Fight religious extremism, with religion

Published: August 19, 2011

Why are these youth so susceptible to succumb to Taliban’s misguidance?

Aqib took a sip of cappuccino at a Starbucks outlet in the Canary Wharf area of London. He graduated from LSE last year and is now working as an investment banker at one of the world’s leading bank (albeit a bailed out one after the 2008 economic meltdown).

Pointing out the economic prosperity of London, he confidently exclaimed:

“We have invested too much in religion whilst the West has excelled in all discipline of sciences. Look, all this development took place in the last 100 year or so when the West shunned religion and secularism took a stronghold in public decision making.”

Aqib, a big fan of Christopher Hitchens, quoted his recent televised debate with Tony Blair where the former argued that religion has done more harm than good for the society. Hitchens is accompanied in this world view by other neo-atheists including Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris.

Quite a few Pakistani youth I have met in UK endorse my friend Aqib’s view that religion has impeded Pakistan’s progress. Aqib gave the example of General Zia’s manipulation of Islam for his own political gain and the recent atrocities of Tehreek-e-Taliban.

However, this new-age religion bashing is a gross over simplification of humanities’ broader problems. In many cases religion is made a scapegoat for social and economic crisis. In the instance of General Zia and Tehreek-e-Taliban, it can be subtly argued that the scripture speaks in contrast to the actions of these individuals.

Here it will be erroneous to suggest that religion is the culprit, rather the havoc is brought about by the misuse of religion. My fellow The Express Tribune contributor Anas Abbas rightfully wrote in his recent column that the violent onslaught of the Taliban can be mitigated by countering it with the evidence from Holy Quran and Hadith. For instance, many of the victims of the Taliban’s senseless violence are women and children. However, Javed Ghamidi in his essay ‘The Islamic Law of Jihad’ points out that once in a battle when the Prophet (PBUH) was informed that a women had been killed, he emphatically forbade the killing of the women and children (reported by Abdullah Ibn Umar).

Last year in August, Al-Hidayah organised a two-day conference on terrorism at the University of Warwick. The founder of Al-Hidayah Dr Tahir-ul-Qardi presided over the conference and elaborated on his recent 600 page fatwa against all kinds of terrorism. The conference was covered by major media networks and it was not only significant for its contribution to Islamic literature against terrorism but also because Dr Qadri is a well known figure in Pakistanwith millions of devotees. While speaking at the conference, Dr Qadri stated:

‘I have announced an intellectual and spiritual war against extremism and terrorism. I believe this is the time for moderate Islamic scholars who believe in peace to stand up’

As Pakistan struggles against ongoing terrorist attacks, we should tackle some difficult issues rather than simply shrouding the problem under Tehreek-e-Taliban’s disoriented religious outlook. True, their dogma misleads unsuspecting youngsters to the path of suicide bombing, but why in the first place these youth are so susceptible to succumb to Taliban’s misguidance?

From the information we have, two facts out-stands the rest. In the first place, those who are involved in terrorist activities have little or no formal education. Those who were enrolled in local madrassas have rudimentary religious education characterised by blind belief in whatever the ‘master jee’ spelt out. Understanding and contemplating the scripture directly is totally neglected. As such, their madrasa’s ‘master jee’ is easily replaced by a Taliban militant who performs a duo role of ‘maulana sahab’ and commander-in-chief.

Secondly, victims of the Taliban’s dogma lie at the bottom of the social scale. They belong to families of peasants, agricultural labourers, daily wage earners and many are indigent and pauper. Most of the recruits have come from the tribal regions of North-West Pakistan which has a meager level of economic development. Coupled with the frustration of poverty, the Tehreek-e-Taliban can conveniently channel the local indignation against government’s implicit approval of drone attacks to their benefit.

Cutting the shoots will not resolve the menace of terrorism until the roots are destroyed.

Lack of education and poverty not only fuel terrorism in case of the local Taliban, it also play havoc in other scenarios such as the gruesome political and ethnic violence Karachi has witnessed this year. So far the government has been either inept or unwilling to address the problem for a long term solution. But, troubleshooting will only be effective if those endowed with sound religious knowledge, out-rightly counter the Taliban’s malcontent with the peaceful and humane teaching of Islam.

