Faisal Shahzad’s Radicalisation

VIEW: Faisal Shahzad’s radicalisation —Yasser Latif Hamdani (Courtesy Daily Times)

The Islamic organisations on American campuses are even more hardcore than what we have heard of the cancer of IJT, which is plaguing Pakistani campuses

Faisal Shahzad’s arrest has brought renewed focus on our already much maligned country. Commentators with only a rudimentary knowledge of Pakistan and its history have been speculating that perhaps Pakistan’s status as a nation founded on Islam is the root cause, conveniently forgetting that Pakistan was never founded on any Pan-Islamic ideals or theocratic millennialism (as in the case of Israel) but was a result of a breakdown on constitution-making between two representative parties in British India. It is also forgotten that the founding father of Pakistan, Mr Jinnah, was a secular-minded lawyer who had explicitly ruled out Pan-Islamism or Islamism of any kind as the basis of Pakistan. But let us not inconvenience geniuses like Mr Dhume of the Wall Street Journal with boring and inconvenient historical facts.

A much more plausible explanation has to do with the transformation during General Zia’s rule in Pakistan in the 1980s when Pakistan was the most allied ally of the US in the war against the Soviets. He not only Islamised the state in a very fundamental way but also helped arm illiterate and uneducated tribes in the northwest. In this it may well be said that Pakistan’s FATA regions have become hotbeds of militant activity, not necessarily always ideological mind you. This is a problem that Pakistan must urgently deal with as well as undoing the Islamisation put into process by the US’s favourite General Zia for his own sinister objectives.

Yet while this may explain how Faisal Shahzad, the son of a top-ranking PAF official, got access to bomb-making knowhow, it cannot I am afraid explain how he got radicalised. The argument that Zia Islamised the education system is no doubt a strong one but one that falls short in this case because Shahzad presumably did not go to a state school or a madrassa. He was most probably educated in a westernised institution and took his British O Level and A Level examinations before proceeding abroad. Unlike the murderer Kasab, he never was associated with a lashkar or a militant organisation. So, where was he radicalised?

The answer is one that no one in the Obama administration is willing to consider. However, those Pakistanis — especially of Mr Shahzad’s age — who went to the US in the late 1990s for an education know the answer very well. Mr Shahzad was probably indoctrinated not in a madrassa in Pakistan or by the TTP in 2009 suddenly but rather on campus in the US. As a 30-year old Pakistani who went to college around the same time, I know this from personal experience.

When I started college at Rutgers University in New Jersey 12 years ago, I was approached by a group of young bearded American Muslim men wearing rocket jeans — the roar back in the day — who invited me in their American accent to attend the on-campus meeting of the Islamic Society at Rutgers University. When I attended what I believed would be the college Muslim mixer, more than a few surprises awaited me. At the meeting I was informed that now that I was in the US, I should be wary of the “kuffaar” (all non-Muslims especially those “white devils”), that all “non-hijabi women were sluts” and that “anyone who eats from the dining hall is automatically out of the circle of Islam because pork is cooked there”. Boy, I thought to myself, I am from the conservative Muslim country, not they. Then when the Pakistani Students Association tried to organise a fashion show, a concert and a dance to showcase our beautiful culture, the Islamic Society disrupted our efforts because it considered itself the guardian of all ‘Muslim’ organisations on campus. This touched off a rather serious feud between the FOBs (Fresh Off the Boats) and ABCDs (American Born Confused Desis). Ironically, it was us FOBs from the backward Pakistan who wanted to present a liberal image of Pakistan and the ABCDs wanted to limit us to segregated iftar dinners and fundraising for Palestine and Kashmir. Ultimately, the university administration bowed to Islamist pressure and refused us the permission to hold such an event on campus. All this was widely reported in the college press.

It was during their time in the US that many FOBs — in a bid to fit in with the Muslim brothers — got radicalised and grew French cut beards. I suspect Faisal Shahzad was a similar case. The Islamic organisations on American campuses are even more hardcore than what we have heard of the cancer of Islami Jamiat-i-Talaba (IJT), which is plaguing Pakistani campuses. The kind of terror that these groups create for individual Muslims on American campuses is at least as bad as the IJT creates for Pakistanis in the Punjab University or Karachi University though they are in no position to affect the overall environment of campuses there because Muslims as a whole are a minority.

Anyway, there are enough such nutcases on American campuses with access to Chomsky and Said, who they proceed to twist and spin to their own liking, to create a very real anti-American feeling. If you listen carefully, there is even talk of blowing up “idols” of Mount Rushmore. These naïve Islamic soldiers against perceived American injustices then head to Pakistan to make their way to FATA. This is what happened with those five American Muslims who await trial in Sargodha. No one is denying that Pakistan has a real problem with Islamism, which has its roots in the Afghan War. It needs to be sorted out and Pakistan and the US are doing what they can. I would also like Pakistan to move decisively towards undoing General Zia’s legacy more decisively than it has done.

What, however, is out of line is Secretary Clinton’s warning of “severe consequences” for Pakistan if something like the Times Square attempt succeeds. Clearly, if the Times Square attempt had succeeded, the roots of it lie closer to the American heartland than in Waziristan, which may or may not have served as logistical support. Waziristan no doubt needs to be dismantled but the extremist ideology that inspired the Times Square attempt is germane to American Muslim organisations operating on American campuses. Instead of threatening Pakistan, perhaps the US administration should take a long hard look at Islamic organisations, centres and mosques operating right under its nose.

