A popular conventional Indian folksong goes along the lines of: 

O Traveller, Keep Vigil.

 There are thieves eyeing your belongings.”

Conventional wisdom usually has layers of meaning.

In its most sublime and subtle form, this song exhorts a human being to be wary of temptations which are constantly trying to steal away our awareness.

At face value, it just means: watch out, the evil is around you, trying its best to harm you.

Tragically, conventional wisdom often encounters ridicule from individuals obsessed with showing off their moral uprightness and one-upmanship over others.

It is not uncommon in the world today for someone who is given the above advice, to say, “Why would anyone take somebody else’s belongs? It’s not logical.”

Or, “It is disrespectful to suspect a person before he has done anything.”

Or, “Are you teaching me to hate others?”

Since no thief goes around with a “I am here to rob you” sign, lame arguments like the ones above often go uncontested and the evil finds its way to its targets unopposed.

It is this precise sentiment that has helped evil thrive all over the world for centuries.

It is this precise sentiment that has caused Jihad to expand from being a local plague to a global pandemic. 

The ticking time bomb 

It would only be to our peril to shut our eyes to this ticking time bomb.

In the past several centuries, India has experienced extreme forms of the violence of Jihad. The list is endless, but to quote a specific event that illustrates something very important at the core of this menace:

In the 1920s, the region of Malabar in coastal South India saw one of the most horrifying genocides of Hindus. 

When asked his views on these incidents, the Supreme Leader of the Indians at that point of time—who is hailed all over the world as a “saint”—said that he could not blame those brave people for “practicing their religion in the form their religion prescribes them.

When the situation spiralled out of control, the “saint” eventually sent out a plea to the Jihadis to give up violence.

The Jihadis responded: “Why should we listen to a non-believer”?

That pretty much sums up the state of affairs, the reason and the consequences of everything related to Jihad in India, and the rest of the world.

The “mysterious” phenomena of Jihad

Jihad is one of the most mysterious psychological phenomena. Having thrived for one and a half millennium now, it is a mystery on how a faith that has an explicitly open declaration of intent that “no body on the Earth has a right to exist unless he subscribes to our systems,” a faith which has no hesitation in declaring its intent of annihilating everyone who doesn’t come within their fold, manages to garner a huge amount of support from a large quarter of the world, including the ones who are the worst victims of their monstrosity.

It would be very simplistic to dismiss these as cases of “Stockholm Syndrome.” It is important for us to understand the distinct psychological mechanism at work, if we intend to come up with a definitive strategy to combat this menace.

In this article, we will look at four prominent causes of why this terror phenomenon has been thriving all these centuries and only grown both in its scale of terror as well as the monstrosity of it.

Here are the four pretty masks that hide the grotesqueness of Jihad and allows it to flourish.

  1. The impact of permanent pain and persistent trauma.

Human beings cannot exist in a state of cognitive dissonance. We cannot be in a state that is out of sync between our internal and external world. We are wired to dissolve all dissonance and reach a state of internal equilibrium, either changing our external circumstances to match our inner world, or changing our internal world to match the outside.

If the “external” refuses to change, the internal state is bound to alter to match with the external reality.

We are wired for “normalization.” If I wear shoes weighing five pounds all the time, that would become the normal feel for feet and footwear. When I take off those shoes, I would feel awkward and may go back to put on that weighty shoe.

If we are exposed to a situation that contradicts our internal state of mind for a long period of time, two things could potentially happen:

  1. If we can, we would move out of that state causing the dissonance and find a more resonant existence.
  1. If we cannot, we would finally align with the state around us.

The whole psychology of Jihad has been to stand doggedly to its explicit agenda of annihilating everyone who does not subscribe to their faith, severe consequences for practitioners who do not follow the mandates of the religion, and extreme consequences for those who abandon the faith.

Even if one feels abhorrent toward and disgusted with this perennial state of fear, we cannot live in a state of abhorrence and disgust for long. Our emotions seek a neutral and positive existence, and when we are assured that this is how the world around is going to be, we tend to get neutral and eventually positive about what is.

