Islam,Terrorism and Jihad
Not long ago, a civil society protest outside the Lal Masjid – where he leads the Friday prayers – would be unthinkable. Not anymore. “This den of terrorism must be razed,” said rights activist Farzana Bari, one of the organizers. “Down with Abdul Aziz,” shouted a protestor on megaphone. “Down with Abdul Aziz,” the crowd repeated…..
Thus far, the establishment has been no more than a bystander as Aziz spat venom in the media and in his speeches. And today, as the world grieves for this nation’s slain generation, Aziz had the temerity to call the radical slayers his brethren and state that he did not condemn the tragedy. The noose has tightened around Aziz. Incensed protesters encircled his mosque, undaunted by threats from the Taliban…
The vast majority of Pakistanis may be united in grief for the school children murdered in Peshawar - but many say they still don't know who carried out the attacks. For the media - both in Pakistan and abroad - the issue is clear enough: the Pakistani Taliban did it…..
There is no word for a parent who buries a child. No equivalent of widow or orphan in any language that I know. We do not have the language to describe a parent who lays his child into the earth before his time. So with what tongue do we speak of the dead now? It is a sorrow too large to bear. But with sorrow, there is anger in Pakistan today. There is anger at those who turned their eyes away from terror and let the cost be paid in human lives…..
It appears that the civilian leaders have scrambled into action by the swift response of the army chief, General Raheel Sharif, to the Peshawar massacre when he caught the first flight out to Kabul to coordinate anti-terrorism measures with the Afghan and American authorities and followed it up by executing two terrorists condemned by a military tribunal. But the proof of the pudding is in the eating of it….
To understand the TTP attack in Peshawar, we need to first understand the structure of the TTP. It is an umbrella organisation of at least 13 groups started in 2007 by Baitullah Mehsud. Last year, the leadership of the TTP came to Maulana Fazlullah, also called the ‘FM [radio] Mullah’, a man who has violently opposed education for children, most clearly evinced in his instructions for the shooting of Malala Yousafzai. When Fazlullah assumed the TTP’s leadership, four splinter groups emerged (alongside the pre-existing TTP Punjab) — the Ahrar-ul-Hind (February 2014), the TTP South Waziristan (May 2014), the TTP Jamaat-ul Ahrar (August 2014), and the TTP Sajna (May 2014). The groups emerged because of sharp differences on insurgent strategy between Fazlullah and other competing insurgent chiefs within the TTP, including the remaining members of the Mehsud clan…..
Angry and emotional speeches were punctuated by cries denouncing the Red Mosque establishment as friends of the Taliban and traitors. Particular ire was directed against Abdul Aziz, the mosque leader who in a television appearance after the killing of 141 people at the army public school in Peshawar on Tuesday refused to unconditionally condemn the attack claimed by the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). Some in the crowd mocked him as “Mullah Burqa” after his infamous attempt to escape the 2007 siege in an all-enveloping woman’s veil.....
An unbearable heaviness of being a Pakistani surrounds the entire ambiance. Held between the khaki hammer of strategic depth and puritan anvil of Taliban terror, one feels like screaming. One is not even allowed to mourn in peace. The vultures in the persons of Hameed Gul, the father of Taliban, and Sarkari-beards land our mourning and funerals with familiar but ugly squawk. Hameed Gul and his urbanised children--- the Taliban in suite and tie ---as usual want us to blame India for the Greek tragedy….
The first clash between Hamas and Islamic extremist groups occurred in August 2009, before the emergence of the Islamic State (IS). Back then, the security forces affiliated with Hamas stormed into the Ibn Taymiyyah Mosque and killed Abdul Latif Moussa and 16 of his followers, following his declaration of the “Islamic Emirate in Jerusalem.” Hamas fought against extremism, bombed the mosque and killed those espousing the same Islamic ideology…..
What has been buried with the 141 bodies in Peshawar is also dissent against the new national security narrative and the state. In the coming months and days, it may be difficult to ask questions about dumped dead bodies or missing people. There is, in fact, the likelihood of an increase in such actions because, like in the US, excessive questions are distracting. People are eager to see dead bodies of terrorists. It doesn’t matter if the military goes in partnership and kills the terrorists using American drones. Perhaps, many who made anti-drone films and talked against drone attacks will now have to chew their findings….
“We didn’t see it coming,” a former senior United States intelligence official said. “We were focused on many other things — Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, the Iranians. It’s not that things were missed — they were never put together.” After the assault began, the countries quickly disclosed their intelligence to one another. They monitored a Lashkar control room in Pakistan where the terror chiefs directed their men, hunkered down in the Taj and Oberoi hotels and the Jewish hostel, according to current and former American, British and Indian officials. That cooperation among the spy agencies helped analysts retrospectively piece together “a complete operations plan for the attacks,” a top-secret N.S.A. document said.....
