This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Shruti Sonal. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Islamic Fundamentalism Exists, But That Doesn’t Mean All Terrorists Are Muslim

More from Shruti Sonal

By Shruti Sonal

It has been repeated time and again by analysts and media persons alike that while not all Muslims are terrorists, all terrorists are Muslims. The statement has been carefully used by those who claim they’re not equating terror with religion. However, the term ‘Islamic’ has almost become a prefix of the word terror. Challenging this notion, an article was published by Daily Beast in January 2015, which pointed out well-researched evidence that a majority of terror-related cases are carried out by non-Muslims. In fact, less than 2% of the terrorist attacks over the past 5 years were committed by Muslims. A report released by Europol last year highlighted that vast majority of terror attacks in Europe were perpetrated by separatist groups such as France’s FLNC and Greece’s left-wing Militant Popular Revolutionary Forces. Other non-Muslim terrorists’ organizations present in other parts of the world include, among others, Lord’s Resistance Army (Uganda, Sudan), Aum Shirnikyo (Japan) and New People’s Army (Philippines).

Image source: WordPress
Image source: WordPress

Even as America led the global war on terror, an FBI report stated that between 1980 and 2005, 94% of terror attacks in the U.S. were committed by non-Muslims. While Latino groups accounted for 42% of the attacks, left wing extremist groups made up 24% of the total. Wired reported that “Since 9/11, 33 Americans have died as a result of terrorism launched by their Muslim neighbours. During that period, 180,000 Americans were murdered for reasons unrelated to terrorism.”

The above data and evidence highlights the way mainstream media chooses to define terrorism and also focus on certain events, while ignoring some others. In the absence of a universally accepted definition of terrorism, such projection of the term inevitably leads to Islamophobia, influencing people’s perception that all bearded Muslims are potential terrorists. It also favours the geopolitics led by USA, as the “clash of civilisations” showed post 9/11. Not only did it help justify grave violations of human rights at home but also legitimised the intervention in the Middle East and Afghanistan in the name of “War Against Terror”. Additionally, it also prevents adequate attention being given to acts of atrocities committed against Muslims in places like Myanmar, where Rohingya Muslims are under threat from Buddhist extremists (which is generally considered a peaceful religion).

While it cannot be denied that Islamic fundamentalism is a phenomenon that needs to be dealt with, one must be careful while defining acts of terror. While white non-Muslim shooters in America often get away with being labelled as a “deranged or mentally disturbed lone shooter,” each act of violence committed by a Muslim is judged by the yardstick of being a part of a wider network of Islamic terror. Similarly in India too, the acts of violence by Hindu extremist groups are seen as isolated incidents, not coming under the purview of religiously motivated terrorism. This, unfortunately, allows different public sentiments to be created around, say the incident of Chapel Hill shooting and Charlie Hebdo shooting, or the hanging of Yakub Memon on one hand and cases revolving around Maya Kodnani and Babu Bajrangi on the other. Terrorism, understood as a deliberate use of force to attain political ends, must be understood in a context broader than Islamic fundamentalism to allow a truer understanding. It will allow a non-biased analysis of incidents of violence relating to race such as the recent shooting in Charleston, and thus, expand the notion of politically-motivated terror beyond the realm of religion.

You must be to comment.
  1. B

    Thanks for the article. Extremism exists among every religion and community, but the western media selectively highlights Islamic extremism to malign the image of Muslims and Islam. This is the same media which selectively publishes news and pays a fortune to manipulate it. Otherwise why is there nothing on the over 400,000 Muslims displaced in Central African Republic, genocide of Burmese Muslims is not covered by the media, the United States killing 2 million Iraqis was not news, Obama droning innocent children in Pakistan was not highlighted by the media, United States slaughtered Muslims in Afghanistan, Iran, Sudan, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Lebanon Pakistan, Somalia, Panama, Palestine and it was not news. Where is international media when the U.S. kills Muslims, sheds their blood, rapes their women, takes their land, mocks their religion, destroys their livelihood, and slaughters their children? The U.S. murders innocent children in Islamic countries and no one raises an eyebrow. There are no televised discussions. No one mourns. It does not make headlines. It is not news.