Yasser Latif Hamdani is a lawyer based in Islamabad. He attended Rutgers University, NJ, from 1998-2002. He can be reached at yasser.hamdani@gmail.com



Filed under Pakistan

144 responses to “Faisal Shahzad’s Radicalisation

  1. Azad

    This is a good article. Ajami too has covered the same theme in his article. Pakistan has a problem with JI which is AQ light and its brand of Islam. JI targets educated middle class and has significant influence in student bodies in many Pakistani cities. Its influence over Karachi U and Punjab U is absolute and many students from these two universities are influenced by the jihadi propaganda.

    Pakistani communities in many US cities are targeted by the JI activists and might have many Faisel Shahzads in it.The problem is that there is no US law that can weed them before they commit any crime.

  2. Anwar

    Good analysis.
    An old saying – one can take a man out of the country but cannot take the country out of a man… This silly fellow may have had his radicalization here in the US but he remained deeply rooted in Pakistan where state is not a state and law is not a law which frustrates ordinary folks and compels them to disrespect the civil norms and take law in their own hand or commit a crime and never face justice. Yes, there are a large number of progressive/left leaning web sites and blogs that are indeed highly critical of the US government. There also are a number of sites that are very militant in their opinions against the state and then there are conspiracy theorists… All require a good deal of maturity to decipher the message and not let the emotions cloud the thinking..
    Older generation of JI fellows came to this country as parents of kids who sponsored them after the immigration reforms signed by President Johnson. The success of Iranian revolution triggered a reaction by the Wahabis who poured tons of money in this country to counter the Iranian influence. For example, chadour/veil was countered by hijab/nikab etc. along with the training of clerics and funding of masjids… Around the same time the Afghan war started and jihad was born.. In a way, actions of Faisal Shahzad and fellows like him reflects a number of converging influences and not just one.
    A large mass of population will have to be re-educated – an uphill task but a must for Pakistan’s survival…

  3. Interesting, in that case the pro active American investigation agencies should have apprehended extremists within their society but we have hardly scene FBI raiding CARE or any other Islamic centers/ organization in the US.

    These days Islamic Fanaticism is generally accepted phenomena, why none of the investigation agencies ever caught Muslims students from America?

    Its high time we accept the roots of extremism exist in Muslim countries that help FOB and ABCDs brainwash shelter back home.

    Writer has conveniently ignored Shahzad’s recent visits to Pakistan especially in the day when he was out of money. How he managed finances and what he actually did in Pakistan is the point that has to be further investigated.

    Had Shahzad brainwashed in his campus or in American Islamic centre he would not have been taking flight to the Pakistan but hiding in CARE.

    Although I accept that US was equally responsible in doctoring Jihadi breed and mindset during soviet war however post 9/11 attacks on Afghanistan ,Iraq, Palestine issues have incited extremism in the Muslim breed born in 80s who have witnessed attacks on Afghanistan, drone attacks in Pakistan and the Palestine issue.

  4. YLH

    I have not conveniently ignored any such thing. It is not my position that FS got his training in Pakistan and was connected to TTP. These are facts.

    The issue at hand is where he was radicalized and in this case it was US.

  5. YLH

    Erratum not my position that he did not have contacts with TTP. He did.

    No one is claiming that there is no Waziristan angle…I am claiming that the motivation to go to Waziristan did not arise one fine day …but after his radicalization in the US.

    That he was taking a flight to Pakistan becomes immaterial when we’ve already conceded that he was in touch with Taliban.

  6. amjad iqbal

    why don’t you have the facility of sharing these articles on facebook??? one can’t mail them or share them any way.set up a facebook page for pakteahouse so that whenever a new article is uploaded it reflects on our facebook pages.

  7. Tanzeel

    It become immaterial whether he was brainwashed by home grown extremists when his links have already been developed by the Taleban.

    Too many arrests from Muslim community in US would have been made uptil now if American Muslims were involved in that plot.

    I agree there must be some role of local Islamic orgs but they should not be held responsible for making grounds of extremism. as investigation agencies in US esp after 9/11 would obviously never turn a blind-eye towards ’em.

  8. Tanzeel

    developed with Taleban*

  9. YLH

    How? The guy had no links with Taliban before he went to the US. What prompted him to go from the US to visit the Taliban?

    In this case the grounds of extremism are in America. No one is saying they provided the training for terror …and that part we have to take responsibility for …but roots of Mr Shahzad’s extremism are firmly in the US.

    It doesn’t mean that American Muslims were plotting with him or that he would have been hiding in CAIR. Their contribution was an ideological one. My allegation is on a purely ideological level. I haven’t said that CAIR or ISNA trained him.

  10. YLH

    PS. Can you tell me why those 5 American Muslims travelled to Pakistan to meet the Taliban?

    Were they not radicalized by their homegrown organizations.

    Americans don’t know what is going on under their noses. And POTUS even emboldened them with his little “Taraveeh” speech in Ramadan.

  11. Natasha

    Assumptions again.

    Faisal Shehzad’s on everyone’s mind these days. Everyone has his/her own version of what might have turned Shehzad into a terrorist.

    Hoodboy blames Zia’s courses , Yasser has something else to say and ofcourse there are those who firmly believe the attempt to be a conspiracy against the ‘holy’ land.

    Nobody knows what the truth is and everybody’s being an expert here.

    Sorry for being blunt.

  12. Parvez

    You are confusing everybody, so take a break, step back, rethink critically and come back.
    The real question is how an individual flips to the other side, from liberal to fundamentalist. It is like you going Jamati. Hussian Haqani, going the other way.

  13. “How? The guy had no links with Taliban before he went to the US. ”
    “Erratum not my position that he did not have contacts with TTP. He did.”