All conversions to this religion take place through a mix of two extreme emotions – extreme fear and extreme greed. It is common to come across individuals, who within days of their conversion, display extremely hateful behaviour against their family and friends and treat them with the same disdain as they would treat any other disbeliever.

Humans are normally wired to move away from pain and toward pleasure, but if the consequences of moving away from pain are horrifying, that pain becomes normalized.

The Subconscious Defence Mechanisms

Psychology states that we have several automatic defence mechanisms that our subconscious mind resorts to in order to protect ourselves from various crises.

One of these is a mechanism called displacement, which causes one to substitute their original target and aim, masking it with a safer option.

In India, even when a person feels disgusted with the brutalities of Jihad, he is aware that is not safe to express this disgust in its original form. The defence mechanism of displacement triggers into action, causing him to direct his disgust to the safest option in India – Hinduism. 

In India, all atheists, rationalists, sceptics, and wokes vent their angst against the monstrosity of Jihad and its foundational faith by ridiculing and criticizing Hinduism. They get to express their emotions, directed through a safe channel.

The safety valves in place ensure that the religion gets away with all acts of terror with no opposition either physically or ideologically.

An extremely absurd instance of this was seen a few years ago, when PETA (People For Ethical Treatment of Animals), which incessantly campaigns against the killing of animals, put out billboards during Id-ul-Azha, the Muslim festival of goat sacrifice, to appeal to people to avoid the killing of animals.

No, the billboards were not intended to request for non-killing of goats during Id-ul-Azha. The campaign was an appeal to Hindus to not gift leather goods during the upcoming Hindu festival at the same time.

The safety valves in place ensure that the religion gets away with all acts of terror with no opposition either physically or ideologically.

2. ‘Universal Brotherhood’ vs. ‘Self-Centredness.’

It is popularly believed that this entire faith functions as a universal family, and they stand by in unison as a family would.

Anybody who looks beyond the surface knows the lie that this is. They are driven into factions. Each faction asserts its own superiority and dismisses all other sects as “disbelievers.”

How is it that they always appear to be speaking in one voice? 

Why, then, do they stand together on every matter in the world that pertains to them?

Ten photocopies of a document look all the same, not because there is a sense of unanimity between the photocopies.

They all look the same because they are copies of one original.

The faith has played the masterstroke of appealing to the foundational emotion that drives every aspect of our existence: self-centredness

Every practitioner of the religion works for his own highest good in the afterlife. When they appear to be one, they are not standing by each other or fighting for a common cause. 

Each individual just stands by the triad of the Almighty, his representative, and the Book. Each of them is actually salvaging his position in the afterlife by defending this triad and hence, they all appear to be speaking the same voice and doing the same things, but they are all doing it for exactly their own selfish end.

Faith as the only virtue

In Islam, the one and only virtue that counts is the Faith in their Almighty and his words. There are many videos of preachers from all over the world who say that the one who believes in their Almighty could do the most grotesque of acts, but he is still more virtuous than somebody who lives ethically.

Any act carried out in the name of their Almighty, and to establish his might on earth, is the highest of all virtues.

One could rape and kill in his Name, and that makes him even more pious. He could tell lies, cheat, deceive, give fall perceptions, and it earns him an even better afterlife. 

A believer would normally be thrown into hellfire for visiting temples of other faiths, but if it is done to serenade a girl of the other faith into marriage and turn her into a believer, it’s the highest virtue.

It is even okay to pretend to condemn certain aspects of the religion itself, if it helps in the overall propagation of the faith, and for their own well-being, e.g., to save their job.

This is what makes them go to any extent to commit horrific acts with a sense of pride, and either brazen it out, disguise it with masks, or come across as an apologist, as the situation demands. Those who cannot do it themselves live in a bigger guilt, and compensate for it by hailing and hero-worshipping those who do. 

