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Call for Transnational Jihad

Rana Banerjee

By Arif Jamal
Kautilya Books, New Delhi, 2015, pp. 432, $100.00


This is a chilling account of the origins, ideological moorings, national ambitions and global outreach of one of the world’s most proscribed terrorist groups—the Lashkar–e-Taiba (LeT), designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation by the United States since December 2001 and also implicated by the United Nations since December, 2008 in its front denomination,Jamaat-ud-Daawa (JuD).  Written by Pakistani journalist Arif Jamal, a Punjabi Muslim who moved permanently to the United States in 2007 (currently, he is a Research Fellow at the New York University’s Centre for International Cooperation. He also spent time at the Carr Centre for Human Rights, Harvard University working on this book), the book details how LeT emerged from its Markaz Dawatwal Irshad (MDI)/ JuD patron strings through extensive Inter-Services Intelligence funding in 1993, to carry the jihad first into Indian Kashmir, how it developed ‘beachheads’ in different countries, starting from Male, then spreading its wings in Myanmar, Phillipines, Australia, Europe and North America. It mentions how it approached other international terror organizations quite early on, to help it gain experience in naval terrorism. Jamal interviewed Hafiz Mohd Saeed and meticulously researched JuD over a period of 18 years. The name of the jihadi group was first Markaz Dawat wal Irshad (MDI). It was later renamed Jamatud Dawa (JuD) but these terms continue to be understood as front pseudonyms for LeT. Ideologues like Saeed confided to the author that the work of MDI or JuD was bigger than that of LeT but ‘they would return to the banner of LeT one day’, as the army the Prophet led into Mecca was also called Lashkar-e-Taiba, or the Army of Medina. Origins of LeT are traced by Jamal to the meticulously planned though short lived rebellion against the House of Saud through the abortive takeover of the Holy Ka’aba in Novebmer ’79,  which was led by the 43 year old Ikhwan Salafist, Juhayman al-Utaybi. His group developed links with non-Saudi, rejectionist Ahle Hadith Ulemain Egypt, Kuwait, Yemen and Pakistan, among whom was also the Afghan leader, Sheikh Jamilur Rehman. Arrested Ikhwan salafists from Saudi Arabia, on release in the mid-‘80s, went to Pakistan and joined Allama Rashidi and the Karachi based Abdullah Nasir Rehmani. They also took part in the Afghan jihad from there. The MDI was set up in 1987. Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, one of the prime accused of Mumbai 26/11 who was recently given bail by a Pakistan Court, fought ...

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