The Shade of Swords: Jihad and the Conflict between Islam and Christianity

By M. J. Akbar | Go to book overview

12

HISTORY AS ANGER, JIHAD AS NON-VIOLENCE

They [Muslims] were not satisfied merely with looting, they destroyed temples, they demolished idols, they raped women. The insult to other religions and the injury to humanity were unimaginable. Even when they became kings they could not liberate themselves from these loathsome desires. Even Akbar, who was famed for his tolerance, was no better than notorious emperors like Aurangzeb.

[Saratchandra Chattopadhyay, an eminent Bengali novelist, in a speech in 1926]

A history of anger and a literature of revenge divided India and created Pakistan.

On the evening of 12 January 2002 Pakistan’s fourteenth head of state and third general to take over in a coup, Pervez Musharraf, appeared on television to make a much-awaited speech. The anticipation was justified. President Musharraf, addressing his nation, his neighbourhood, and the world, declared that Pakistan would no longer tolerate the extremists and terrorists who had created a ‘state within a state’ in the country, become a law unto themselves and a threat to the world. The time had come to end their jihad. ‘The extremist minority must realize,’ he said, ‘that Pakistan is not responsible for waging armed jihad in the world.’

‘Sectarian terrorism has been going on for years,’ President Musharraf declared in a speech that was as courageous as candid. ‘Everyone is fed up of it. It is becoming unbearable. Our peace-loving people are keen to get rid of the Kalashnikov and weapon culture. Everyone is sick of it…The day of reckoning has come. Do we want Pakistan to become a theocratic state?’

-160-

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The Shade of Swords: Jihad and the Conflict between Islam and Christianity
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Preface xiii
  • Introduction xv
  • 1 - Chapter and Verse 1
  • 2 - The Joys of Death: a Bargain with Allah 12
  • 3 - Rebellions in the Dark of the Night 26
  • 4 - A Map of Islam 40
  • 5 - Circle of Hell 52
  • 6 - Allah! Muhammad! Saladin! 67
  • 7 - The Doors of Europe 83
  • 8 - Jihad in the East: a Crescent Over Delhi 99
  • 9 - The Holy Sea: Pepper and Power 113
  • 10 - The Bargain Goes Sour 131
  • 11 - The Wedge and the Gate 145
  • 12 - History as Anger, Jihad as Non-Violence 160
  • 13 - Islam in Danger Zone 177
  • 14 - Jinnah Redux and the Age of Osama 189
  • Glossary 214
  • A Suggested Reading List 218
  • Thumbnail Sketches 228
  • Index 251
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