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Radical Islamism and Jihad ( 12 Dec 2008, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Religion of the Jahiliya: Jihadism is Kufr, not Islam - Pakistani Jihadists Revealed Plans for Indian Muslims in 1999


By Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam

13 December 2008

Recent terror attack at Mumbai has reminded us once again that Pakistan Army, or one of its agencies Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) at any rate, is determined to change the very character of Islam, turning it into the pre-Islamic religion of the Jahiliya (Arabia in the Dark Ages). It had indeed given us ample evidence of its anti-Islamic character during the Kargil war by reminding us of the Battle of Uhud where a woman of Jahiliya, Hinda, had mutilated the dead body of Prophet Mohammad’s uncle, Hazrat Hamza. The Prophet [peace be upon him] had not only forgiven her but had made it a point to forbid the practice in every Muslim gathering thereafter for fear that the Muslims, too, might do something similar in retaliation. Blood feud and vengeance was rampant in the Arab world of the Jahiliya. One couldn’t help being reminded of that when reports came that one of the terrorists mentioned vendetta for Gujarat and demolition of Babri masjid by Hindutva forces as the justification for the killing of innocents at Mumbai.


Pakistani “Islam” would indeed appear to be completely unrecognisable as Islam to a Muslim in any part of the world. Slowly but surely what appears to be a completely new religion seems to have caught the imagination of many people in Pakistan.  Its followers don’t, of course, consider it a new religion. Indeed this religion insists that it is Islam; in fact it calls itself true Islam or real Islam. But it can best be described as Jihadism, as its central belief system is based on a wilful misinterpretation of the Islamic concept of Jihad. It can also be called Talibanism, as the Taliban of Afghanistan, who studied in Pakistani madrasas run by the Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Pakistan are its most avid practitioners.


By and large, the western-educated liberal Pakistani intelligentsia, as I found out during several visits, hates this religion and is frightened of it. But as one by one all institutions of governance are succumbing to its growing power and its capacity for evil, they are getting scared to death. Some of them are simply planning to migrate to some non-Muslim majority country. No one is really fighting this malignant force, though some journalists and human rights activists still have the courage at least to express their horror and outrage at grave personal risk. The new democratically-elected government’s commitment or that of President Asif Ali Zardari’s recent plea in a New York Times article rings as hollow as did that of President General Musharraf before that despite their seeming cooperation in the US-led war on terror. The reason is that Pakistan’s moderate secular class has never had the guts to stand up to obscurantist Mullahs right from the beginning of the establishment of the country. Pakistan was carved out of a united India in 1947 by the secular Muslims – almost all religious parties were against the idea of Partition and Two-Nation Theory – but in independent Pakistan the latter were soon able to force the former, the real architects of Pakistan, to pass an Objectives Resolution declaring the country as an Islamic republic to be run by a narrow, sectarian interpretation of Islamic Sharia.


One only needs to read the report of the Justice Munir commission of enquiry into the anti-Ahmadiya riots of early 1950s to learn about the shenanigans of the secular, Westernised class of Muslim Pakistanis and how they surrendered before the then isolated Mullahs and conceded to them centre-stage in policy-making. If they could not do it then, it is very doubtful if they can do that now by arresting a few Jihadist Mullahs and putting them under comfortable house arrest.


It is Islamists, however, the true practitioners of Islam, if any in Pakistan, who should have been fighting this malignant growth. It was their primary duty to keep Islam from being maligned and turned into a religion of the Jahiliya. Some of them indeed are. (One prominent name is that of Maulana Haider Farooq Maudoodi, the son of Jamaat-e-Islami founder Maulana Abul Ala Maudoodi.) But they don’t have the resources to counter the powerful Jihadist rhetoric backed by vast petrodollar resources. Muslim masses are by and large ignorant and poor. It is not difficult to either sway them emotionally using Jihadist rhetoric based on Islamic terminology or even to buy them with promises of goodies on earth and in Heaven. The terrorists and killers of around 200 innocent people in Mumbai are no doubt doomed to be consigned to Hell, as even Indian Islamic scholars have testified in their unanimous judgment, but they had clearly been brainwashed into thinking, as one of them is reported to have revealed that they were destined for Heaven.


What is Jihadism?


The basic belief of Jihadism is that all non-Jihadists are kafir and deserve to be killed. As a result, they have so far killed about a million Muslims in Afghanistan and at least 50,000 Muslims in the Kashmir valley. They have also killed non-Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir. But their present and main long-term target is the Muslims of India. Beginning from the Bombay blasts in 1993, they have made several attempts to provoke massive anti-Muslim violence in the country. The recent Mumbai massacre is the latest in this series.


Indeed a prominent ex-militant Kashmiri leader told me just after Zuhr prayers in the Shah Faisal mosque in Islamabad that the first person to attack the Babri masjid on December 6, 1992, was a Jihadist from Pakistan occupied Kashmir (POK) who had joined the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) some time ago and was part of Mr. L. K. Advani’s rally along with several of his co-religionists. My informant was also a Jihadist once, but perhaps not completely devoid of the milk of human kindness and thus not a true Jihadist. He retained affections for his wife and kids stranded in the valley and his Hindu and Muslim classmates in Delhi where he had studied up to graduation. He was clearly not happy with the visions of an impending holocaust in India and tried to warn me.


Another warning came to me from a Jihadist during the Kargil war (May-July 1999) on a brief visit to England. I met him outside London’s Finsbury Park mosque after the Friday prayers. Exultant after the Pakistani Jihadists had reportedly downed two Indian planes in Kargil, he was more direct: “You Muslims (Indian) are cowards. Rivers of blood will flow in India soon and you will have just two choices: either become a true Muslim (i.e. Jihadist) or perish.” Revealing future Jihadist plans, he said: “You are completely devoid of leadership. We will provide you leadership under which you will become true Muslims (i.e. Jihadists).”