Religion, rather than a nuisance can successfully act as a countervailing force to hate-mongering.

My friend Aqib disagrees with me.

Like Dawkins, he believes humanity will be better off without religion.

Stalin also believed that and according to some, so did Hitler — except during the process they annihilated 50 million people.


Hassan Talal Maitla

A student of economics at the University of Warwick and the President of the university's Islamic Society

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

  • Omair

    Invested too much in religion?

    For a state created on the basis of religion – and the premise against humanity that one religion cannot co-exist another – REALLY? Invested too much? What did we expect? Recommend

  • Azhar

    If you have read through the article above then do read this article.

    It is the decline of the traditional islamic education is the reason why these extremist elements have propped up within societies. The extremist elements in some places have filled the void that has been created exactly due to lack of traditional islamic education.

    It is quite naive to even suggest that the world would be a better place without religion. So people who do believe this are actually suggesting that human tendencies such of lust for power and money can be done away with without religion. Were WW1 and 2 religious wars in which millions were killed. Or do these wars have more to do with politics of power. Do you really think that the war in Iraq is about religion or is it more about greed. What about cold war. What about the purges by Stalin and Mao. What about the military industrial complex. Why was Nato so keen in launching war in Libya while they neglect dictators who have killed many more people than Gaddafi. Nato countries are quite secular aren’t they.

    The only reason why Western countries seem to be prosperous is because of economics. Its all about money. When the pie shrinks and the rule of law becomes limpy then believe me secular societies will be worse as compared to religious ones.

    I can go on and on laikin jin kay dilon pay parday paray huain hain un ka koi kya kar sakta haiRecommend

  • Silas

    Your last two lines about hiltler and stalin are totally wrong:
    Yes, Hitler and Stalin killed a lot of people. But they didn’t do that to finish religion. I’d like to ask you what you have been smoking to make that assumption. Their killings weren’t based on their hatred of religion and you saying that “except during the process they annihilated 50 million people” is totally wrong. World war 2 had many reasons. Religion wasn’t one of them. What those two did had nothing to do with their beliefs about religion. It was all a war of political ideologies, resources and anti-antisemitism.
    And you are trying to generalise the whole non-religious population through the acts of hitler and stalin. That way, i can also say, Osama was a muslim. Thus Islam is a violent religion.Recommend

  • d2412412

    Well Written , two extremes are rising from this situation among the youth , Either there are atheists or extremists , moderates are disappearing . It is very worrying for the futureRecommend

  • Nazia

    Education or rather lack of it is one of the primary reasons fanatacism in todays world.If only people understood that religion is private affair, to each man his own.The whole comparisions of mine is better than yours would then be over and the world would be a much better place!Recommend

  • Majid

    “Stalin also believed that and according to some, so did Hitler — except during the process they annihilated 50 million people.”

    Hitler was a Catholic and was fully supported by the Church. His assertions of his faith are clearly evident in Mein Kampf. Did Stalin commit atrocities in the name of his beliefs, or lack their-of? I am reminded of a great saying by Steven Weinberg, “With or without religion, you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

    I agree with your friend Aqib, for religions especially the Big 3, have killed millions in its name.A rational and unbiased look at Islamic history does indeed show justifications for massacres and terrorism. No one can dispute the bloodshed dealt upon the Jewish tribe of Banu Quraiza, when 600-800 men and boys were brutally killed after surrender, and violence inherent in the infamous ‘verse of the sword’, which abrogates the relatively peaceful verses from the Meccan era. Recommend

  • Silas

    So you are comparing the extreme of atheism with the extreme of islam. Whats the worst an atheist is going to do. Go on some public forum and bash religion. Make a blog? Write a book?
    And whats the worst a muslim extremist can do? Blow himself up and the people and buildings around him. So, who is more dangerous? To compare these too extremes, and to even call atheism an extreme is plain ridiculous.
    Atheists never kill for their beliefs. All the atheists, they are morally better than many muslims i’ve met. Morals come from within.
    And its moderates who acts as apologists for these extremist muslims that islam is turning into a religion of violence.Recommend

  • Cynical


    Very good refutal of the ‘Stalin’ and ‘Hitler’ analogy.

