Muhammad Ziaul Haq has compiled a biography of Pakistan’s premier TV anchor, under the title of Hamid Mir ki Kahani in which, on page 250, Hamid Mir makes a very interesting revelation about the thinking of Osama bin Laden. The statement simply proves that he indeed interviewed Bin Laden a number of times. The ‘doctrine’ announced by Bin Laden explains why al Qaeda kills innocent Muslims.
Democracy converts the state into a state of consent as against undemocratic states called the states of terror. In Swat, the Taliban created their state of terror as a riposte to Pakistan which they saw as a state of consent.
Hamid Mir quotes Bin Laden answering his question: how could he justify the killing of innocent Americans in the 9/11 attack? “Bush is the leader of America, voted into power by Americans, who also pay taxes to maintain him in power; therefore, all Americans are responsible for the killing of Muslims and should be killed.” The truth is that al Qaeda employs the doctrine also in respect of those Muslims who live under democracy. As an extrapolation, Muslims will kill Muslims living in a state of consent.
Philip Bobbit in Terror and Consent: The Wars for the Twenty-First Century (Penguin 2008) writes: “On the eve of the historic Iraqi elections in 2005, Abu Musab al Zarqawi released a videotape threatening those who might attempt to vote: ‘We have declared a bitter war against democracy and all those who seek to enact it’. Islam, he said, requires the rule of God and not the rule of ‘the majority of the people’.”
Zarqawi explained furthermore, that democracy was based on other objectionable beliefs beyond simple “majority rule, freedom of religion, rule of the people, freedom of expression, separation of religion from state, forming political parties”. In his statement Zarqawi declared that democracy’s principles of majority rule and respect for individual rights “allow infidelity and wrong practices to spread”.
Most important, Zarqawi announced that, because democracies are states of consent, every member of the society is culpable for the state’s actions and, therefore, every citizen is a legitimate target for violence. It’s not simply that civilians are to be terrorised in order to bring pressure on their governments; rather, attacks on civilians are an end in themselves because the civilians are being punished for their very existence as the constitutive participants in democracies. (Pg 73).
Did Zarqawi concoct the doctrine on his own? Ayman al Zawahiri said after the London bombings of 2005: “Your democratically elected governments continuously [make war] and your support of them makes you directly responsible until we feel secure [in our practices], you will be our target.”
Al Qaeda began killing the Shias of Iraq under the local leadership of Abu Musab al Zarqawi who had fought as an al Qaeda warrior from 1990 onwards. He died in Baghdad in June 2006, with $25 million on his head. Zarqawi began his career of a jihadist in Afghanistan, in the 1980s. He was jailed in Jordan on his return for seven years but returned to Afghanistan again, was in Herat training the jihadists and was in Tora Bora with Osama bin Laden in 2001. He got injured in Kandahar during the American invasion and was evacuated through Iran by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar who had good contacts in Tehran.
Zarqawi moved to Iraq after that — well in time to see the Americans invade the country — and joined the Kurd-led jihadi militia Ansarul Islam there. Ansarul Islam was founded as a terrorist group by one, Mullah Krekar, who came to the Islamic University of Islamabad as a lecturer in the 1980s and later joined the jihad in Peshawar.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 26th, 2012.