Jihadi Perils in Pakistan

By Moorthy Muthuswamyauthor To say that religious freedom in Pakistan is increasingly compromised is an understatement. Extremists in the form … Continued

By Moorthy Muthuswamy

To say that religious freedom in Pakistan is increasingly compromised is an understatement.

Extremists in the form of Taliban and others have begun to control large swaths of Pakistan’s territory. Although the militants have retreated from their initial march toward the Pakistani capital, their ability to destabilize the nation remains. Doubts persist whether the Pakistani government and its powerful military are able or willing to consistently stop the extremist advance. The nuclear-armed Pakistan has thus become a major strategic issue for the Obama administration.

Unable to contain the Taliban movement, the ruling Zardari regime caved in recently to agree to the imposition of a medieval Islamic law called sharia in the Swat valley as part of a “peace” deal. However, the Taliban have reneged on the terms of the deal by not laying down their weapons. The heavily armed religious extremists are dictating the lives of the people under their control though the enactment and enforcement of the sharia. Predictably, some powerful clerics in Pakistan have now called for the imposition of the sharia in all of Pakistan and beyond.

Some interesting statistical analysis of the Koran and other Islamic foundational texts carried out recently may explain the gradual descent of countries such as Pakistan into extremism. Importantly, this analysis may also teach us how to nudge Pakistan toward a moderate path.

Bill Warner of the Center for the Study of Political Islam has done some pioneering scientific analysis of Islamic doctrines. He has found that about 61 percent of the Koran speaks ill of unbelievers or calls for their violent conquest and subjugation, but only 2.6 percent of it talks about the overall good of humanity. The overwhelming measure of the stats — 61% vs. 2.6% — likely makes their implication impervious to subjectivity.

These statistics may explain the empirical observation that increased funding for propagation of Islam around the globe by the likes of Saudi Arabia for the past 20-plus years has coincided with increased violence conducted in the name of Islam.

This is particularly true of Pakistan which has seen an extensive network of madrassas or Muslim religious schools set up with Middle Eastern funding. The special circumstances surrounding the birth of Pakistan too have contributed to the conundrum Pakistan has become.

Created in 1947 as a nation for Muslims living in British-ruled India, Pakistan has found itself having to define its national aspirations in terms of religion. One could argue that the Koranic statistics discussed above would favor Islamists in their ideological battle with secular democrats in defining a vision for the nation. Indeed, this appears to be the case. When Hindu-majority India, the other nation created from British-ruled India, was building quality higher educational institutions of learning, Pakistan was focusing on jihad or a religious war. Even its army’s focus is jihad – the motto reads: “faith, piety and holy war in the path of Allah.”

Pakistan has been embarking on jihad-building, not nation-building. It was inevitable that this jihadist infrastructure has been used to sponsor terror in nearby Afghanistan and against India. It is now widely acknowledged that the majority of the over 10 billion dollars of the American aid given to Pakistan since 2001, intended for combating Islamic extremism, has instead, gone to build this jihadist infrastructure.

The Obama administration, in promising even more funding to “develop” Pakistan, appears not to realize that without first making Pakistanis dissociate from jihadist politics, nation-building there is just not possible.

The recent Taliban sponsored attacks in Pakistan’s biggest and richest province Punjab, and the Taliban call for the imposition of sharia in all of Pakistan, including Punjab, has created consternation and fear in the civic society there. This may have, for the first time in decades, created an opening to drive a wedge between the extremists and others in Pakistan.

Whether the United States and its allies can take advantage of this opportunity to transform Pakistan remains to be seen.

Moorthy Muthuswamy is author of the new book: “Defeating Political Islam: The New Cold War.”

Written by

  • arishsahani

    Its shame we have millions intellectuals and 1400 yrs of past islamic barberic history and we are still figuring out how to deal with islamic millitants.Iran ,Libya, saudis are pouring money to convert all poor people of the world and make them jihadis when our leaders will wake up to save the future of their children and world. Is money so important that saudis are able to buy all our good media and professors to keep their mouth shut agaist radical islam and bad they are doing .

