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Murderers, not Muslims

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The murderous attack by an alleged “Taliban” on 9 October on a 14-year old girl in Peshawar should serve as yet another warning about the menace of Jahilis masquerading in our midst as champions of Islam. According to reports, Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head and neck while she sat with classmates on a school bus as it prepared to take students home after morning classes in Mingora, a city in the Swat Valley. Pakistan Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan quickly claimed responsibility on behalf of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), notorious for its restrictions on women's freedom and female education, and reportedly said, "She was young but she was promoting Western culture in Pashtun areas."

While we totally and unreservedly condemn these religious maniacs, we cannot lose sight of the real problem, the root, that it is the US and western powers which have given these forces money, training, power and keep using them whenever it suits them. The opportunist West is fighting Al-Qaeda all over the world but allowing them to fight in Libya and now in Syria. They are fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan but have allowed them to open an office in Qatar where they are negotiating with them about how best to surrender Afghanistan to them.

West, America in particular, is responsible for the current bleak scenario in the Muslim World where Taliban-like forces, under various names, are sprouting. The reason these forces are now marching ahead is that Western countries blindly support dictators in the Muslim World and do not allow sane and educated "Islamists" to function even as legal political parties. Wherever they won elections (Algeria, Palestine), they were not allowed to rule. At the same time US allied with people like Osama Ben Laden in Afghanistan who were Salafis to the core, and allowed them to become heroes of the Muslim World. With US blessing, Gulf money poured into these once sleepy groups which enjoyed no influence in their own societies and were happy to get permission to operate a small society here or to publish a rag of a magazine there. I saw this with my own eyes in Cairo in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Over the last four decades, these marginal groups have grown really big, have big assets, and utilising these assets they filled the vacuum that existed due to the forced banishment of the "Islamists" from the political arena. Given freedom, during these past four decade the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) could have won the same kind of seats in the Egyptian parliament in any election, as it finally did this year, while "Salafis" could not dream of winning even a single seat, that is if they contested at all. The situation is different today. As a result of the wrong western policies, Salafis have grown into a force to reckon with and now enjoy a position to compete with real, educated, cultured, accommodative, enlightened and responsible "Islamists" like MB. We know that an expedient West will once again ally with the Salafis and Taliban to frustrate MB and similar forces and in the process will repent at leisure as it did in the case of Ben Laden.

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 October 2012 on page no. 1

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