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Tablighis live in a surreal world

Tablighis live in a surreal world

<p style="font-weight: 400;">There is something very odd about Tablighi Jamaat members. Every human being—indeed every creature—has the instinct of self-preservation. Even the meekest insect tries to escape death; and often the deadliest animals get friendly to those who help them. But TJ guys lack this instinct; or, what seems more probable, it has been deadened badly by indoctrination.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">The situation seems to be worse, for the overdose of dogma and puritanism has also destroyed their commonsense and reason. What on earth costs them to take precautions? To cooperate with doctors and paramedics? To follow the instructions of medical experts? After all, they are not being forced to apostate. Medical instructions would only save Tablighis’ lives, and those of others.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">That the coronavirus has killed thousands and sickened lakhs of people is no secret; COVID-19 has afflicted people of every class, creed, color, and race; it is the bane of many countries, including the richest ones. Can’t the Tablighis see all this? Should they congregate despite the obvious dangers and well-known facts? Aren’t these facts as clear as day?</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">They are, but when radical Islam darkens hearts, the faculties of perception and reflection falter; the faithful start seeing the world as a phantasmagoria. They almost began living in a surreal world in which the perversions and fantasies of the Islamist ideology acquire the verisimilitude of veracity. Some of their leaders call the coronavirus a fraud, and all of them start believing it, in complete disregard of facts and logic. Such is intensity and depravity of TJ, which is a byword for Islamic fundamentalism.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">Observer Research Foundation senior fellow Sushant Sareen recently wrote that “the Tablighi Jamaat has gained a rather unsavory reputation worldwide on account of the links of its followers with notorious terror organizations. From Harkatul Ansar and Harkatul Mujahideen to Jaish-e-Mohammad, the entire menagerie of Taliban groups, to sectarian terror outfits like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, all have been associated with the Tablighi Jamaat. Designated international terrorists like Masood Azhar have even been reported to have travelled extensively to East Africa—Sudan, Somalia, Kenya—to proselytize and build their network. To color the argument more, for example, former ISI chief Javed Nasir, who was the mastermind of the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, is a staunch Tablighi Jamaat follower.”</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">Sareen went on to mention that TJ activists “have been linked to terrorist incidents like the San Bernardino massacre and the Barcelona bombings. Although the Jamaat has always distanced itself from jihadist actions of its followers and at least publicly has never really endorsed jihadism, there are deep suspicions that its functionaries often facilitate or even turn a blind eye to the activities of jihadists.”</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">TJ should be viewed in this context; only then will we understand TJ members’ complete disregard for their own life and safety. An organization whose members have links with suicide squads can’t be expected to be too worried about a disease whose fatality rate is said to be below 3 per cent. This is nothing in comparison to the fidayeen attacks in which the rate is 100 per cent.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">So, the coronavirus doesn’t terrifies them. The Uttarakhand Police chief has warned TJ members hiding in the state that they, if they don’t surrender, they would be charged with murder. His Gujarat counterpart has warned of stern action against the recalcitrant Tablighis. The UP government has also issued similar warnings. The authorities elsewhere are also getting tough with them, but they remain defiant.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">Meanwhile the liberal establishment has been accusing the authorities in our country of—no prizes for guessing it right—‘Islamophobia.’ BBC did say that. A Pavlovian reaction.</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">But how on earth our intellectuals explain the reaction of Pakistan which has quarantined over 20,000 Tablighis. Is Science &amp; Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry was angry that the Tablighis ignored social distancing and organized their even. He was furious at the “stubbornness of the clergy.”</p>
<p style="font-weight: 400;">Perhaps, the authorities in Pakistan, the nation that came into being in the name of Islam, are also Islamophobic</p>.