From Palestine to Syria, from Iraq to Nigeria and from Afghanistan to Kashmir, the whole Muslim world is ablaze. Conflicts, external interventions, foreign occupations and all such factors are adding fuel to this already burning fire. This grave state of affairs warrants a serious introspection and amelioration of policies so as to transform the Muslim lands into peaceful territories. And, in order to achieve this goal, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) should come forward and deal with the longstanding dispute of Kashmir and to address the Middle East’s current security challenges.
The expansion of conflict in Middle East is having far-reaching effects on almost all parts of the world. From America to Europe, from Africa to the South Asia, countries like Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, are all bearing the brunt of the unrelenting acts of terrorism.
The rise of the ISIS and its radical ideology, which owes its origin to short-sighted, ill-intended Western policies in the Middle East especially from the time of Iraq invasion, is finding greater resonance among countries that harbour the anti-West, or more particularly, anti-US sentiment and a majority of them happen to be Muslim countries. The sympathizers of radical Islamic ideology have their own justifications and primarily a reason to avenge killing of innocent lives in the name of regime change and collateral damage.
There are many regions in South Asia that are witnessing a growing radicalization. Take the case of the recent Dhaka attacks which are early signs that the Middle East conflict has reached closer as the attackers have been linked to ISIS. Recently, in Pakistan, Sindh IGP Ghulam Haider Jamali revealed that 25-member gang that was involved in the Safoora Goth attack in Karachi was led by a suspect named Abdul Aziz who is highly educated and resident of Hyderabad, Pakistan, and was motivated to add more educated people to its group. He further said that Abdul Aziz had been working for ISIS for the last one year. Moreover, a credible Pakistani newspaper, The News, also published a report entitled: “Daesh Network Exists in Sindh,” whereby it was reported that the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) has prepared a list of 53 terrorists who are affiliated with the terrorist organisation commonly known as the Islamic State. Abdullah Yousuf alias Abdul Aziz and also Saqib is the Ameer of Daesh, while another suspected terrorist has been identified as Shahid Khokhar, who also hails from Hyderabad.
With so much happening around, Kashmir, already a conflict-marred region, is also not totally immune to the influence of this Middle East conflict. The conflict in Kashmir has resulted in immense disillusionment among the Kashmiri youth and many of them are gradually finding solace in radical ideology — the first reason behind the growing ISIS support in the valley. Add to this the increasing communal divide across the region with lynchings and killings of innocent Muslims, all this could create a perfect ground for radicalization of Kashmiri youth who have always stood up for issues concerning the Muslim world be that of Palestine, Muslims outside Kashmir or the recent Rohingya crisis.
Before the Middle East radicalism finds roots in the valley it is important to address the disillusionment so that the youth do not turn to violent alternatives. And, for this, all of us will have to play our positive role in repelling the extremist ideology and saying NO to radicalization.