Nawaz Sharif is terrified of the Taliban and not in a hundred years can have his heart and soul in any fight-to-the-death against the curse of Takfiri Islam…that brand of the faith, now spread across wide swathes of the world of Islam, which considers all heretics (those who do not agree with it) deserving of death by the sword, or the bullet. Boko Haram in Nigeria is of this persuasion. Daish or the Islamic State, in Iraq and Syria, is spurred by the same belief. The perpetrators of the Peshawar carnage were fired by the same spirit…carrying out their slaughter, with not a tremor in their fingers or compunction in their hearts, in the name of Islam……
Dr Mohammad Taqi
The TTP has a Deobandi doctrinal hue but Fazlullah’s own creed remains Salafi due to his education at the Panjpir madrasa (seminary) that was established and run by the security establishment’s darling, Maulana Tahir Shah. Another Panjpir alumnus, Jamil ur Rahman, founded the Salafi emirate in Kunar and Nuristan in the 1980s…
The roots of terrorism lie in sectarianism, extremism and Takfiriyat— excommunicating Muslims—declaring them apostates or disbelievers. A total ban should be imposed on issuance of fatwas that declare others non-Muslims and strict punishments be prescribed for Takfiris—those who excommunicate any Muslim. The present anti-terrorism courts are being used for political purposes and their judges are scared of terrorists. They should be replaced by military courts. Cases should be completed in one week with another one week reserved for appeals. Terrorists should be convicted and awarded punishments in 15 days and they should be executed in letter and spirit…..
Months later, the parents of one of the children who survived spoke about how the attack had ravaged the mind of her child; standing just a single wall away, she heard people pleading for their lives, she heard the gunshots, and she watched them die. Months later, the six-year-old girl struggles with sleeplessness and nightmares. She is afraid to go to school. There are so many more like her in Peshawar, children whose slumber has been shattered and innocence seized by the carnage……
Above all, we still have to learn to move away from making religion our yardstick for measuring right and wrong in public life. This approach has its pitfalls because of the diversity in the interpretation of Islamic precepts with each school of thought claiming to be the correct one. What right do any of us have to decide who is correct? A secular approach based on a social contract can alone resolve the contradictions that complicate life under a theocratic state while allowing the civilian government and the military to get away with so much casuistry…..
Those against education, civil order and rule of law are not hidden. The terrorists are trained and dispatched to kill and maim. Those who aid, abet, support and facilitate them are within us. They are still indoctrinating and recruiting our youth. They are still unabashedly misusing religion for violence and spewing hatred from loudspeakers.....
To eliminate the TTP Pakistan needs to implement a plan to kill terrorists. It must also take bold measures to counter the causes for extremism in Pakistan: ignorance, greed, fear and poverty. The hate and bigotry being spread from Pakistan’s madrasas; the corruption that allows terrorists to roam the streets and infiltrate institutions; the crimes that generate financing for terrorist organisations; the fear which provides them impunity from prosecution, and the absence of employment which results in recruits must all be addressed…..
Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi
The acts perpetrated by these people, which includes the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), show that they have a distorted understanding of Islam. What else can one say about people killing other human beings in cold blood? When these incidents occur, Muslims are forced onto the defensive, and feel they must explain that Islam is a religion of peace and tolerance, and that these terrorists are not representative of it. In many ways, Muslims are made to feel as if they are accessories to these crimes…..
For some reason, the horrible tragedy of Peshawar students whom the Taliban criminals in Pakistan killed failed to interest the Arab media and public opinion as it should have. Of course, the reason is not necessarily linked to the massacre but the problem lies in that deep defect within us. We scream and lose our temper over a caricature here and a song there. We, despite this, were not outraged that an organization like Taliban killed dozens of children. What interprets our weak interest in this tragedy is tragic on its own….
It was never explained by those in authority how more than 5000 persons –including foreigners – had been hiding in a mosque along with weapons in the heart of the capital. Taliban-apologists have daringly excused TTP atrocities in the context of the Red Mosque. In an environment that lacks a culture of research and critical thinking taking religious texts out of context has been their modus-operandi. Adding fuel to fire through rampant anti-American sentiments, these apologists have played havoc with our country…..
Nadeem F. Paracha
Our military leaders, civilian representatives in the parliament (and even on the streets), our media, in fact each one of us must immediately strive to reach that long-awaited new consensus about exactly what kind of a Pakistan we want; how to achieve it and, more so, make sure that never again will we allow a madness that causes thousands of mothers and fathers cry over the still bodies of their children….
Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg
First, as far back as the 7th Century, Islam emphasized the sanctity of civilians, especially children. In a very well-known tradition, the First Caliph Abu Bakr instructed the army he dispatched in 632 AD, as such: “You shall not engage in treachery; you shall not act unfaithfully; you shall not engage in deception; you shall not indulge in mutilation; you shall kill neither a young child nor an old man nor a woman; you shall not fell palm trees or burn them, you shall not cut down any fruit-bearing tree; you shall not slaughter a sheep or a cow or a camel except for food. You will pass people who occupy themselves in monks’ cells; leave them alone, and leave alone what they busy themselves with.”….
Peshawar Public Army School was far from the first Pakistani school to be targeted by the fundamentalist militants: according to a comprehensive report released earlier this year by the Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack (GCPEA), a coalition of organisations including Human Rights Watch, Save the Children and UNICEF, at least 838 were attacked between 2009 and 2012. Hundreds were destroyed…..
The Peshawar attack won't prevent future attacks unless the Pakistani government upholds the rule of law and prosecutes murderers. The Pakistan government has yet to prosecute those who are already in custody on terror charges, like the two attackers in the Ahmadi attacks of 2010, captured by Ahmadi worshippers and handed over to the police. Although charged under the Anti-Terrorism Act and still in custody, they have yet to be punished…..