    Self contradictory!?

    What prompted him to go from the US to visit the Taliban?

    He belongs to the tribal area, his ‘links’ with Taleban cannot be ignored. I don’t negate the little role local orgs might have played as Islamic scholars often preach Jihad vaguely but over all it seems like a made in Pakistan project.

  14. YLH


    That precious Azad interview was a forgery fyi from the 1970s. The supporters of that interview could not produce any evidence of it from 1946. This in any event is irrelevant.
    The rest of your post is as usual nonsense and will be deleted with the contempt it deserves.

  15. YLH


    What is contradictory? His links from the TTP are recent … Not before he went to the US and lived there for a decade.

    Did he have ties with the Taliban/TTP in 2001 or 2002 or 2003 or even in 2007? You keep coming up with these inane arguments –
    Read Fouad Ajami’s article. He has written a fair bit about what Faisal Shahzad’s background was. You’ve got it wrong.

    Btw do you suffer from split personality because on the other board you were arguing the exact opposite. Or was that someone else?

  16. Samier Saeed

    Only thing really wrong with this article:
    “The Islamic organisations on American campuses are even more hardcore than what we have heard of the cancer of Islami Jamiat-i-Talaba (IJT), which is plaguing Pakistani campuses. The kind of terror that these groups create for individual Muslims on American campuses is at least as bad as the IJT creates for Pakistanis in the Punjab University or Karachi University though they are in no position to affect the overall environment of campuses there because Muslims as a whole are a minority.”

    That’s just patently untrue. American Muslim student organizations might be absurdly conservative, but they aren’t violent. I attend the University of California, Irvine which has among the most notorious MSAs in the country. But there is no pressure on myself or any of the other Muslims to conform to their ways. We have student groups from the Muslim world who do present better aspects of their culture in events such as a Middle Culture Night we recently had, and our PSA collaborates with surrounding PSAs in holding an annual Pakistani culture festival.
    The notion that ultra-conservative Muslim students in America have instituted some kind of reign of terror comparable to their Pakistani counter-parts is erroneous.

  17. Akash

    Hmmm..so there goes one more example of freedom of expression as understood by ylh, or should it be called, selective freedom of expression.
    “You can lead a horse to water….”

    If that interview was a forgery of 70s, I am more shocked. Who was the genius who predicted all this. Sad that he/should be left unknown.

  18. YLH

    Go back and read the “interview” again. It actually says something quite different.shows how limited your capacity to understand what is being written is.

    The “genius” was Maulana Azad’s biggest admirer and Pakistan’s biggest Islamo-fascist Agha Shorish Kashmiri of Majlis e Ahrar …the Islamo-fascist warrior who played an important role in getting Ahmadis declared Non-Muslim. Had he been alive, he would have been cheering Faisal Shahzad on as a great soldier of Islam.

    But for someone with limited understanding of history and even more limited grasp over the English language like you, it is hardly surprising you think the interview says something different.

    Do read the praise for Ibne Taimiyya … Allegedly from Azad’s mouth (though Azad was an admirer otherwise as well) … Do you even know who Ibne Taimiyya is? Do you know that Ibne Taimiyya is the real father of sanctioned Jehad and all fatwas in favor of suicide bombing cite Ibne Taimiyaa ..but then how would you know that. This is what I mean by rudimentary and superficial.

  19. YLH


    Read the article again. No one said they were violent. But they create the conditions for violence.

    I hope people watched Najam Sethi’s show. He made a clear distinction between Qasab type terrorism and Faisal Shahzad. He is the only person I know who has pointed out the fatal flaw in India’s sudden excitement over FS.

    FS has only managed detract from Qasab. Now Pakistan is going to intensify the attack on Haqqani network. Meanwhile South Punjab and LeT will be forgotten.

    But geniuses from the across the border – like this idiot Akash- don’t even understand what is good for them. Fools.

  20. Ummi

    The picture of Yasser tells enough about his extreme nature.

    Infact Amerika Return Yasser does not sound less radical and extremist when it comes to oppose his opposition.

    Yasser, do you ever smile or lying about Jinnah has made you so “ewww”!

  21. YLH


    First of all you are contradicting everything you wrote on the other board. So you need to make up your mind first.

    Secondly… I didn’t know that those 19 9/11 bombers were Pakistani…or that Ramzi Yusef was Pakistani …or that Nidal was Pakistani…or the Christmas Bomber was Pakistani…Anwar al awaki was Pakistani? Was abdul rahman the blind cleric a Pakistani?
    I don’t want to get into the whole Indian Muslim thing beyond pointing out that the ratio of Pakistanis to Indian Muslims was roughly 30 to 1 at desi dominated university like Rutgers when I was there. So it isn’t surprising that an already hapless community has remained cautious especially when they are far fewer in number.

    So you keep coming back with these strawman fallacies… That I am somehow giving him a clean chit in Pakistan. I haven’t. After being radicalized by American Muslims, he came to Pakistan, contacted the Taliban and was trained by them. That does not however take away from my point that he was radicalized in America. Nor does it make him a homegrown bomber btw… again your words not mine.

    It is actually the American investigators who have claimed that when he came to the US he wanted to get an education and live a good life…that his radicalization was gradual and in America.

  22. Tanzeel


    You really have no idea about achievements of Pakistanis in the field of terrorism.

    Aimal Kansi born in Kuwait to Pakistani parents — 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was a Pakistani. Daniel Pearl’s kidnapper, Omar Saeed Sheikh and his Pakistani friends were involved train and bus bombings in London.

