Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) ‘s Global Terrorism Index 2014 is a wake-up call for the Indian media to open their eyes and see the truth of a global terror phenomenon without wearing their ideological glasses.


Saif Ali Khan, the Bollywood superstar, had the courage to admit yesterday in an interview that “Islam is unpopular today.” What is more, he went a step further and actually said that for a “modernized Islam” to take root, and because the Quran is God’s word and cannot be challenged, “someone will have to say that God has spoken to them and these rules (of the Quran) no longer apply and it’s okay do certain things which were not allowed earlier.”


It is interesting that a mainstream voice in the Indian Muslim world is at least acknowledging that there is a problem with his religion without harping back to pet causal theories like Palestine, Kashmir and so on. Hopefully, more and more thought leadership from within the Islamic universe will unconditionally accept that there are some fundamental issues with the Muslim religion and try to modernize it. Otherwise this looks like a losing battle indeed.


Yesterday, the Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP) released Global Terrorism Index 2014, a depressing report which demonstrated that not only had terrorism become a global phenomenon but also that there was a whopping 61% increase in the number of people killed in terror incidents in 2013 as compared to 2012. There were more than 10,000 recorded terrorist events across 161 countries which resulted in the loss of 17,958 lives!


The most important finding of GTI is that 82% of all terrorism occurred in just five countries of the world—Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nigeria and Syria. What is the common thread binding these five nations? Islam. Terrorism in 2013 was dominated by four terror organizations which were responsible for 66% of all the global terrorist activities—ISIL, Boko Haram, Al Qaida and Taliban. What is the common thread binding all these four organizations? Islam.


How long can we let the world bleed like this? We are well past the time for political correctness and we are now in a battleground where we have to catch the bull by the horn and steer the world to safety. It is time indeed for the global community to have a “zero tolerance” policy towards terrorism of all genres. What is even more important is that voices from within the Muslim world start to protest vehemently against the wahhabization of their religion.


It comes as no surprise that after those five terror theatres, the 6th nation in this list of Global Terrorism Index 2014 happens to be India. Shameful indeed that we are being clubbed together with such a dubious list of countries that are scorching the world in the 21st century. This is the gift that we have received from the secular vote bank politics of the last six decades.


The GTI is an index from 0 to 10, with 10 being awarded to the country most hit by terrorism, and other countries being judged relative to this score, based on four parameters with different weights attached to them: total number of terrorist incidents in a given year; number of fatalities; number of injuries caused by terrorists; and a measure of the total property damage. The lingering efect terrorist attacks have on a society in terms of fear and subsequent security response is also taken into consideration.


India scores 7.86 on this index (Iraq, the emperor of the world’s terror scene, being 10). You can read the full report here.


That 7.86 looks scary! But that’s hardly the scariest part, not by a long shot. Because the GTI uses a logarithmic scale; so when Iraq scores 10, and India score 7.86, it does not mean that India is 78.6% as terrorism-affected as Iraq. 6,362 people were killed in Iraq, while India saw 404 deaths. India saw 2.2% of all terrorism-related deaths in 2013, compared to Iraq’s 35.4%.


These are the scarier parts.


The GTI report tells us that some 43 different terrorist groups divided into three distinct divisions of Islamists, Separatists and Communists have been the main culprits in India.


Apart from Islamic terrorism, nearly half of all terror-related casualties in India in 2013 (192 out of 404) have been on account of Maoist violence. So India suffers from a double whammy from Islam as well as Communists, or in extension from both “secularism polity” and also from the “Left”. Yet, even a cursory glance on the media narrative throughout 2013 would paint a picture completely different.




Terrorism increased by 70 per cent in India from 2012 to 2013.


The number of attacks also increased, with 55 more attacks in 2013 than 2012.


In 2013, three Islamist groups were responsible for around 15 per cent of deaths. This includes Hizbul Mujahideen, an Islamist group allegedly based in Pakistan with a membership of around 15,000. This group was the only group in India to use suicide tactics in 2013.


And, most importantly, India is 6th in the world, and all the five countries above us are acknowledged by everyone in the world as basket cases!


Yet, the dominant editorial and media narrative of 2013 was about the dangers for India due to the ascendancy of “fringe right wing Hindu” groups. How could all our collective media/thought leadership fail us so easily? How could the entire Dilli-based editorial class miss the elephant in the room?


Reports such as the GTI are a wake-up call for the Indian media to open their eyes and see the truth of a global terror phenomenon without wearing their ideological glasses. It also gives us an indication about the battle that our new prime minister has to wage in order to prevent further descent of India into the global cesspool of terrorism from its current No 6 position.


Note: The above piece has been modified to correct some data discrepancies. The present version differs significantly from the original.