In the aftermath of 7/11/06 Mumbai, a prevalent formulation that all Muslims are not terrorists but all terrorists are Muslims is doing round on the SMS circuit. Of course the same understanding is also a part of the social common sense as it has got strengthened after 9/11 attack on World Trade Center.
This formulation is catchy enough to make an imprint on the gullible common sense, though it has nothing to do with truth. The terrorism is a political process resorted to by a section of people whose democratic rights are strangulated, who perceive that the injustice which has been perpetrated on them will not get justice in the times to come and that revenge is the only option in such a situations. It is a political process and religion or a religious community has nothing to do with it. Neither any religion teaches to kill the innocents (that is what the terrorists do) nor are the terrorists the people chosen by that religious community to undertake such ghastly acts on their behalf.
The definition of terror is also not well formulated, the person appearing as terrorist, for some may sound as freedom fighter for anther set of people. The examples of Bhagat Singh, the Kashmiri militants and LTTE are few such. We have seen the ghastly terrorist acts by Khailstanis, the ULFA, the likes of Timothy McWeigh; who dropped a bomb on Oklahoma out of frustration, we also know of a Jewish bomber dropping a bomb on a Hotel in Cairo in 1942 and Buddhist monks indulging in such violent acts in Srilanka and Thailand. The backdrop of these countries will tell us the political nature of the acts and that these are not meant to serve any religion.
Why is this myth capturing people?s psyche? Due to this psyche hundreds of innocent Muslim youth are apprehended and made to rot in jails. The trajectory of terrorism in which some Muslims have participated has roots in the oil politics at global level, in the Kashmir problem and in the rising communal problem in Indian context. The formation of Al Qaeda by U.S. to drive away the Russian armies from Afghanistan is too well known by now. The Kissinger doctrine, "Asians should fight Asian" was employed to train Al Qaeda by CIA to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Special Madrasas were set up, which indoctrinated a section of Muslim youth in to Jihad. The meaning given to this word was that jihad is killing of non believers, communists in this case, an innovation which worked wonder for US policy. The Muslim youth were dangled the carrot of 72 virgins in Jannat once they lay down their life in pursuance of the US goal of capturing Afghanistan after evicting the Soviet armies.
The demonization of Islam and Muslims began with the US propaganda in the wake of Ayatollah?s revolution in Iran and it was systematically built up with every US intervention in the West Asia, attack on Iraq, the occupation of Afghanistan the occupation of Iraq and also after the Al Qaeda attack on WTC. The demonization of Islam and Muslims has been a very systematic process akin to demonization of communists in the cold war era, McCarthyism and the accompanying propaganda. Noam Chomsky explains this doctrine as "manufacturing consent" for the goals of US foreign policy, which are achieved by US administration through various mechanisms, media being the central key to this doctoring of mass consciousness. This and other means employed by US administration to demonize Muslims has been outlined very well by Mahmood Mamdani's "Good Muslim Bad Muslim" and by Tariq Ali in "Clash of Fundamentalisms" and "Bush in Babylon", where both these researchers have given the details of US policymakers documents and the mechanism to demonize the targeted country and the people.
The earlier goal of offsetting the Soviet influence and to keep hegemony on the world was achieved by all methods of propaganda where by Communists who were fighting for various anti-colonial, anti imperialist goals were presented as the enemies of democracy and freedom. Now in pursuance of the goal to dominate the West Asian oil zones, anti Muslim, Anti Islam has become the central point of propaganda. The ?ideological? foundation of this was laid by Samuel Huntington who in his book Clash of Civilizations puts forward the thesis that the backward Islamic civilization is the real threat to the advanced and democratic western civilization. This global anti Islamism of US finds its supplement in the RSS ideology. Incidentally when US was hunting communists, at that time RSS chief was writing to the home minister in his mercy petition to seek release from the jail in the aftermath of Gandhi?s murder by RSS trained swayamsevak. The Sarsanghchalak of RSS that time wrote that if he is released from jail he will give all the cooperation to the Govt to fight against the communists. Today again, the US designs of anti Islamism match very well with the RSS designs here in India.
The popular psyche is shaped by multiple factors. There is not much time to get to the roots of the issues and so the superficial incidents form the basis of judgments and understanding of the people at large. While those with motives and agenda for dominating the world/ society play their games from behind the curtain, an Osama or a Kashmiri militant is visible as holding the AK47 or RDX in his hands, and here the popular understanding takes a full stop unable to see that Osama is the creation of US, or a petty terrorist is insanely avenging the stifling of democracy or violation of the treaty of accession in Kashmir, or a volunteer of Gujarat Muslim Revenge group is insanely avenging the genocide perpetrated against his community. Interestingly in this discourse there is no place for the bomb makers of Bajrang Dal, the RSS affiliates, in Nanded and so the powers that be prefer to sleep on the issue and keep arresting hundreds of Muslim youth, as by now the popular psyche, Government machinery and more particularly police has imbibed the myth that Islam promotes terrorism and that all terrorists are Muslims!