    With or without religion there will always be good people doing good things, and evil ones doing their evil bits; but it is only with religion you will find even good people doing bad things.
    It’s a dangerous addiction, that make apparently sane people into zombies.

    I think Dawkins is right.Humanity can do without religion.But if it is an issue of personal freedom of choice people can still practice their faith at their home, no need to wear it on their sleeve and bring it on the street.
    Doesn’t just being a good human being satisfy the tenents of all religion?Recommend

  • Ali

    Badly written article especially the analogy about Hitler and Stalin, whose main causes for the killing spree was racial, and Hitler even had the Catholic Church’s backing!

    What about all those people esconsed safely in their homes in the upper middle classes of Pakistani society that also preach Jihad and extremist views, they are not poor and go against your assertion that its only poor people that join the Taliban?

    We already have many versions of Islam in Pakistan and that’s whats causing so much tension and killing. By becoming a secular republic we can allow all sects to pray in peace be they wahabi or sufi barelvi etc.

    The Taleban and their supporters dont listen to other Scholars, they kill anyone who speaks against them or tries to counter their argument. One of our moderate scholars had to go to Malaysia with his family to live safely.

    less not more religion is the answer to our society.

    The only place i can see religious arguments being used are those de-extremisation centres where ex Taleban are being retaught.

    Other than that we should all be allowed to pray in our own way to our own God without let and hindrance and bombs going off in our mosques. The only way to acheive that is to become a secular country.Recommend

  • Hassan Talal Maitla

    @Silas: The analogy of Stalin-Hitler is given to indicate that zealots and fanatics will exist, whether with religion or without. Abandoning religion will not put an end to extremism, and as I argued in the article, religion can be used to combat extremism. This is not to generalise those who believe that humanity will be better off without religion.

    @Majid and Ali: Hitler was not a Christian and used the German Catholic Church in 1930s for his own gains, as the Church had long been associated with conservative ways of thought, which meant that they tended to agree with the National Socialists in their authoritarianism, their attacks on Socialism and Communism, and in their campaign against the Versailles treaty. However Hitler deceived Britain and Stalin by first winning their trust and then waging war against them. Hitler’s plan for German Christianity was the same. The outline, ”The Persecution of the Christian Churches,” summarizes the Nazi plan to subvert and destroy German Christianity, which it calls ”an integral part of the National Socialist scheme of world conquest.” The outline can be found under the Nuremberg Project, Rutgers Journal of Law and Religion. Recommend

  • Majid

    @Hassan Talal Maitla:
    It is known that Hitler was using faith to further his own agenda, and was biding his time replace Catholicism with Nazi ideology. Yet the fact remains that Hitler had the explicit backing of the Church and used religion in a most despicable manner. He also had the support of Grand Mufti of Jerusalem who used religion as a tool to raise more that 20,000 Muslim volunteers for S.S. troops.

    Staying on the topic of the article, I can’t help but concede that religion, specially the moderate kind, will have to play a major role in diffusing the extremist ideology. For that to happen, we’ll need our own Reformation. How is that to happen when so many mainstream Muslims and their leaders take Quran and Hadith literally– I have no idea in that regard. Secular humanism is too foreign a concept for many Pakistanis and they won’t be hospitable to the idea. Or if we are looking at the long term, it is even more important that we change our textbooks to teach more tolerance and peace. I remember reading Surat-ut-Tauba in 7th or 8th grade. It is an absolute travesty the we are teaching kids ideas and verses full of war glamorization which a young and immature mind cannot comprehend. Recommend

  • Dodo

    If Islam is/was the perfect religion then why are there ambiguities in it which can be (mis)used by these bigots to kill, kill and then kill some more? If it were all perfect shouldn’t all of the muslim world be the best place to live in? The point is, if you base your daily doings on religions it is bound to get you in a tight spot and give you opportunities to misuse it. Since its “sacred” no one would question you either, all you got to do is either quote a quranic verse or an “authentic” (if there is such a thing) hadeeth favoring your stance (and there are plenty of those to favor any stance, right or morally wrong). If you want to have religion keep it a private matter. Separation of religion and State is of utmost importance, that is the only solution to our troubles! No dose of “right religion” can fix that. Recommend

