Tag Archives: Madrassas

Be critical – By: Nadeem F. Paracha

In spite of the gradual infiltration of ubiquitous religious symbolism and mentality in the social spheres of everyday life, Pakistan has managed to remain afloat as a dynamically pluralistic society comprising various ethnicities, religions and Islamic sects.

However, starting in the late 1970s, an anti-pluralistic process was initiated by the Zia-ul-Haq dictatorship that soon spiralled beyond mere posturing and sloganeering.

With the ‘Afghan jihad’ raging against the former Soviet Union, Zia, his intelligence agencies, and parties like Jamat-i-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam started embracing a narrow and highly political version of Islam.

This was done to radicalise large sections of the Pakistani Muslims who had historically been a part of more apolitical strains of the faith — the kind that over the centuries had evolved within the largely pluralistic milieu of the subcontinent.

Continue reading Be critical – By: Nadeem F. Paracha

Khaled Ahmed: Pakistan has sought to appease terrorism by becoming anti-American and pro-Taliban. [The coming blowback]

Pakistan after the American withdrawal

By Khaled Ahmed

Most observers are worried about Afghanistan after the withdrawal of US-Nato forces from there in 2013-2014. It should be interesting to see what would happen to Pakistan once the Americans are gone.

Islamabad’s Jinnah Institute in its briefing (July 25, 2011) spelled out Pakistan’s ‘objectives’ in relation to post-withdrawal Afghanistan. The most outstanding point made in the report pertained to India: “Pakistani foreign policy elite accept that India has a role to play in Afghanistan’s economic reconstruction … but Pakistani security establishment [thinks] a reluctance to address Pakistani misgivings increases the likelihood of a growing Indian footprint, and in turn, New Delhi’s greater ability to manipulate the endgame negotiations and the post-settlement dispensation in Kabul”.

Will India get out of Afghanistan after the American withdrawal? From a statement by the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (“we will support the Afghan people”), it appears that it plans to retain its presence in Afghanistan.

The most likely post-withdrawal scenario is that there will be a civil war in Afghanistan. A parallel war will take place between the Afghan National Army and the non-state actors from Pakistan. The US commander in Afghanistan, General John Allen, has told Congress he thought a future 230,000-strong Afghan force, scaled down from a planned 352,000, was enough after 2017. That will historically be the largest army Afghanistan will ever have.

Continue reading Khaled Ahmed: Pakistan has sought to appease terrorism by becoming anti-American and pro-Taliban. [The coming blowback]

Local mullahs and fundamentalist people think that if the Hindus leave they can take their properties

Pakistan supreme court to decide fate of Hindu woman in Muslim marriage row

Rinkle Kumari, 19, claims she was kidnapped, converted to Islam and married against her will

By Jon Boone in Islamabad

The fate of a Pakistani Hindu woman who claims she was kidnapped, forcibly converted to Islam and married against her will is to be decided this week, after weeks of campaigning by the country’s Hindu minority.

The case of 19-year-old Rinkle Kumari has outraged Hindus from her small town in the south of the country, where community leaders accuse Muslims of preying on Hindu girls of marriageable age.

Continue reading Local mullahs and fundamentalist people think that if the Hindus leave they can take their properties

Keeping mum about the Punjabi Taliban

By Khaled Ahmed

I was surprised a fortnight ago to receive a note from Lahore’s General Post Office saying I had imported a banned book which the Post Office had duly confiscated. The book was Punjabi Taliban by Mujahid Hussain (Pentagon Press, India, 2011) which is available in Pakistan too and advertised by a Karachi bookseller on the internet.

The terrorists are angry at the book. Punjab government has now joined them. The terrorists are scary enough — because the author, who now lives abroad, was once attacked by them. Some years ago, Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah denied that south Punjab was a haven of the Punjabi Taliban. South Punjab contains 13 districts with a population of 27 million: Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur, Bhakkar, DG Khan, Jhang, Khanewal, Layyah, Lodhran, Multan, Muzaffargarh, Rahim Yar Khan, Rajanpur, and Vehari.

Ex-editor Shireen Mazari who hails from DG Khan in south Punjab wrote in The News (April 29, 2009) “Why military action is not the answer” about the dominance of jihadi madrassas in DG Khan …..

