I am conscious of the fact that, strictly speaking, the word ‘terrorism’ applies to acts of terror, attempts to cause bomb explosions, and so on. But I do not believe that this is the only type of terrorism the world is suffering from. I believe that whenever repressive measures are taken by governments against their own countrymen to still the voice of disagreement, those measures too should be included within the term ‘terrorism’ and be as strongly and roundly condemned as any other form of terrorism. I consider all oppressive measures taken by governments against the left or right within their own countries as terrorism of the worst type. When acts of terrorism are directed against foreign governments and take the form of the use of explosives here and there, or the hijacking of planes, such events gain a great deal of attention. World opinion sympathizes with the victims of such callous terrorist acts, as indeed it should. Such sympathies are not merely voiced, but are generally followed by constructive means to prevent and pre-empt such attempts in the future. However, what about those hundreds of thousands of people suffering under the stem and merciless hands of their own governments? Their cries of anguish are seldom heard outside. Their cries of protest are very often muffled by the application of strict measures of censorship. Even if philanthropic agencies like Amnesty International draw the attention of the world to such cruel acts of persecution, torture, and denial of human rights, such events are only mildly condemned, if at all, by world governments. More often than not, these are considered to be internal matters for the countries concerned. Instead of being described as acts of terrorism, they are widely mentioned as government efforts to suppress terrorism in these countries, and to establish peace, law and order.
I am quite convinced that in essence all restrictive and punitive measures taken by a government against its own people to suppress a popular movement or suspected opposition, more often than not, go beyond the limits of genuine legal measures and end up as brutal acts of violence designed to strike terror in the hearts of a dissatisfied section of their own people. Humanity has suffered far more through such acts of State terrorism than through all acts of sabotage or hijacking put together As far as Islam is concerned, it categorically rejects and condemns every form of terrorism. It does not provide any cover or justification for any act of violence, be it committed by an individual, a group or a government.