  • omer

    hitchens has explained on more than one occassion that hitler and stalin were not atheists n neither did they have any such agendas.only if u had done ur research.. as far as ur writing goes you are just stating the age old rhetoric that “whats wrong with religion is not part of religion”. this point of view has never done the world any good ever. n the question is not about what the correct interpretation of islam is? its about how religion is used by the powerful clergy? religious states all over the world are the most tyrranical ones and have the worst human rights record. religion is too powerful a tool to be given in the hands of a few n this is how it has always been form the time of the kharjites to the wahabis.. so on a individual level with a correct interpretation it might do some good but on a national or a global scene it will always be a menace..Recommend

  • Abhi

    Extreem is not good.
    FIghting religious extreemism with religion is good idea but fighting religious extreemism with common sense is better.Recommend

  • Loneliberal PK

    Religion is like the big, white elephant in the room that we’re just not supposed to address. Even though it is among the greatest beacons of inspiration for terrorists, miscreants and ignoramuses of all sorts around the world. we’re just not supposed to blame religion for it.Recommend

  • Faraz Talat

    Hassan, I’m afraid you’re sadly misinformed about Hitler and Stalin.

    Hitler wasn’t an Atheist. He repeatedly mentioned God in his speeches and the nazi belt buckles bear the words, “Gott mit uns” (God with us). Does that smell “secular” to you?

    Stalin may have been an Atheist, but he didn’t kill all the people in the name of Atheism. He did it out of his own greed for power. Remember the difference between doing something while you happen to believe in a certain ideology, and doing something because of that ideology.Recommend

  • Cynical

    @Majid and @Silas

    I didn’t have the courage to say what you two has articulated so eloquently.

    You are right about moderates.Even when their intentions are good they end up being apologists of the fanatic. Recommend

  • malik

    Hitler killed millions of Jews not because of his Christian beliefs, but because of his belief in the Aryan Supremacy theory which fed on the hatred of Jews which prevailed then. (Ant-semitic feelings are there even now in Europe.) Stalin killed a lot of people because he was a god-less communist.

    I suspect you have been watching the videos of the learned Dr Zakir Naik who says exactly the same things. And by citing the names of Stalin and Hitler and by spouting the same arguments, you are trying to bail out ‘some other religion’ which has a bad track record of violence right from its days of inception till today. Recommend

  • parvez

    Your argument although academic in nature has merit, as opposed to the thinking of your friend Aqib / Hitchens who resort to the easy way out. Recommend

  • tanoli

    Non reliegen wars killed more peoples than on reliegen its a fact communism, WW1 and
    WW2, coloniasm, civil wars, wars just for land.Recommend

  • Tanoli

    mughals invasion was also just for rulling india not reliegen.Recommend

  • Loneliberal PK

    Forget religion, and start believing in humanity. God, if He even exists, can very well take care of Himself.Recommend

  • Shumaila

    I think people like Hitchens oppose religion not just because religion has fuelled wars over history, but also because a state religion or an enforced widespread religion makes it very easy to control people – for example, you can easily get people to agree to a war if you say a) the country is at stake or b) our God is at stake. Nationalism and religiosity are the two most-abused sentiments as far as controlling the masses go.

    But combating extremist forms of religion with a more homely, personal form of religion is not a bad idea, if you can get extremists to actually listen to you in the first place. Because Islam depended for its spread on war and conquest, there are, as Dodo mentioned, quite a few verses and hadeeth promoting violence and these are primarily what are held up by extremists to support their views. Try to counter those with ideologies of peace, if you can :P Also, like someone said, these extremists consider themselves on a higher moral ground, and trying to teach them their religion, moreover a less orthodox, more casual version of it, is liable to simply get you labelled as kafir.

