Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of ten books, eleven monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including the New York Times Bestsellers The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is The Complete Infidel’s Guide to the Koran (Regnery), and he is coauthor (with Pamela Geller) of The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America (Simon and Schuster).
Coordinated bombings in Mumbai, India murdered twenty-one people and wounded well over 100 Wednesday; Indian authorities suspect that Islamic jihadists have struck Mumbai once again. “We infer that this was a coordinated attack by terrorists,” said Indian home minister Palaniappan Chidambaram, and other Indian officials reportedly believe that the Indian Mujahideen, which has close ties to the Pakistani jihadist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, was responsible.
This marks the first major attack in India since the November 2008 Mumbai attacks. Though the magnitude of these explosions has yet to be determined, this attack does not appear to be as sophisticated as the 2008 attacks, which involved an assault team consisting of a number of militants that coordinated 10 shooting and bombing attacks across the city. The July 13 attack, by contrast, appears to have not involved suicide attackers but consisted of explosives placed in a taxi, a meter box and locations where they could be remotely detonated. This tactic is much more in line with those used by more amateurish groups, such the Indian Mujahideen, who have targeted crowded urban areas before.
Some speculate that the synchronized explosions were a birthday gift for Mohammad Ajmal Amir Qasab, the only surviving jihad mass-murderer from the November 2008 attack in Mumbai. In any case, there is no doubt that they were planted in busy areas so as to ensure the maximum number of casualties. That in itself may have been Lashkar-e-Taiba’s handiwork: since the Indian Mujahideen’s expert bomb makers are all in prison, authorities are investigating the possibility that the Pakistani jihad group helped construct the bombs used in Wednesday’s attacks. The first explosion went off at 6:54PM at the Jhaveri Bazaar, Mumbai’s famous jewelry market. The second hit at 6:55PM in the Opera House district, Mumbai’s business center, in a building that houses many jewelry firms. Ten minutes later, yet another bomb went off in Dadar, a populous area in central Mumbai.
Mumbai is India’s financial center, which is undoubtedly why it keeps on being the target of jihad attacks. Just as with the attacks on the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001, jihadists want to strike at the financial might of Infidel states, ultimately weakening them enough that societal upheaval ensues, and Sharia becomes that much easier to impose.
Gujarat’s chief minister Narendra Modi warned that Wednesday’s bombings may prove to be the prelude to another large-scale attack like that of November 2008, and said that “by triggering these blasts, nefarious elements want to prove that the present Central government is not capable of containing them and they have the strength to destroy the country.”
If they do have that strength, it is because of active help from Pakistan.Pakistan’s intelligence service was accused of involvement in the planning of the November 2008 jihad massacres in Mumbai, and so this time around the Pakistani government moved quickly to head off speculation that it may have been involved in these attacks also. Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani quickly condemned the attacks Wednesday, offering condolences to the Indian government and people.
Nonetheless, legitimate suspicion remains. How unequivocal can the Pakistani government be in its condemnation of these attacks when it has aided and abetted jihad activity in Afghanistan, funneled American taxpayer money that it was supposed to be using to fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban to those very groups, and has proven to be so unreliable an ally that it was not notified about the mission to kill Osama bin Laden for fear that he would be tipped off?
Islamic apologist Reza Aslan wrote in the Huffington Post Sunday that the U.S. was wrong to hold up aid to Pakistan, and that the “Pakistanis desperately need American support to ensure that their country does not become a haven” for Al-Qaeda and the Taliban – as if it weren’t a haven for them already, as the sheltering of Osama bin Laden abundantly illustrates, as well as for other jihad terror groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba.
Aslan, of course, is a clownish and deceptive pseudo-moderate; unfortunately, however, many analysts of far greater intelligence and influence share this perspective. In reality, the Mumbai bombings Wednesday show that both India and the United States should be regarding Pakistan with the utmost suspicion, and certainly not as an ally. The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is at this point in its history a nuclear-armed rogue state that has little, if any, interest in reining in those who hold to the doctrine of violent jihad within its borders. If Zardari and Gilani really deplore and reject jihad terrorism in India, why is the Pakistani government behaving so positively toward it in Pakistan – to the extent that the U.S. authorities warned American personnel several years ago that the Pakistani spy service, the ISI, was untrustworthy and tied to al-Qaeda?
If the involvement of Pakistani jihadists in the Mumbai jihad attacks Wednesday is definitively established, the international community should censure and quarantine Pakistan for having turned a blind eye to the growth and activity of jihad groups within that country for years – and for often even encouraging that activity. But the United Nations, of course, wouldn’t ever dream of doing such a thing: it would take too much time away from the drafting of its latest condemnation of Israel.