The Pioneer December 14, 2008 Coffee Break
Closet Islamists in PM’s team?
Even before Mumbai’s first night of horror was over, by early morning of November 27 Islamist websites were flush with claims that the multiple attacks had been planned and executed by Hindus, Jews and Christians to malign Muslims. The Muslim Brotherhood’s website, www.ikhwanweb.com, had an article on its home page, allegedly written by a certain ‘Amaresh Misra’ (email@example.com) which said, “It is clear that Mossad is involved in the whole affair. An entire city has been attacked by Mossad and probably units of mercenaries (sic). It is not possible for one single organisation to plan and execute such a sophisticated operation.” Fear of libel laws prevents me from reproducing other more outrageous excerpts from the article. Later that day, the website posted a message from one ‘FM Shah’ (firstname.lastname@example.org) in response to the article. According to the ‘Lion of Khyber’, the fidayeen raid on Mumbai had been “made and produced in India with the help of CIA/Mossad in order to make Pakistan the scapegoat”. The Ikhwan website also provided the ‘evidence’ for this preposterous claim: “The firing by terrorists began from Nariman House (Chabad House, the headquarters of a local Jewish outreach programme). And that for two years suspicious activities were going on in this house. But no one took notice… A photograph published in Urdu Times of Mumbai clearly shows that Mossad and ex-Mossad men came to India…”With Islamists of all varieties increasingly using the Internet to propagate their vile ideology and subvert the truth, such messages are read by millions of Muslims, many of them with impressionable minds. They are replicated on other websites, picked up by propagandists who use the pulpit to preach hatred, and reproduced in community — and even ‘mainstream’ — Arabic and Urdu newspapers. Soon, a blatant lie becomes the dominant truth. Recall how what began as an absurd campaign of calumny after 9/11 — that the attacks on America had been ‘masterminded by Zionists’ and ‘Jews had been alerted not to turn up for work at the World Trade Center’ on that day — is now widely perceived as fact by many Muslims, including in India. A Jamia Millia Islamia professor once told me that the images we saw live on our television screens on 9/11 were “studio simulated”. He emphatically said, “There were no aircraft involved in the incident. Controlled explosions, in which the Israelis excel, were used to blow up the twin towers. All this was done to justify the invasion of Afghanistan and later Iraq.” I am sure he has repeated more lurid versions of this story to his students. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has picked up the Ikhwan’s ‘Mossad is behind the Mumbai attack’ story and spun a ‘Islam is in danger’ yarn out of it.What lends credibility to such Goebbelsian propaganda is the bunkum that appears in Western media. For instance, The New York Times carried a ‘news story’ written by Fernanda Santos on November 27, which said that Chabad House was “an unlikely target of the terrorist gunmen who unleashed a series of bloody coordinated attacks at locations in and around Mumbai’s commercial centre… It is not known if the Jewish centre was strategically chosen, or if it was an accidental hostage scene”. Perhaps Ms Santos is of the view that the six Jewish hostages who were trussed up, brutally tortured and then slaughtered by the two jihadis who had taken over Chabad House, were ‘accidental’ victims of the terror strike. It would, however, be unfair to blame Ms Santos and her ilk, among them ‘star’ journalists and anchors whose bilge we get to read in ‘mainstream’ newspapers and hear on ‘national’ news channels here in India, alone for such perversion. The Government headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is equally guilty.On December 9, Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed read out a statement in the United Nations Security Council, pleading India’s case for action against Pakistan-based terrorist groups. Here is an excerpt from the official text of the statement: “A group of ten terrorists from the global terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Tayyeba reached Mumbai in the evening of 26th November 2008. The group divided themselves into four smaller groups and proceeded to pre-selected targets which included a café, popular with Indian and foreign tourists, and two major hotels.” There was no mention of, or allusion to, the fourth group’s pre-selected target, Chabad House, and the fact that the Jewish centre was attacked by the jihadis for obvious reasons. It’s almost as if nothing happened at Chabad House, that no Jews were tortured and killed by the terrorists for the simple reason that they were Jews. What makes the omission stand out like a sore thumb is the global outpouring of Jewish support for India, the outrage in the West over the targeted killings which we have used to our advantage, and the Israeli Government’s unequivocal endorsement of the tough commando action.Whose decision was it to excise this detail from the statement? Did Mr Ahamed of the Muslim League decide not to mention it? Did he find the words ‘Israel’ and ‘Jews’ too distasteful to utter? Or was he trying to gloss over the Islamists’ visceral hatred of Jews? It is unlikely that Mr Ahamed would have decided on his own to leave out the specific detail of the Jewish centre being attacked while alluding to Leopold Café, Taj Mahal Palace and Oberoi-Trident Hotel. Given the sensitivity of the issue, the statement would have been cleared by the Minister for External Affairs and approved by the Prime Minister. So, who decided to drop the reference to Chabad House? And for what purpose? Was it done with an eye to Muslim ‘sentiments’ — like those of the Jamia professor and his tribe for whom Jew-baiting is a noble virtue — at home? Or was it meant to serve as a message to Islamists at large that this Government has no complaints against them so long as they don’t indulge in what Mr Tom Vadakkam of the Congress described on television as a “light and sound show”?Meanwhile, late Saturday evening I decided to check whether www.jamatdawah.org, the website of Jamaat-ud-Dawah, the nom de plume of Lashkar-e-Tayyeba, had been blocked subsequent to the Security Council’s sanctions on the organisation and its amir, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed. The website, with its inflammatory contents, remains unaffected. A statement issued by Saeed has just been posted. It says, “The UN sanctions against Jamaat-ud-Dawah, only one day after India’s demand, are a clear proof of its malice and enmity towards Islam.” Don’t laugh at the claim. It’s sure to find a resonance with those who believe that Mossad organised the “light and sound show” in Mumbai. So much for the efforts of the closet Islamists in the Prime Minister’s team to suppress the detail about Chabad House.