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Pakistan is likely to drift further away from the west in the years ahead as pressure from Islamist groups and anti-Americanism undermine the traditional moorings of the secular pro-western elite, according to a report just released by the Legatum Institute.
The report rules out the possibility of a Taliban takeover or of Pakistan becoming a failed state, predicting it is most likely to ”muddle through” with the army continuing to play a powerful role behind the scenes in setting foreign and security policy. “Rather than an Islamist takeover, you should look at a subtle power shift from a secular pro-Western society to an Islamist anti-American one,” said Jonathan Paris, the author of the report.
I disagree with that conclusion, but then again I only read Pakistani-English language media and Pakistani bloggers, and presumably the author of the report has access to a great deal more information than I do. He continues:
Pakistan has been down the Islamist road before, particularly during the Zia years. And public opinion turned against the hardline Islamist practices of the Taliban when they occupied the Swat valley last year. But while people may be willing to argue against the Taliban, it is less clear that society as a whole will resist the creeping Islamisation wrought by Islamist political parties and militant organisations, particularly in Punjab province, unless the state can deliver economic growth along with a reliable and speedy legal system.
I thought the strong independent judiciary was a point of pride for many Pakistanis.
cbarwa is discussing. Toggle Comments
A thoughtful article about the contexts where radicalization of young Muslim men may begin or begin to accelerate by Haroon Moghul.
The first point: radicalism is most likely to emerge from zones of overlap. By this I mean the people, places or other contexts where Western and Islamic perspectives come together in negative contrast.
The second point: these material contrasts between Muslim-majority and Western societies are real, in many places accelerating, and cannot be wished away by zeroing in on a specific individual or blaming an abstract cultural difference…The radicals have narratives that explain reality in attractively absolutist ways, placing blame wholly on the West or wholly on insufficiently prayerful Muslims.
The third: the great divisions across Islam, the intellectual and actual battles for hearts and minds, are also the great unity of the modern Muslim world. The radical narrative is a symptom of a larger disagreement within the Muslim world, a fracture whose primary cause is the absence of consensus on the moral responsibility of the individual in modernity and the relationships between individuals and their societies.
Here’s the number one recommendation:
1. Encourage political mobilization.
Increased political mobilization is the most important trend identified by this study, as it both stunts domestic radicalization and provides an example to Muslims around the world that grievances can be resolved through peaceful democratic means. We recommend that policymakers in the major political parties embrace this mobilization by including Muslim-Americans in their outreach efforts and by organizing them to gain their support, as they do with other ethnic and religious groups. Similarly, public officials should attend events at mosques, as they do at churches and synagogues. Muslim-American groups should also be fully included in American political dialogue.
The debate about whether or not US Muslims should engage in the American political system may be a good proxy conversation to determine who is on the side of the devils and who is on the side of the angels in the US Muslim community. And remember to take your kids with you the next time you vote so they can see your good example…
The other six recommendations:
2. Promote public denunciations of violence.
3. Reinforce self-policing by improving the relationship between law enforcement and Muslim-American communities.
4. Assist community-building efforts.
5. Promote outreach by social service agencies.
6. Support enhanced religious literacy.
7. Increase civil rights enforcement.
The New York Times is reporting that Abdullah al Faisal may have been a source of radicalization or inspiration to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Christmas Day suicide attacker.
Mr. Faisal’s name surfaced much more recently in investigations into Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man accused of the attempted attack on a Northwest Airlines flight.
In an online posting in May 2005, under the name “farouk1986,” Mr. Abdulmutallab referred to Mr. Faisal as a cleric he had listened to, according to American military and law enforcement authorities.
In his posting, Mr. Abdulmutallab wrote: “I thought once they are arrested, no one hears about them for life and the keys to their prison wards are thrown away. That’s what I heard Sheik Faisal of U.K. say (he has also been arrested I heard).”
Al Faisal was also Richard Reid and Zacarias Moussaoui’s imam in the UK at the Brixton mosque. More background on al Faisal here.
A friend of Omar Hammami has been keeping tabs on him through Somali contacts and gave the Toronto Star on update.