    Good luck with that.Recommend

  • Salman Arshad

    @ Author:

    An atomic bomb is used precisely to target women, children and crops for generations to come. It is impossible to use an atomic bomb against a specific military target. And that is never its purpose.
    So is it haram in Islam because the Prophet PBUH forbade killing women and children?
    Just like you use the Quran and Hadith to prove the Taliban wrong, the Taliban use the Quran and Hadith to prove you wrong.
    No one is “right”. Both simply BELIEVE in their versions of religion. And both are totally convinced with extensive reasons derived from interpretations of Quran and Hadith.
    And so it IS religion that is the problem here. You can only bring your BELIEFS as an argument to Taliban’s BELIEFS.
    You are not ready to take stands on principle, and neither are the Taliban.
    It is only a matter of chance that your beliefs might be relatively less harmful than the Taliban.Recommend

  • Sabih

    Fighting religion with religion? What do you know about religion? Religion has become extremely dogmatic – go try to argue in favor of gay rights, minority rights, women rights in Pakistan. You won’t find scripture on your side.
    And you will be labelled a kafir or worse – a heretic, before you can say Islam. Recommend

  • goggi

    There are medicines which heal the symptoms of an epidemic mental disorder but causes long-term very harmful side effects on the health of the people and a state of psychopathic panic in the whole society. Is there a rational solution to the issue? Recommend

  • Cynical


    “mughals invasion was also just for rulling india not for reliegen.”

    Wrong. Mughals invasion was for rulling Pakistan. Don’t you know India was a part of Pakistan before partition? Check your state sponsored history text-books! Recommend

  • Cynical


    Hats off!Recommend

  • Cynical

    @Salman Arshad

    You rock.Recommend

  • Cynical

    ‘Fighting religious extremism with religion’

    Sounds like saving a patient who has taken several doses of a deadly poison, by administering him with a milder dose of same poison.
    Don’t think it will work.Recommend

  • faraz

    If a person believes that a phenomenon X is correct, and in case of religion this belief is not exactly based on logic or rationalism, then how can you make that person change his beliefs? It’s not science that you can provide scientific evidence. Religion is not mathematics where 2+2=4 and not 3.9999.Recommend

  • Muhammad Haris Ansari

    @ Majid: the Jewish tribesmen of Banu Quraizah decided the eventual fate of their treachery themselves by unanimously accepting the punishment of treason given in their holy book, the Torah. They were asked what punishment would they prefer for their treason that compromised the security and sovereignty of the Islamic Emirate of Madina Munawwarah, and they chose the punishment given in Torah. Even in modern states in the Western Hemisphere, e.g. United States of America, the punishment for treason against the country is death. Get your facts straight before blurting out inherently flawed analyses-cum-immaturites.Recommend

  • Faheem

    If the lack of education is a reason of Talibanization, how would you explain the large number of educated people being indoctrinated by Hizb at Tahrir?Recommend

  • Minto

    Here we go again. Instead of commending the author who has suggested to lessen extremisim by educating the youth on the peaceful teaching of Islam, we yet again make a mokery of religion. If someone commits violence in the name of Islam its bad, and if someone wants to finish violence in the name of Islam thats bad as well?

    Seems like the anti-religion brigade’s hate for religion has made them so intellectually dishonest that they can’t even appreciate a religious person who via the principles of his religion, denounces fanatics and upholds freedom and peace.

    And I humbly request Shumaila that you read the essay which the author has quoted of Ghamidi sahab on jihad: This may help you retract your far fetched statement regarding violence in Quran and Hadith.Recommend

  • http://India Feroz

    If Religion is brought into Public affairs it will be used, misused, abused and refused. If after 64 violent years that brought blood and misery the citizens cannot pinpoint the problem they are destined to suffer further till the brain starts working. Hitler, Stalin etc were dictators but they never ever claimed to draw inspiration from any Religion. To claim that the murderous religious zealots roaming free across the country are from the lower strata lacking education, is a travesty of the truth. In today’s modern World to see people kill in the name of Religion tells us that these elements continue to live in a milieu of the middle ages and the human evolutionary process has completely bypassed them. The role played by conditioning should not be underestimated.and this is where the State should be faulted.
    Human values must transcend Religion because Religion is a man made phenomena, otherwise humans are no different from other animals. Recommend

  • KolachiMom

    If all the comments disagreeing with the author/pointing out the flaws in the blog post, are by youth. May I just say how very proud I am of you all. Thank you for putting the first smile on my face today. If you are the opposite extreme of what the author is suggesting, then we don’t have much to worry about.

