The idea that there has been a
"shift" in the "locus of terrorism" towards South Asia is currently being
vigorously propounded. This paper would analyze trends in terrorism and
sectarian violence in this region in the context of the hypothesis that it is
more accurate to speak of the spread or expansion of the sphere of terrorism,
rather than any "shift". Indeed, as terrorists secure even limited successes in
one region, their methods are adopted in others, threatening an ever-widening
spectrum of nations and cultures.
Extremist Islam is at the heart
of this malignant expansion and, while terrorist activities and safe havens may
manifest apparent and transient shifts as a result of tactical and strategic
exigencies, the locus of the ideologies that inspire this brand of Islam has
remained firmly fixed.
South Asia comprises the largest
concentration of Muslims in the world, and has a long history, both of communal
confrontation and violence, on the one hand, and of co-existence within an
eclectic culture that has accepted differences, on the other. This duality is
ingrained in the unique and diverse set of practices and beliefs that comprise
Indian Islam. But Indian Islam is, today, under a deep and penetrating attack, a
"hardening" of beliefs that may lend itself to the extremist jihad in an
uncertain future. This is compounded by a process of "encirclement" and massive
demographic shifts that deepen the danger, particularly along India's Eastern
This paper would assess the
threat of Islamic terrorism within the context of these broad parameters.
Specifically, it would focus on the following:
The geopolitical context
of the Islamic Extremist threat to South Asia.
Islam in South Asia -
demographics, politicization, schools and overview of sectarian conflicts.
Extremist Islamic Terror in
South Asia, including the role of Afghanistan/Pakistan; the conflict in
Kashmir; and the growth of militant Islam in other parts of the subcontinent,
including India's Northeast.
The strategies of subversion,
including patterns of demographic shift, the systematic establishment of
mosques and madarsas, and the "hardening" of Islam throughout the
International support and
linkages of Islamic Extremism in South Asia.
For the complete text of this article, click