Fatwas against suicide bombing
On 12th December 2013, Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti had condemned suicide bombings as grave crimes, reiterating his stance in very strong words. “Killing oneself is a grave crime and a grave sin. Those who kill themselves with explosives are criminals and are hastening their way to hell” Sheikh Abdulaziz was quoted as saying by the pan-Arab, Saudi-owned Al Hayat newspaper. Unfortunately, his fatwa was not given wide publicity; perhaps this was the reason that militants continued with suicide attacks destroying life and property of innocent people.
Recently, over 100 Ulemas, Mashaikhs and scholars also asked the TTP terrorists to desist from subversive activities in the country. They had also called for dealing firmly with terrorists which are creating anarchy. The government has formed four-member committee to negotiate peace with the TTP. The latter also formed a committee, and two meetings have already been held. Now it is up to the Taliban leadership to make the dialogue process a success. However, there is a perception that terrorists are enemies of Islam and Muslims, as they commit crimes against humanity, misguide other Muslims especially the innocent youth.
Their activities are part of a conspiracy to defame Islam and destroy Muslims. Mufti-e-Azam of Saudi Arabia’s assertions contain a very useful lesson and thought-provoking ideas. Islam is the religion of peace and harmony, and stands for love and affection, moderation and enlightenment and respect for humanity. But the fraternity’s extremist strands have given a handle to the compulsive detractors of our noble religion to depict it as a creed of violence and bloodletting. Terrorists, who claim as true followers of Islamic teachings, in fact negate the Islamic teachings of peace, love, humanity and kindness. It is because of these misguided elements that Islam is one of the most misunderstood religions of the world whose real spirit is being intentionally concealed and distorted. It is deplorable fact that some Muslims are also contributing to the flawed perception of Islam due to their ignorance and limited knowledge. Islam is, indeed, the religion of peace and harmony, and exhorts love and affection, moderation and enlightenment and respect for humanity; it stands for betterment of humanity, which ensures the rights of all human beings.
Violent acts of terrorism especially the suicide bombing are denounced by the entire Muslim world. When Taliban claim to be practicing Muslims, they must reconsider their tactics of using human beings as suicide bombers to achieve their power motives. The entire nation must raise its united voice against suicide bombings; and religious scholars should convince the terrorists to abandon such practices, which are self defeating and haram. The entire society including common citizens, political leaders, teachers, students, government functionaries, Judiciary, Police, media and intellectuals must condemn terrorists for their criminal activities. Government must send an effective and meaningful message to the terrorists. To react and retaliate against every terror attack must be the bare minimum response essentially generated by LEAs. Judiciary on its part must punish the criminals and the government must ensure quick execution of death penalties awarded by the courts. Media must not provide any space to the terrorists. Unfortunately, some media channels are proactively making pleas that terrorists have already started targeting media for not projecting their stance.
Since 1980s, Pakistan is in the vortex of violence having different dimensions. This is mainly due to Pakistan’s support to Afghan jihad after Soviet forces landed in Afghanistan in 1979; and the situation became dismal after joining the war on terror. Before 1980s, sacrilege of or targeting mosques or Imambargahs was unheard of in Pakistan, but later attacks in FATA, Hangu, Quetta, Lahore, Charsadda, Peshawar, Dir and Jamrud made the people wonder as to how human beings could descend to such acts of barbarism.
Differences between Shia and Sunni could be traced back to 1400 years, and Pakistan does have the history of contradictions between the two sects, but both sects have been living peacefully throughout the world. However, element of violence was introduced in 1980s, and many people belonging to both sects including doctors, engineers and intellectuals have been killed since then. Reportedly, alien intelligence agencies are at work to stir sectarian feuds with a view to destabilizing Pakistan.
Non-combatant causalities at the hands of terrorists, ruthless beheading of tribesmen/security personnel, exploitation of ignorant Pakistani youth for suicide attacks and showing disrespect to women are the glaring examples of TTP’s un-Islamic practices. Moreover, denying education to girls, attacking on worshippers in mosques, attacking funerals and mass killing in market places are the brutal acts of the TTP or its affiliated groups. This goes to prove that they do not care about virtues of Islam, and have no knowledge of Islam. Internet and social media can play a vital role in reducing the incidence of terrorism, checking growing increase in radicalism and controlling extremism in the society. Internet is a powerful source of dissemination of one’s thoughts, and the patriotic youth should use the Internet and social media to expose the pernicious propaganda of enemies of Pakistan in a forceful manner, and counter their machinations.
Contrary to the teachings of Islam, terrorists always attempt to exploit the ideological differences of various sects of Muslims. They carry out atrocious activities and resort to repellent rhetoric to hurt the sentiments of divergent sects in the country. To disrupt inter-sect harmony and to ignite sectarian clashes, terrorists targeted congregations and processions of Shia and Sunni community. Taking advantage of the indecisiveness of the political parties for years, their strikes had increased across the country. The government of Pakistan is fighting the terrorists militarily and has also vowed to address the problems faced by the people in socio-economic and development fronts. Yet, the level of success on both counts leaves a lot to be desired. Unfortunately comprehensive and vibrant counter-terrorism, anti-extremism and counter-radicalism strategies are lacking, and there are grey areas and ambiguities in the existing policies. There is need to create public awareness on the perils, if terrorism, radicalism and extremism are left unchecked.