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  Asia-Pacific
Saudi Arabia — Also a Patron to Hafiz Sayeed?
By Tanveer Jafri
Contributing Writer
Hafiz Sayeed

Recently Prime Minister concluded his visit to Saudi Arabia. This is the first visit by any Indian Prime Minister to Saudi Arabia in the last 25 years. It is said to be very productive in strengthening relationship between the two countries. Apart from other agreements, both the countries also signed an extradition treaty. After this treaty, India can extradite from Saudi Arabia any wanted criminal who has committed any crime in India. But from this treaty can we conclude that Saudi Arabia has no role in the worldwide expansion of terrorism and its linkage with the worldwide movement of so-called ‘Islamic Jihad’? Is Saudi Arabia as peace loving as it seems?

Before continuing, it is necessary to clarify that the Wahaabi ideology, which has become the biggest inspiration for Islamic terrorism, has its roots in Saudi Arabia itself. If Wahaabi ideology teaches to follow radical Islam, the same radical Islam defines the word ‘Jihad’ in its own way directly linking it to terrorism. Let’s have a look at this Wahaabi ideology. An 18th century Muslim Scholar of Saudi Arabia, Mohammad Ibne Abdul Wahaab started this radical mission of giving an extremist face to Islam. He stressed on promotion of so called ‘Pure Islam’. The things he felt necessary, he termed them as Islamic and what he didn’t like, he termed it as anti-Islam and non-Sharia. Wahaab was of the view that the Muslims, who do non-Islamic deeds (according to him), are also Kaafir (non believer). In a short time, he became very popular among the illiterate Arabs.

During the expansion of this ideology, Wahaabi supporters created large scale armed disturbance in many parts of the world including the holy cities of Mecca and Madina. Consequently, so many innocent Muslim women, children and old people were killed. The same people destroyed the house where Prophet Mohammad was born. The supporters of this ideology also destroyed many mausoleums of Sufi saints. The same ideology made Saudi born Osama Bin Laden, the world’s most dangerous terrorist.

When this Osama Bin Laden becomes the most wanted terrorist of the world, the same Saudi Arabian government disowns him and again becomes clean and peace loving. Moreover, Saudi Arabia never hesitates in speaking against Laden or other terrorists. Currently, Hafiz Mohammad Sayeed, the chief of Pak-based Jamaat-Ud-Dawa has emerged as the biggest hurdle between India-Pakistan relations. He has become the world’s most controversial and most wanted terrorist. His name tops the list of the perpetrators of 26/11 attack on Mumbai. The alone alive terrorist of 26/11 Ajmal Amir Kasab himself has admitted the involvement of Hafiz Sayeed in the attack. He has also admitted that his training took place at terrorist training camp at Muridke in Pakistan. This training centre is operated by Jamaat-Ud-Dawa. At New Delhi in the foreign secretary level talks between India and Pakistan on February 25, the dossiers submitted by India to the Pakistani foreign secretary Salman Bashir include the demand of handing over of 34 terrorists including Hafiz Mohammad Sayeed to India. On this Pakistan has made clear that it will never give Hafiz Sayeed to India.

After the 25 February talks, Hafiz Sayeed gave his interview to a TV channel in Pakistan. In this interview, he told that his education in Saudi Arabia has a major influence on his thinking and working. Possibly, as a result of the same radical education, instead of face he put his back in front of the camera. On being asked by the journalist, he said that capturing a picture is not allowed in Sharia. Notably, Hafiz Sayeed was a professor of Islamic studies. And now he is running many Madrasas, hospitals, many NGOs and spreading Jihadi ideology under Jamaat-Ud-Dawa. He himself admits that his mission is to connect with Muslims through Jamaat, to ‘reform’ them and to ‘spread Islamic education on global scale’.

After 26/11, Pakistan house arrested Hafiz Sayeed under Indian pressure. At that time, Mr. Abdul Salam from Saudi Arabia mediated between Hafiz Sayeed and the Pak government. This incident compels us to think about the reason of sympathy of Saudi Arabia towards Hafiz Sayeed. After this settlement, Hafiz Sayeed was not only freed, in fact since then he started doing rallies in major cities of Pakistan calling for jihad against India. General Zia Ul Haq, the military dictator of Pakistan, who gave Islam an extremist face in Pakistan, also had the hand of Saudi Arabia on his head. The mention of one more incident would be relevant. When General Parvez Musharraf thrown out the Nawaz Sharif government and put Nawaz Sharif behind bars, at that time also Saudi Arabia provided full help to Nawaz Sharif in saving him from Gen. Musharraf and called Nawaz Sharif to Saudi Arabia. This instance is enough to understand that Saudi Arabia not only keeps a close watch at every political happening in Pakistan but also has a considerable say in Pak politics.

The irony is while Indian Prime Minister visits Saudi Arabia to strengthen the bilateral relations and by doing his unprecedented welcome, the royal family there is also trying to convey to the world that India and Saudi Arabia are progressing on the path of friendship. At the same time, the same Saudi Arabia is providing financial assistance to, many Pak based such organisations including Jamaat-Ud-Dawa, who are active in anti-India terrorist activities. Hafiz Sayeed has expressed his support to the Lashkar-e-Taiba which is the most dangerous Pak based terrorist organisation and was also involved in February 26 attack on Indian Medical Mission in Kabul. During his interview, he said that he is with not only LeT but with every such organisation which is doing ‘jihad for the independence of Kashmir’. While defining Jihad in his own way, he says that the effort made to defend yourself from an attacker is jihad. According to him, the effort he is making to save the Kashmiri Muslims from the Indian Army is jihad.

This terrorist Hafiz Sayeed also terms the militant struggle in Kashmir as right and calls the terrorists involved in it as freedom fighters. Though he denied his involvement in attacks on Indian Parliament and 26/11, but when asked what he means by ‘one Mumbai is not enough’, he had no answer to that. He also called on the Pakistan government to declare jihad against India or else the religious leaders of Pakistan would themselves decide to declare jihad against India. He says that every child of Pakistan and every member of Jamaat-Ud-Dawa is ready to fight against India.

Above situation is certainly a matter of concern for India. Apart from the terrorist activities in Pakistan, the world should also notice the roots of those extremist activities in Saudi Arabia, as a result of which the roots of communalism and Islamic sectarianism are rapidly & deeply spreading in the world. The price which Pakistan has paid for the Saudi patronisation of Zia-Ul-Haq to Hafiz Sayeed, is entirely visible not only to the Pakistani people but to the entire world.



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Other Articles by Tanveer Jafri
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Mr.Tanveer Jafri, who serves as contributing writer for The Seoul Times, is a noted columnist in India. He writes on a variety of issues including world peace, anti-terrorism, and national & international politics for numerous news dailies and portals in India. As a devoted social activist he is member of Haryana Sahitya Academy & Haryana Urdu Academy.

 

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