Read more » The Express Tribune

An important Tablighi organiser is ex-ISI chief

– by Adnan Farooq

The Tablighi Jamaat represents, according to Khaled Ahmed, ‘general trend of isolation and extremism represented at the base by Tablighis and at the apex by Al Qaeda.’ Political analyst, writer and columnist, Khaled Ahmed is a leading expert on Pakistan’s religious and militant outfits. He has held editorial positions at country’s leading English-language publications besides editing Urdu-language weekly Aaj Kal. In an interview with Viewpoint, he discusses the working of Tableeghi Jamaat. …

Read more » ViewPoint

http://www.viewpointonline.net/one-important-tablighi-organiser-is-ex-isi-chief.html

Rolling back the tsunami – Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur

Excerpt;

…. The state, its institutions and luminaries here are complicit in the spread and sustenance of fundamentalism because they were the immediate beneficiaries and without it could not have sustained themselves; it is only now when this tsunami is engulfing them that they are having second thoughts. The fundamentalist ‘brainwashing’ here is societal and if this tsunami of fundamentalism is to be rolled back it has to be tackled on a similar scale. Pebbles of de-radicalisation are not going to stem this tsunami.

The remedy, which may take a generation or more to take effect, is adopting a secular constitution like Bangladesh, curbing the media channels spewing hatred in name of religion, allowing nations the right to self-determination, disempowering the army, shunning ‘strategic depth’ and ‘assets’, ensuring transparency in governance, revamping education curriculum, banning loud speakers and keeping madrassas in check. But I ask the impossible. They simply will not move an iota from their established lucrative position and will readily take down all with them; this tsunami will haunt the world for a long time.

To read complete article → Daily Times

Babar Ayaz: reality check?

ROVER’S DIARY: Is it a blind spot or blindness to reality?

by Babar Ayaz

Excerpt:

While the military is selectively fighting the terrorist organisations and thousands of our security personnel have been martyred, they have not challenged the ideology of jihad. Thousands of mosques, madrassas and religious organisations are preaching jihad against the west and its allied governments in the Muslim countries

Terrorists who attacked the PNS Mehran on May 22 knew the ‘security blind spot’. At least that is what the Interior Minister Rehman Malik told the media soon after the operation. Further follow-up reports confirmed his observation. Now the entire media is asking how the terrorists knew about this ‘blind spot’.

The obvious conclusion is that the terrorists have some sympathisers inside the forces. This suspicion is further corroborated by the fact that the routes and timings of the naval buses, which came under attack a month ago, were seemingly also compromised by some insiders. The attackers on GHQ also had insiders with them. Musharraf’s assassination attempts were also done with insiders’ help. Salmaan Taseer was assassinated by his guard, abetted by his colleagues. So there is not one blind spot we are talking about. It seems that many people among our security establishment, politicians and journalists are ‘blind’ to the bigger reality. ….

…. A question can be asked here that if we were wrong to wage war against Afghanistan jointly with the US in the 1980s, then how are we right now to side with Washington’s war in Afghanistan? We should remember that Najibullah’s government survived about three years after the Soviet forces left. But we were the ones who trained and funded the Taliban to take over the government. We opposed the Afghan government, which wanted to turn its country into a modern democratic state, and imposed a Taliban government, which could only give them primitive medievalism.

And when it came to choosing sides, the same protégé Taliban government sacrificed relations with Pakistan and the future of Afghans to save Osama — a champion of a permanent Islamic revolution. We then started playing the double game and gave protection to the Taliban who are till today intruding into Afghanistan. They are the cause of the drone attacks. Sir, you remove them, these attacks will stop.

We continue to dangerously mix religion with politics. The Pakistani establishment also started using jihadi organisations to destabilise India — a major mistake because it was bound to boomerang sooner than later. So the people who think that terrorism is because of drone attacks and our involvement in Afghanistan should not blindfold themselves with narrow nationalistic gauze. They should face the reality that Pakistan is undoubtedly directly and indirectly involved in terrorist activities in our neighbourhood, using the jihadi ideology. The same ideology has been turned by the terrorist groups into the belief that the Pakistani establishment is a renegade of the Islamic jihadi movement. The same ideology is providing the terrorists support from within our security establishment.

So what is to be done? The security establishment should shun the jihadi ideology and support to such groups, closely monitor that in the name of preaching Islam its rank and file is not indoctrinated with hate mongering, and purge the supporters of these organisations. The politicians should take the ideological challenge and develop a communication strategy scientifically to convince the people that the terrorists have declared war against Pakistanis using religion, and that we have to stand united for building a modern, democratic secular Pakistan. This is not a war against terrorism; it is defending Pakistanis from terrorism. Nothing short of that will work now.