Hammami – who grew up in Daphne, AL and is now known as Abu Mansour “Al-Amriki” – became the leader of a 180 member foreign fighter unit of Al Shabab in September after the former leader was killed in a US helicopter raid. And the latest info:
Abdi says he heard in October that Hammami had been fighting near the Ethiopian border, and is recovering in hospital from bullet wounds and mental problems.
War will do that to a guy, Islam or no…
Moti, marcos, Shams al-Nahar, and 1 other are discussing. Toggle Comments
The flyer for the event being held at the East London Mosque on January 1st by Noor Pro Media, which will also be selling Anwar al Awlaki tapes there.
One of the contributors over at The Spittoon blog analyzes it. Anybody have a problem with this or care to rebut?
Grave Worship – Salafi-inspired Islamism has long accused both the Shi’a and Sufi of being “grave worshippers”.
The destruction of the tombs of Sufi shaykhs in Somalia by Islamist terrorists, the destruction of the tombs and shrines of the family of the Prophet in Medina and elsewhere by the Wahhabi in Saudi Arabia (together with repeated threats from such to destroy the tomb of the Prophet) remain an enormous loss not just to Muslim believers, but to the world.
New Age Islam – This is clearly targetting the new Sufi orders that have sprung up in the West, and more widely the emergence of Western Islam, with its criticism of Islamism and its support for liberal, progressive, reformatory interpretations of Islam – interpretations that stress the seperation of religion and state, secularism, tolerance and democratic norms.
Sihr – the traditional Arabic for witchcraft. For Salafi-inspired Sunni Islamism, sihr is not simply witchcraft, but any pre-Islamic or allegedly non-Islamic cultural practices that may be embedded in the various forms of Islam that have grown up over the centuries across the world. Equally, this is an assault on the dhikr of the Sufi and other non-Salafi groups. In contrast, the Islamists stress a monolithic and ultimately totalitarian brand of Islam that is completely intolerant of the rich plurality of traditions and practices that have historically marked Islam.
In all, the sinister flyer advertises the narrow-minded, ahistorical, authoritarian bigotry of the Salafi-inspired Islamism at the very heart of the “Islam” being promoted by ELM and its followers.
CBS News correspondent Richard Roth reports Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s online digital trail leads back to boarding school in West Africa. In 2005, he was chatting under the screen-name “Farouk 1986.”
Eighteen years old at the time, Abdulmutallab paints an online portrait of alienation. “I have no friend,” he writes. “Far from home, at a school with few Muslims; No one to consult, no one to support me and I feel depressed.”
He explains that he’s Nigerian – from a wealthy family with a home in London. He even gives his name, Umar Farouk, and on February 20th, 2005, he hints at his dreams.
“…Basically they are jihad fantasies,” he writes. “I imagine how the great jihad will take place. How the Muslims will win, and rule the whole world,” adding, “do I have to clarify anything further?”
On campus, he became president of the Islamic Students Union. Online, January 26th, 2007, he listed seminars for what was called the “War on Terror Week.” Speakers would include Asim Qureshi. In an online video, Qureshi said: “We know it is incumbent upon all of us to support jihad against the oppression of the West.”
It isn’t known whether Abdulmutallab heard those words, but by his own account he was ready for the message. British authorities say his path to terrorism wasn’t unique.
Authorities have worked hard to counter the capital’s reputation as “Londonistan” – a haven for Islamist militants from Pakistan and Afghanistan – but the latest incident follows a series of similar British-linked plots.
A little more detail is provided:
London has long had a reputation as a haven for Islamist extremists accused of radicalising young Muslims. A number of so-called “hate preachers” have been banned or faced other legal action.
The British capital was the home of “shoe bomber” Reid, who tried to blow up a US flight from Paris to Miami in December 2001 using explosives hidden in his footwear.
In August 2006 a London-based plot to blow up airliners in midair between Britain and North America was uncovered, leading to the introduction of strict new rules about carrying liquids in hand luggage.
ABC News claims it has tracked down more than 100 posts that Abdulmutallab wrote.
One very sad post stands out:
He wrote of being lonely and sought friends on-line. “Can you be my friend?” he wrote. “I get lonely sometimes because I have never found a true Muslim friend.”
He still hasn’t found a ‘true Muslim friend.’
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