idea is nothing but a figment of imagination of the right wing people. But again the issue is open for contention. Maybe next up for discussion should be Naxalism v/s Terrosim for us to get a clear answer to our Holy Grail.

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Written by arpitgarg

January 9, 2009 at 12:38 pm

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