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Radical Islamism and Jihad

Sufism thus stands in marked contrast with the fanaticism, intolerance, bigotry and militarism of the Taliban, their mentors and like-minded individuals – who, on their part, look upon it as heretical. According to the Taliban ideology, ‘the heretics’ deserve only one type of treatment: death. The militants regard bombing the shrines and killing the pilgrims who visit these places as a religious duty. Not surprisingly, several shrines in Pakistan have been soaked in blood by the militants.

Terrorism: A Technique of War?
Asad Durrani

Since terrorism has survived through the ages, is it possible that it is part of human nature? As children we were afraid of the ‘bully on the block’. When the local Badmash terrified the neighbourhood, we wanted someone to do the same to him. We relished the thought that others would live in fear of us. Maybe terrorism is merely a more radical version of scaring, intimidating, petrifying or frightening others. But then that is a subject for social scientists and psychologists....

 

Officially Outlawing Love: The Sehwan Killing By ISIS Only Reaffirmed What Pakistan Formally Believes In
Khaled Ahmed

After the Pakistani killers of the Islamic State (IS) slew 88 devotees and wounded hundreds at the “Shia” mausoleum of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar at Sehwan Sharif in Sindh recently, people thought it was an act of satanic cruelty. But IS knew Sehwan as “Shia” and that the saint buried there was renamed Usman to avoid being found out. The saint is revered by Muslims, Hindus, Ismailis and other branches of Islam; all dance together to the Qalandar’s mesmerising songs. Did the IS take itself out of the pale of Islam with this act?....

Although signs of Daesh’s footprint in the country began to appear in 2014, top officials of the federal and Punjab governments dismissed the organisation’s presence in Pakistan until recently. Daesh had established its bases in eastern Afghanistan’s bordering areas with Pakistan in 2014 and, soon afterwards, had penetrated into South Waziristan. Daesh’s sanctuaries, training camps and financial resources in Afghanistan have infused a new life into Pakistan’s outlawed militant sectarian groups....

 

Pakistan’s New Policy on Terror and What It Means
Hiranmay Karlekar

The question is whether history will repeat itself. Given past experience, it is very likely that it will. Hence, another question: Why this flurry of action now? One reason can be fear of the Trump Administration which is determined to stamp out the Islamic State and Islamist terrorism, and may not have much patience with Pakistan’s patronage of the JeM and JuD. This pressure from FATF, and genuine alarm at the recent surge of terrorism inside Pakistan, may well have led to these measures and the launch of Radd-ul-Fasaad...

 

Pakistan’s Terror-Finance Time-Bomb
Praveen Swami

Now, Saeed is back in detention again — because no less than Khawaja Asif, Pakistan’s Defence Minister, said at a conference in Germany last month, that he could “pose a serious threat to society”. No one knows what that threat is, though, because no criminal charges have been brought. There has been no explanation, either, of why Pakistan is holding Saeed, other than that it is in national interest.....

 

Risks in Rush to Crush ISIS
Paul R. Pillar

Of course ISIS is a horrible group, and everyone not in it agrees that the world will be better off without it. But before U.S. forces take up any larger share of the burden of fighting it, three realities ought to be carefully considered....

 

How 'Radical' Islam Often Isn't Radical At All
Z Fareen Parvez

While Wahhabis follow one of the main Sunni orthodox schools of law, Salafis tend to think through legal questions independently. So equating the two is a mistake. For some Salafists, labeling them as Wahhabi is a way to dismiss their faith or even insult them. Identifying with Salafism does not mean one supports the politics of the Saudi state....

The IS’s puritanical, one-size-fits-all brand of Islam hasn’t found much resonance in India. Given the syncretic nature of Indian Islam, it is extremely difficult for groups such as the IS to become popular among Muslims, as it did in parts of Iraq and Syria. But lone- wolf attacks, inspired by the IS world view and tactics, could pose security risks. The IS is not recruiting people through local communities as in the case of other terror organisations or, as in Pakistan and Afghanistan, through madrasas....

 

Who Are The Sufis And Why Does ISIS See Them As Threatening?
Peter Gottschalk

Sufi traditions reflect a vastly underreported quality about Islamic traditions in general. While some revivalist Muslim movements such as the Wahhabis and other Salafis see only one way of observing Islam, there are others who embrace its diversity. Many Muslims proudly defend Sufi customs such as shrine devotions because they are so integral to Muslim and non-Muslim communities....

 

Followers of Mumtaz Qadri feted him as a hero at his tomb on Monday, the start of a three-day festival marking the anniversary of his hanging+ on February 29, 2016. Qadri assassinated liberal Punjab governor Salman Taseer in 2011, angered by the politician's reformist stance on Pakistan's controversial blasphemy laws. The state's decision to execute him provoked uproar among Islamists....

 

Netting Jihadis Online
Rahul Tripathi

Sultan Shahin, who runs a website from New Delhi that counters Jihadi propaganda, said his site has been banned in Pakistan for publishing such articles. But there are lessons to be learnt from the experience of other countries where such programmes are being run. "Although de-radicalisation programmes are not a great success, counter-radicalisation can be of help in the Indian context," he says...