    Did people really think the youth were going to react in any other way, except wanting to distance themselves from it all? Recommend

  • Silas

    Thankyou very muchRecommend

  • John Dale

    “Fight religious extremism, with religion”

    What utter drivel.

    Should we also fight murder with grievous bodily harm, or fight rape with indecent assault?

    Whilst its true that having a broken leg is better than having it amputated, I’d personally try to achieve a state of perfect legginess!Recommend

  • Sanity

    It would be too simplistic to say that religion is the only root cause of extremism. There are many such instances in the history to bolster this argument. However, I believe, religion can be used to manipulate relatively easily and used more often than other causes.

    In my opinion, the best way to cope with extremism is to give way to pluralism, co-existence and secularism. This is where the crux of the problem lies. Because when any religion, philosophy or ideology claims that adherents of that philosophy are the ONLY righteous people and therefore superior to others, it promotes extremism.

    As far as religions are concerned, they need to evolve with time and abolish the ideas or practices that are completely immoral. Otherwise, not only religions will perish but also more and more people will turn towards athiesm. Recommend

  • Loneliberal PK

    Nobody suggested that taking religion out of the equation will end all violence on earth. But it will certainly lead to one less wall dividing humanity, hence one less reason to fight over.

    Stopping people from over-speeding doesn’t ensure the end to all road traffic accidents. But it does cause a significant reduction in their occurrences.Recommend

  • vickram

    Qu’ran has two parts; one part, which is about love and compassion and peace, and another part, which is not about love and compassion but more about carrot-and-stick philosophy for the faithfuls.

    Peaceniks believe jihad is an inner spiritual struggle while the extremists who know Arabic very well say that jihad means killing and dying for the cause of Allah.

    The extremists follow the second part of the Qu’ran and the author wants to change the minds of these extremists quoting ‘love-and-compassion’ verses from the first part.

    Why this will not work? Because, most of the extremists who follow the extreme portions of the Holy Book are native speakers of Arabic and the peaceniks following the first part know the Holy Book only through translations. Hence, the charge that the former have misunderstood the religion and hijacked for personal end will not wash with them. They enjoy this moral authority that they know the Book better than you and me as they can read and understand the better without any intermediaries. They have a louder voice and it is their curriculum that is being studied in all the madrassahs.

    Extremists say, ‘my understanding of the Book is better than your and I am willing to kill anyone to implement my version’. The only way you can fight such people is by making their lives difficult and not by giving them more sermons. Recommend

  • Hassan Talal Maitla

    @Sanity: I completely agree with you on how to tackle extremism. However, I have noticed in the comments to my article that quite a few people are not willing to appreciate the idea that there are religious reformists and moderates who are working tirelessly to promote values of peaceful coexistence. The Hizmet Movement (khidmet in Urdu) of Turkey provides a fascinating case study. Inspired by the Turkish Islamic scholar Fetullah Gulen, the movement has established schools in more than hundred countries and is actively involved in inter-faith dialogues. It has become one of the largest Islamic movement around the world and has millions of followers. Having worked with Christian Aid, which is inspired by the Christian values of ‘Love thy God and Love thy neighbour’, I know personally that whilst it is a faith based charity, it is not faith limited. Last year they collected millions of pounds for the flood victims of Pakistan, majority of whom were Muslims.

    Religious people are not a homogeneous group of people and it will be unfair to assert that abortion clinic attackers, IRA or Al-Qaeda are the representatives of billions of religious people.Recommend

  • Volgograd

    Moderate outlook can be present in both religious and non-religious individuals. It has nothing to do with religiosity; rather it is a mindset. Similarly extremism is also not the monopoly of religion and as such, an extremist person can harbor religion to further his/her own personal aims. An extremist believer will want God to be on his side, whilst a moderate believer will want to be on God’s side.Recommend

  • rk singh

    @ Hassan Talal Maitla

    your argument is as stupid as saying fight obesity with food. As long as Islam is treayted as sacred cow, terrorism/religious violence will never stop. Islam needs revision and very soon too. No other people on earth ae as violent and unjust like muslims right now.Recommend

  • Anurag

    Absolutely agree with the author. Few individuals with chronic mindset can not be the sole representatives of a religion. Its about time, the silent majority take charge and dismiss the narrow minded views of extremist.Recommend

  • uzma

    Using something illogical as a weapon means fighting illogically. A thousand interpretations will be blasted and the fighting will never stop. Recommend

  • Loneliberal PK

    It is not actions of the religious terrorists that defame Islam. It is the silence of the Muslim majority in matters of stoning, lashing, chopping off hands, female circumcision, apostasy killings, blasphemy killings, gender-based discrimination, harassment of homosexuals, stark antisemitism, denial of scientific facts, and disrespect for the very Western countries they live and earn in..