    You have named a couple of non Pakistanis as well but they couldn’t create negative perceptions about their respective countries the way Pakistanis did. I hope you don’t call it “Amreeki Propaganda against land of pure?”

    As I say Jihad is a vague term it can brainwash anyone anytime if not clearly defined, ,probably this is what happened with Faisal.

    IMO if faisal was really brainwashed by local Mullahs he would have disclosed further names or at least those clerics whereabouts who in your opinion have done the damage to him but so far nothing has happened but yes they have increased the frequency of drones if you noticed ?

  23. “First of all you are contradicting everything you wrote on the other board. So you need to make up your mind first.”

    It should not be your problem what i discuss on forums, just concentrate here!

  24. YLH

    So let me get this straight …I speak of 19 hijackers and you produce Aimal Kansi.

    I didn’t start this whose country what blah blah. You claimed that every terrorist was a Pakistani. I just proved you wrong. So don’t give me this nonsense.

    My positions are quite clear on these matters and i am the last person who is going to try and deflect. Infact I am all for war on terror…always have been. The point I made here is completely different and you’ve clearly either failed to comprehend it or you are just wasting my time.

    Your arguments are equally inane …he should’ve hid in CAIR …why? As if I claimed that it was not the taliban but CAIR which armed him or funded him? Why didn’t he name the clerics? The process I spoke about is not as simple “cleric said resort to violence, he resorted to violence”. But are you saying that a general hatred of “kufaar” is not preached in Islamic centers, mosques and organizations in the US. Don’t impressionable young people become more conservative and gung ho in these mosques? What do you want to bet Faisal Shahzad probably even pray everyday before he went to the US.

    My point is a broad one…

    As for what your arguments are on other fora..if you take 180 degree turn, I need to point that out. So be serious. Try and make sense. Stop playing to the gallery.

  25. YLH

    “Omar Saeed Shaikh train and bus bombings”

    Omar Saeed Shaikh- also a British national- was arrested for his role in Daniel Pearl assassination and was not involved in train and bus bombings. Please get your facts straight.

    Infact Omar Saeed Shaikh is a strong argument for what I am arguing. He too was radicalized in UK by an Islamist group before he returned to Pakistan and duly recruited by the ISI.

  26. YLH

    And just so that we are clear on a few things…

    Kansi was not born in Kuwait. He was from Pakistan and had gone postal at the CIA building.

    Khalid Shaikh Muhammad was born in Kuwait – reportedly of Pakistani parents-…he attended a prestigious American University …and was member of the MSA there.

    So there …seems like all of your examples are backfiring. KSM too was radicalized in the US before he moved to Pakistan and joined up with Al Qaeda.

  27. Yasser

    But the fact remains, Kansi and Khalid were Pakistanis.

    Now I would like to see those references on the basis of which you have blamed KSM for radicalizing in US.

    Btw how come none of the Islamic organizations in the USA or UK seized by law and enforcements agencies in connection with above mentioned Pakistani descendants terrorists ?

    Indeed your point is broad but let me suggest you, its excellent time to become a missing person since no one is buying your ‘broad point’.

  28. Tilsim

    As ever the truth lies somewhere between Pakistan and the US for FS’s journey to extremism. I agree with YLH that the role played by extremists within Islamic Organisations at Western universities cannot be ignored and should be investigated. That is not to say that per se the Islamic organisations are a problem if they take care to purge themselves of black sheep. These black sheep are menacing as many muslim students will understand. If you don’t have a moral compass and are confused about geopolitics they offer nice brainwashing. Some of their proteges are clearly being inspired to get training.

  29. YLH

    Come now Tanzeel…you got the names and karnamay of all the terrorists mixed up. You’ve already contradicted everything you said earlier …so seriously isn’t it time you made off.

    Really …where did Khalid Shaikh Muhammad go to university ..and was he active on campus?
    As for US based Islamic organizations they have been under scrutiny. The case of sami al arian is well known.

    As for who is buying my argument and who is not …people who matter are…here is just one example of many…
    Here is Asra Nomani:

    “Dear Yasser,
    That was a great article you wrote. My father is a Rutgers alum and I spent my first years in NJ there. I found your piece fascinating. I’d love to be in touch, regarding your work.
    Thanks Asra”

    I’d say Asra Nomani – having faced the brunt of terror when she came to face to face with it in her assignment in Karachi is a much better judge.

    So why don’t you make like the wind …

  30. YLH

    Thank you Tilsim. That is my only point. Had people here read the article completely they can see that I have excused Pakistan’s Islamists for their role either. However … I think the US needs to look into the workings of Islamic organizations. It does not mean ofcourse that I am suggesting american mosques are stockpiled with weapons. I am sure they are perfectly law abiding and had nothing to do with the arming and training of Mr. Shahzad.

    What they did do was radicalize the young man.

    I don’t even suggest that it is like what they showed in MNIK with the mosque in Washington… where the radicalized doctor was called Faisal I believe … It is much more subtle.

    But it is there in very clear terms. American mosques are radicalizing these young men. Unlike Pakistan, in the US even the affluent Muslims pray in the mosque.

  31. M Akram

    Tableeghi Jamaat stops at my house in St Louis every few weeks inviting me to the mosque. Out of counrtesy I invite them in and shoot off for about 5 minutes. On one such visit a young tableeghi state that according to some estimates, by 2050 more than 50% of US population will be Muslim. The first thought that came to my mind was “Oh no I will have to find another country to immigrate to”. They are definitely planning the invasion of of US but I as a US Muslim of Pakistani descent will fight tooth and nail to protect the freedoms bestowed upon me by this great bastion of liberty and encourage my children to do the same. How could radical Muslims abuse Western tolerance to such a degree that they try to topple the very system that protects and nurtures them?