Pakistan: Jehadis Are Shared Assets; A Deeper Design Can Be Read In China's Cosseting Of Masood Azhar
Ayesha Siddiqa

But then there are those like Jaish-e-Mohammed’s Masood Azhar, who remain so relevant to the security institution that help is sought from powerful allies like China to protect them at international forums. In the past calendar year, China blocked Indian and now even American efforts to pass a resolution in the UN Security Council declaring Azhar as terrorist....

 

No Counterterrorism Strategy Can Work Without Civilian and Military Collaboration
Muhammad Amir Rana

Operation Raddul Fasaad appears to be an attempt at a collaborative effort to counter the threat. Still, it is to be seen how this effort can transform into a proper institutional mechanism. Law-enforcement agencies can cope with the new challenges by putting in place improved investigation, intelligence-gathering and intelligence-sharing mechanisms, and by developing a rapid response system....

 

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: Perishable Peace
Tushar Ranjan Mohanty

On June 19, 2016, for instance, the KP Government allocated PKR 300 million in its budget to Darul Uloom Haqqania (Nowshera), known as the 'University of Jihad'. The madrasa is known for having several top Afghan Taliban leaders among its alumni, including former Taliban chief Mullah Omar who received an honorary doctorate from the seminary. Haqqani Network founder Jalaluddin Haqqani, al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) leader Asim Umar and slain Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, are among the other alumni of the seminary....

 

Attack on the Sufi Shrine Is an Attack on Humanity
K S Venkatachalam

Moreover, Sufism is close to the Hinduism’s Advaidic philosophy, where atman (human soul) and Parmatma (God) are one, as there is no distinction of duality between the God and the soul, except in our perception. Jhulelal continues to be the unifying force and the centre of all cultural activities of the Sindhi community. It is against this backdrop, one should not be surprised why the IS specifically chose to target the Holy Shrine, as Sufism preaches love and tolerance....

The British government overhauled its counter-extremism programs and cut off dozens of Islamist groups from taxpayer funding. Politicians and journalists learned a very important lesson about Western Islam: It is a diverse mix of dozens of different political and religious sects, which includes both violent and non-violent extremists. No single group could represent all Western Muslims, and it was only by delineating British Islam into its diverse, competing constituents that extremism could be effectively tackled and suitable Muslim allies identified....

 

Efforts to combat the flow of young Muslims to overseas battlefields have been complicated by the ambivalence toward, and sometimes support for, the Jihadi cause among some imams and the recruits’ parents. In an interview that began and ended with a prayer, Mr. Sabur said he had welcomed his son’s death as a martyr: “I felt elated. Speaking about it now, I am over elated.”....

 

Tackling the Islamic State
R.K.Raghavan

Where is the IS heading? Few observers would bet on its annihilation. It would perhaps do better than al-Qaeda, which lost its punch following the killing of Osama bin Laden. The ISIS is expected to be more enduring than its rivals because it is not personality-oriented. It has shown itself to be more pragmatic in opting for expansion in terms of geography, instead of sticking to mere ideology.....

 

Shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalander: A Hub of Folk-Lore and Sufism
Suroor Siddiqi

As we walked inside, what struck me most was not the tranquillity, or even the spirituality, but the feeling of being in a sanctuary. I remember less about the altar of the shrine, and more of the haven it provided for the downtrodden. There were beggars and madmen; the aged and the sick; women with their children; Hindus and Muslims. The people I saw there fascinated me because they were people society had forsaken....

 

Why It Was Right to Release Jamal Al-Harith In 2004
David Blunkett

Jamal al-Harith joined Isis and became a suicide bomber, but what did the future hold for the other UK citizens and residents? When we fall short of those standards, we not only risk miscarriages of justice. We undermine the foundation of our democracy, and give licence to regimes across the world to behave just as they wish. I think this is exactly what those who violently attack us want. Detention without proper cause or due legal process, in conditions criticised by many, is unacceptable.....

 

Time to Tackle ISIL's Millions of Sympathisers
Rami G Khouri

Significant international concern that thousands of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters and their leaders will soon disperse to many countries - once Raqqa and Mosul are liberated - has focused on possible terror threats from a renewed global underground army of frustrated radicals.....

 

Sindh: The Sufi’s Cry
S Akbar Zaidi

The ethos of a land known, over the centuries, for its Sufi values and shrines, is undergoing a fundamental change – but its liberal intelligentsia is not willing to admit this, or perhaps even acknowledge it to themselves. Walk into Shikarpur and see the remains of the numerous NATO tankers that were burnt there by extremist elements, possibly in collusion with the oil mafia from the area. Go to the province’s border districts and you will find Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) graffiti everywhere invoking people against India….

 

The Sufi Must Sing: Let the Music Not Fade
William Dalrymple

If only the Pakistani governments could finance schools which taught Pakistanis to respect their own indigenous and syncretic religious traditions, rather than buying fleets of American F-16 fighters, and handing over education to the Saudis, Pakistani might now yet be an important trading partner for a future Indian superpower — a place where Sufis can still sing safely and in peace....

Importance of Saifullah Akhtar, the ISI’s Pet Jihadist for 30 Years
Praveen Swami

These blood sacrifices bought influence: Maulana Nizamuddin Shamzai, the head of the Jamia Uloom-e-Islamia, worked through Akhtar to bring together Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar. The effort paved the way for the al-Qaeda chief to shift base to Afghanistan at the end of 1996. The Harkat itself wielded significant influence in Afghanistan, reportedly holding three ministerial positions in the Taliban government, along with 22 Sharia court judges....

 
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