JNU to introduce course on ‘Islamic Terrorism’: Professors divided on programme name

WordForPeace.com

With increasing violence across the country on religious grounds, perhaps its high time a course of religious terrorism got the nod from a prestigious varsity so that academics can study process of terrorism.

A Centre for National Security Studies might soon come up at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) under which there would be a course on ‘Islamic Terrorism’.

This announcement has come as per a proposal recently “passed” by the JNU Academic Council, a professor who attended the meeting said yesterday.

‘COURSE IS COMMUNAL IN NATURE’

Many members of the Academic Council opposed the proposal to impart courses on ‘Islamic Terrorism’, arguing that it was communal in nature, said Sudhir K Suthar, a special invitee to the 145th meeting of the Council.

“Many members opposed the topic ‘Islamic Terrorism’ so as to not club any religion with terrorism, and suggested to call the phenomenon ‘religious terrorism’.”

– Sudhir K Suthar, an office-bearer of the JNU Teachers Association (JNUTA), told PTI.

“The chair passed the proposal and said the objections would be considered (later),” Suthar said.

“There was a debate on the issue in the meeting with many members supporting it too, saying that it was a globally accepted phenomenon and majority of the cases (of terrorism) were associated with the religion,” another Academic Council member, who was present in the meeting, said.

As per an Indian Express report, the professors pointed out that though ‘International Terrorism’ is offered as a course in many varsities across the world, this would be the first time that terrorism is directly being linked to a religion and that too, in an academic programme.

The draft of the proposal was prepared by a four-member committee headed by Ajay Kumar Dubey, a professor of the Centre for African Studies.

“Report was circulated for feedback and discussion,” Dubey told PTI.

‘ISLAMIST’ RATHER THAN ‘ISLAMIC’

“Islamist Terrorism is a widely accepted term and a globally accepted phenomenon. It is used for those who use Islam for a particular objective,” Council member Aswini Mahapatra said while suggesting that the name be changed to ‘Islamist Terrorism’ rather than ‘Islamic Terrorism’, according to Indian Express.

“There’s nothing called Hindutva terrorism; that was invented by the Congress to pander to the minority vote bankThere’s nothing called Christian terrorism also.”

– Aswini Mahapatra

“In India, it’s basically Islamist terror, whether it is J&K or Kerala, so in Indian context, the topic needs to be studied,” Mahapatra said.

OPPOSITION FROM JNU STUDENTS’ UNION

“In a deeply problematic and shocking move the JNU VC also allowed the tabling of a course/topic on ‘Islamic Terrorism’ under the Centre for National Security Studies.” said JNU Students Union president Geeta Kumari.

“This grotesque propaganda of Islamophobia in the name of academic courses is deeply problematic. It seems the RSS-BJP’s election propaganda material will be prepared through these courses rather than studying the nature of terrorism in general,” she added.

CENTRE FOR NATIONAL SECURITY STUDIES TO FOCUS ON RESEARCH ACTIVITIES

According to the proposal by the varsity, in the first five years, the centre will only focus on research activities.

“The centre may have only MPhil and PhD students (initially). After five years, the centre may start MA programme.” said the proposal.

“In the first year, two professors, two associate professors and four assistant professors may be recruited to give the centre a good and visible shape,” the proposal added.

OTHER COURSES UNDER NATIONAL SECURITY STUDIES

A Special Centre for National Security Studies was proposed to be set up during the 145th academic council meeting on Friday, which was attended by about 100 of the 110 members. Among the courses planned under the centre was one on ‘Islamic terrorism’.

Apart from the course of religious terrorism, JNU will also start courses on cybersecurity, security institutions, peacekeeping operations, naxalism, demographic changes, border management, India’s maritime security and other courses on national security, insurgency, and non-traditional institutions as per an Indian Express report.

Source: https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/news/story/jnu-starting-programme-on-islamic-terrorism-html-1237281-2018-05-20

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