It is not some anonymous Jihadists alone who have been giving me these warnings, though they were more forthright than the so-called responsible leaders of this group. Prof. Khursheed Ahmad, vice-president of the Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan, for instance, told me in Islamabad in a recorded interview that Indian Muslims have been shirking their duty on Kashmir and they will have to answer before God on the Day of Judgement as to why they did not support the “Jihad” in Kashmir. Hurriyat Chairman and Kashmiri Jamaat-e-Islami chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani has, of course, been taunting Indian Muslims regularly for their supposed cowardice on Kashmir.


I believe Providence would like me to convey these warnings to the nation. Muslims in particular must beware: they should take care not to allow any one to provoke them into any indiscretion, particularly at a time when the country is involved in a bloody fight with the enemy.  It must be clearly understood that in the present case, the enemy is not only the enemy of our country but also the enemy of our religion. As realisation seems to be dawning among larger sections of people in Pakistan that Jihadism is their enemy as well, it is possible that we are able to fight it a little better.


Muslims must remember that they have to consult the Holy Quran for guidance in their day-to-day affairs. The model they have to follow is Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) and not terrorists like Ajmal Amir Qasab or destroyers of mosques in Kashmir like Mast Gul. Islam did not allow its followers to pick up a weapon even in their defence for the first thirteen years even though they were facing the worst possible persecution in Mecca. They were “permitted” to defend themselves for the first time in Medina when they were facing aggression from Meccans. Had they not defended themselves even then they would have been surely wiped out from the face of the earth, thus sounding the death-knell for the religion of Islam as well. But only a few years later, when the Prophet had become powerful enough to wage a war with Meccans, he chose peace even on terms that were considered humiliating by most of his followers. He signed a peace agreement known as the Treaty of Hudaibiya. And then when he entered Mecca victorious, a year later, facing no resistance, he chose to grant a general amnesty for all, even for those who had mutilated the dead bodies of his close relatives like his beloved maternal uncle Hazrat Hamza.


Vendetta, vengeance, blood feud, mutilation of dead bodies, etc. are mediaeval pre-Islamic practices of the Jahiliya, practices Islam came to fight against. Those who perpetrate such acts in this day and age cannot claim to be Muslims. They must give some new name to their Faith. In any case Muslims cannot accept them as their co-religionists.

Note: This article is based on an earlier write-up published in the Times of India in 1999.




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  1. Mr. Basha is right. Calling Islam a religion of the Jahiliya would not be a fair comment. Far from that! It would be outrageous. However, the very headline of my article is: Religion of the Jahiliya: Jihadism is Kufr, not Islam. It is JIhadism that I am calling Religion of the Jahiliya and Kufr, not Islam.


    The more important issue for us, however, at the moment and of more urgent and practical relevance is the attempt being made to get us Indian Muslims embroiled in an internecine conflict. There is no other meaning of the repeated attacks from across the borders. The question that should be engaging our minds is what we do about it as Muslims to tackle these marauders, in addition to what the government is doing as the guardian of our national interests.

    By Sultan Shahin
  2. This is in response to Sultan Shahin's outburst on the concept of "Jihadism". Sultan Shahin, made a overzealous remarks about Islam as the religion of Jahalia, which is not a fair comment on the religion. But then, one can understand his feelings about the misinterpretation of the religious beliefs by a few radicals in Islam.

    This is the malady of the radical Muslim thinking of the religion of Islam. They would quote a number of unauthenticated Ahadise Rasool to justify their stand on Kafirs vis-a-vis Jihad. According to them a Kafir, means a non-believer, has no right to live in this world if he does not accept Islam. This is nothing but absurdity of the thinking of these radical Islamists. If this is so, Allah would not have directed His Prophet Mohammed PBUH to tell the non-believers what He has said in Sura "Al-Kafiroon" and at the end of it, Allah directed Mohammed PBUH to proclaim "Lakum Deenukum Waliyadeen" meaning tell the non-believers, meaning Kafirs, that your deen (religion) is good to you, so is mine. This declaration sets everything to rest with regard to the Muslims relationship with Kafirs. If what is believed and practiced by the radical elements that Kafirs has no right to live on this planet, Allah's directions would have been different. It is these elements, who have not read the Holy Quran in its true letter and spirt, understood in part, read in part and the views emanating from such partial views would not be impartial. In yet another place, Allah says. "La Ikraha fiddeeni" meaning there is no compulsion in religion. What all these verses of Qur'an teach us; to live in perfect harmony with other religious groups.

    May be one of my fans who read my earlier post sent me an email questioning the validity of my statement wherein I called the so called Hadith according to which Prophet Mohammed PBUH had directed Muslims to attack India with a tiding that everyone would be assured of a place in Jannat (Heaven). I called this Hadit, a manipulated and concocted one, as there is no authenticity of this Hadith is available in the recognised Books of Ahadis, be it Mishqat or Sahih Bukhari or Muslim. But he went on to say that Allah had directed Muslims to rule over the world, which incidentally include India also. In my earlier article, I made it very clear that on the other hand, Prophet PBUH had once pointing his finger towards India had told the assembled Ashabe Karam (Companions of Prophet) that he was getting a cool breeze from India. It certainly meant and interpreted that Islam would spread in India and its followers would be very pious and righteous. These prophesies of the Prophet Mohammed PBUH always proved to be right and today India boast of highest Muslim population of the world, more pious, more well informed and more articulate than their counter parts even in the Arab world. Poet Iqbal summarised this hadit in one of his poems wherein he said, " Meere Arab ko Aayee, Thandi hawa jahan se; Mera watan wahi hai, mera watan wahi hai! meaning "my nation is one from where Prophet Mohammed PBUH received the cool and sweet breeze, that is India. This has been twisted by the radical elements and dreaming to impose "Nizame Mustafa" (Islamic rule) on India. It would remain dream for them, because when they cannot imopose "Nizame Mustafa" in any one of the Arab Muslim countries and even Pakistan, why should any one dream of imposing such a rule in India. Does any body thinks that what exists in Turkey, Albania, Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Yement, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Gulf countries, Libya and scores of other countries, is an Islamic rule? Certainly not. It is either kingship, or emirate or dicatorship, pseudo democaracy or individual presidency like in Libya and Egypt. My advice to these radical Islamists is first to go to these countries and  impose a true, "Nizame Mustafa" in all these Arab and Islamic countries  before thinking of imposing on others, leave alone on India.

