New Age Islam
Mon Oct 19 2020, 05:57 PM

Islamic Society ( 8 May 2018, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Islamist Terrorism Wanes in Pakistan, but Religious Fervour Threatens National Unity

 

By Pamela Constable

May 7, 2018

Abdus Salam, who died in 1996, was a member of the Ahmadiyya minority sect, and no politician was eager to challenge the Muslim group, known as the Movement in Service to the Prophet. So lawmakers decided to take his name off a renowned physics centre.

But on Sunday, when a young member of the movement shot and severely wounded Pakistan’s interior minister at a public gathering, there was immediate condemnation across the political spectrum and a flood of horrified comments on social media.

“This menace of hatred will destroy everything,” tweeted former foreign minister Khawaja Asif. “For God’s sake, we have to work together for our country.” In another tweet, Afrasiab Khattak, a retired senator and a human rights activist, warned, “Weaponising religion is a path to horrible disaster.”

While Pakistani officials claim to have eradicated Islamist extremism and terrorism from their country after years of conflict, a new threat to public order and religious peace has risen in their place. The Movement in Service to the Prophet, which professes the benign agenda of defending Muhammad as the final prophet of Islam, also exhorts followers to violence in that cause and targets members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim sect, called Ahmadis, as dangerous heretics because they believe in a later prophet.

Neither the legislative resolution against Abdus Salam nor the assassination attempt on Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal was openly supported by officials of the movement. But analysts here said there was no doubt that the group’s emotional fervour, widespread appeal to mainstream Sunni Muslims, demonization of Ahmadis and relentless attacks on political opponents had played a role in both.

By voting last week to revoke an honour bestowed on the first Pakistani to receive a Nobel Prize in science, Pakistan’s National Assembly opted for political expediency in the face of a fast-rising Muslim group that denounces members of the late physicist’s faith as blasphemers. ISLAMABAD, Pakistan —

Abdus Salam, who died in 1996, was a member of the Ahmadiyya minority sect, and no politician was eager to challenge the Muslim group, known as the Movement in Service to the Prophet. So lawmakers decided to take his name off a renowned physics centre.

But on Sunday, when a young member of the movement shot and severely wounded Pakistan’s interior minister at a public gathering, there was immediate condemnation across the political spectrum and a flood of horrified comments on social media.

“This menace of hatred will destroy everything,” tweeted former foreign minister Khawaja Asif. “For God’s sake, we have to work together for our country.” In another tweet, Afrasiab Khattak, a retired senator and a human rights activist, warned, “Weaponising religion is a path to horrible disaster.”

While Pakistani officials claim to have eradicated Islamist extremism and terrorism from their country after years of conflict, a new threat to public order and religious peace has risen in their place. The Movement in Service to the Prophet, which professes the benign agenda of defending Muhammad as the final prophet of Islam, also exhorts followers to violence in that cause and targets members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim sect, called Ahmadis, as dangerous heretics because they believe in a later prophet.

Neither the legislative resolution against Abdus Salam nor the assassination attempt on Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal was openly supported by officials of the movement. But analysts here said there was no doubt that the group’s emotional fervor, widespread appeal to mainstream Sunni Muslims, demonization of Ahmadis and relentless attacks on political opponents had played a role in both.

Source: washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/islamist-terrorism-wanes-in-pakistan-but-religious-fervor-threatens-national-unity/2018/05/07/60acfe4a-51ff-11e8-a6d4-ca1d035642ce_story.html?

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islamic-society/pamela-constable/islamist-terrorism-wanes-in-pakistan,-but-religious-fervour-threatens-national-unity/d/115187

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