FB   
 
Powered bysps
        Society for Policy Studies
 
 

 
Seedbeds of radicalism
Posted:Sep 22, 2017
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 
By Khaled Ahmad
 
Pakistan is in the grip of terrorism unleashed by university-educated youth who kill in the name of Islam. A Karachi gang that was recently nabbed was found to have connected with university-level teachers and their students who were on the take from the Islamic State under the banner of Ansarul Sharia (friends of the Islamic way). The gang is busted and even the police, specially targeted by them “for publicity”, were traumatised when told who they were. In the photographs that appeared on TV, they look divine with their facial hair styled like the Old Testament prophets. If you met them on the street you would go down on your knee and kiss their hand.
 
 
According to the Sindh police’s counter-terrorism department, of the 500 prisoners it had studied, 64 held master’s degrees and another 70 had bachelor’s degrees, proving that their indoctrination came from the country’s own textbooks. A girl from a well-to-do family devoted to Islamism in Hyderabad had actually run away to Syria to be trained as a suicide-bomber but was caught in time before she could kill fellow Muslims in Pakistan.
 
 
Education has produced terrorism. It sounds shocking but it is true: The kind of religion-based education given in Pakistan. Such influence doesn’t end even after students join engineering and medical university. Universities turn out nuclear scientists who claim they can make electricity for the whole of Pakistan from a single djin. The textbooks don’t let go of nationalism which in Pakistan is India-centric and is useful among Pakistanis for judging each other too because judgemental is what you become instead of being inquisitive.
 
 
Finally, you end up doing nothing to India but doing a lot of harm to fellow-Pakistanis. India can pay an Islamist in Pakistan to kill fellow-Pakistanis. Particularly vulnerable are liberal Muslims who tend to defend the minorities, just as liberal Hindus don’t like it when Hindutva street power goes after Muslims for handling slaughtered cows.
 
 
But are Muslims anywhere else better-off? Surveys tell us that the entire Islamic world is abysmal when it comes to education: It is either the idea of jihad — constant warfare — or rivalry within the religion which makes normal education redundant. Teaching Islam: Textbooks and Religion in the Middle East; Edited by Eleanor Abdella Doumato and Gregory Starrett (Viva Books, 2008) makes the point quite clear.
 
 
In 1947, Muslim leaders were British-Raj-educated but led populations who had received much of their religious instruction in the mosque and madrasa. In 1949, they agreed to plan a constitution based on the Quran and the Sunna, in other words, the Quran and the Hadith, known only to the cleric. This is the point where the Muslim leader in Pakistan abdicated his right to draft a modern constitution. The rest of the Muslim world went through the same kind of pattern: People lived according to the worldview of the mosque while “modern” dictators ruled them by decree postponing the pledge of Quran and Sunna. Just as Pakistan thought of democracy in 1947 and pledged Quran and Sunna, the Arab Spring agitation against “modern” dictatorship too thought of Quran and Sunna — the banner in Egypt’s Freedom Square said “na’am lil-sharia” (yes to sharia) — and when elections were held and the Islamic party won, it turned out that the new rulers were interested only in religious law which they thought was pure democracy.
 
 
The leave-it-to-the-masses approach adopted by the founding fathers of Pakistan allowed the religious parties who didn’t win elections to retire to the seats of learning. Non-clerical parties fought and won elections by paying lip-service to Islam. They ignored the fact that religious parties were steadily winning college and university union elections and thus dominated the campuses. The “modern” rulers went to the United Nations and signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights thinking all rights mentioned in the charter must be Islamic because how could Islam be opposed to human rights? It took half a century, and rule by an Islamist general in Pakistan, to realise that Pakistan had signed a charter allowing the right to change religion which Islam punishes with death.
 
 
With the passage of time, and the movement of the population from the village to the city and its elevation to the middle class, what was marginal in the shape of religious parties started becoming mainstream. Pakistan accelerated the process by opting for deniable jihad, in the process empowering the madrasa and its “mufti” leaders. The politicians delayed the process of rolling back democracy through religion by adopting Islamic rhetoric and stuffing the constitution with Islamic injunctions. They started saying Al-Hamdu-Lillah and Masha-Allah and allowed street power to trickle away to the non-state actors.
 