  2. B

    Why do Muslims have to defend their faith for the actions of its people. I didn’t see Christians having to defend their faith and its teachings when its government killed 2 million Iraqis, 500,000 of which were children. No one talked about Christianity when innocent civilians were horrendously tortured and raped in prisons like Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, when the U.S. supplied Israel with 3.5 billion dollars in aid to kill innocent Palestinians, no one blamed Christianity for the U.S. led bloodshed in Iran, the bombing in Somalia, the slaughters in Libya, the butchering in Syria, the brutal killings in Lebanon, and the list is endless. I, for one, certainly do not blame Christianity knowing that the U.S. government has been murdering Muslims since decades for money, oil, and power. Blaming a religion for the actions of its people is like blaming a car for an accident.

  3. B

    Article by John Pilger:

    For centuries now, Christian nations have been busy beating up one Muslim nation or another. In the Middle Ages they came as crusaders. Then they colonized many Muslim countries and tried to destroy their cultures and religion. During their struggle for independence some Muslims had to suffer terrible violence. The French killed about a million Muslims in Algeria because they wanted independence. In Lebanon, when Christians were in the majority there was war, but when Muslims became the majority there was peace except in the South of the country where Christians helped a foreign enemy against their own countrymen.

    What will the Christian be if the tables were turned and their lands were first colonized by Muslims and then bombed or maligned or ethnically cleansed? If the past is any guide, the answer is clear: There will be a vicious reaction and given the chance an attempt at almost total destruction of the Muslims. For in Spain Muslims lived for about 850 years as rulers. They lived with Jews and Christians for the most part in a spirit of tolerance and cooperation in promoting science and culture to the point that their work prepared for the modern scientific revolution with all its benefits for mankind. But the moment Muslims became weaker, the hate in the Christian heart came out with a vengeance. Muslims were either killed, converted, or forced to leave Spain and their heritage was as fully destroyed as was humanly possible. Before Palestine and Kosovo, there was Spain.

    Above, I have mentioned only what the Christian nations have been doing or are doing to the Muslims. But when we look at what they have done to each other or to other people any validity in their claim of being people of love and peace vanishes. The horrible treatment of the heretics and witches in the Middle Ages probably inspired the tyrants of later centuries. The native peoples of the Americas, Australia, and New Zealand bear a tragic witness to what Christian nations can do to other nations and with the blessings and assistance of Christian churches. In this century alone the Western nations have fought two world wars with tens of millions dead and untold misery for the living. For each victory in these two wars the church bells rang in the victorious countries.

  4. B

    See this article

    Horrendous Torture Techniques Sanctioned By American Government In Afghanistan Prisons

  5. B

    Obama droned Pakistan to kill thousands of innocent civilians and terrorize hundreds of thousands in North Warizistan to maim and murder, and send them in a frenzy of anxiety. Imagine living when drones are flying over your head twenty-four hours, not knowing when one would end your life. It remains a fact that 98% of victims in drone attacks were innocent civilians, as the sole intent behind the deadly act was to terrorize, maim, and murder.

    98% innocent civilans murdered by Obama’s drones

  6. B

    In prisons like Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, which is still functional today, innocent victims are tortured, abused, sodomized, forced to listen to blaring music on headphones while they are handcuffed for hours on end, given food to eat you would not feed animals, bitten by dogs, urinated upon, deprived of sleep for hours, kept in complete isolation, whipped, beaten with rods and cables, and some techniques too horrible to even describe. All the torture techniques are sanctioned by the U.S. government.

More from Shruti Sonal

Similar Posts

By Swonshutaa Dash

By Ritwik Trivedi

By Anshul Abraham

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below