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Extremism in action


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EXTREMISM is one thing as a debatable philosophy, and quite another in its barbaric, physical manifestation. Two examples of the latter, as the world exited 2012, were particularly blood-curdling. The Pakistani Taliban killed the 22 Levies they had abducted, and in Nigeria, Boko Haram marauders slit the throats of a number of men, women and children. The Taliban and Boko Haram both claim to be fighting for causes they deem Islamic, yet farthest from their philosophy is that spirit of compassion which for so many Muslims across the world is fundamental to Islamic teachings.

There is a warped logic at play here. Even if the Taliban considered the Muslim Levies ‘infidels’, and thus deserving of death in their eyes, which Islamic law, especially in early examples, justifies the murder of non-Muslim prisoners of war? They have not stopped there. The Taliban have displayed the remains of their victims as trophies and videotaped executions as a chilling message. Even their arch enemies, no angels when it comes to the rights of prisoners of war (e.g. America in Guantanamo), prefer to hide their excesses.

In the subcontinent, none of the leading Islamic scholars — including Sayyid Ahmad Barelvi, Maulana Maudoodi and the entire Deoband group — ever advocated mass slaughter to establish Sharia rule. The examples of PoWs’ murder came to Pakistan in the wake of the Afghan war when some foreign militants killed Soviet prisoners. But that was rare and no mainstream militant group declared this its official policy. The Taliban’s record shows there is nothing sacred for them — schools, mosques, shrines, hospitals, religious processions, peace jirgas or funerals. Their aim is to sow terror as they are averse to employing peaceful means to gain power. In Nigeria, the Boko Haram is opposed to ‘Western’ education, but the methods it employs to resist it, take a leaf out of the barbarism prevalent in mediaeval times. In Pakistan it’s a matter of deep shame that civil society has maintained silence on these depredations, while the mainstream ulema have chosen to look the other way, some because they approve of this barbarism, others out of fear.

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Comments (21) Closed

Aqil Siddiqi Jan 03, 2013 06:34pm
I don't think Pakistan any more sovereign. When no one can be safe in his own country, I don't care what people say, you are slave of these good for nothing extremist groups. We lost the first half in 1971, the other half will be going very soon too, if nothing has been done.
jen Jan 02, 2013 07:03am
The only out for this mess is to accept Sharia rule in pakistan as the nation itself is created to be ruled as per Islamic teachings.
Raoul Ciao Jan 02, 2013 06:06am
The voices of support for depredations in Pakistan are becoming lesser and lesser as they see that the local populace is not averse to supporting the perpetrators. It is now an established fact that these extremists are part and parcel of the neighbourhoods, of the local mosque-communities, of the local families residing in the market place, Their "religious piety" now shown thru extremism, continues to have support amongst a lot of the middle and other class , who see these not as extreme acts but potentially those in line with the warped view on their faith a lot of people have taken in recent years.
Leopard Jan 02, 2013 10:55am
In Pakistan it?s a matter of deep shame that civil society has maintained silence on these depredations, while the mainstream ulema have chosen to look the other way, some because they approve of this barbarism, others out of fear. Crux of the problem mentioned in this sentence. Unless civil society wakes up nothing is likely to change. In addition to English print media, Urdu print and electronic media has the major responsibility to give such wake up calls. Hope they can also take up stand to this challenge.
Agha Ata (USA) Jan 02, 2013 03:15pm
Anything, people, trees or animals that have evolved cannot be de-evolved.
Ejaz Butt Jan 02, 2013 12:35pm
I am amazed of boldness and the sheer courage you have shown to write something that is very close to my heart. In fact, I worte a similar sort of thing about Taliban in yesterday's Urdu Jang, London. Marvellous indeed and hats off to you the DAWN. You are the torch bearer of the humanity and well deserve a pat on the back of your team and the one who wrote this marvellous piece of reality.
Iftikhar Husain Jan 02, 2013 12:36pm
The editorial has rightly pointed out the barbarity of Taliban on ordinary people who have nothing to with the conflict,
Ghani Dotani Jan 02, 2013 08:35am
The mass slaughter of 22 security personnel at the hands of outlawd Taliban is, no doubt, blood-curdling, but our secuirty institutions' failure to rescue their brothers-in-arms is immensely shameful and worrying. We saw no action whatsoever been taken by security institutions in oder to stop the barbaric Taliban from executing the levy personnel. We blocked NATO supplies for 7 months on Salala incident in which 24 of our soldiers were killed by seemingly inadvertent US attack, but we are surprisingly reluctant to take any measure against those (who happen to be our own citizens) who arrogantly claimed responsibility for the massacre of our 22 soldiers. What does it suggest? Is the state unable to take on these rebels who have illegally occupied large sawthes of our sovereign state or is it unwilling (due to strategic compulsions) to bring them to book? Both scenarios are worrying and potentially dangerous for the integrity of our state.
GL Jan 02, 2013 08:38am
22 plus 6 plus 4 killed in the last 2 days. How can Pakistanis have so many pathological killers in their midst? Do the killers not have siblings, children or parents? What god sanctions killing on this scale? What sort of people accept this situation?
Ather Jan 02, 2013 09:29am
imran Jan 02, 2013 04:00pm
why were they kidnapped in the first place and why was no effort made to secure their release by the security forces
Sajjad Mengal Jan 02, 2013 05:19pm
this is the most and serious matter , we must think about it.its against of Pakistan sovereignty
Aqil Siddiqi Jan 02, 2013 10:54pm
Imran, every body is corrupt in Pakistan. We are most UnIslamic Nation in the whole Wide World.
Aqil Siddiqi Jan 02, 2013 10:56pm
May Allah Protect You from every evil (Ameen). We do need your kind of writers to wake this sleeping nation.
Aqil Siddiqi Jan 02, 2013 10:59pm
That's what I have been harping for so long, that these good for nothing religious clans are reason for Pakistan downfall. They are all corrupt and selfish. Aqil Siddiqi.
umesh bhagwat Jan 03, 2013 12:37am
The Taliban cannot survive without support from within Pakistan!
artem Jan 03, 2013 12:44am
Its simply more pious green killing less pious green. Welcome to islam 101. Good riddance.
AHA Jan 03, 2013 01:28am
Does Pakistan care about its sovereignty. Aren't these terrorists the state guests of Pakistan.
Akai Jan 03, 2013 02:01am
Shame on the security forces! The Chief was given extension with hopes that he would eliminate the menace. Nobody is doing his job, and there are no consequences for the negligent.
pathanoo Jan 03, 2013 04:58am
Only a depraved, demented society accepts this kind of violence amongst it.
Bikkar S BRAR Jan 03, 2013 05:12am
They can hate the western world but treat their people with medicines , use vehicles, weapons, ammunition, explosive, communication equipment and so on invented.produced by western countries. Do they have any gairat?