To read complete article: Daily Times

Myths Monsters and Jihad

Myths and monsters – by Nadeem F. Paracha

In spite of the gradual infiltration of ubiquitous religious symbolism and mentality in the social spheres of everyday life, Pakistan has managed to remain afloat as a pluralistic society comprising various ethnicities, religions and Muslim sects.

However, starting in the late 1970s, an anti-pluralistic process was initiated by the Ziaul Haq dictatorship that soon spiralled beyond mere posturing and sloganeering.

With the ‘Afghan jihad’ raging against the former Soviet Union, Zia, his intelligence agencies and parties like the Jamat-i-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam started embracing a narrow and highly politicised version of Islam. This was done to radicalise large sections of Pakistani Muslims who had historically been part of a more apolitical and tolerant strains of the faith.

Most Pakistanis related to the shrine culture and the sufi traditions of the subcontinent, and thus, were least suitable to fight a ‘jihad’ that Zia was planning to peddle in Afghanistan at the behest of the CIA. Pakistanis’ beliefs were not compatible at all with this new strain of a political Islam. To compensate this ideological ‘deficiency’, the Zia regime (with American and Arab money) helped start indoctrination centres in the shape of thousands of jihadist madrassas.

Almost all of them were run by radical puritans. These were preachers and ‘scholars’ who had become critical of the strains of the faith that most Pakistanis adhered to. Accusing these strains of being ‘adulterated’, they advocated the more assertive charms of ‘political Islam’, of the likes recommended by Abul Ala Maududi, Sayyid Qutb and Khurram Murad. …

Read more : DAWN

Pakistan: Taseer’s daughter in UK speaks out against political Islam

by Lizzy Millar

LONDON 20 May 2011 – Qur’an schools in Pakistan are raising a new generation of children to propagate hatred in the wake of bin Laden’s assassination.

Shehrbano Taseer, the daughter of Salman Taseer, the governor of Pakistan’s Punjab region who was assassinated by his bodyguard on 4 January for opposing blasphemy laws, blames Pakistan’s countless madrassas – or Qur’an schools – for using Islam as a ‘political tool’.

Taseer who was speaking at the Quilliam Foundation in London, the first UK-based Muslim think tank dedicated to challenging extremism, is calling on the international community to lobby her government to reform the madrassas and allow greater democracy in Pakistan.

She wants Pakistan to reform the madrassa syllabus so that children are taught viable skills for life and how to value religious freedom and rights.

Taseer, a journalist for Newsweek Pakistan, who describes herself as a civil society activist, has also warned that the death of bin Laden has stirred up extremist sentiment in the already troubled nation.

She said: ‘They are raising children to believe their only contribution to Islam is through jihad. They hail people like Osama bin Laden.’

Taseer said a lack of education coupled with a culture that discouraged any questioning of elders had allowed these radical clerics to spread their ‘poison’.

‘They are becoming more hardline by using Islam as a political tool and this mindset is exported all over the world,’ she added.

Taseer claims her country has been a victim in the war on terrorism after its leaders received direction and funding for schools and mosques from Wahhabis, ultra-conservative dollar-rich Muslims from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

She said this influx had brought with it a rise in the number of radical clerics who had a stronghold on their communities by running Qur’an schools and influencing popular opinion.

Asked by Lapido Media about action taken by Pakistani civil society against so-called hate preachers, she said: ‘Absolutely nothing, as there is an atmosphere of fear. The silent majority feel backed up against the wall.’

She gave the example of Mumtaz Qadri, her father’s killer who was showered with rose petals by a group of two hundred lawyers as he entered the court building. She also mentioned students writing articles that hailed his deeds and criticised her father for speaking up for Asia Bibi, the Christian mother-of-five sentenced to death for alleged blasphemy.

‘Mumtaz Qadri represents a mindset that is prevalent in Pakistan. Murder is legitimised because it’s done in the name of God.

‘Repressive mindsets have been allowed to flourish. The state has abdicated its responsibility, and hatemongers have been given a platform.

‘My father’s death has highlighted how grave the situation is, but blasphemy cases are still on the rise.’

Taseer paid tribute to the ‘brave men and women’ who were speaking out in Pakistan as well as the silent majority who she said are looking for a more open society.

But she added that their voices would remain fragmented without the backing of central government.

