The history of suicide attacks stretches back at least to the 11th century, when the Assassins, the disciples of the Persian master Alamut, conducted suicide raids on neighboring fortresses. The Koran forbids suicide, Mr. Post noted, but he added that suicide bombers often consider their deaths acts of heroism, not self-destruction, and believe they will be elaborately rewarded in the afterlife. Harvey Kushner, an expert in terrorism and chairman of the department of criminal justice at Long Island University, noted that suicide attacks are not condoned by most Muslims, but are espoused ”by leaders of religious factions within the Islamic community” who have what he described as ”a contorted view of what is spiritually permissible.” After their deaths, suicide bombers are often celebrated as heroes, said Vamik Volkan, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Virginia Medical School and an expert on interethnic conflict.
Attackers Neither Mad Nor Desperate, New York Times Service, Sep. 13, 2001

While I’m normally very skeptical of the US media when it’s expounding on what it calls “Muslim beliefs”, the fact remains that more often than not, particularly during the last decade, our fellow Muslims have managed to embarass Islam and everything it stands for. Whether by blowing up civilians, executing unbearded men, oppressing their women to the point of torture or otherwise, the deviation from the Sirat ul Mustaqeem is extremely alarming.

On Tuesday, May 17, 2005 the current government got a fatwa approved by a group of prominent clerics – as a follow up to the one issued by Mufti Munib-ur-Rehman in November, 2004 – banning suicide attacks within the state of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, most notably in places of worship such as mosques and Imambargahs.

Since then we’ve seen the blasts at Hangu, Madinat-ul-Ilm, the American Consulate, the violence in the Khyber Agency region and the latest is of course the Eid Miladun Nabi incident at Nishtar Park.

An interesting statistic to note is that in virtually every act of sectarian and relligious violence within the borders of Pakistan since its creation has been initiated by Muslims. Some have confessed, others found out, and others merely suspected but the bottom line is that they were all Muslims. This despite the fact that after every single incident the religious parties have always issued statements condemning the perpetrators and stating that the incident could not be the work of a Muslim. When does the hypocrisy end? These are the same parties, who in their condemnation of the government’s operations in Wana and Waziristan, indirectly support organisations like the Al Qaeda network, who in their ideological and moral support of violence give leeway to the splinter factions of the Jundallah, the Sipah Sahaba, the Lashkar e Tayyaba, the Sipah Muhammadi, Jaish e Muhammad etc to carry out such incidents. Anyone who says that the tragedy at Nishtar Park wasn’t a politico-religious attack on the Sunni Tehreek is full of it.

What I’m trying to say here, and maybe I haven’t stated my point too clearly, is that it is our own house that needs to be brought to order. How do we do that? Frankly, I don’t know. That I am able to see the importance of a peaceable co-existence between all sects does not imply that the brother of the guy unfortunate enough to be praying next to the bomber can. When he pelts stones at the police and goes on a rampage burning every car and petrol pump in his way, I empathise with his rage. The only thing that might appease the blood lust is a quick judicial result of the investigation. The government has to identify the guilty party and punish it – quickly. Time is running out. According to an estimate, Karachi loses five billion rupees for each day of shutdown. Even ignoring the massive death tolls that follow a sectarian fallout, can the government afford to drag its feet?


5 Responses to “Tragedy”

  1. abbas, the issues are much more fundamental. with prices of basic food staples being jacked up daily, frustration builds and social class gaps widen. the government isnt doing much to help and neither is the upper class stepping up to do more than they were. if u remember, just our CAS fees used to be the same as what we paid our driver for a month. from a mere 6000 rupees a month, how is he to live and educate his kids? most of the maids here, leave their kids behind at home -at the mercy of God- and lock the house from outside… is it any wonder why there are so many unwanted kids and single mothers and teenage pregnancies in the lower class??
    im not justifying the bombings, just bring out the fact that we need to more. the govt has too many issues. we need to strt by teaching our domestic help… many dont even know how to pray etc. if there’s no fear of God, no education etc… is there any wonder y these things happen? ive seen super religious households here who hold jamats in their house, but tht does not incl their drivers or chowkidars… sad innit?

  2. Point taken Sheza. The main issue here is rage. Rage against the frustration at poverty. Rage aginst opression by the governments, the clerics, the feudals, the saiths, whatever. Rage against the socio-economic class barrier. Rage against the situation denying possibility of education. Rage against not being able to vent their rage.

    So brainwashing any poor sap who comes along and convincing him to blow himself up in the name of Allah is hardly the most difficult thing in the world.

    What, in such a scenario, is to be done? Your suggestion is one of the logical first steps – but I don’t think it’ll be enough. The Government has got to play a role in this somehow.

  3. but what causes this rage? why is it that only the lowest class has it? it is poverty? lack of education? lack of Allah conciousness? or is it that we’ve reared pure psychos?

  4. not only the lowest class (socioeconomically speaking) is victim to rage. However money dilutes rage, education tempers it and success in general terms catharsizes it.

    when you can express yourself, you let your rage out. so the pedant can rail on and on in his lecture halls without having to physically harm anyone. the cleric can use the mosque’s speakers to preach radicalism and violence against the object of his rage. the influential can vent it out on the less fortunate and ensure that his record stays squeaky clean. its only the ghareeb awam that has to shut up and tolerate. tolerate isn’t the word – bardasht in urdu has the more intense effect.

    which is why the bomber will always be a ghareeb admi. the murdered will always be ghareeb admis. the furious rioter will always be a ghareeb admi. the lawmen the attack will always be ghareeb admis, the cars, buses and shops the burn will always belong to ghareeb admis and the people who suffer most due to the protest-related-strike will always be ghareeb admis.

    tough shit is poverty.

  5. we’ve found a problem, what do we do abt it? 😛

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