    I can say with all vehemence and authority at my command that the kind of Islam that exist in Pakistan, is a far cry of Islam of Prophet Mohammed PBUH which was passed down to us by Ashabe Rasool PBUH. Its concept is new and is based on destabilising India, spread hate, brain wash youth, train and produce would be terrorists, in the name of "jihad" and send to India to indiscriminately kill innocent people besides destroying the properties. This is certainly not the Islam which was passed down to us by the great Sahabis of Islam. This is the kind of Islam being practiced and spread by the Talibans, which was the creation of Pakistan. Talibanisation of Pakistan is on the rise and the danger associated with it, is being felt by many in Pakistan. The liberal and more educated Pakistanis may not fully support the type of systematic brain washing going on by various Jamats to radicalise the society. But then, when people like Zardari is at the helm, perhaps, the weakest of the Presidents in Pakistan history, one cannot expect a saner Pakistan. The dangers are ahead and if this Frankestein is not put to sleep, and Pakistan would pay a heavy price in future. Pakistan is better advised to keep off Indian Muslims or face the music. The Muslims of India are capable of solving their problems as they have been doing for sixty years, when Jinnah created a moth eaten Pakistan, based on a frenzied "two-nation" theory and left a large majority of Muslims in India to fend for themselves in 1947. No body has any right to speak or fight for us or wage any kind of dastardly attack in the name of Islam. It did no good to the cuase of Muslims of India but on the other hand it maligned the greatest religion of the world, that is Islam.

    There is no place for hate or blood fued or vendetta and vengence in a civilised society to which Islam stands. In fact they are considered amongst the most destructive of major sins, likely to destroy the religion and the society as well. Those who believe in it or practice it do not belong to Islam but to a different religion carrying out such acts of vendetta or vengeance in the name of Islam, with a conspsiracy to defame its fair name. The whole world knew it, that Islam is a religion of peace and it teaches nothing but peaceful co-exist. Islam demands and expects that our relationship with mankind irrepective of caste or creed should be one of sincerity and responsibility. It should be one where we have respect for the honour, reputation and privacy of others. Islam teaches us that we are not only held accountable for our own attitudes and actions but also for anything else over which we have control or influence, in our society or the world around us.

    The educated Muslim class should rise up to spread the message of love, compassion and brotherhood. We need to reassure the nation that the type of Islam practiced in Pakistan is not acceptable to Indian Muslims. We do no support any violent activity of any individual doing in the name of Islam. We, the Muslims of India, are against the concept of "Jihadism" being propagated and exported by Talibans, which is nothing to do with the mainstream Islam. These are the forces out to destroy India's polity and social fabric and we, the Muslim of India, would never allow them to succeed in their nefarious designs. Besides, Indian Muslims would fight shoulder to shoulder with our Hindu brethern to eradicate the menace of terrorism from the sacred soil of India. We would not rest until peace and tranquility is achieved. All the people  irrespective of caste and creed are precious possession of this great country. It is not only the duty of the govt to preserve and protect it, but it is incumbent on each and every Indian to secure its place from these dangerous elements.

    Now it is the duty of Muslim Ummah to free its society from taking Islam to pre-jahilia period. Allah had sent His Messenger to Arabia to end the Jahiliat, where vengence, vendetta, blood fued, burrying of girl child alive, war of vengeance and scores of other jahilia practices were rampant. Prophet Mohammed PBUH through Islam succeeded in ending the period of Jahilia in Arabia, made them a most successful community whose  contributions to the civilized society were respected by various civilisations in the world. Such was the contribution of Islam to this part of the world. If, its followers today, misunderstand the very concept of "jihad" and try to carry out in the present day world, is nothing but return to the pre-jahiliat days in Arabia.

    Today the world has changed and the power equation has changed. All the Arab and Islamic countries depend on one or the other western country for its survival not only in acquiring military knowhow and equipment, but also technology and expertise. Muslims cannot live peacefully with hostility surrounding them. They have to realise that they cannot live without being good to their neighbours. Shun this radical mentality and spread the message of love and brotherhood. Love begts love.

    By A.M.Jamsheed Basha, Chennai, India
  3. What is Jihadism?