In recent months Pakistan has come under increasing pressure to crack down on extremism in the wake of the assassination of Salman Taseer.

His murder came only a few months before the fatal shooting of Shahbaz Bhatti, Pakistan’s minorities minister and the only Christian member of the cabinet. He too had criticised his country’s blasphemy laws.

In May protests erupted in Pakistan after US Navy Seals assassinated Osama bin Laden, leader of Al Qaeda, who had apparently been hiding in a compound near Islamabad for 10 years.

Continue reading Pakistan: Taseer’s daughter in UK speaks out against political Islam

The Economic Times report: ISI hand in Taliban’s free-run in Pakistan’s Baluchistan

NEW YORK: Taliban has been given a free-run in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province bordering Afghanistan and its hardscrabble capital city of Quetta, which has been declared off-limits by Pakistani military to US predator strikes.

The outfit’s military chief Mulla Abdul Qayyum Zakir , ranked number two after Mullah Omar, and his men are operating with impunity in the high-desert landscape and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence ( ISI )) seems to be giving them a free hand, ‘Newsweek’ reported.

“They are coming and going in groups without end,” says a senior Quetta politician, an ethnic Pashtun.

“Whatever the Taliban is doing is supervised and monitored by the [Pakistani] intelligence agencies”, he said.

Old hands among the insurgents say it reminds them of 1980s Peshawar, where anti-Soviet mujahedin operated openly with the ISI’s blessing and backing, the magazine reported.

The free rein to the Taliban fighters, the magazine said comes at a time when the terror outfit is planning its biggest surge- Operation Badr, the spring offensive in Afghanistan, where it is hoping to push in every single cadre.

The magazine however said that the Taliban preparations were overshadowed by the America’s commando assault which felled the al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

The assault has left Taliban cadres and commanders stunned, despondent and uncharacteristically worried, ‘Newsweek’ quoted Zabihullah, a senior Taliban adviser. “It conveys a message to all Taliban leaders that no one is safe”.

The new Taliban military chief 38-year-old Zakir, a former Guantanamo inmate who was released to Afghan authorities holds eight to ten meetings a day in Quetta’s teeming, impoverished ethnic-Pashtun neighbourhood trailed by half-a-dozen aides on motorcycles.

‘Newsweek’ said, thousands of Taliban slogans cover the walls in and around the dusty frontier town of Kuchlak, some 14 kilometres northwest of Quetta. “The Only Solution Is Jihad Against the Invaders,” says one. “Mullah Omar Is a Dagger Raised to Strike Each Occupier,” says another.

A local government councillor says the area’s mosques and madrassas are packed with insurgents in need of temporary lodging as they head back to Afghanistan. Way stations have been set up all over the region in rented houses, he says, and swarms of Taliban pass through town on motorbikes every day. Most carry Pakistani national identity cards. “They’re enjoying the hospitality of the ‘black legs’ [derogatory slang for the ISI],” he says. He worries that the local culture is being Talibanized.

At least 20 local madrassa students have disappeared, most likely to join the fight in Afghanistan, he says, and Taliban backers are even trying to stop the traditional music and dancing at weddings. “‘How can you sing and dance when we’re dying?’ they tell us.”

A senior intelligence officer says he’s heard that Mullah Omar considers this year an important test for Zakir. “Our emir is giving Zakir a chance to prove himself,” he says. “If he does well, he stays; if not, there are others who can take over.”

Of course, no one has seen Omar since he fled into the mountains on the back of Baradar’s motorcycle nearly 10 years ago. And Zakir might do well to remember what happened to Osama bin Laden.

Courtesy: The Economic Times

Islam for Pluralism- More Hindus than Muslims in West Bengal Madrassas!

More Hindus than Muslims in Some West Bengal Madrassas!
By Sreya Basu, Kolkata
Jan 20, 2009

Contrary to popular belief that madrassas are schools for fundamentalist Islamic teaching, madrassas in West Bengal are attracting an increasing number of Hindu students with their shift in focus from Islamist education to science and technology. Hindu students now outnumber Muslims in four madrassas of the state. These include Kasba MM High Madrassa in Uttar Dinajpur district, Ekmukha Safiabad High Madrassa in Cooch Behar district, Orgram Chatuspalli High Madrassa at Burdwan district and Chandrakona Islamia High Madrassa at West Midnapore district.

Continue reading Islam for Pluralism- More Hindus than Muslims in West Bengal Madrassas!