This behaviour is not random, but fully institutionalized in the doctrine of the three doors of Islam – 

  1. Dar-ul-Aman: door of peace – regions where they exist in extreme minority. They live in peace and champion equality of religions and respect for all religions.
  1. Dar-ul-Harb: door of struggle – when in significant size, they fight for control and establishment of an Islamic rule.
  1. Dar-ul-Islam: door of Islam – when they have seized the power, the region acts as per Sharia, with no rights to non-Muslims.

This is a documented philosophy, and being in denial about well-documented strategies of terror is what has helped them expand unrestricted.

The social strata, level of education, accomplishments of an individual do not matter a bit. Terrorism is NOT an outcome of lack of education, as apologists often seem to suggest. The highly educated ones, the most intelligent ones, the extremely accomplished ones find better means to execute their intentions on larger scale.

3. The Power of “Narrative”—They win as a victor, they win as a victim.

In India, a statement along the lines of “I respect other religions as much as they respect ours” is classified as a communal, hateful statement.

The right to practice, profess, and propagate a religion, as guaranteed by the Constitution of India, assumes ridiculous proportions when applied to certain religions. To them, this includes the right to annihilate other religions and exterminate followers of other religions. 

Furthermore, any attempt to stand against it is deemed as hateful and communal.

The biggest factor that has led to their success is the ability to play both the victor and the victim with equal ease.  

They initiate trouble, with a strong belief that they are invincible because their Almighty is on their side.

Then, after a few days they realize that their Almighty has abandoned them once again. 

Then, they play victim and call for considerations of humanity.

The skill of “roar when winning, whine when losing” earns them admirers for their bravado as well as sympathizers for their wounds, and whatever be the context, they emerge as a winner.

When the world was signing the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, the entire Islamic world rejected it as being un-Islamic. 

Eventually, in 1990, they brought in their own Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam.

They invoke the latter when they want to destroy other religions and nations, and invoke the former when they get thumped in the process.

They have explicit intention of annihilating all those who do not believe in their faith, but are the quickest to demand “respect for other religions” from other faiths. 

In India, they label every practicing Hindu as “communal” and a “bigot.” Any condemnation of any of their acts of monstrosity is instantly branded as “Islamophobic.

In India, the invaders and rules of the faith have demolished hundreds of thousands of temples and a mosque erected there.

Some of these places have been given names that translate to “The Might of Islam.” When attempts are made to reclaim some of the most prominent ones which have extreme historical and religious significance to Hindus, it is projected as an atrocity against Islam.

They brag about having ruled the country for a thousand years and lament how they live in perpetual fear in the same breath. They openly express their dream of establishing an Islamic rule in India, but cry foul against any talk of any consolidation of Hindus.

They very well know the power of what I refer to as “The Spotlight Effect.” They have mastered the skill of putting the spotlight on their might and power as long as they are winning, and turn the wounds (including the made-up ones) when they fail to get through their murderous way.

They assert they cannot be blamed for what their ancestors did, but they support and defend every act of the past invaders and partake in the glory of their conquests of “Kaffirs.”

They complain that their patriotism is often under question, but unfailingly turn out in millions in the funeral of every terrorist.

The control of narrative

In India, you could use a general rule of thumb that any individual or organization with names that include “Peace,” “Justice,” “Progressive,” “Human,” etc. and speak endlessly on these topics is very likely to have a Jihadi connection.

They have learnt the art of using generics and rhetoric with great finesse to create pretty masks that are deceptive.

Through the use of the right generics and rhetoric, they manage to garner support from those individuals and organizations who they are possibly conspiring to demolish. The religion is dead against any form of unnatural sex, but you will find gay organizations all over the world standing by them with totally solidarity. 

It is ironic that the most regressive minds end up gaining the empathy of everyone who wants to show themselves off as “woke” and “progressive.”

They pass every crime of theirs, however gruesome, as a “law and order problem,” and magnify even an ordinary crime that involves a Muslim as a victim as Islamophobia.

Heck, even a clash between two of their own communities gets passed off as Islamophobia, because the ones suffering in such clashes are Muslims. 