 
Last year, when the killer of governor Punjab was hanged, the clerical show of strength was frightening: The clerics held the killer had murdered a blasphemer and was therefore a saint for whom they built a mausoleum overnight. Today, university campuses are middle class; so is the army. And education is helping them look for the enemy within rather than without, within the Muslim community and within the Islamic world, as Pakistan goes on killing the Shia Muslims of Quetta after the Afghans have finished with them.
 
 
 
 
 
Print
Share
  
increase Font size decrease Font size
 

Disclaimer: South Asia Monitor does not accept responsibility for the views or ideology expressed in any article, signed or unsigned, which appears on its site. What it does accept is responsibility for giving it a chance to appear and enter the public discourse.
Comments (Total Comments 0) Post Comments Post Comment
Review
 
 
 
 
spotlight image Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo has confirmed his presence for the occasion. In an exclusive interview with INDIA REVIEW & ANALYSIS, Indonesia’s Ambassador to India, Sidharto R.Suryodipuro, reminded Nilova Roy Chaudhury that the first Chief Guest for India’s Republic Day celebrations, in 1950, w
 
read-more
The words of Ho Chi Minh  “Nothing is more precious than independence and liberty” rang true for the people of the erstwhile East Pakistan when, with increasing brutality, the West Pakistani oppression spread across the land, writes Anwar A Khan from Dhaka
 
read-more
In a significant boost to New Delhi's Act East Policy, India and Japan set up the Act East Forum on Tuesday as agreed during Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's visit to India this year for the annual bilateral meeting that would help to focus and catalyse development in India's Northeast.
 
read-more
During an awards ceremony honouring six serving and former diplomats and international civil servants for their contributions to world peace and development, the UN was hailed as an institution embodying the Diwali spirit of good overcoming evil. Among those who received the award was Assistant Secretary-General Lakshmi Puri, who is al
 
read-more
When a rising power challenges an incumbent one, war often follows. That prospect, known as the Thucydides trap after the Greek historian who first described it, looms over relations between China and the West, particularly America. So, increasingly, does a more insidious confrontation. Even if China does not seek to conquer foreign la
 
read-more
The first thing that one sees when a flight approaches New Delhi is thick smog that envelopes the city and its lack of greenery.  In almost all other major cities of India lack of greenery is the most obvious sight that one sees when approaching it by air.
 
read-more

Pakistan has agreed to allow the rupee to depreciate after holding talks with the International Mone­tary Fund (IMF) on the country's economy.

 
read-more

Two major global changes in the past year; the ‘Brexit’ referendum and the advent of Donald Trump, writes Sandeep Kaur Bhatia

 
read-more

It is also imperative for India to explore other regions for markets. Its trade deficit with Latin America has been narrowing. Also, its trade with Mexico, Colombia and Guatemala has increased, ...

 
read-more
Column-image

Title: A Ticket to Syria; Author: Shirish Thorat; Publisher: Bloomsbury India: Pages: 254; Price: Rs 399

 
Column-image

Gorichen, a majestic peak in the Eastern Himalayas at an altitude of 22,500 feet, is the highest in Arunachal Pradesh. Beautiful to look at and providing a fantastic view from the top, it is extremely tough climb for mountaineers.

 
Column-image

It is often conjectured if the reason for long-standing conflicts and insurgencies, in the developing world, especially South Asia, is not only other powers fishing in troubled waters but also the keenness of arms industries, mostly Western, to...

 
Column-image

Title: The People Next Door -The Curious History of India-Pakistan Relations; Author: T.C.A. Raghavan; Publisher: HarperCollins ; Pages: 361; Price: Rs 699

 
Column-image

Could the North Korean nuclear issue which is giving the world an anxious time due to presence of hotheads on each side, the invasion of Iraq and its toxic fallout, and above all, the arms race in the teeming but impoverished South Asian subcon...