South and Central Asian nations are deeply worried about the shape of things to come after the NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan and the return of Islamist terrorists from the Syrian theatre of Jihad back to North America, Europe and rest of the world. The upsurge of Taliban Jihadism in Afghanistan-Pakistan may also mean more terror in India and Bangladesh.
As experience has shown, Mr. President, the war on terror cannot be fought merely with military means. This war has an ideological dimension as much as military. The exclusivist, political, totalitarian, Jihadi narrative of Islam has to be contested and the mainstream narrative of Islam as an inclusive, spiritual path for salvation promoted vigorously. Among the Western governments, only Britain has shown an awareness of the ideological nature of this war and a resolve to help Muslims fight it ideologically. But the response of British Muslims has been disappointing.
Muslims across the world continue to be in denial. Not the slightest sign of introspection.
British Muslims find the Report from the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Tackling Radicalisation and Extremism problematic. The subsequent actions too have caused consternation. But there is no indication that Muslims themselves plan to do something to fight this menace. We Muslims must understand and accept that this is primarily a war within Islam and it is for us to fight it.
Already, the Taliban have started flexing muscles. In Pakistan last month they forced the government to open talks. While demanding the implementation of Shariah they cut the throats of 23 captured soldiers of Pakistan Army. As Pakistan Information Minister pointed out, 90,000 Pak troops were taken prisoner in the 1971 war against India but not one of them lost their heads. He also wondered what sort of Shariah law Pakistan Taliban want imposed that allows cutting the throats of soldiers of their own country.
Clearly the international community must actively seek to address the menace of Jihadism and its phony interpretation of Islam…..