Naming the Terrorists

10 May

{Wrote this blog about two months ago, revised some of it today}

One of the most difficult matter with which Muslims have to deal with is,  naming the terrorists.The enemy that is killing them.

This problem is unique for Muslims. No other nation or group has to deal with this problem with so much complication.

For, rightly or falsely, American public ‘might” assume these are terrorists are Extremists Muslims or extremists Arabs (anyone watching 24 can figure this out), Europe can assume these are groups who are threatened by their civilization and way of life, their intellectuals can describe that these are results of their leaders policies, India can say that these are terrorists sent by Pakistani’s, Russians can put blame on Chechans, Sirilankan’s can say they are Tamil.

What should Muslims do? Whom should Pakistani’s point out if the schools are blown in Swat?

Where should they put blame if the Civilian-Guards are rounded up and their ears are chopped of?

Whom they protest if people living in Swat are killed and thrown in the choks.

How you label and describe the enemy that is among you?

The basic failure of the American and Pakistani agencies is label these groups simply Taliban. They failed to explain how these entities threaten the core of the country and society.

Western societes can more easily accept and define names like Taliban, Al-Qaeda, etc… as terrorists or extremists  because these words are alien to them. They are not part of their vocabulary. To them they clearly label some foreign entity. Some bearded person wearing Imama on head and Shalwar Kameez (oh! he looks like khoomenies in Iran), sitting in some crazy looking place planning to destroy everything. He speaks in the description of history that is alien the them. He uses words that are gibrish to them. His interpretations of events, current affairs, etc… is not what they used to. Their mind can relate such persona more easily to evil, because they are strangers to them. {you will find many Americans who belive that Pakistan and Afghanistan are part of Mideleast}

For muslims this is quite difficult.

A bearded person wearing Shalwar Kameez, having chadar on his shoulder is not some foreign thing to Pakistani’s.  Even in Lahore a bearded Pathan wearing Shalwar Kameez, having gun on his shoulder and guarding some street is not so foreign thing. The person arrested by police during attack on the Police Training Camp at Lahore looked similar to many of the Pathans at local tandoor ( basically Tandoor is word for oven but used at synonym for the shops having Oven and selling fresh bread/ROTI ).

Pack of bearded people shouting Anti-American slogans does not make them terrorists. In a country where protests mostly result in destruction of public property, picture of Maulvis burning a bus does not mean that religious theocracy is overtaking.

In sum, they cannot completely relate their outlook, words, interpretation of history to the evil. Previously evil to Paksitani’s was related to India, Communists of Russia, etc… They were people defined by their nationality, by their religion; Indian’s were Hindus (even when they had largest Muslim population), Russian’s were God Less communists trying to invade Muslim Pakistan, …. This time People are from within our region, they are Muslim, they look like us!

Someone has to do lot of work to define what makes people and organization that unacceptable; even when their outlook is similar to yours.

To do that you need people who speak in the same language as them. That’s where both American and Muslim intellectuals have failed.  They have used people appearing foreign to the Muslim public, in defining what the Terrorist is.  Unfortunately many of these people trashing terrorists appears to be equivalently trashing Islamists-political movements. They fail to grasp that people who are not supporter of Taliban might not be supporter of  Secular forces also. People who will not lift finger for Taliban might be too much protective to the Madrassas.

This creates a conscious and unconscious effort in the society to protect or atleast not protest agianst the acts which even they will not support. This current event of the lashing of girl in SWAT is clear example. No one wants this to happen but no one is coming up to protest against  it. Any debate on this run into the same dead end, where both Taliban claiming their actions to be Islamic and their aggressive so-called moderanists also giving this benifit.

One must also recognize that the threats that have been posed to Pakistan for more than 50 years were not by these people. They came from other side, quite different side I may say.  For example the recent attack in Lahore, where it was easy for Indian media to describe it as act of Taliban, because they have only one thought about Islamic militants, taliban etc, that these are chaotic forces, terrorists which can do anything. But it will be difficult to convince Pakistani for that; and not surprisingly to every other logical mind. Why will muslim-militants attack Srilanka? and why Cricketers? They dont have to do anything with any of the political agenda these people have.  It is more easy to assume that India’s RAW or some other agency might be involved than to assume that someone from North will kill the people playing the game loved by it’s countrymen.

This failure on part of the society to recognize the enemy within is creating the rift. It is creating a tension, where one part is too much in anger to hear other side.  We have to Name the Terrorist , define it with clear understanding that they have nothing to do with religion.

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Posted by on May 10, 2009 in America, Islam, People, Uncategorized


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