    The basic belief of Jihadism is that all non-Jihadists are kafir and deserve to be killed. As a result, they have so far killed about a million Muslims in Afghanistan and at least 50,000 Muslims in the Kashmir valley. They have also killed non-Muslims in Jammu and Kashmir. But their present and main long-term target is the Muslims of India. Beginning from the Bombay blasts in 1993, they have made several attempts to provoke massive anti-Muslim violence in the country. The recent Mumbai massacre is the latest in this series. [Sultan Shahin]




    Dear Sultan Sahab,


    This is Jihadism:


    "Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to 10 September 2001", by Steve Coll, New York: Penguin, 2004,


    Funding the Fundamentalists


    The motives of the White House and the CIA were shaped by the Cold War: a determination to kill as many Soviet soldiers as possible and the desire to restore some aura of rugged machismo as well as credibility that U.S. leaders feared they had lost when the Shah of Iran was overthrown. The CIA had no intricate strategy for the war it was unleashing in Afghanistan. Howard Hart, the agency's representative in the Pakistani capital, told Coll that he understood his orders as: "You're a young man; here's your bag of money, go raise hell. Don't fuck it up, just go out there and kill Soviets." These orders came from a most peculiar American. William Casey, the CIA's director from January 1981 to January 1987, was a Catholic Knight of Malta educated by Jesuits. Statues of the Virgin Mary filled his mansion, called "Maryknoll," on Long Island. He attended mass daily and urged Christianity on anyone who asked his advice. Once settled as CIA director under Reagan, he began to funnel covert action funds through the Catholic Church to anti-Communists in Poland and Central America, sometimes in violation of American law. He believed fervently that by increasing the Catholic Church's reach and power he could contain Communism's advance, or reverse it. From Casey's convictions grew the most important U.S. foreign policies of the 1980s – support for an international anti-Soviet crusade in Afghanistan and sponsorship of state terrorism in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala.


    Casey knew next to nothing about Islamic fundamentalism or the grievances of Middle Eastern nations against Western imperialism. He saw political Islam and the Catholic Church as natural allies in the counter-strategy of covert action to thwart Soviet imperialism. He believed that the USSR was trying to strike at the U.S. in Central America and in the oil-producing states of the Middle East. He supported Islam as a counter to the Soviet Union's atheism, and Coll suggests that he sometimes conflated lay Catholic organizations such as Opus Dei with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian extremist organization, of which Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's chief lieutenant, was a passionate member. The Muslim Brotherhood' s branch in Pakistan, the Jamaat-e-Islami, was strongly backed by the Pakistani army, and Coll writes that Casey, more than any other American, was responsible for welding the alliance of the CIA, Saudi intelligence, and the army of General Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq, Pakistan's military dictator from 1977 to 1988. On the suggestion of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) organization, Casey went so far as to print thousands of copies of the Koran, which he shipped to the Afghan frontier for distribution in Afghanistan and Soviet Uzbekistan. He also fomented, without presidential authority, Muslim attacks inside the USSR and always held that the CIA's clandestine officers were too timid. He preferred the type represented by his friend Oliver North.


    Over time, Casey's position hardened into CIA dogma, which its agents, protected by secrecy from ever having their ignorance exposed, enforced in every way they could. The agency resolutely refused to help choose winners and losers among the Afghan jihad's guerrilla leaders. The result, according to Coll, was that "Zia-ul-Haq's political and religious agenda in Afghanistan gradually became the CIA's own." In the era after Casey, some scholars, journalists, and members of Congress questioned the agency's lavish support of the Pakistan-backed Islamist general Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, especially after he refused to shake hands with Ronald Reagan because he was an infidel. But Milton Bearden, the Islamabad station chief from 1986 to 1989, and Frank Anderson, chief of the Afghan task force at Langley, vehemently defended Hekmatyar on the grounds that "he fielded the most effective anti-Soviet fighters."


    By Aamir Mughal
  4. But it can best be described as Jihadism, as its central belief system is based on a wilful misinterpretation of the Islamic concept of Jihad. It can also be called Talibanism, as the Taliban of Afghanistan, who studied in Pakistani madrasas run by the Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Pakistan are its most avid practitioners. [Sultan Shahin]


    Dear Sultan Sahab,

     "How Afghanistan' s Stern Rulers Took Power," by JOHN F. BURNS and STEVE Levine, New York Times, December 31, 1996


    When neighbors came to Mullah Mohammed Omar in the spring of 1994, they had a story that was shocking even by the grim standards of Afghanistan' s 18-year-old civil war.


    Two teen-age girls from the mullah's village of Singesar had been abducted by one of the gangs of mujahedeen, or ''holy warriors,'' who controlled much of the Afghan countryside. The girls' heads had been shaved, they had been taken to a checkpoint outside the village and they had been repeatedly raped.


    At the time, Mullah Omar was an obscure figure, a former guerrilla commander against occupying Soviet forces who had returned home in disgust at the terror mujahedeen groups were inflicting on Afghanistan.


    He was living as a student, or talib, in a mud-walled religious school that centered on rote learning of the Koran.


    But the girls' plight moved him to act. Gathering 30 former guerrilla fighters, who mustered between them 16 Kalashnikov rifles, he led an attack on the checkpoint, freed the girls and tied the checkpoint commander by a noose to the barrel of an old Soviet tank. As those around him shouted ''God is Great!'' Mullah Omar ordered the tank barrel raised and left the dead man hanging as a grisly warning.


    The Singesar episode is now part of Afghan folklore. Barely 30 months after taking up his rifle, Mullah Omar is the supreme ruler of most of Afghanistan. The mullah, a heavyset 38-year old who lost his right eye in the war against the Russians, is known to his followers as Prince of All Believers. He leads an Islamic religious movement, the Taliban, that has conquered 20 of Afghanistan' s 32 provinces.


    Mullah Omar's call to arms in Singesar is only part of the story of the rise of the Taliban that emerged from weeks of traveling across Afghanistan and from scores of interviews with Afghans, diplomats and others who followed the movement from its earliest days in 1994. It is a story that is still unfolding, with the Taliban struggling to consolidate their hold on Kabul, the capital. The city fell three months ago to a Taliban force of a few thousand fighters, who entered the city with barely a shot fired.


    But the Taliban, despite their protestations of independence, did not score their successes alone. Pakistani leaders saw domestic political gains in supporting the movement, which draws most of support from the ethnic Pashtun who predominate along the Pakistan-Afghanista n border.