  32. Sharmishtha

    Delurking to ask: what did you mean, YLH, by the sentence “Unlike Pakistan, in the US even affluent Muslims pray in the mosque”? I thought Friday prayers were attended by all men, regardless of class. Is it different in Pakistan? Forgive me if the answer should be obvious, I’m not Muslim and am not familiar with the rituals of the faith.

  33. M Akram

    Sharmishtha, it is common in Pak for effluent muslims to be less religious. They will commonly maintain a religious facade in public and private life to avaoid un-necessary problems. I think accross the globe rich people are less religious and Pakistan is no different in this regard.

  34. Tilsim

    I would like to add here that Hilary Clinton’s statement to Pakistan on the FS incident reflects strong opinion within the US and cannot be ignored. It is part of increasingly hostile sentiment towards Pakistan within the American mainstream and should have all sensible Pakistanis and Muslims worried and even more resolute to stop this extremist menace. I am expecting to see that concrete measures will emerge that further narrow the space for Pakistan and the Pakistani diaspora. We have a roadmap of the India/Pakistan situation and how difficult it has become for Pakistanis to visit India. The Taliban/JI supporters in Pakistan are of course delighted. They are wasting no time in using it to delude more people into their cause. This evening an ARY channel anchor was doing his regular propaganda job with the line that FS is a natural result of the failure of our Government to stand up to US policies in particular the drone attacks. Questioning Pakistani non-religious leadership’s ghairat etc etc….bring’em on was the rallying cry.

  35. Sharmishtha

    Thanks, M. Akram. Although was “effluent” a Freudian slip? 🙂

  36. Samier Saeed

    No, you never outright say they are violent, but you say they are “just as bad”, etc. Really, your comparison of the American Muslim groups to the IJT is overblown. I would say MSAs over here might be very intense and somewhat confrontational. But create conditions for violence to erupt? No. And they do not go around telling us males to grow beards, or telling the girls to wear hijabs, or anything of the sort. A person reading your article without knowledge of American Muslim student groups would believe them to be far worse than they actually are.
    I am a person who generally dislikes these groups, yet I find myself defending them in the face of some obvious bias here, no offence.
    American mosques radicalizing American Muslims? You went from Rutgers from 98-02, have you been back to America since?

  37. AZW


    That Jinnah stood for a liberal democratic Muslim republic is well known to many of us here. However, it is not known to many people in Pakistan. It does not matter for most of the electorate in Pakistan what kind of Pakistan Jinnah wanted. Chaudhry Ali was trying to suppress his speech; Liaquat Ali Khan was introducing Objectives Resolution barely six months after Quaid’s death. This was and is the ongoing tragedy of Pakistan. The synonymy of Pakistan with Islam has been practiced at a state level for the past 60 years.

    I do not condemn Dhume’s article for the reason alone that he comes across as condescending, but he is correct when he points out the pan-Islamic zeal that has gripped Pakistan since her creation. There was a reason that politician after politician catered to religious right to stay in power; it reinforced the perception that Islam and Pakistan are synonymous. There is a reason the new capital of Pakistan was named Islamabad in 1959. There was a reason that mass killings in the East Pakistan were directed against the non Muslims. There is a reason that Pakistani army exercises are often titled like zarb-e-momin (attack of the Islamic righteous ones). There is a reason that Pakistan continues to have some of the most discriminatory penal laws against the minorities. Zia was not an aberration, but a rather vicious continuation of the alignment of religion with state in Pakistan. The Islamic zeal that is portrayed by our nation since its inception has permeated the population and has become the part of national psyche.

    You, myself, Hoodbhoy are still a minority as 60 years of programming has left the majority of nation unable to hear its founder’s voice. This is our struggle for the soul of Pakistan, but it does not mean that we believe that what Dhume wrote is not correct for the majority of population.

    Let me ask you another question: what is radicalization? Does it mean that an individual becomes a militant, or does it believe that an individual simply hates the western society for its degenerative values and supposed invasions against the Muslim world. This is a fine line and an important question. Western societies allow the most divergent of views to be spoken freely as long as it doesn’t incite violence against the society. KKK can get away with its racist policies and so do the extreme conservative Muslim subgroups. That Faisal Shahzad hated the western decadent ways is shared by many who live in the west, non Muslims included. In this information age however, influence crosses geographic boundaries. I live in the west, yet I participate in a Pakistani blog, and I become more secular humanist Pakistani by the day. Is it West that is making me a liberal Pakistani, or the Pak Tea House? The answer is probably both.

    Faisal Shahzad may have been radicalized like thousand of confused American Muslims, and that is fine. Western society is not perfect, yet this society doesn’t stop anyone from hating or disliking the others. Extreme radicalized leftists and rightists live in the United States and the society does not banish them for their “extreme” ideas. But like Major Nidal, Faisal did fall under a particularly pernicious influence and started moving towards violent expression of his ideas. If this violent ideology was imparted in the USA, we can be sure that FBI would be keenly following those individuals and groups and they will be booked soon. For all intents and purposes, FS’s radicalization took a violent turn when he came to Pakistan. Remember he made 13 trips to Pakistan is last 4 years alone. In Pakistan, LeT and JM still thrive openly. They openly incite violence against the west and the Jews and the Hindus. The state seldom puts a stop to this activity. This is where Pakistani state becomes complicit in violent radicalization of confused souls like Faisal Shahzad. That a society turns a blind eye towards open incitement to violence in its midst is where the society and the state starts becoming responsible. But this state of afffairs has been 63 years in the making. This is where the pan-Islamic zeal that Dhume and Zakaria talk about becomes evident. This is where the chicken come home to roost and Pakistanis become the highest percentage bombers in the world by nationality.

