by Zia Sarhadi (Special Reports, Crescent International Vol. 26, No. 17, Jumada' al-Akhirah, 1418)
By including Harkatul Ansar, a Muslim group battling the Indian occupation army in Kashmir, on the list of ‘terrorist’ organisations, the US has served noticed that it has joined the Hindus’ crusade against Kashmiri Muslims. The State department list, issued on October 9, includes a host of groups and organisations that the US has accused of involvement in terrorism.
There were no surprises to find some groups since the US’s definition of terrorism is any activity which is deemed prejudicial to its interests. Thus the inclusion of Hizbullah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad on the US list, even if perverse, is understandable. After all, these Islamic strugglers are battling the Zionists in Lebanon and Occupied Palestine respectively.
Both Hizbullah and Hamas spokesmen have made clear that far from being intimidated by such a list, they welcome the honour of being included among the enemies of the great satan and its surrogate, the zionist State of Israel. After all, fighting alien occupiers is not only recognised under every law but from the Islamic point of view, it is also the duty of all Muslims.
The inclusion of Harkatul Ansar on the US list, however, needs to be seen in its proper context. The US reasoning, based on information provided by Delhi, is that the group is involved with Al-Faran who were responsible for taking six westerners hostage in Kashmir two years ago. One escaped, one was found dead, decapitated shortly after being captured, while the remaining four have not been seen for about a year now.
According to reliable sources in Kashmir, they are all dead although it has not been officially announced. Even the Indian occupiers know this but for their own perverse reasons, are not saying on, to cash in on the issue.
Harkatul Ansar has publicly denied links with Al-Faran. What is more relevant, however, is why taking four westerners hostage constitutes an international crime but for India to hold the entire population of Kashmir hostage does not. Murder, rape and extrajudicial executions are also rampant leading to the death of more than 60,000 people since 1990. Apart from racism, the US move also implies that it alone determines what is acceptable behaviour around the world.
If placing various organisations on the US list is designed to tarnish their image, it seems to have had exactly the opposite effect as far as Harkatul Ansar is concerned. In the Muslim world, to be considered an enemy of America is a great honour. This is a rare distinction for any organisation to achieve.
Since the US announcement, a large number of Kashmiris have actually expressed interest in joining the Harkatul Ansar. It has to be seen to be believed how hated America is among Muslims.
This, however, raises another important question. The Harkatul Ansar has close links with the Saudi intelligence agency. Why would an organisation that is funded by Saudi intelligence be considered dangerous to US interests? One explanation is that it was intended as a sop to India to get something in return. This hardly offers an adequate justification.
The more plausible explanation is that even the US knows that in order to promote certain organisations, it can do so only by placing them on its mythical list. This has certainly happened with Harkatul Ansar.
Further credence is given to this when we consider that the Iranian terrorist group, the Mujahideen-e Khalq Organisation (MKO) is also on the list. The MKO maintains offices in Washington DC barely 400 yards from the white house. How these terrorists have managed to get into the US and maintain offices there openly is something only the Americans can explain.
The MKO terrorists are also backed by about 100 US congressmen. While the State department brands them a terrorist organisation, the congressmen are quite happy to support them. Can one now expect US planes to bomb capitol hill in the manner of US strikes against other targets for supporting a terrorist organisation? The MKO are neither about to close their offices in DC nor are they likely to be hauled in chains, like genuine Islamic activists, to jail.
So what explains the MKO’s presence on the US list? The same reasons apply as in the case of Harkatul Ansar. Both need to be pumped up. The MKO are US-financed and protected. In fact, they enjoy support among western parliamentarians. This shows the nature of western democracy which is quite happy cohorting with a group of murderous thugs as long as they are perceived as supporting western designs.
Muslimedia: November 1-15, 1997