    Perhaps more important, Pakistan's leaders, in funneling supplies of ammunition, fuel and food to the Taliban, hoped to advance an old Pakistani dream of linking their country, through Afghanistan, to an economic and political alliance with the Muslim states of Central Asia.


    At crucial moments during the two years of the Taliban's rise to power, the United States stood aside. It did little to discourage support for the Afghan mullahs both from Pakistan and from another American ally, Saudi Arabia, which found its own reasons for supporting the Taliban in their conservative brand of Islam.


    American officials emphatically deny the assertion, widely believed among the Taliban's opponents in Afghanistan, that the United States offered the movement covert support. American diplomats' frequent visits to Kandahar, headquarters of the Taliban's governing body, the officials insist, were mainly exploratory.


    In fact, American policy on the Taliban has seesawed back and forth. The Taliban have found favor with some American officials, who see in their implacable hostility toward Iran an important counterweight in the region. But other officials remain uncomfortable about the Taliban's policies on women, which they say have created the most backward-looking and intolerant society anywhere in Islam. And they say that the Taliban, despite promises to the contrary, have done nothing to root out the narcotics traffickers and terrorists who have found a haven in Afghanistan under the mujahedeen.


    In its most recent policy statement on Afghanistan, the State Department called on other nations to ''engage'' with the Taliban in hopes of moderating their policies. But the statement came as the Taliban were tightening still further their Islamic social code, particularly the taboos that have banned women from working, closed girls' schools, and required all women beyond puberty to cloak themselves head to toe in garments called burqas that are the traditional garb of Afghan village women. The result, so far, is that not a single one of the member countries of the United Nations has recognized the Taliban government and none have come forward with offers of the reconstruction aid the Taliban say will be needed to rebuild this shattered country. In the words of Mullah Mohammed Hassan, one of Mullah Omar's partners in the Taliban's ruling council, ''We are the pariahs of the world.''  


    On the Rise


    Catching the Tide Of Discontent


    How the Taliban succeeded in pacifying much of a country that had spent years spiraling into chaos is not, as their progress from Singesar to Kabul attests, primarily a question of military prowess. Much more, it was a matter of a group of Islamic nationalists catching a high tide of discontent that built up when the mujahedeen turned from fighting Russians to plundering, and just as often killing, their own people. By 1994, after five years of mujahedeen terror, the Taliban was a movement whose time had come.


    One man who has seen more of the Taliban than any other outsider, Rahimullah Yusufzai, a reporter for The News in Pakistan, put it simply: ''The story of the Taliban is not one of outsiders imposing a solution, but of the Afghans themselves seeking deliverance from mujahedeen groups that had become cruel and inhuman. The Afghan people had been waiting a long time for relief from their miseries, and they would have accepted anybody who would have freed them from the tyranny.''


    In any case, Mullah Omar contends that the decision to act at Singesar was not, at the time, envisaged as a step toward power.


    Although he is universally known in Afghanistan as mullah, or giver of knowledge, he is a shy man who still calls himself a talib, or seeker after knowledge. He has met only once with a foreign reporter, Mr. Yusufzai. Mullah Omar said at their meeting in Kandahar that the men at Singesar intended originally only to help local villagers.


    ''We were fighting against Muslims who had gone wrong,'' he said. ''How could we remain quiet when we could see crimes being committed against women, and the poor?''


    But appeals were soon coming in from villages all around Kandahar. At about the time the two girls were being abducted in Singesar, which is in the Maiwand district 35 miles to the west, two other mujahedeen commanders had confronted each other with tanks in a bazaar in Kandahar, arguing over possession of a young boy both men wanted as a homosexual partner.


    In the ensuing battle, dozens of civilians shopping and trading in the bazaar were killed. After the Taliban took control of Kandahar, those commanders, too, ended up hanging from Taliban nooses.


    With each new action against the mujahedeen, the Taliban's manpower, and arsenal, grew. Mujahedeen fighters, and sometimes whole units, switched sides, so that the Taliban quickly came to resemble a coalition of many of the country's fighting groups. The new recruits included many men who had served in crucial military positions as pilots, tank commanders and front-line infantry officers in the Afghan Communist forces that fought under Soviet control in the 1980's.


    After a skirmish in September 1994 at Spinbaldak, on the border with Pakistan netted the new movement 800 truckloads of arms and ammunition that had been stored in caves since the Soviet occupation, there was no force to match the Taliban. Moving rapidly east and west of Kandahar in the winter of 1994 and the spring of 1995, they rolled up territory. Sometimes, using money said to have come from Saudi Arabia, Taliban commanders paid mujahedeen commanders to give up.


    But mostly, it was enough for Taliban units to appear on the horizon with the fluttering white flags symbolizing their Islamic puritanism. ''In most places, the people welcomed the Taliban as a deliverance, so there was no need to fight,'' recalled Mr. Yusufzai, the Pakistani reporter, who has spent more time with the Taliban than any other outsider.


    Another event in September 1994 gave the Taliban their most important external backer. Naseerullah Babar, Pakistan's Interior Minister, had a vision for extricating his wedge-shaped country from the precarious position in which it was placed when it was created in 1947 by the partition of India from territories running along British India's frontiers with Afghanistan.


    Mr. Babar saw a Pakistan linked to the newly independent Muslim republics of what had been Soviet Central Asia, along roads and railways running across Afghanistan. He believed that stability in Afghanistan would mean a potential economic bonanza for Pakistan and a strategic breakthrough for the West. ''It was in the West's overall interest,'' he said in an interview in Islamabad, Pakistan's capital. ''Unless the Central Asian states have an opening to the sea, they will never be free from Russia.''


