I clicked open bdnews24.com and saw the screaming headline that Avijit Roy had been hacked to death 50m from the Teacher Student Center (TSC) of Dhaka University. This place has great memories for me: teenage love, laughter, heartbreak, sharing one beer among the six of us, and also sharing one can of Tuna fish among the six of us. Those days always formed a pleasant backdrop every time I thought of TSC, went near the place, or saw a picture. But now and forever, this place will be a dark spot in my heart. I knew Avijit by reputation, some correspondence, and his blogs. He had a special desire to see free-thinking minds interact and share their thoughts.
He has been killed by the dark force that is now blanketing the globe with hatred, venom, murder, and cruelty beyond imagination. It could have been me rather than him. It just so happened that he was more public and the prophets of hate have called for his head in forums like facebook. So who are these murderers that are getting away with murder in the land of my father?
There has been constant chatter in the Islamic world and politically correct Western media that the followers of ISIS and the murderers of the likes of Avijit are not Muslims, but criminals! This is one way for the pious to absolve themselves from responsibility. These murderers are first Muslims and then everything else. What is interesting is that my friends and family members are saying that Muslims will not behave this way and not commit these heinous acts. But, that is exactly what Muslims will do if they follow the Wise Ancestors (Salafs). The Wise Ancestors come from a dark time in the middle of a tribal society and theirs was a world of uncompromising tribal violence and subjugation of humanity. Those ancestors are the shining example why Islam as a religion that needs Reformation like what Christianity went through in the Middle Ages.
Those of you who are still living in denial, let me give you an exact quote from an Islamic Study Group that is working for Islamic State. The group was debating how to handle the various spoils of war according to Sharia in Sinjar, Iraq. This is what they said, "Yazidi women and children [are to be] divided according to the Shariah amongst the fighters of the Islamic State who participated in the Sinjar operations [in northern Iraq] … Enslaving the families of the kuffar [infidels] and taking their women as concubines is a firmly established aspect of the Shariah that if one were to deny or mock, he would be denying or mocking the verses of the Koran and the narrations of the Prophet … and thereby apostatising from Islam." This Paragraph should send shivers down the spine of all thinking people. This paragraph may sound bizarre to modern ears but this is exactly what Sharia would dictate in similar circumstance some 1,500 years ago.
The Sharia is a set of laws that were part tribal, part empire building, and part governance. It was necessary at the time. Slavery was accepted practice and every one of the Wise Ancestors (salafs) owned slaves and/or traded slaves. Such are the ways of the Muslims who want to follow the Wise and Pure ancestors literally. Taking on concubines by force from the conquered people is not only accepted but encouraged. These are the spoils of war and must be divided among the soldiers. The booty from war is something that they want and they are going to harken back to a tribal time to justify the naked hunger!
The killing of Avijit Roy is no different than the killing of the intellectuals by the Pakistani collaborators (Al Badr) in 1971, the destruction of gravesite of the Prophet's companions by the Wahhabis, or the destruction of 2,500 year old Assyrian antiquities by ISIS in Iraq. What these guys are doing is following an ancient rule of subjugation fully sanctioned by the practices of the Wise Ancestors including the Prophet and his companions. The ancestors lived in a time when such practices were commonplace and acceptable. The modern day Muslims (I am loathe to call them radical) by refusing to accept the changes in society and humanity want to call the ancient practices wise and moral. These practices are anything but moral and acceptable in today's context. The actions, mayhem, and murder simply ignore 1,500 years of human development and progress.
The battle line is clearly drawn. It is among the Muslims, and not outside the religion, and definitely not between Muslims and non-Muslims. Of the nearly 200,000 people killed by violence in the last 5 years, some 186,000 have been Muslims. On one side, the literal followers of the traditions that were valid 1,500 years ago during the empire building phase of Islam. On the other side the vast majority of Muslims who want to live in peace and pray to God and believe in a faith that gives them peace, spiritual connection, and a sense of belonging. The literalists want to convert the 99% of the rest of the Muslims into literalists and have them shun the life as it is in 2015 and embrace the past. This is no passive demand. The demand is accompanied by a virulent and sociopathic compulsion. They are saying either you become like us or you cease to exist. They are literal about their being literal. There is no nuance, no hedging, and no compromise. It is either you give up the life as you know it to be in 2015 and go back 1,500 years, or you perish.
The rest of humanity, indeed the rest of the Muslims, want to have a spiritual connection, a God that is merciful in words and deed and a sense of belonging to a thriving community. None of these things are possible if amongst the community (Ummah), there is a group of sociopaths who are going to enslave, kill, and murder if one does not totally abandon all those things that make life livable and precious.
Therefore we need to join the battle. None of the politically correct yellow-belly compromise-seeking nonsense that a lot of the people in the West and in the Muslim countries seem to want. This is a battle and there cannot be compromises with these murderers. These guys are not criminals, they are first and foremost Muslims. So the way to confront these murderers is to expose them as clinging to an irrelevant form of Islam and then destroying them and their adherents without mercy. When I say destroy, I mean it literally. There should be no talk, no dialogue, and no peace conferences. We need to hasten their journey to the Paradise that they seek quickly and without much political correctness. The antidote to this virulent ideology is an Islamic Reformation movement like the Christian reformation movement of the 16th century but with an edge, a sharp edge. This will first and foremost require a battlefield victory and then a new narrative where Islam is relevant in people's day to day life.
A movement similar to Tablighi-i-Jamaat is necessary but the goal must be to counter the Jihadi and Wahhabi narrative and let Muslims figure out that times move on and adaptability is key to a thriving religious and spiritual life.
I started this missive thinking about Avijit and I want to end it thinking about him. He was an avowed Atheist and a brave intellectual. He thought he could reason with the soldiers of hatred and intolerance. He was wrong and he died to prove that. It is time to stop the tolerance nonsense as far as Jihadis go. We need to hunt them down, annihilate them, and anyone who supports them. Let God sort 'em out when they are dead and unburied.
Kayes Ahmed is a businessman running multi-national operations from Colorado, USA.