The global threat of extremism and violence has always raised questions about its relationship with religion. Doctrine like jihad in Muslim history are the strong indicators of extremism.
Scholars of every kind have debated the actual meaning of jihad and its implementation.
Unfortunately, fundamentalists have hijacked the religion and jihad for the acts of violence and dominance. Islam does not condone and facilitate illegitimate extremism, terrorism and violence.
A message is found in Quranic verses, “Fight for the cause of God with those who fight you, but do not be aggressive: God does not like aggressors” (2:190).
Globalization and dominance of jihad has been the central charm to Muslim spirituality.On the contrary, jihad has been misused for resistance and liberation acts.
Within no time the route of jihadist movements moved from national to global level. Authoritarianism proved to be a stimulus for radicalization and violence.
9/11 gave a global recognition to Osama bin Laden and his global threat with the agenda of jihad in the name of Islam.
Osama bin Laden was born in Riyadh, and grew up in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. In his teenage he joined an ultra-conservative sect Wahhabi Islam. Wahhabism preaches the idea of jihad specifically.
Osama highly believed in Sharia law, which ranges from trivial things to extreme violence.
Osama bin Laden was a millionaire. He became a militant Islamic leader to eject Russians from Afghanistan.
Actually he was one of the many religious fundamentalists, who were financed by CIA to fight with Russians.
According to a London Times correspondent Simon Jenkins, “CIA preferred the most fanatic and cruel fighters they could mobilize. The end result was to destroy a moderate regime and create a fanatical one, from groups recklessly financed by the Americans”. (Chomsky, 2011)
Osama bin Laden turned against the US in 1990 after establishing the permanent base in Saudi Arabia because of its being a counterpart to Russia and as the guardian of divinest shrines.
According to the leading analyst the in New York Times, (Sept. 16), religious culprits always have had “hatred for the values cherished in the West as freedom, tolerance, prosperity, religious pluralism and universal suffrage.”
As a matter of fact, this is all a fight for power. In the name of jihad, Osama bin laden looked for “a great assault on Muslim states,” which caused the fundamentalists to justify for jihad (as a cause). (ibid, 2011).
The Afghanistan war infused Bin laden with power which made him a firm religious fanatic. War changes a man. The Afghan war certainly changed bin Laden.
The humble, young, monosyllabic millionaire with the open checkbook who first visited Pakistan in the 1980s would, by the middle of the decade launched an ambitious plan to confront the Soviets directly inside Afghanistan with a group of Arabs under his command.
That cadre of Arabs would provide the nucleus of al Qaeda, which was founded in 1988 to wage jihad around the Muslim world.
Bin Laden’s military ambitions and personality evolved in tandem. He became more assertive, to the point that he ignored the advice of many of his old friends about the folly of setting up his own military force. (Bergen 2006, 49)
The main aim of Osama bin laden was to stimulate his organization into a global force to create a caliphate and unite Muslims under one umbrella.
Inspired by Egyptian fundamentalist scholar SayyidQutib, who once wrote in his book “The Muslim community has long ago vanished from existence. It’s been extinct for a few centuries. How can this be? Well, without the ‘laws of God,’ i.e. Shari’ah law, Islam does not exist, so today’s Muslims, or people who call themselves Muslim, live not in an Islamic world, but in Jahiliyyah, pre-Islamic ignorance.” (Milestones 1964, 9)
Osama wanted to eliminate germs of secularism from Muslim countries. Osama bin Laden fought for power violently, that’s what jihad meant to him. That’s what jihad mean to most of the militants.
It doesn’t matter for jihadis who is hurt, as long they have the justification to present themselves as victims with justifiable platform. The truth is, nothing works better than religion.
If this religious fundamentalism had not worked for Laden then he would have done something else. But it might not have attracted worldwide response and reaction.
This religious extremism involves the killing of unbelievers in the name of Sharia. Converting people with fascism and fundamentalism makes the people, under influence,Sharia lovers with fear.
These fundamentalists want to ruin the global superpowers by engaging them in guerilla wars.
Osama bin Laden once said, “We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah willing, and nothing is too great for Allah… Using guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers, we, alongside the mujahedeen, bled Russia for 10 years until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat” (The Guar Gian, 2004).
Unfortunately, extremism is not just associated with Islam. It is also associated with secular groups. The agenda is to fight against strong enemy as well as dominancy through military and in technology and economic terms. ‘
However, fanatics use religious charms to attract volunteers. So religious extremism and emotional appeals are the key catalysts, working against the wisdom.