    You are right that all 19 hijackers in 9/11 were non Pakistanis. Yet percentage wise most Pakistani descent people waging Jihad against the West. The Jihadi composition is not a Boolean (yes or no) function. Like all normal distributions, the highest density of distribution is titled “Pakistani descent”. Majority of Pakistan will ignore it again, at their peril. Just like they have been ignoring Jinnah’s message of equality for the last 63 years. But for a lot of us at PTH and outside, the message is clear. Pakistanis across the globe are violently radicalized and it has something to do with Pakistan. As one of my friends said, “Pakistani Taliban were not born in FATA. They were born and raised in main cities, towns and villages. It is not FATA that is creating Pakistani Taliban. It is Pakistan itself”.

  38. YLH


    I do not disagree with your analysis but I disagree that Zia was a continuation of anything.
    Zia – by virtue of his military coup and backing by the US- very deliberately concocted and imposed a vicious spin on religion.
    The alignment of the state with religion was in place as early as 1949 …then why were there only 6 cases of blasphemy charges, all thrown out by the courts, till Zia’s Blasphemy tinkering?
    The answer is that the alignment of the state with religion- pre-1977- was very symbolic. Even Bhutto’s Islamic measures were superficial. The Objectives Resolution remained a preamble not a substantive part. Even post 1974 Ahmadis – if you talk to them- will tell you that despite the 2nd Amendment there was no real disruption of their civil rights ie they weren’t stopped from worshipping as they pleased, making mosques as they pleased and calling themselves Muslim as they pleased …
    All this changed under Zia. Zia did this and imposed a fundamentalism top down. In that sense
    Pakistan did go through a sea change … Pakistan post Zia was run by medieval laws, backwardness and a hypocritical Islamization was imposed. Look the point is that regardless of our decision to avoid Jinnah, democracy would have still ensured that laws like Hudood, blasphemy etc would never be passed. So I am afraid I don’t agree with this view.

    Secondly I am not a big fan of Pan-Islamism …but Pakistan’s high point in Pan-Islamism came with Bhutto’s conference. How many extremists did that create? The reason for terror does not lie with people’s identification with one identity or the other.

    Dhume’s article is a typical Indian American attempt to use anything that comes their way to beat Pakistan. Fouad Ajami’s analysis is much more deeper and explains a general sense of things to come.
    This trend of Dhume and Zakaria types being taken as the gospel truth is disturbing.

    Nor do I agree with your conclusions and I feel sorry that you have decided to take such a view of things that is entirely colored. A perception is being created where Pakistan is a scapegoat to distract from the real godfathers of global Islamic terror ie Saudi Arabia. You are playing into it. And Indians are unknowingly playing into it because ultimately it will not solve India’s issues with terror emanating from South Punjab…

    Pakistan is not producing any more terrorists proportionally than any other Muslim country. However thanks to Afghan war, Pakistan has logistical capacity to train them and here I mean the taliban and militants do.

  39. YLH

    PS a simple count of the number of terrorist plots and attacks in the west on and since 9/11 will show that Pakistanis form a minority of the terrorists.

    Secondly … a majority of those who are Pakistani are radicalized abroad. $

  40. YLH


    I was there last year. Thanks for asking.

    I’ll say this for the record …the terrorist MSAs and Islamic societies you are defending are as bad in every way as the IJT if not worse.

    IJT also claims it is not a terrorist organization.

  41. Majumdar


    Pakistan is not producing any more terrorists proportionally than any other Muslim country.

    I dont think this is true, especially when it comes to cross-border terrorism. Pakistanis and Arabs (incl Pak and Arab origin Muslims) make up a large chunk of the jihadis operating in the West. Cant think of too many big name Indian, Bangla, Indonesian or Turkish jihadis operating in the international space and mind many these countries barring Turkey have almost as many Muslims as Pakistan has.

    However thanks to Afghan war, Pakistan has logistical capacity to train them and here I mean the taliban and militants do.

    This is correct. And large chunks of the establishment either encourages them or simply looks away.

    As regarding crackdown on Islamist groups in USA is concerned, there are limitations. After all being an Islamist or a fundoo isn’t a crime. They can crack down only if laws are being violated or hate speech/incitement is being carried out openly.


  42. Majumdar

    And Indians are unknowingly playing into it because ultimately it will not solve India’s issues with terror emanating from South Punjab…

    If I am not mistaken, South Punjab is mainly JEM and LEJ territory. These outfits are mainly into anti-Shia sectarian strife although the JEM does have a presence in the Kashmir Jihad.

    India’s main bugbear is LET whose cadres come mainly from Northern and Central Punjab as well as POK.

    Pls correct me if I am wrong, though.


  43. Ajay

    Those are convenient excuses. You can already see first tidings of fresh idiocy for not going after the militants that are inimical to India. I wonder sometimes, however: do these militants carry id cards? How ylh makes these subtle distinctions, god only knows.

  44. YLH

    Only an idiot won’t see the distinction between Ajmal Qasab- poverty stricken recruit for LeT – and Faisal Shahzad an American educated Islamist.


    LeT is based out of Muridke. LeT recruits further south.

    LeJ is Jhang based. Jhang isn’t that south. It is the upper tip of the Seraiki belt and is on the same latitude give and take Lahore.

