Opinion: "The Mumbai Bombings and the Students Islamic Movement of India" by Yoginder Sikand

July 14, 2006

Source: The American Muslim


On July 14, 2006 The American Muslim ran an opinion piece by Yoginder Sikand, editor and primary writer of Qalandar, a monthly electronic publication about relations between Muslims and people of other faiths. He writes, "The identity of those behind the bomb blasts that shook Mumbai recently remains unclear. Some claim Hindutva terrorists were responsible, while others suspect the Pakistan-based terrorist outfit Lashkar-i Tayyeba or the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) or a combination of both. In the meanwhile, scores of suspected SIMI activists have been detained by the police. Whether or not the SIMI was behind the blasts will be known only after a fair and impartial investigation. Yet, the fact remains that groups like the SIMI, although representing a tiny fringe of the varied landscape of Islam in India, do pose a grave threat not only to the country as a whole but, equally, to the Indian Muslims as well. In a sense a response to growing Hindu fascism and deadly anti-Muslim pogroms, SIMI-style radical Islamism helps feed Hindutva forces, leading to further communal polarization, with all the consequences that this has for the country’s welfare and that of the Muslims themslves, already a beleaguered and marginalized minority. In the wake of the Mumbai blasts and the allegations of SIMI involvement, many Indian Muslims are now wakening up to the need to denounce not just Hindutva chauvinism but similar Muslim groups, such as the SIMI, as well that speak the language of conflict, hatred, violence and revenge."