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Religion of Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Source: Igwe, Leo

A Critical Look at Jihadist Idea of Peace

Leo Igwe

In the face of the jihad against free speech, there is a tendency to think that the notion of 'peace' is only known to us but alien to the conscience and constitution islamic militants, Mujahadeen and other ubiquitous foot soldiers of Allah. No not at all. It is indeed a mischaracterisation to view those who are waging a war in the name of a religion which purportedly means peace as those who have no understanding of this value

Islamic militants have their own notion of peace and are fighting to achieve it. They are fighting to the last man to realize their own idea of a peaceful world and fighting in this case – to die waging this battle is a passport to real peace. What we have out there are competing notions of peace, not just religious conflicts, but religious conflicts for peace or better a conflict of peace notions. Muslim jihadists have a conception of peace that is different from that which many of us hold and cherish. Their notion of peace is in conflict with our own and that of others who subscribe to the same religion – Islam, with that of people who profess other religions or no religion at all.

What is their idea of peace?
The jihadist peace is transcendental, not fully achievable in this world. The real peace like their conception of happiness is realizable in an afterlife, when we are dead. What we can attain in this life is, they say, just a shadow of the real peace locked up and kept in paradise for a few, mainly those who engage in suicide bombing, those lynch or behead blasphemers, those who execute writers and artists, those who avenge the 'insult Islam' or the prophet, those who kill persons who desecrate or burn the Koran, those who murder or imprison apostates. I mean those who are going to populate this place of peace reads like the roll call of the most dangerous criminals in the world.

The real tragedy is that this shadowy notion of peace is more valuable than human life, universal human rights, the dignity of women, children and homosexuals. Hence islamic militants kill and are ready to kill, maim, destroy, kidnap to achieve this peace.
At a public hearing on a state sponsored anti same sex marriage bill in Abuja in 2007, an islamic scholar told the gathering that there was no debate on homosexuality under sharia law, that the penalty for homosexuality was death and he suggested that few homosexuals in the country be rounded up and killed. He added that sometimes the minority could be destroyed in order to protect the majority.

You know what? Nobody in at the meeting expressed outrage at this heinous statement by a wretched scholar who draws his morality from only a book.

Muslim jihadists want to give peace a chance only within the framework of sharias. I said sharias, not sharia, because each militant group has its own version of sharia, a legal code screwed up by some premodern Arabians thrusted on humans as eternal guide revealed by Allah. Jihadist organisations want to impose different and competing versions of islamic law; their notion of peace within an islamic state and by extension in an islamic world, their multiple and mutually exclusive and sometimes contradicting forms of social order.

Another key challenge is that the jihadist notion of peace is opposed to secular values and ideas. To islamists, secularism is a taboo word, a haram. This is mainly because of its liberating and emancipatory tendencies. Jihadists are against secularization because a secular world is incompatible with the utopia of an islamic state and islamic despotism

The peaceful world they are fighting for is based on inerrant and eternally true interpretations of Islam, of the Koran and the Hadith. Hence they are at war with the values of freethought, freedom of expression, critical thinking, free inquiry, freedom of religion or belief, particularly when those rights in ways that make human beings question the revealed knowledge, the existence of Allah, the illusion of paradise, the inerrancy of the Quran, the prophethood or messengership of Muhammad and other mythical narratives embedded in the islamic faith
Take for instance the case of Boko Haram in Nigeria. This group whose name roughly translates western education is forbidden has been fighting to enthrone sharia law and turn Nigeria into an islamic state. They are opposed to any form of peace that is outside the framework of their own version of islamic law or political islam. Boko Haram is fighting to enforce sharia in a region in Nigeria where sharia is already being implemented by muslim majority states. So the question is why fight to impose sharia law when the law is already being in force. The same is applicable to Al Shabaab militants in Somalia and East Africa. They have attacked and killed innocent citizens including university students. The jihadist idea of peace is definitely peace in the graveyard of freedom, education and human rights.