  • satyadosapati

    India, particularly Hindus suffered immensely under Islam from 700 to 1400AM where 80 million Hindus were killed. American historian Will Durant said it is brutal period of human history. It did not stop there. The partition of India saw the murder of millions of Hindus who lived before partition in Pakistan and Bangla Desh. In 1947, Hindu Population in Pakistan was 25% and now less than 1% (see Hindu American Foundation report submitted to US Congressmen and Senators). What happened to millions of them. In 1947, Bangla Desh had 30% Hindus and today less than 10% and Vested Property Act allows Govt to seize properties of Hindus. In India, 350,000 Hindus were driven from their homes and are living as refugees in their own country. Last 4 years more than 4000 killed and many more injured, overwhelming of them are Hindus. India is plagued by biased media which sees no reason to cover these atrocities and corrupt politicians who appease minorities at cost to Hindus for vote banks. Regards,

  • tolerant

    What about genocide of muslims in Gujarat ? Rape and killing of christian nuns in Orissa. Inhuman treatment of Dalits in India.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    i believe individuals who happen to be muslim share the innate desires for peace, love and harmony, but,HELP!!!!i’ve been asking this question over and over (apologies to those who’ve seen it) on various threads, but still no answer:are there verses you can quote from the koran (that were not later superseded by the ugly medina verses) and hadith that promote tolerance, fairness, equality, freedom of religion, self-determination etc…?

  • truthseekerx

    Moorthy Muthuswamy is the epitome of a paranoid Islamophobe. For someone who judges Qur’anic [its not Koran – just like its not I-raq] teachings based on ‘statistical’ amount of ill or good teachings, not mentioning anything abt the ‘contexts’ in which those teachings are to be followed; this article does not even deserve to grace Washington Post’s website. But the rise of the far-right in the U.S has been going on for decades now so it is understandable for Washington Post to sacrifice its credibility by uploading this junk here.One wonders how many more, such, ‘Islamic experts’ does Washington Post has lined up for us to waste entire 5minutes of our lives on…

  • truthseekerx

    No wonder this comments section has been taken hostage by Indian Hindus; followers of fascist Golwalkar who are trying their best to distort history to further their ‘Saffron’ cause. Almost all the figures provided above by user ‘satyadosapati’ and the information posted by ‘arishsahani’ is utter crass & falsification.

  • obeeone

    The majority of pashtun people do not support the Taliban nor the religious parties, in the recent elections they voted for a secular party, the ANP into power, but the ANP was cowered by the Taliban suicide squads into agreeing to the Swat deal.It is wrong to suggest that the pashtuns would backlash against the rest of the country because of this action, in fact the locals welcomed the Pakistan army as the Taliban had taken them hostage. many of the Taliban groups are led by Afghan commanders, who are criminal in nature themselves and they dont have policies that trickle down to the ordinary person, they only benefit their own fellow Taliban with direct looting, stealing, and snatching money from local traders.My family lives in the NWFP areas and have resisted the Taliban successfully, however there are many villages that could not and their fate is open for the world to see, all those who support the Taliban have either never lived under their rule and romaticize about these killers, but these are no islamic scholars the so called taliban, these are throat cutters, rapists, and cruel people, extremely barbaric and ruthless, many are from Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Chechnya, Arab countries, etc, and provide top level leadership while using pashtun and Punjabi taliban as foot soldiers, most of the foot soldiers are ill trained, ill diciplined and feel it their right manhandle people, killing at a whim, they make up their laws as they go and have no respect for Sharia or even an idea what Sharia is.This is why the Sharia deal caused confusion, they thought they had won the malakand region under the Swat deal and were acting as savage victors high on their political victory, this stupid giving in to these criminals by Zardari has caused the Taliban to seek new territories and have been emboldened, by they are despised by the people in the areas under their control, however the mullahs and religious parties find them opprtune to get some mileage for themselves by blaming the govt. Pakistan shoul dcontinue this offensive until all the Taliban and their supporters have been wiped off, else this will spell doom for Pakistan, then India, then the world as these zealots have lots of friends sitting on the fence waiting and watching which side is more powerful and will step in as soon as they smell weakness.

  • obeeone

    Hello Satya,Can you provide any proof that Muslim conquerors of India killed 80 million hindus? or did you just pull that number from your backside?I say you are a liar and cannot prove your numbers.