There is an old habit in the media and intellectual space to project terrorists less as murderers and more as ordinary people who were just dealt a traumatic past.
Not only is this a grave insult to the innocents who lose their lives, and their families, but also a shocking leeway to one of the biggest threats to world peace today.
Islamic terrorism has been one of the biggest threats to world peace in recent times. In 2017 alone, there have been over 500 Islamic terror attacks in the world and more than 3,700 people have died as a result, and the counter is still ticking.
Yet, there are very few people in the world who have the courage to acknowledge the elephant in the room. Theresa May is a rare world leader who has dared to call Islamic terror ‘evil’ in no uncertain terms. However, the media and intellectuals are busy drumming up creative excuses to justify jihad. According to some, terrorism is only caused by economic factors. When terrorists kill innocent people, they are doing it because they are unemployed, poor and have had a traumatic childhood. By carefully avoiding the qualifier ‘Islamic’ to describe the terror attacks, these intellectuals are actually helping further the cause of Islamic fundamentalism.
Many people have used the term ‘Useful Idiots of Islamism’ to describe such apologists of Islamic Terrorism. It is said that Lenin had first coined the term ‘useful idiots’ to scornfully describe the Western apologists of communist violence. The term aptly describes the modern-day apologists of Islamic terror, who seek to simplify the brutalities of terror attacks by reducing them to economic crimes.
Whitewashing terror acts and humanising terrorists serve multiple purposes. One, it absolves Islamic fundamentalists of any blame by terming all acts of Islamic terror as some kind of the ‘revenge of the poor and the dispossessed against cruel capitalist exploitation’. Second, it dehumanises the victims by denying them dignity. The lives of innocents lost in terror attacks and the families destroyed completely are reduced to mere statistics.
The focus is shifted from the story of the victims to the story of the perpetrator, who is deliberately painted as some kind of a tragically misunderstood hero who has been led astray by causes that are beyond his control. Finally, the ridiculous justifications given to condone Islamic terror seek to institutionalise cold yellow cynicism that blames everyone and their grandmothers for Islamic terror, except the root cause, which is radical Islam.
The world over, media and academia are filled with such ‘Useful Idiots of Islamism’. We got to read reams about how 9/11 was a result of George Bush’s policy of “expansionism” and “how America had it coming”. The deaths of over 3,000 innocent people were glossed over by calling the violence “legitimate daughter of the culture of violence, hunger and inhumane exploitation”, as Dario Fo, the winner of 1997 Nobel prize for literature described it. He also went on to say, “the great speculators [of American capitalism] wallow in an economy that every year kills tens of millions of people with poverty — so what is 20,000 dead in New York?”
The bomber of Manchester, Salman Abedi, is described as a “hot-headed party lover”, while the perpetrator of the latest London Bridge terror attack is described as a boy who was “so traumatised by his father’s death when he was 12” that he took to terror! Millions of children lose their parents every year in the world. Most step up to the responsibility, study and work hard and make a life for themselves. Some are traumatised by grief and need professional help, but it takes a special kind of an indoctrinated idiot blinded by a hate-filled violent doctrine to drive a car into a bunch of innocents on holiday just because he lost his dad at 12!
India too is teeming with such ‘Useful Idiots of Islamism’. We were told that the Mumbai bomb blasts of 1993 were caused because of the Ram Mandir issue, but any mention of the Godhra train burning, which charred 56 people alive, is carefully avoided while talking about the 2002 riots in Gujarat. The terrorist convicted of the 1993 blasts, Yakub Memon, was described as a “soft-spoken, well-read man” in a newspaper story. An Indian newspaper, the Indian Express, published the news of Memon’s hanging with the provocatively offensive headline, ‘And THEY killed Yakub’.
In 2008, 10 members of Lashkar-e-Taiba held the city of Mumbai at ransom for four days, killing more than 150 people in the most brutal way. The victims included several foreign nationals and Mumbai’s top cops, and yet, we were told that the only terrorist caught alive, the butcher of 26/11, Ajmal Kasab, turned terrorist because his father did not buy him a shirt on Eid!
Heart-rending, emotional stories were written about Burhan Wani, the Hizbul commander and dreaded terrorist eliminated by the Indian Army, turning him into some kind of a tragic superhero. The Indian Express deliberately posted the picture of Wani’s funeral as the cover image on their Facebook page.
Rajdeep Sardesai compared Wani to freedom fighter Bhagat Singh while Barkha Dutt, another big name in Indian media, carefully avoided the term ‘terrorist’ while referencing Wani. Instead, she described him as a “headmaster’s son who used social media as a weapon”.
We were told that Wani’s successor, Sabzar Bhatt, also eliminated by the Indian Army, “turned terrorist because he was jilted in love”. Faroukh Dar, the alleged stone-pelter tied to a jeep by an Indian Army officer under exceptional circumstances, was glorified as an embroiderer of exquisite shawls.
What the ‘Useful Idiots of Islamism’ fail to realise is that the very fire of blind hatred that they are trying to conceal instead of put out, will some day become so huge that it will consume them as well.