Stories about suicide bombings

How the two-faceted mindset of moderate Muslims ends up aiding militancy and terrorism

In recent years, there have been growing concerns that Islam’s major problem, as well as the world’s, is Islamic radicalisation, since Islam is one of the major and fastest growing religions of the world. These concerns are being voiced in various countries and have yielded various reactions ranging from apologetic defence (whereby some of the western liberals interpret it as a ‘reaction’ to the US hegemony) to outright xenophobia. Radicalisation is a major problem and there is no question about its lethal potential to inflict harm in the form of religious extremism and terrorism. However, though present, it is not as widespread in the Islamic world as is ...

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The Paris attacks are an act of war – against Islam itself

The appalling attacks in Paris were, as Francois Hollande said, an ‘act of war’. They were Islamism’s declaration of war on free society – but, crucially, they represented something else. An act of war, by Islamists, upon Islam itself. As Douglas Murray says, it is lazy and wrong to argue that these attacks had nothing to do with Islam. The repugnant creed of the Islamic State (IS) is certainly related to Islam – but it is also inimical to Islam. The scenes in Paris will shock Muslims world over; indeed, when we Muslims hear of gunmen shouting “Allahu Akbar” before committing the very acts of murder explicitly prohibited by the Quran, ...

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A foreigner’s perspective on Pakistan: The land of the misunderstood

As someone who grew up in the United States, I have sadly grown accustomed to hearing about drone attacks, suicide bombings and terrorists whenever Pakistan is mentioned. To an average American, Pakistan is nothing more than the place where Osama Bin Laden was killed or one of the most dangerous countries in the world with its mountains and caves inhabited by terrorists. Most Americans grow up knowing and believing this image of Pakistan with no compelling reason or need to challenge this perception. I am half-Colombian and have had the pleasure of spending a lot of time in the South ...

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Remember, remember, the fourth of December!

I remember that day. It was December 4, 2009. The residents of Rawalpindi were in shock. How could a mosque right next to the military headquarters, surrounded by military bungalows with a busy local market nearby be attacked in broad daylight? There were frantic calls made; mothers called their children’s schools, fathers held their sons by their hands in the mosques and brothers who had not spoken for years hysterically reached out to each other. First the family, then friends, then colleagues… was everyone we knew fine? They weren’t. Rawalpindi is a small city. A family member, a friend, a colleague, a friend of ...

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Iss parcham ke saaye talay

It’s been more than a decade since I have felt safe in my own country. Through times, I have experienced phases that this country has seen, but never have I seen such a demanding situation that seemed never ending. But now, finally, there seems a light at the end of this tunnel – maybe children will be able to play on the streets again… like I used to. Now, finally, we are taking the war to the enemy. I remember the day Lal Masjid was attacked. There were many discussions on various forums about whether the government was right in taking action ...

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I want my daughter back

August 20, 2001 – Islamabad airport: I said ‘Khuda Hafiz’ to my 17-year-old daughter, my only child; she was on her way to college in the US. She had the honour of being accepted at Yale University on a full scholarship and like always she had done us proud once again. Tearfully, I hugged her and whispered in her ear, “Don’t come back.” Quick on the uptake, she smiled that sweet endearing smile of hers and shot back, “Abba, you have brought me up with the lesson to have a mind of my own.” She defied me continuously for four years; came back twice a year during ...

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An old Christian lady and a suicide bomber…

“You have to make sure you press this little red button twice near your left pocket, not more than three feet away from the target. You know how much three feet is, don’t you?” This last point of the instructions came out of the so-called engineer’s mouth for the fourth time, along with bad breath and an unpleasant smell that emanated from his clothes which had specks of gun powder in several places. The boys didn’t know his real name but his reputation as ‘engineer’ was rock solid among the other members of the secret cell. No one ever questioned the logic of ...

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2012: the year al Qaeda staged a comeback

Somewhere, out there on a dust-ridden road of Somalia a fighter of al Shabab is walking around, Ak-47 clutched in his hands, keeping a lookout for government troops. While hiding in charred and mangled remains of a building in Idlib in Syria, a sniper from Jabahat al-Nusra is calmly scanning the battlefield, looking for Syrian Army troops to show up. Meanwhile somewhere in Mali, a fighter belonging to AQIM (al Qaeda in the Lands of Islamic Maghreb) stands over the ruins of some destroyed tomb of a saint. Destroyed, because according to the creed he has been taught, worshipping and paying ...

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Karachi violence: Murder on their mind

Several decades ago I read in an issue of the Time magazine about a murder in the woods somewhere probably in Ireland that frightened the song birds into silence. For nearly ten years no bird was heard chirping in the forest. For some days now I have been haunted by the report which I mentioned in a column in the good old days. When I visit Lawrence Gardens, the city’s central park, in the morning the thought that the birds continue to sing despite the many murders all around us is disturbing. Could it be that the birds here have grown ...

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Bleeding tears for Pakistan: Where have we failed?

Nothing is more refreshing than an evening jog in the park. The wind in your hair, the moist clods of earth under your feet; the almost tangy smell of damp, green grass and the mellow chatter of birds as they begin their daily rounds of “good-night!” to each other. But today is different. Rather than a gentle caress, the wind seems to lash out at me. The grass smells bitter and the normally rhythmic twitter of the birds is like an ominous chant, resounding in my ears, getting louder by the minute until I can take it no more. I surrender ...

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