The ideological dimension of terrorism needs to be confronted and neutralised by a counter-narrative which reflects the true interpretation of Islamic teachings and injunctions regarding propaganda of the terrorists who are killing innocent people in the name of religion. “do not kill a soul that God has made sacrosanct,” (6:151) & “whosoever kills a soul, it shall be as if he had killed all mankind, and he who saves a life, it shall be as if he had given life to all mankind” (5:53). As is evident, Islam is a religion of peace which abhors bloodshed and killing of innocent people. It aims at building a rift-free society which has no room for divisive ideologies. Islam also forbids armed groups and non-state entities to declare Jihad. These Islamic injunctions and teachings must be relied upon to develop a counter narrative against the ideology preached by the terrorists and proponents of religious extremism. That job can best be done by the religious scholars through the pulpit and the mosque.
Terrorism and religious extremism have not only brought a bad name to the religion of Islam but has also tarnished community’s image in the comity of nations. There is an impregnable global consensus on taking the fight against terrorism and religious extremism to its logical end by the government, the security establishment, the law enforcing agencies and the masses ultimately with an unflinching determination. But all these efforts need to be supplemented and reinforced through an ideological challenge to the narrative of the terrorists. That is where the role of the Ulemas becomes imperative, along with a positive role from Media by arranging panel discussions on the Islamic teachings that repel the dogma of the terrorists on regular basis. It also underlines the need for regulating the religious seminaries to scuttle the ability of the ones who have been and are supporting the narrative of the terrorists. There are thousands of seminaries in the country and only a few of them are known to have links with the terrorists.
The counter-narrative should be part of the curricula for education in schools and colleges. Development of a uniform syllabus for the mainstream educational institutions and seminaries could be another option to tackle the religious aspect of terrorism.