There is a global fight underway to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease, but Islamists across the world view the pandemic as a chance to settle old enmities.
According to reports, popular Turkish folk singer Fikret Simsek wishes the deadly virus to leave his country and hit its enemies, including Greece, Russia and the U.S.
The lyrics of the song “Get out of here, go viral” that went viral on Turkish social media, asks the coronavirus to “leave” Turkey and go to its enemies, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Egypt, Assad and Syria, Putin and Russia, Trump and the US, and of course Greece, which is characterised as a “black stain of the era”.
Turkey connection of Indian Islamists
The relations between Greece and Turkey have been marked by mutual hostility ever since Greece won its independence from the Turkish Ottoman Empire in 1832. The Ottoman Caliphate was severely weakened after World War 1, with Britain and other colonial powers dismembering large parts of the Empire. The Caliphate was abolished after Turkish nationalist forces led by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk established the modern Republic of Turkey in 1922.
The pan-Islamic Khilafat movement launched in 1919 in India was intended to restore the supremacy of the Ottoman Caliph, regarded as the leader of Sunni Muslims worldwide. It was led by Ali brothers, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari and others. The Khilafat leaders decided to join hands with Gandhi and the Indian National Congress’ non-cooperation movement as a tactical alliance to pressurise the British to restore the Ottoman Sultan as Caliph of Islam. While this episode is presented as an example of Hindu-Muslim unity by Marxist historians, the reality is that it was just a marriage of convenience by Islamists who were more interested in events in Turkey than winning Bharat’s independence from the British.
It didn’t take long for the facade to crack. In 1921, a rebellion against British launched by Moplah Muslims in Malabar region soon became a pogrom against Kerala Hindus in which 1000s were killed, raped and forcibly converted to Islam.
After Kemal Ataturk came to power in Turkey, the Khilafat movement collapsed and its leadership split. The Ali brothers joined the Muslim League and became advocates of the separate Muslim state of Pakistan. Others like Abul Kalam Azad and Hakim Ajmal Khan (one of the founders of Jamia Millia Islamia) remained Congress supporters. But the real reason why these ‘nationalist’ Muslim leaders chose to side with Congress and oppose partition was revealed in this interview given by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad in April 1946 – the Maulana was aggrieved that “the demand for Pakistan had extinguished all possibilities of spreading and preaching Islam in post-partition Bharat.”
Today, under President Erdogan, Turkey has discarded the modernist and reformist impulses of Mustafa Kemal. It has reverted to its Islamist roots, and is again re-imagining itself as a leader of the Muslim ummah (brotherhood). Hence it is no surprise that Turkey is strongly aligned with Pakistan on the Jammu & Kashmir issue, and is also beginning to interfere in Bharat’s internal affairs with Erdogan making bizarre claims like “Massacres are widespread in India…with Hindus massacring Muslims” after anti-CAA Islamist protestors triggered rioting in New Delhi.
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