    With the rise of Taliban power around Kandahar, Mr. Babar spied a chance to prove the vision's practicability. Using Pakistan Government funds, he arranged a ''peace convoy'' of heavily loaded trucks to run rice, clothing and other gifts north from Quetta in Pakistan, through Kandahar, and onward to Ashkhabad, the capital of Turkmenistan.


    But outside the American-built airport at Kandahar, a mujahedeen commander guarding one of the thousands of checkpoints that had made an obstacle course of any Afghan journey seized the convoy, demanding ransom. Once again, the Taliban intervened, freeing the convoy and hanging, again from a tank barrel, the commander who hijacked it.


    Mr. Babar's subsequent enthusiasm for the Taliban gave rise to a widespread belief among the the group's opponents that they were a Pakistani creation, or at least that their growing military power was sustained by cash, arms and ammunition from Pakistan. Because of Pakistan's close ties with the United States, it was a short step for these Taliban opponents to conclude that Washington was also backing the Taliban.


    After Kabul fell in September, Americans venturing into non-Taliban areas north of Kabul faced a common taunt from soldiers of the ousted Government of President Burhanuddin Rabbani. ''The Taliban are American puppets!'' they said.


    But while that was not accurate, there were ties between American officials and the growing movement that were considerably broader than those to any other Western country.


    From early on, American diplomats in Islamabad had made regular visits to Kandahar to see Taliban leaders. In briefings for reporters, the diplomats cited what they saw as positive aspects of the Taliban, which they listed as a capacity to end the war in Afghanistan and its promises to put an end to the use of Afghanistan as a base for narcotics trafficking and international terrorism.


    Unmentioned, but probably most important to Washington, was that the Taliban, who are Sunni Muslims, have a deep hostility for Iran, America's nemesis, where the ruling majority belong to the rival Shiite sect of Islam.


    Along the way, Washington developed yet another interest in the Taliban as potential backers for a 1,200-mile gas pipeline that an American energy company, Union Oil Company of California, has proposed building from Quetta, in Pakistan, to Turkmenistan, a former Soviet republic that sits atop some of the world's largest gas reserves, but has limited means to export them.


    The project, which Unocal executives have estimated could cost $5 billion, would be built in conjunction with the Delta Oil Company, a Saudi Arabian concern that also has close links to the Taliban. Among the advisers Unocal has employed to deal with the Taliban is Robert B. Oakley, a former American Ambassador to Pakistan.


    American officials, however, denied providing any direct assistance, covert or otherwise, to the Taliban. Similar assurances were given to Russia and India, as well as indirectly to Iran, countries that were involved in heavy arms shipments of their own to the Taliban's main opponents, the armies of Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum and President Rabbani that control the 12 northern provinces that continue to resist the Taliban.


    ''We do not have any relationship with the Taliban, and we never have had,'' David Cohen, the Central Intelligence Agency official who directs the agency's clandestine operations, told Indian officials in New Delhi in November.


    Mr. Babar offered similar denials, asserting that ''there has been no financial or material aid to the Taliban from Pakistan.'' But Western intelligence officials in Pakistan said the denials were a smokescreen for a policy of covert support that Mr. Babar, a retired Pakistani general, had extended to the Taliban after the convoy episode at Kandahar airport.


    That support, the intelligence officials said, apart from ammunition and fuel, included the deployment at crucial junctures of Pakistani military advisers. The advisers were easy to hide, since they were almost all ethnic Pashtuns, from the same tribe that make up an overwhelming majority of the Taliban.


    Gaining Support To U.S. Diplomats A Rosy Picture


    American officials like Robin Raphel, the top State Department official dealing directly with matters involving Afghanistan, have placed heavy emphasis on the hope that contacts with the new rulers in Kabul will encourage them to soften their policies, especially toward women.


    They also say that the United States sees the Taliban, with its Islamic conservatism, as the best, and perhaps the only, chance that Afghanistan will halt the poppy growing and opium production that have made Afghanistan, with an estimated 2,500 tons of raw opium a year, the world's biggest single-country source of the narcotic. A similar argument is made on the issue of the network of international terrorists, many of them Arabs, who have set up bases inside Afghanistan.


    But as the Taliban consolidate their power in Kabul, the signs of cooperation are not strong. In the week before Christmas, as bitterly cold winds from the 20,000-foot Hindu Kush mountains swept down on Kabul, senior Taliban officials seemed to be in a more pugnacious mood than in October, when a counteroffensive by the Rabbani and Dostum forces came within 10 miles of Kabul.


    The attacking forces have since been driven back beyond artillery range, allowing the Taliban to concentrate on tightening their grip on Kabul's restive population of 1.5-million.


    The sense that those Taliban leaders now give is that they see little reason to accommodate the West. Reports from United Nations officials monitoring drug flows suggest the Taliban have done nothing to impede the trafficking and that in the key provinces of Helmand and Nangarhar -- accounting for more than 90 per cent of the opium production -- they are in league with the drug producers, taxing them, and storing some of the opium in Taliban-guarded warehouses.


    Turning Away Elusive Positions On West's Concerns


    Confronted with these reports, Taliban leaders have a stock response. ''We intend to stop the drug trafficking, because it is against Islamic laws,'' they have said. ''But until we can rebuild our economy, there are no other jobs, so now is not the time.''


    The Taliban position on those who support international terrorists is still more elusive.

    According to Western intelligence estimates, as many as 400 trained terrorists are living in areas under Taliban control, some of them with links to the groups that mounted the bombing of the World Trade Center in February 1993 and other major attacks, including the attempted assassination of President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt in Ethiopia in 1995 and attacks in France by

    Algerian militants.


    One of the most-wanted men of all, Osama Bin Laden, a Saudi Arabian businessman who has been called one of the most significant financial sponsors of Islamic extremists in the world by the State Department, has been spotted within the past month at a heavily guarded home in the Afghan city of Jalalabad, held by the Taliban since early September.


