‘In suicide attacks we trust’

Published: October 25, 2010
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We need to stop justifying these attacks and take action against terrorism.

Within hours of every terror attack that strikes the heart of a Pakistani city, you hear the holy warriors of TTP claiming responsibility for their “remarkable valour.”

It is unclear why the law enforcement agencies have not yet tackled these murderers head on.

These cowardly acts are marketed as a fitting response to the US drone strikes.

In other words, these are God-fearing mujahideen waging a war against the ‘infidels’. The term ‘infidel’ has lost its real meaning. Any and everybody can be declared an infidel at a moment’s notice by these fighters. After that conclusive declaration, no further justification for any action is required.

The sad part is that a number of the general population is sympathetic towards these beasts, because the Taliban use religion as a shield for their deeds. Let’s assume that these “oppressed and valiant Taliban” were not Muslims and these were communist rebels, resisting American invasion (so to speak). Would our sentiments still be in line with their modus operandi?

Religion as a weapon

In any war, strategy dominates the game. In this case, the TTP, or the Taliban in general, have brilliantly used religion to cover up their barbaric acts. There are educated people, in and outside Pakistan, who not only buy into all of this, but justify suicide bombings as an act of struggle against “imperial forces.” If you engage those individuals in any sane discussions, the counter-argument is always that Americans stage invasions and these acts are the repercussion.

Afghanistan, prior to the much-debated American invasion, was no symbol of peace and prosperity under the direct rule of these “self righteous and pious Muslims.” The sheer brutality and lack of human values were the hallmark of these “great visionary leaders” of the Muslim Ummah. Many would dismiss all of this as being Western propaganda, but facts from the independent and non-partisan media show volumes of incriminating evidence against these brutes.

The case in Pakistan is no different, as we have a hypersensitive religious society in action at all times. We can attract people’s attention within minutes if we use the name of religion, for better or for worse. The hardcore religious parties always have a soft corner for these beasts, as ideologically, they find common ground with the TTP and LJ and their likes.

Is Islam really in danger?

The common theme or slogan which is raised repeatedly is “Islam is in peril”. For 1,400 years or so, Islam has withstood all tests, challenges and dangers. This is an obvious fact. It should define every living and breathing Muslim’s faith. Nothing has, nor will anything ever, diminish the religion, as it is a divine message. On the other hand, it is incumbent upon Muslims, as the torch bearers of this divine message, to demonstrate the best of their character towards their fellow human beings.

In order to combat this menace, first and foremost the distinction between terrorism and holy war has to be established. The media voices its condemnation after every such incident, but it appears that all its pleas fall on deaf ears.

Time to unite

It is high time that all Muslim sects and their religious leaders collectively form an alliance to eradicate this evil. We try to follow the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in our appearance and argue with one another about minute details of how to perform salah. But do we really care about what the Holy Prophet (PBUH) would have done in this situation? What would have been his reaction to all of this? If he was the Messenger of good, then where is our goodness? Islam is not about the length of our beards and the colour of our turbans, but about how a human being submits to the will of God.

All mosques should be mandated to teach the followers the difference between the act of suicide, which is forbidden in the faith, and the true struggle in the path of the Almighty. Schools, colleges and all learning institutions should have mandatory education about this subject, so that myths can be eliminated.

Law enforcement agencies should be held to task by elected leaders to combat this menace effectively. Investigations should be transparent and must have targeted deadlines, so that future catastrophes can be averted. Prosecution and sentencing should be exemplary, so that people can get a clear and unified message of zero tolerance.

Enforcing good laws

There is this widely-held belief that terrorism cannot be eliminated completely. There is some truth to this debate; however, terrorism cannot be tolerated in its present form either. It is undoubtedly a  many-headed monster, yet chopping or knocking few of its heads will go a long way.

Those who vehemently relate this to the American presence in the region should be cognizant of the fact that even if the US troops were to leave today, this menace will still loom over everyone, in and outside Pakistan. The perpetrators will always find some issue to exercise their illogical agenda.

Law makers are you listening? If not, please do, before the Pakistan we know goes up in flames.

d.asghar

D. Asghar

A mortgage-banker by profession who also loves to write.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.