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Muslims are the victims of global jihad: K P S Gill

April 20, 2008 18:31 IST

The Institute for Conflict Management, the world's premier open source for research and data on terrorism in South Asia, on Sunday received the M L  Sondhi Prize for International Politics, 2007.

The award, which includes a cash prize of Rs 1,00,000 and a plaque, has been instituted by the M L Sondhi Memorial Trust and the M L  Sondhi Institute for Asia-Pacific Affairs.

Speaking at the award ceremony at the Habitat Centre in New Delhi, President of the Institute for Conflict Management and former Punjab top cop K P S Gill said that current assessments of international Islamist terrorism were afflicted by "gross imbalances of judgments and response".

He added that Islamist terrorism was, in fact, 'imploding'.

"The reality, across the world today is that while non-Muslims are the proclaimed targets of the Islamist extremists and the so-called global jihad, it is Muslims who are its principal victims," he said.

He further noted, "Many Muslim fundamentalist states –including Saudi Arabia and Pakistan – are being thrown into direct conflict with the Islamist extremists, and the imperatives of self-preservation are soon going to force their leaderships to make drastic choices between one of just two options: to throw in their lot with the jihadis and take their countries back into the 16th century, or to dismantle their own extremist Islamist agendas and embrace modernisation, democracy and the ideologies of freedom and religious coexistence."
Gill argued that it is crucial that rational judgments and a considered approach prevail over the hysteria and sentimentalism that ordinarily characterizes responses to terrorism, if terrorism as a tactic of war is to be effectively resisted.

He emphasised the need for objective assessments, particularly in relation to three aspects. Gill pointed out that the psychological and emotional impact of international terrorism far exceeds the actual material and human damage it inflicts.

The reality and impact of terrorism has, in fact, been vastly exaggerated in recent years, he said. Gill also felt that international terrorism has done – and continues to do – infinitely greater damage to its sponsoring and supportive states and societies than to its targets.

Finally, terrorists are able to secure some of their objectives principally because the target states and societies fail to appreciate these realities, and succumb to the distress, horror and revulsion that the murder of innocents provokes, responding in panic, and ignoring the basic imperatives of a systematic, systemic and strategic reaction to the challenge, said Gill.

By a Rediff Correspondent