In a small village deep in the rugged terrain of the mountainous region of Kalafgan district in North East Afghanistan ten-year old Amir Hosseni listened intensely to his religious teacher of the Madrasah dīniyyah (religious school) attended only by boys of mostly Pashtun tribe.
In most villages and towns in Afghanistan religious schools are only for boys.Girls have to learn the religion at home from older family members.The traditions had been passed down through many generations and had over the millennium remained unchanged in many parts of the country.This is a country where Islam and tribal laws entwined each other to become the most radical brand of Islam, the doctrinal Islamic brand of the Talibans.
Hosseni was a student of the madrasah where he learned to recite the Quran and listened to the daily sermon about Islam, how it is the only true religion in this world that all other religions are false and their followers the kafirs ( non-believers) were destined to burn in hell in the after life.No kafirs will ever go to heaven.He also learned that heaven is only reserved for good Muslims who followed and practised the teachings of Islam as prescribed by Allah in the Quran and the Hadith (oral traditions relating to the words and deeds of Prophet Mohammad) and practised in the strictest sense.He was told that jihad (struggle) against non-believers and the killing of those opposed to Islam would have cleansed him of all his sins and guaranteed his entry to heaven where Allah had provided the indulgences and pleasures of life not found on earth.
Hosseni was a model student, he was both a qari (reciter of the Quran) and hafiz (know all verses of the Quran by heart). His education was only limited to Islamic teachings.The path he took would lead him to one of the training camps of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and eventually as a trained-terrorist.
In Afghanisation Islam has a central and pervasive influence throughout Afghan society.Small community-maintained mosques stand in villages and towns.Other than serving as houses of worship these mosques also serve multitude of functions, including shelter for guests, a place to pray or gossip and as religious schools.
Thousands of miles away from where Hosseni lived and in a village in Central Java in Indonesia a young man listened attentively to the ustaz (religious teacher) in his school.Rustam Sutowo heard the same sermon that echoed in the classroom of
Hosseni's school delivered by a local ustaz of his village.He would take the same path as Hosseni and joined a militant group in South East Asia called Jemmaih Islamiyya.
Abjan Abdul Talip is a Suluk of the Tausug tribe and live in a village on the island of Jolo in the Philippines.He first learned to read the Quran from his uncle when he was eight years old.Over the years he managed to recite the Quran and learned some of the basic principles of his religion.He took the same path as Hosseni and Rustam and joined another South East Asia's Islamic militant group known as Abu Sayyaf.
Throughout the Islamic world in small villages and towns whether in madrasahs or mosques the message is loud and clear that only Islam is the greatest of all religions because it is the only true religion that God had sent down to us through his messenger Prophet Mohammad.The words of the Quran are words of God.The Quran had stayed in its original form since the day it was written and compiled by Mohammad's companions.The Prophet had no hand in the writing and compilation of the holy book because he was illiterate.The written text was compiled in 633 AD , a year after Mohammad's death.For most Muslims the Quran is a divine guidance and direction for mankind.The Hadith had become the user's manual for all Muslims.
Hosseni,Rustam and Abu Talip are the products of severe indoctrination of radical Islamic teachings.All three can recite the Quran with ease, pray five times a day, perform Friday prayers at the mosques and fast during Ramadan but none of them understand the meaning of the Quran or cares to find out whether what they have been told are in accordance with the true teachings of Islam.They have never for one moment dare to question the authority of their teachers.
Many Muslims had very little concept of the Quran other than knowing how to recite it and have little understanding of the actual teachings of the religion other than what they learned from some bigoted ulamas,imams,mullahs and anyone who has some knowledge of the religion and add their own ingredients into the interpretation.Even some Islamic scholars admitted that some of the Arabic words used in the Quran are so ancient it can only create ambiguity in its interpretation.
How could the three Muslims coming from completely different cultural background come to the conclusion that killing innocent people in the name of Islam is justifiable and approved by the religion? Are there flaws in the teaching or in the religion itself that led to some Muslims forming militant groups to terrorise the world and to kill innocent and defenceless people without any remorse on their part?
We blamed the West of branding Muslims as terrorists but can we run away from the fact that most global act of terrorism were committed by Muslims.
The hijacking of four planes and used them to carry out an attack to demolish the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon on 11 Sept 2001, the Bali bombing in 2002, bombing of the Marriott Hotels in Jakarta in 2003, London underground bombing in 2005,assassination of Benazir Bhutto in 2007,Marriott Hotel bombing in Pakistan in Sept 2008, countless suicide bombings in war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan and just two days ago terrorist attack on 10 locations in Mumbai killing close to 200 innocent lives were the work of Muslim militants.These terrorist groups often described their actions as Islamic jihad.
If they truly believe in jihad and wanted to die a shaheed (martyrdom) why are they not taking on the armies of their enemies as what Islam would require them to do in a jihad instead of killing innocent people.
To be continued.