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Pak Tea House » Entries tagged with "extremism"

A Talibanised society

By Saad Hafiz It is hard to argue against the notion that Pakistan is a fertile ground for extremist Islam, its causes and conflicts. Pakistan’s status as an ideological state has resulted in the proliferation of Islamic political groups of all kinds. The country’s constitution states that it is an Islamic state, religion is a way of life and that indoctrination, and no other competing ideology, is allowed. Moreover, national policies pursued since Pakistan’s creation have set the country’s trajectory away from the tolerant, syncretic and peaceful strands of Islam, and towards a harsh, literalist and limited version of Islamic values. Extremism is also driven by a pernicious mix of cultural and religious factors — the labyrinthine working through shame-honour/power-challenge codes, Islamic fatalism and the notion of violent jihad. It is … Read entire article »

Filed under: Taliban, Terrorism

The Elevator to Power

Saad Hafiz Dramatic reporting and exposés on western news channels suggest that Islamic radicalism is flourishing in the member states of the European Union and in North America. News items tend to focus on a small segment of Islamic activists who espouse extremist and radical ideologies and who have resorted to violence and terrorism against both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. This does not support the sweeping, superficial theory offered by some who represent the Islamo-phobic school of thought, namely that Islam as a whole — and not only its radical factions — is intrinsically militant, fanatical, evil, violent, anti-western and anti-Semitic. Studies have singled out political Salafism, the fastest-growing global radical Islamic movement, which preaches a strictly conservative form of Islam, as attracting second and third generation immigrants in the West. This … Read entire article »

Filed under: Islam, Islamism, Religion, violence

Remembering Salman Taseer (Shaheed)

Remembering Salman Taseer (Shaheed)

By Amir Abbas Turi Salman Taseer, the late Governor Punjab, became the first non-American who has been honoured with the Martin Luther King Junior Peace Award for his efforts in promoting human rights and peace. This prestigious Award is given to Taseer at a time when the Pakistani nation is deeply divided in its opinion about the question of martyrdom. While the United States has honoured him for his courage, unfortunately, Taseer remains one of the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Justice, Media, Terrorism

Our Irrational Hatred

Raza Habib Raja I was in Karachi when 9/11 happened. As I watched TV coverage with my cousin, he was ecstatic and visibly showed his excitement that finally USA was being meted out the treatment it deserved. I objected that targeting civilians like this was not the right approach but was countered by the ever famous answer: “these people have killed Palestinians in the same way” and also that in the 2nd world war USA had used even nuclear bomb against Japan.    “Those who target other’s civilians should be punished in the same way”, he remarked. A few days later as the situation changed and gradually it became clear that USA was pointing fingers at Osama Bin laden and hence this region would be the focus of some kind of military action, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Afghanistan, Terrorism, USA

Malala Issue: Perils of Overexposure

Raza Habib Raja I remember when the assassination attempt on Malala took place, many felt horror and in fact after a long time, there was across the board vociferous opposition of the cowardly act of the Taliban. At that time she was a unifying figure and buoyed by what I was witnessing, I even wrote an article praising her not only for her courage but also her symbolic importance. However the situation has changed and somehow she has become a controversial and polarizing figure.  Right now media, both electronic and social, is being dominated by tussles between Malala supporters and opponents. The supporters want everyone to accept her as a hero whereas opponents are opposing her vociferously. Their opposition ranges from criticism of International media to calling her a foreign agent. Some … Read entire article »

Filed under: liberal Pakistan, Taliban, Terrorism

In a perpetual state of mourning

By Saad Hafiz: Tens of thousands of people have been killed in extremist violence in Pakistan since the late 1980s. The country has earned a reputation for being a hotbed of extremism and violence. The latest atrocity is the bomb blasts in Quetta targeting the Shia minority, which killed and injured over 200 people. The self-contained killing machines of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), the Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) and their acolytes are operating at full capacity and with total impunity, butchering vulnerable communities at will. The Islamic Republic has clearly failed in its primary responsibility to protect the people, particularly the minorities and the weak from the extremist threat. James Madison aptly described this responsibility: “It is of great importance for a republic not only to guard the society against the oppression of its rulers, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Democracy

Confronting extremism

By Saad Hafiz: US Senator Robert F Kennedy once wrote, “What is objectionable, what is dangerous about extremists is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents.” Contemporary extremists, motivated by a religious imperative, have engaged in more hate speak against a far wider category of opponents, encompassing not merely their declared enemies but anyone who does not share their religious faith, and even persons who are of the same faith but who do not share their extreme political views and theological constructs. The dissemination of personalised hate messages is being assisted by the omnipresence and timeliness of the Internet, which can easily circumvent official censorship. Inflammatory messages can be circulated anonymously, quickly, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Terrorism

Are Liberals to blame for Pakistan’s Extremism?

