I remember the summer of 2005 very well. It was a very grim period. I lost my father suddenly and it was the year that terror came to our streets.
The terror attacks in London shook us all. The word terrorism was suddenly close to home. London was attacked and people died. Our vocabulary changed the words, special powers, squads and suspicion became part of every day use
So has anything changed since that fateful week? Have we any reason to feel safer, or is the threat is as real now, as it was then?
Ever the optimist, I would like to think that those who were perhaps thinking in terms of becoming terrorists have been forced to think twice. The reality is dawning on them, that by killing innocent, they were not going to change anything. That it is as nasty as they claim certain foreign policies are.
Another significant development which happened last month, and which didn’t get the publicity it deserved, was a meeting of some very prominent Mullahs in India. They denounced terrorism. They weren’t any old Mullahs. They were speaking for the Darul Ulom, Deoband.
An ultra- conservative, Islamic seminary that “conjures awe and reverence in many Muslimminds”.
The Talibans are educated in Deobandi seminaries, the foreign jihadis fighting in Iraq are claimed to be inspired by its teachings.
It is said that all the aspiring terrorists, go to Pakistan to study terrorism, they go to Deobandi establishments.
So when this establishment issues a fatwa, condemning terrorism as “an inhumane crime”, it is rather significant. They also an anti terrorism conference in India, which was attended by some 70,000 spiritual leaders from all sects of Islam, and they all undertook to be bound by this fatwa.
Considering that it is these leaders who have had such hold on certain communities, and have preached violence and hate. Can we hope that they will be able to reverse such thinking? Let us hope so.
I read last week or so, that the special branch has arrested a group, somewhere in the north of England. And the information was provided by the local Muslim community.
Talking to some young men in India, I was heartened, when they condemned the “stupid and pointless act”; when the talked of the failed attack on Glasgow airport.
These are the same young men, who enraged me some two yeas ago, when they thought that the West deserved what it got in the form of terrorism.
I would like to think that the message has, and is coming out loud and clear that the way forward is not by killing innocent people. That it is despicable, and the minority who have been indulging in such activities are evil and mindless.
I know it is not a lot, but let us hope that it is a start. That Muslims everywhere are sitting up and realising that to say or do nothing, is not an option.
So as the third anniversary of that dreadful summer nears, let us remember those who lost their lives, and hope that something like that will never again happen on our streets.