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Tuesday, 23 September 2008

So, let us pull out of the war on terror. What is the alternative?

Digesting the Marriott blast

Some facts about the Marriott Hotel blast are coming out gradually as the scene of destruction is carefully examined and videos from the security cameras are scrutinised. More and more people are put off by the concept of suicide-bombing and are criticising it. The fifty-odd clerics who had issued the fatwa against it in 2005 — but were made to cower later by more aggressive clerics — are making their voice heard again. The Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) of Baitullah Mehsud in South Waziristan is reluctant to own it because of this change in public opinion.

But there is a difference of media opinion, mostly mutually intolerant, over the direction of the war to which the blast points. Unfortunately, the side that refuses to face reality is the one which says “it is not our war”, and relies on the now quite old and unacceptable pan-Islamist position that whatever Muslim extremists do is not “action” but “reaction” to some perceived injustice. What these people want everyone to believe is that the real unjust “action” is undertaken by someone else. This approach is supposed to decide the moral question of what is or isn’t “wrong doing”. Their argument is: what Muslims undertake is “reaction” and therefore doesn’t come in the category of “doing” something wrong, therefore there can be no moral judgement made on it. In this line of thinking, under all moral and criminal codes there is either absolution or mitigation for “reaction”. The question of looking for “causes” comes next. Since the Muslims have not “acted”, the argument goes, they have not caused anything to happen, hence the West and the United States have to sit down and admit to the criminality of their actions, and once they have done so, and properly compensated the Muslims for their past actions, the problem of violence and terrorism will go away automatically. Thus all moral obligations on the part of Muslims are dispensed with nicely.

But the blast at the Marriott has jolted this catechism and caused a rift. This rift undermines the unity among those who say “it is not our war”. The message behind this slogan is not a simple one. It has many ramifications and each has to be studied separately. On the face of it, the slogan gained strength after the “land invasion” of the CIA in South Waziristan earlier this month which caused the Pakistan Army and the PPP government to react in severe protest. The first message is that innocent Pakistanis die because the government is involved in the wrong war. The message has been repeated so much that most Pakistanis now believe that if Pakistan were to pull out of the “American war on terror”, innocent Muslims will no longer be killed.

But let us ask what will happen if Pakistan pulls out of the “war on terror”. The presumption, which is not spelled out, is that once this happens there will be no contradiction between Al Qaeda and its foot soldiers in FATA on the one hand and the state of Pakistan on the other. But what about the well established fact that Al Qaeda has a programme of “Islamic reform” that is global and which will start by converting Pakistan into a state based on Al Qaeda’s radical caliphate which will be the base area of its declared war on the US and the West? If we accept the assumption that our military capacity is not equal to engaging Al Qaeda in a civil war-like conflict, the unspoken assumption is that the Muslims of Pakistan will and should accept the Al Qaeda philosophy as “true faith” and allow the transformation of the state to Al Qaeda’s liking and standards. Of course, the “liberals” will be eliminated in the new order and this “wish” is apparent from the term “liberal fascists” that is being used these days in some reactionary Urdu columns.

This “it-is-not-our-war” group is clueless about what the Americans and their European allies — and others stretching as far eastward as Japan — can and may do after they no longer have to regard us as an ally but face as an ally of their enemies. Why doesn’t this group make any reference to the alternative strategy — “eat grass honourably?” — in the presumed post-pullout phase? Who will face up to the trespasses made by the NATO-ISAF forces into Pakistan? How will trespasses by Al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban in safe havens in FATA violate our sovereignty any less? Are we ready to trust the security of the state to Al Qaeda who will, if all goes according to its plan, of course be in charge of the armed forces and will control our nuclear capability? In fact it is this thought about nuclear weapons that inclines the “it-is-not-our-war” club to pre-emptively allege that the Americans are in Afghanistan to “grab our nuclear weapons”. But surely the global consensus on taking out the nuclear weapons acquired by Al Qaeda will develop much more dangerously than it is developing now.

Abandoning the war against terrorism is no solution to the problem of Al Qaeda and its radical global agenda. Those who propose it are now faced with the growing objection to the killing of innocent citizens. And they cannot convincingly argue that, after we have pulled out, either the Americans will stop attacking Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda will stop attacking us if the state of Pakistan does not capitulate to it. (Daily Times)

1 comment:

wdurrani said...

DO you know where it all started from?

I understand that some common (layman) Muslims do talk in such a way
that amounts to finding justifications for the heinous and cowardly acts of terrorism which is wrong and shouldn’t be done. But let us give them the excuse of being ignorant, confused and nonsensely emotional. Instead let us focus on those responsible for our people being in this state of ignorance. To me it is clear that this blame is to be laid on the so called “Ulama Hzaraat” of Pakistan. I can’t say all of them but I can confidently say that a very vast majority of them are to be blamed. Why are they so quite and cannot come up with a unified and force full campaign against these so called “Taliban” and their stupid actions? To me their silence and inaction amounts to cowardice and is criminally motivated. But I guess even if they start doing something from today its all too late now and also their track record is not clean. Its too much chaos and confusion spread for their
call to be taken seriously. Secondly, why should people now take them seriously? Isn’t is the case that in the past vast majority of them have supported Palestinian suicide bombers by either praising them or being silent about them or looking justifications for it? Not just
these Ulama but many of the journalists supported Palestinian suicide bombers on record by their praise of them, or being silent or by trying to find justifications for them. Can you recall what was your
opinion about terrorist acts committed by some Palestinians against Israelis?

Alhamdulillah that Allah blessed us with some wise and honest Ulama who guided and enlightened many Muslims. They were the ones who issued fataawa declaring Palestinian suicide attacks as “Not Permissible”(Haram) from the very start, and because of the wisdom and the foresight that Allah blessed them with, warned people against those
coward terrorist activities. At that time they were labeled as being weak,scared and agents of Jews etc etc. What do you now think of these Ulama who started warning people against Palestinian terrorism when
rest of the Ulama around the world were supporting it by their praise,silence or looking for its justifications? Do you know or have ever known any such Aalim? If not than please try to find out who were
Shaikh Nasir-ud-Din al-Albani, Shaikh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-Uthaymeen, Shaikh Abdul-Aziz ibn Baaz and the likes of them.

Let me inform you that the great scholars like them are still present amongst
us. All we have to do is find them and direct the general Muslims towards them, specially the Muslim youth.

Terrorists in Pakistan’s tribal areas and else where needs to be crushed and defeated. Military action against them is justified against them. But someone needs to remove the label attached to it. The present label of “America’s War on Terror” needs to be replaced with “Islam’s War on Terror”. I am not saying that present leading Politicians in Pakistan are bad people but they are not fully qualified and capable of changing this label. Only the rightly guided scholars of Islam with a clean track record can do it. Sincere and
serious Muslims can you can help to direct other people towards them.This is the only way to launch a unified and effective “Islam’s War on Terror”. May Allah help and protect us. Aameen.

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