    There is convergence between LeT and LeJ … And these groups are very broadly allied with the allies of TTP in Punjab.

    However action against the Haqqani netwok means automatic diversion.

    There is convergence between LeT and LeJ.

    But when one is a dumb fool like Ajay/akash it wouldn’t occur to you if LeT jumped out and bit you.

  45. YLH

    Ajay I doubt it. You wouldn’t be a worthless troll with limited English language skills obsessed with a lowly Rutgers wallah.

    You are not blunt. Being clueless is not being blunt.

  46. Akash

    I may not be able to see those subtle distinctions(I live in a different company), but there is a reason why I used the expression,”missing the wood for the trees.” Here is another column that more or less seconds AZW and my viewpoint. Sometimes you have to stay a little farther from the site to get a clearer picture. For your convenience, I am reproducing the relevant paragraphs. The rest of the column is even more damning.

    “Even Jinnah’s personal secular thinking and lifestyle could not sway the traditionalists and in a couple of years Islamisation was put on the agenda through the ‘Qarardad-e-Maqasid’ (Objectives Resolution). School curriculums were structured by the traditionalists, specifically the Deobandis, portraying the Muslim invasion of India as an act of benevolence by great Muslim emperors. Even invaders like Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali, who just came for loot and plunder, were portrayed as great men. Pakistan’s naming of its missiles after these invaders’ names shows how much the morbid worldview of traditionalist Muslim history has been transferred to our new generations.

    The core of the Pakistani establishment has always remained loyal to the traditionalist Indian Muslim skewed worldview. Even secularists like General Ayub Khan and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto could not change this discourse in a substantial way. In this backdrop, when Ziaul Haq intensified the process of Islamisation and private religious/sectarian militias were sponsored by the state, the dynamics of theocratic radicalisation and destabilisation were unleashed.”

    The links is here:

    I agree with you that Jinnah was caught between a rock and a hard place, but, then, he choose his own bedfellows. We have already discussed his handling of the Kashmir fiasco.

    As I said, Zia was not an aberration. Try to see the bigger picture.

  47. yasserlatifhamdani

    Akash mian…

    The points made in this op-ed or what AZW is saying to the extent of Pakistan’s flirtation with religion are not at variance but are actually a regurgitation of what I have been harping about for the last 10 years. I am surprised by people like you and even AZW (who knows what I have written for the past 10 years) are so willing to make strawman fallacies about what I am saying. I am not saying there isn’t a problem of religiosity in Pakistan…. infact I am arguing the exact opposite.

    Read my Op-Ed for example: Parliamentary Theocracy

    Zia however is an aberration because he changed the very nature of the state fundamentally by imposing fundamentalism from the top.

    This is a distinction all perceptive students of Pakistani history are in agreement on.

    How ironic is it that we are arguing that a military dictator who is universally hated by Pakistanis and who overthrew a popular Prime Minister … and who managed to stay in power only through American Aid and help…. is being called a natural outcome. Can someone point out how that is logical?

    To quote Salman Rushdie from “Shame” on Zia’s regime…. In Pakistan fundamentalism is imposed from the top and does not emanate from the people.

  48. Vajra


    Although the point had not come up hitherto, not in any significant fashion until now, I tend to agree with YLH’s formulation that Zia-ul-Haq marked a sharp turn in the history of Islamicisation in Pakistan. Even Bhutto’s tinkering was so obviously manipulative and intended to yield political mileage within a political framework that it could not be taken seriously by either the Islamic faction or the other Pakistani stream of thought. As far as I know, his flirtation with the OIC was a one-sided love affair; as you will read from that gut-wrenching and horrifying account of his last days, the OIC sat and watched while he was hanged.

    So it does seem, if you take the total effect of the pre-Zia years and compare them with the Zia impact, that Zia was a sinister milestone. That does not invalidate the passages that you have cited; it merely means that things went from bad to worse, from the point of view of the Pakistani liberal, secular and democratic school of thought, the people whom Jinnah most quintessentially represented.

    If you stop to think about it, the explanation of the passage that you have quoted is quite apparent, and has in fact been debated threadbare in these columns in your presence.

    The explanation quite simply is that Jinnah was opposed tooth and nail by the Islamic conservatives (I will not call them fundamentalists at this stage of the development of their role, perhaps wrongly) until he achieved independence for Pakistan. It has been shown very, very clearly that they did a volte-face after that, migrated in numbers to Pakistan, and sought to take over the achievement as their own, for their own purposes. You may recall that it was further explained that during this phase, Jinnah’s followers, without his leadership and without his vision to illuminate their actions, succumbed to feelings of inadequacy, perhaps because of their own inadequacies as leaders of Pakistan, and increasingly gave in to the threats and coercion of the Islamists.

    If you read this along with The Daily Times extracts, I believe that the sequence becomes clear and transparent.

    Regarding the discussion that is going on, it is not a good turn of affairs; people who are natural allies, and who have been pillars of support for each other, are now in dispute over a question of sequencing and a question, ultimately, of semantics. Much of the discussion is suffused with resentment of Indian jubilation at an unpleasant turn of events for Pakistan and Pakistani patriots; it is a good moment to allow these minor differences among our friends to work themselves out, and to refrain from exacerbating already raised tempers.