The mastery of rhetoric and a complete control of the narrative has yet another dangerous side effect: the right choice of words and the inherent wokism in their narratives are very appealing to the next generation. This is something that definitely needs to be watched out for and taken care of.

4. A self-sufficient system takes care of all boundary conditions.

Recently, I came across an interesting statistic about the growing number of atheists in Pakistan. A Pakistani YouTuber revealed that there is an overall resentment against the religion across all of Pakistan. What keeps people from speaking out are the two-fold safety valves of the “blasphemy laws” and the “punishment for apostasy.” 

These are masterstrokes that allow anyone to cause serious damage to anybody they do not like in the pretext of saving the religion. 

Death for apostates is one other factor that keeps everyone from speaking out. It may force disgruntled individuals to sulk endlessly, but it ensures that there is no public narrative set against them.

The need for a strategic counter to Jihad

The movie “Glory Road” is based on a true story and events that lead to University of Texas at El Paso fielding an all-black lineup in a game for the first time in university basketball. 

When coach Dan Haskins goes around recruiting players, he encounters raw talent. One student, when challenged to pass through Haskins with the ball, said: “I can pass through you, over you, under you, around you, I can spin you like a top.

The student player tries to get past coach Haskins, expecting to deceive him with extra body movement. Haskins doesn’t react to his individual movements. He stands centred and focused on the ball, moves only as required and proves impossible to pass through.

Haskins tells him: “You expect me to react to all that head-shake and body gyration? It’s activity without accomplishment. You got the ball in front of you. You ain’t going anywhere without it.

The primary reason why we have so far been ineffective in tackling this menace is because we have been involved excessively in “activity without accomplishment,” as Haskins put it.

Since a lot of them speak in multiple tones, reacting to all of those ends up in situations allowing each of them to walk away with victory easily.

They put forth the red herrings of real Islam vs Islamism, terrorism has no religion, good terror vs bad terror, etc. We need to know it beyond doubt that there is only one Islam, and it seeks annihilation of every other faith.

Those who do not pick up a gun or tie a suicide vest on themselves regard the ones who do as the soldiers of Almighty and provide them every possible tangible and intangible support.

We need to have a single front of this battle, and not get distracted by the fake narratives they set.

What we need to strike at is their dismissal of every other faith as false, and their explicit agenda of establishing their religion over the entire world as one unique faith. 

Any other unrelated conversation or activity, e.g., mocking the faith, casting aspersion on their icons, burning their books, calling for their annihilation, end up getting them more empathizers and dilute the fight against their inherent terror. They put those against Jihad on the same moral footing as the Jihadis, taking away the bite and sting from all campaigns against them. 

We need to stay away from emotional ramblings, provocative statements, and immature declarations. We need to be more strategic and brave rather than indulging in mindless bravado.

We need to demand humane behaviour from them in return for the humane behaviour they demand to be meted out to them. We need to end this toxic practice of unilateral appeasement. 

We, Indians, believe in the ubiquity of God. We have absolutely no resistance to any faith in the world. 

They do not have to agree with us. They do not have to support us. They do not have to do what we do. 

But they got to let us live. 

O Traveller, Keep Vigil

When it is more than obvious that there are thieves eyeing our belongings, we have no choice but to wake up and take vigil.

We need to be absolutely clear about their intent, and counter and demolish every narrative they present in the name of high philosophy.

How far would you go back into history and correct the wrongs?” As far we know and have evidence for.

We should not be like them, we should be who we are.” Why should we not be like them? Why should we not do what they do? Are they that bad?

We need to counter and dismantle all their fake narratives. 

We need to stay focussed and directed at their open agenda to exterminate or subjugate everyone who is not with them. 

We need to turn the spotlight to their genocides and atrocities when they are in control and to their reality of being a paper tiger when they are shown their place. 

We need to distinguish between butchery and bravery and call it out explicitly.

There cannot be any camaraderie, fraternity, brotherhood, or co-existence with one who has an explicit intent of annihilating you. The eligibility for receiving humane treatment is to be human.

Wanting to protect one’s life, existence, culture, and heritage is not “phobia.”