Kashif. N. Chaudary Imran Khan is Pakistan’s sports superstar. His philanthropy is also admirable. This, however, does not mean I should not exercise my right to criticize Khan’s politics. Sadly,Imran Khan’s followers do not take criticism all that well. Anyone who calls him Taliban Khan is quickly ascribed a set of views and labeled a “pseudo-liberal” and “fascist”. In a recent interview, Imran Khan said he believed in engaging the far right and justified being represented at rallies of extremist groups by stating that his was a political party that believed in engaging marginalized groups. Will Imran Khan also engage the ostracized Ahmadi Muslims, Hindus and Christians of Pakistan? Or is his engagement limited to those that preach and execute their killings? Imran Khan has been represented at rallies organized by banned terrorist … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Extremism is getting embedded in the medical profession

By Abdul Majeed: Science is supposed to inculcate rational thinking among its practitioners. The whole scientific methodology relies on definitive evidence and not just myths or fable. Paradoxically, in case of religious extremism, it has been observed that students of science have been actively involved in acts of terrorism and their scientific education failed to change their narrow-mindedness and bigotry. Research by Diego Gambetta and Steffen Hertog has shown that engineers are more susceptible to join Islamic Radical groups than other people. Similar data is not available about Doctors. However, based on information about the terrorist networks and terrorists themselves it is not difficult to find doctors in prominent roles. Most famous and perhaps dangerous is Dr Ayman-az-Zawahiri, a pediatrician from Egypt believed to be the second-in-command of Al Qaeda and the chief … Read entire article »

Filed under: Opinion

Aaloo-eating zionists – Pakistan’s youth reacts to daily doses of ghairat and lies

By Saadia Gardezi The latest music video to go viral in the Pakistani blogosphere, Aaloo Andey by Beyghairat Brigade, says most of what those on the centre and left are thinking. The Pakistani virtualverse has been twittering about the satire since it came out. However there has also been some verbal violence against the views expressed in the song, characteristic of the Pakistan we live in… what for one man thinks is xenophobic nationalism, for another is just … Read entire article »

Filed under: Conservation, Humor, liberal Pakistan, Music

Myth and reality of extremism

Pakistan needs to undertake research on militancy for effective policymaking By Raza Rumi: A recent attempt to understand militancy, “Poverty and Support for Militant Politics: Evidence from Pakistan” (Graeme Blair, C. Christine Fair, Neil Malhotra, Jacob N. Shapiro, 2011), provides us fresh insights into the phenomenon or myth of popular support for militant extremism in Pakistan. Using a sample of urban and rural population and employing inventive techniques, this research is an important document if only Pakistan’s policymakers would ever pay attention to the little evidence that is generated with respect to militancy. It is a sad state of affairs that our national policy institutes and ‘think-tanks’ are yet to undertake such studies even when the state and its agencies have been brutally attacked and over 35,000 Pakistanis have died due to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Opinion, Reviews

Schools cross extremism out of textbooks

By Ashfaq Yusufzai Turn schools into hate-free zones, and achieving peace in violence-wracked Pakistan may not be far behind. This, says Fazal Rahim Marwat, chairman of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Textbook Board, is the thinking behind current efforts to weed out what he calls hate material used in school curricula that helps fan the flames of religious extremism in this South Asian country. (891 Words) - A poster published by the textbook board and pasted in schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. Photo: Ashfaq Yusufzai/IPS For years, says Marwat, Pakistan’s educational institutions have been unwitting tools in the spread of militancy in this mainly Muslim country. … Read entire article »

Filed under: Education

Shahbaz Bhatti’s murder: Capitulation, once again

By Raza Rumi Shahbaz Bhatti’s brutal assassination indicates that Pakistani state has to battle with a compounding existentialist crisis. As if Bhatti’s murder was not a shameful indictment of the state of security for a sitting minister, the muted response of the country’s civilian leadership reminds us of the near impossibility of governing a dysfunctional state and a fractured polity. The federal cabinet meeting, which late Shahbaz Bhatti (SB) was supposed to attend on the fateful morning of March 2, continued on schedule, which came as a surprise given the gruesome murder of a fellow colleague, a federal minister in the heart of a barricaded capital. Furthermore, a mere two minutes of silence were observed in parliament as a mark of respect for SB during which time, 3 representatives of the JUI-F … Read entire article »

Filed under: Terrorism, violence

“Appeasement of extremism is a policy that will have its blow-back”

By Raza Habib Raja Recently the PPP government has decided to retract the Anti Blasphemy amendment bill thus signalling a retreat. The major reason for that is to appease the militants who after the assassination of Salman Taseer have become even more brazen in their behaviour. However even before this retraction, the federal government had completely mismanaged the aftermaths of the assassination and failed to use it to their advantage for cultivating some sort of collective opinion against Islamic radicals. Whenever a horrific act of terror, particularly an assassination takes place, in a strange way it also presents an opportunity to create awareness about the dangers of radical Islam. Compared to a suicide bombing targeting ordinary people, assassination of a liberal political figure is often easier to pin down on religious forces. Moreover, … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized

Walking on the Egg Shells

Fayyaz Ahmed Mughal Extremism is commonly an ideology or act violating the political centre of a society or more simply violation of common moral standards set by a group of people. But the term could not be cramped to a single line only; it varies from people to people, state to state and ideologies to ideologies. For a multicast, multi-cultural, multi-sect and multi-class society, the meaning of extremism can not be confined to a specific group or limited people. We are such a multi-facial society where every group, individual or character is inclined towards extremism in one way or the other. We are fundamentalists in our beliefs, thoughts, actions and even relations. Our minds are authoritative and our souls are polluted. We must confess that we are all fundamentalists. Everyone among … Read entire article »

Filed under: Uncategorized