    ..that makes people feel wary of Islam.Recommend

  • Awais Khan

    Islam is a religion of peace and it does not preach radicalism. Unfortunately the world relates Islam with extremism.Recommend

  • zain

    we are making islam a havoc or i say the more twist we give to it the more twisted we’ll become. Why not we see the other face of its believers and the good work they are doing for humanity. Rather then just writing over and over again on taliban who dont even represent the islam rather then using islam for there own purpose as zia ul haq did as mentioned above. And if a relegion free life is a ticket to have growth then why the big names of religion free states are going through bankrupcy and economic crisis. To Be a religious person or not does not give you developement. ‘There mothers had given birth to them(there sons) as free people. Who gave you right to imprison them. Every human is free.’ And thats the thing 2nd caliph of islamic world umar told and showed the world the true meaning of islam.Recommend

  • Marr

    A good article but… easier said than done. I know of people who attempted to do distribute translated versions of Hadith and Quran in some (comparatively literate) villages and they were shot at and followed and dogged and hounded. Abused Islam is an institution in and of itself and it cannot be done away with as much ease as we may like to thinkRecommend

  • HaGen

    I’m sorry but this story is just plain sad. You make an apology for these heinous actions and blame poverty? Where else in the world do people who have little or nothing blow themselves up? Yet alone where else are people considered martyrs and celebrated for fighting for their religion. You totally miss the point. But then again, maybe it’s me…Recommend

  • Loneliberal PK

    There are rich religious terrorists, as well as poor ones. There are educated terrorists as well as illiterate ones. They can be socially stable as well as unstable. They can be perfectly sane, or insane. They may have little to no knowledge of Islam, or they may be scholars. They can be Arabs or Asians, black or white.

    The only factor that remains consistent – the only common denominator among them all, is religion. So why are we so hesitant to call a spade, a spade, and try placing the finger of blame on religion?Recommend

  • Moiz

    Atheists are as much extremists as the terrorists.’Extremism’ is not classified by how much violence is created.

    An atheist takes a view that life without religion is the best way forward. A terrorist (who fights in the name of religion) believes that killing every man who does not abide by the religion just as he is following can be dispensed with.

    You see both views lie on two extremes and thus, both should be categorized as extremists.Recommend

  • Loneliberal PK

    Neither extremes are desirable, but if you suggesting that people Atheist extremists who make blasphemous images are as much of a problem as the religious extremist who kills hundreds of innocent people, then your view is incredibly twisted and biased.Recommend

  • Sanity

    @Hassan Talal Maitla:
    It seems that my comment is not fully understood or I have been unable to convey it properly. My argument included two major points:
    1) “the best way to cope with extremism is to give way to pluralism, co-existence and secularism…”
    2) “As far as religions are concerned, they need to evolve with time and abolish the ideas or practices that are completely immoral”
    Simply by holding inter-faith dialogue is not sufficient. Infact, inter-faith dialogue is mere show-off, because inside there brains and hearts they consider each other wrong. As I pointed out that religions need to interospect and purge themselves of immoral practices, which were quite rightly explained by Loneliberal PK: “matters of stoning, lashing, chopping off hands, female circumcision, apostasy killings, blasphemy killings, gender-based discrimination, harassment of homosexuals, stark antisemitism, denial of scientific facts, and disrespect for the very Western countries they live and earn in..”
    I would like to add to one more to the list, which is the term “Kafir”. If religions keep considering others as Kafirs, it is not going to create co-existence. For example, according islam adherents of all other religions are Kafir, even within itself many will fall into category of Kafir. How can one expect peaceful co-existence. Recommend