    But it is on their treatment of women that Western governments' attitudes seem most likely to hinge, and on that matter the Taliban show no sign of relenting. After a Taliban radio bulletin earlier this month celebrated the fact that 250 Kabul women had been beaten by Taliban in a single day for not observing the dress code, an Australian working as a coordinator for private Western aid agencies in Kabul, Ross Everson, visited one of the city's top Taliban officials, Mullah Mohammed Mutaqi, to appeal for a turn toward what Mr. Everson called ''the doctrine of moderation that the Islamic faith is famous for.'' Mullah Mutaqi stood up and waved his fist in Mr. Everson's face. ''You are insulting us,'' he said, Then, snuggling back into the blanket that Taliban officials wear around their shoulders for warmth in the unheated offices of Kabul, he made his clinching argument. ''I must ask you, are you the Muslim here, or am I?'' he said. ''If you Westerners want to help us, you are welcome. Otherwise you are free to leave Afghanistan. You may think we cannot survive without you, but I can tell you, God will provide the Taliban with everything we need.''














    By Aamir Mughal
  5. Pakistani “Islam” would indeed appear to be completely unrecognisable as Islam to a Muslim in any part of the world. Slowly but surely what appears to be a completely new religion seems to have caught the imagination of many people in Pakistan.  Its followers don’t, of course, consider it a new religion. Indeed this religion insists that it is Islam; in fact it calls itself true Islam or real Islam. But it can best be described as Jihadism, as its central belief system is based on a wilful misinterpretation of the Islamic concept of Jihad. It can also be called Talibanism, as the Taliban of Afghanistan, who studied in Pakistani madrasas run by the Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Pakistan are its most avid practitioners. [Sultan Shahin]



    Dear Sultan Sahab,


    Even more Background History of this Jihadi [Read Anarchy] Education!


    INDEPTH: AFGHANISTAN Back to school in Afghanistan CBC News Online | January 27, 2004

    The National | Airdate: May 6, 2002 Reporter: Carol Off | Producer: Heather Abbott | Editor: Catherine McIsaac

    When 1.5 million children went back in school in Afghanistan in the spring of 2002, a tough lesson was waiting for them. While the country welcomed some semblance of peace for the first time in years, war remained very much a part of its classrooms. Afghanistan' s teachers tried to erase war images from the textbooks, images that got there in the first place due in large part to Cold War policies in the United States.

    Textbooks are full of guns, swords and other images of war

    At a public school in Kabul, students and teachers are anxious for some kind of normal routine. Some children bring their own chairs to school, if they have them. The school was almost destroyed by war. There's no electricity. It's colder inside than out. The cement floor is freezing.

    But the students don't mind. The young women and girls at this school are back in the classroom after five years of banishment by the Taliban.

    Women in their 20s have returned to Grade 11. But they're not bitter, they're happy.

    Getting children back to school is a number one priority in Afghanistan' s post war government. But the big question is: what will they learn?

    A student learns to add and subtract bullets Math teachers use bullets as props to teach lessons in subtraction. This isn't their idea. During decades of war, the classroom has been the best place to indoctrinate young people with their duty to fight. Government-sponsore d textbooks in Afghanistan are filled with violence. For years, war was the only lesson that counted.

    The Mujahideen, Afghanistan' s freedom fighters, used the classroom to prepare children to fight the Soviet empire. The Russians are long gone but the textbooks are not. The Mujahideen had wanted to prepare the next generation of Afghans to fight the enemy, so pupils learned the proper clips for a Kalashnikov rifle, the weight of bombs needed to flatten a house, and how to calculate the speed of bullets. Even the girls learn it.

    "We were providing education behind the enemy lines."

    But the Mujahideen had a lot of help to create this warrior culture in the school system from the United States, which paid for the Mujahideen propaganda in the textbooks. It was all part of American Cold War policy in the 1980s, helping the Mujahideen defeat the Soviet army on Afghan soil.

    University of Nebraska

    The University of Nebraska was front and center in that effort. The university did the publishing and had an Afghan study center and a director who was ready to help defeat the "Red Menace."

    "I think Ronald Reagan himself felt that this was a violation of the rights of the Afghans," says Tom Goutier, who was behind the Mujahideen textbook project. "I think a lot of those working for him thought this was an opportunity for us to do the Soviet Union some damage."

    Goutier's personal involvement in Afghanistan began in 1964 as a young U.S. peace corps volunteer. Over the years, he rubbed shoulders with Mujahideen leaders and he learned Afghan languages. During the 1980s, his love of America and his love of Afghanistan merged.

    Tom Goutier

    "We were living in an era in which the Afghans were trying to learn to survive," he says. "They were fighting for their survival in which a million of them were killed, a million and a half wounded. So, at that time, there was a lot of militaristic thinking."

    The Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan in 1979. Its fighting forces were well armed and ruthless. The Mujahideen fought the Soviets throughout the 1980s with a lot of covert aid from the U.S.

    In 1986, under President Ronald Reagan, the U.S. put a rush order on its proxy war in Afghanistan. The CIA gave Mujahideen an overwhelming arsenal of guns and missiles. But a lesser-known fact is that the U.S. also gave the Mujahideen hundreds of millions of dollars in non-lethal aid; $43 million just for the school textbooks. The U.S. Agency for International Development, AID, coordinated its work with the CIA, which ran the weapons program.

    "We were providing education behind the enemy lines," says Goutier. "We were providing military support against the enemy lines. So this was a kind of coordinated effort indeed.

    "I eventually was involved in some of the discussions, negotiations for removing the Soviets from
    Afghanistan. I was an American specialist in these discussions and many people in those discussions said just as important as (the) introduction of stinger missiles was the introduction of the humanitarian assistance because the Soviets never believed the U.S. would go to that extent."

    "The U.S. government told the AID to let the Afghan war chiefs decide the school curriculum and the content of the textbooks," says CBC'S Carol Off. "What discussions did you have with the Mujahideen leaders? Was it any effort to say maybe this isn't the best for an eight-year-old' s mind?"

    "No, because we were told that that was not for negotiations and that the content was to be that which they decided," says Goutier.

    There were those who opposed the text book project, such as Sima Samar who ran a school in those days, but opposition did little good.

    Sima Samar

    "I was opposing but we had no choice," says Samar, who served as minister of women's affairs for the interim government that ran Afghanistan after the Taliban were driven out. "It was already done and… nobody had the freedom to speak against all those things."

    "I was interested in being of any type of assistance that I could to help the Afghans get out of their mess and to be frank also anything that would help the United States in order to advance its interests," says Goutier.

    American interests were well served. But after the defeat of the Soviet empire, the U.S. abandoned Afghanistan. The country descended into civil war. The U.S. gave almost no money to help rebuild after the war against the Soviets and no money to rewrite the school textbooks.

    Rashid loves school but he says he and the other boys don't understand why their books are filled with war.


    Eleven-year- old Rashid lives in Kabul. His father returned from where the family was hiding one day to check on their apartment and he was shot dead. His country has been at war for his entire life.

    "And in other countries have peace and Afghanistan, why Afghanistan haven't peace? I think with myself, why Afghanistan haven't peace?" he says. "And my mother say to me, there's no country to help Afghanistan. "

    The boys go to school in the afternoon when the girls go home. Rashid loves school but he says he and the other boys don't understand why their books are filled with war.

    "The Afghan people hate the wars," he says. "This is big mistake to war. This war is not good to small boys and their books."

    The teachers at Rashid's school agree. They say the books must change, that nobody is happy that they're being used in school, not teachers, not students.

    Homa Yousef

    Homa Yousef, an author and history teacher, is leading a campaign to change her school's curriculum. She had no work under the Taliban. When she returned, she found the extreme Taliban religious ideology still in the school system. But it's the war propaganda, she says that disturbs the students most.

    "These lessons are like pouring salt in their wounds, referring to guns, tanks and killing," she says. "The students themselves say they don't benefit in any way from these lessons, and their level of understanding won't increase by taking these classes. The memories of war will appear again, and most people have lost a father or brother or had their homes looted."

    The students represent any hope Afghanistan might have to build a civil society, models of that of other countries. But the young people fear Afghanistan may be sucked into more war if they can't change the country's values.

    Scholars go through the textbooks line by line locating hateful passages. They circle references to Mujahideen and Jihad and substitute them with innocuous words like apples and oranges.

    Most schools are in ruins

    There's a tremendous desire for change in Afghanistan. The interim government has declared education the bedrock of Afghanistan' s future. It wants to overhaul the school system and modernize education. The task is enormous. Most schools were in ruins in the spring of 2002, some bombed out and abandoned.

    Even at the Ministry of Education, the corridors were clogged with broken furniture. There's no heat in the offices where Kabul scholars labour to rewrite the school curriculum. They go through the textbooks line by line locating hateful passages. They circle references to Mujahideen and Jihad and substitute them with innocuous words like apples and oranges.

    Scholars work on the new school curriculum  Din Mohamad Mlitzer, the director of the new
    curriculum for the Ministry of Education, says there are three objectives:

    To make a good Muslim

    To make a modern Afghan

    To make someone who loves peace

    "No one is being paid (at the Ministry of Education) and the work is very hard, trying to remove a culture of violence that was in the society long before the Americans paid to put it into writing," says CBC's Carol Off. "Can you really change those values in your society by changing these words in your books?"

    "It's difficult, really it's difficult, it's very difficult," says Mlitzer. "But we tried, tried to make the people civilized. But it's a value coming from our father's father's forefathers and changing of that is not too easy. It takes time."

    The latest war in Afghanistan is now over but there's a constant threat of a new one. In the markets, tailors make uniforms for the stream of young men who want to be mercenaries. Only hunting guns are sold now since the heavy weapons are banned. But they still exist, woven into the very fabric of the country.

    The Afghan children who returned to school in 2002 got new textbooks with new ideas but from the same old publisher. The University of Nebraska secured the contract again for $6.5 million from the United States government.

    However this time there was a promise that they will not contain war propaganda.

    "I did discuss with the people who went to fund again the textbooks, the curriculum for the schools," says Sima Samar, "I said please, we don't want that kind of things. They should include even human rights in the textbooks instead of all those. They should remove all the jihad items from the book. So this time they said they promise that there will be nothing violent in it."

    Instead of learning how to use a land mine, children will now learn how to avoid one. Instead of learning how to make war, hopefully they'll now learn how to avoid it.

    The children of Afghanistan don't need books to tell them about war. It's all around them. But only a fraction will be exposed to the new ideas in the school system. Only three per cent of all
    Afghanistan' s girls have enrolled and 39 per cent of its boys.

    For those who are privileged enough to attend, aid agencies are rushing to supply furniture and equipment and the Afghan government has introduced the new curriculum. Instead of learning how to use a land mine, children will now learn how to avoid one. Instead of learning how to make war, hopefully they'll now learn how to avoid it.

    "All the people in Afghanistan are hungry for peace, especially the younger generation," says Homa Yousef. "They have lots of enthusiasm to learn. That's why we must work hard to ensure the textbooks match their level of understanding so that they can become useful to society."

    The pleasures of childhood are so simple. A kite to fly, a friend to share your dreams with, maybe a good storybook. In Afghanistan, a child's pleasure is simply an end to 23 years of war.




    By Aamir Mughal