    I really think that this is one that we should sit out. I might mention, as you may have noticed already, that this discussion has been continuing in a surprisingly different way on Tanzeel’s blog-site, where, as YLH points out, Tanzeel has taken a different point of view. Ironically, it was based on YLH’s high praise for Tanzeel that I looked at my original post again, realised that it was inflammatory and unnecessarily provocative, and redressed matters. Perhaps Tanzeel has been reading that and subsequent posts, and perhaps his subtly different position here may be due to that. Stranger things have happened. 🙂

  49. Atish

    Much of that “jubilation” would be saved had not the democratic Pakistani establishment did not engage in perpetual chicanery with the Bombay episode. That fat ass Hafiz Saeed has been allowed to go Scot free to spread further vitriol, and our evidence is dismissed as a piece of literature. Well, now you have it folks. No more dossiers. Face the music. Good luck! I am Ajay/Akash

  50. Prasad

    It is a natural outcome of ‘politics’ in Pakistan. Repetitive dictatorships set precedents for Generals to usurp power at their whims and fancies. Any General not getting the Presidentship is an aberration in Pakistan today. Unfortunate but true

    Crooked Zia used religion extensively to deviate public opinion from his misdeeds. He was ( in a way) slightly better version of Idi Amin

  51. YLH


    The democratic establishment in 2008 was still trying to find its ground. It can hardly be called establishment.

    We are still trying to undo Zia’s legacy. Getting rid of Hafiz Saeed types is a priority for all right thinking patriots of Pakistan.

  52. Vajra


    I don’t want to get into a hair-pulling match on a Pakistani forum with Pakistanis listening in and smiling to themselves, but there are similar examples on our side. Do I need to remind you? both our legal systems and our political hypocrisy match each other.

    Are you willing to accept that there is a new spirit of vigour and zest in the Pakistani liberal, secular and democratic sections or not? If not, let’s go different ways; there’s no common meeting ground; if yes, cut them some slack. They need it from us as much as we need it from them. Neither side is simon pure; just at the moment, the count is higher on their side. Go backward in history, and it changes every now and then; go forward, and we will see inevitably that it will change again.

  53. @ Vajra, In my blog I am only defending Pak Government and their contribution in war on terror, here it is entirely a different ball game where we are specifically discussing Faisal and his links possible links back home. I will be glad if you or Yasser come up with my contradictory statements.

    @ Yasser,

    You were supposed to substantiate references on the basis of which you have blamed KSM for radicalizing in US and not in Pakistan, neither did you reply whether they had banned any Islamic org in connection with 9/11 or London bombings.

    You say some organizations are under vigilance but that doesn’t prove your ‘broad point.

  54. yasserlatifhamdani

    Darling… don’t get ahead of yourself. Just because you say something doesn’t mean I am “supposed” to do it especially when it was you who was required to prove the relevance of your claim. Let us not forget You brought up Kasi and Khalid Shaikh Muhammad and mixed them up disastrously… I pointed out the fundamental flaw in your claim.

    Now since my hypothesis is that radicalisation goes on on US Campuses…. the fact that Khalid Shaikh Muhammad was American educated and part of the MSA at his alma mater does substantiate my hypothesis. Are you denying that KSM attended high school in Kuwait and university in the US? Or are you saying that you are sure he was not influenced in his formative years by his surroundings at college? So far you’ve not only contradicted yourself completely … but have totally twisted the arguments to suit your own little agenda.

    “here it is entirely a different ball game where we are specifically discussing Faisal and his links possible links back home”

    Wrong again. That is not what we are discussing here. Everyone knows he had links with the Taliban that he established in 2008-2009.

    What we are trying to figure out is how a young man – completely regular clean shaven and modern who went to the US for education and opportunity and got plenty of both… suddenly turn into the Time square bomber.

    My hypothesis is that American Muslim organizations create conditions for extremism to flourish in guise of the minority complex.

    You frankly haven’t been able to disprove that hypothesis. Your counter-arguments … he took a flight to Pakistan …did not hide in CAIR … no Imams have been rounded up are laughable at best.

    “You say some organizations are under vigilance but that doesn’t prove your ‘broad point.”

    Yes. Nothing less than the Americans putting all Muslims in concentration camps in the US will prove my “broad” point now in your whacko world.

  55. Vajra


    Chill, please.

    Does the smiley mean nothing to you? It was a gentle bit of leg-pulling and self-promotion on my part. Not to be taken seriously. If you found my ribbing out of place, consider it withdrawn. You really shouldn’t take it badly, though.

    There are a couple of points that may be worth making, but it seems appropriate and respectful to make them on your blog. I’d like to do that.

    What is to be taken seriously is that you and YLH and Adnann are at odds; not too violently at odds, nothing that is not within the moral boundary of healthy democratic disagreement, but still distressing in some senses.

    If you notice, YLH has in his last post been meticulous in relating facts alone to his arguments. I am sure that you can do likewise, and are doing likewise.

    The conversation between Adnann and YLH is edifying right through, and I don’t think they need us to navigate for them. For that matter, I don’t think ultimately that you need it either.

    Can we move on from this point?

  56. Yasser

    Its not about ‘me’ or ‘you’, you need not to take this debate personally.

    Since you have raised an issue based on entirely a ‘childish theory’ I expect you to back your claims by at least couple of references, this will rather restore your credibility on the forum.

    Why is it getting difficult for you to support your own arguments?

    Indeed Khalid Shaikh was a part of MSA but why no investigation agency ever questioned his association with MSA but raised doubts on Muslim Brotherhood, the organization he was associated with at the age of 16. (apparently you have skipped this point as well)

    Now come back to the Faisal shahzad, yes he went to the US for studied, clean shaven blah blah but you cant deny the doubts being raised on his visits to Pakistan, the people he met and the area he belonged to.

    //My hypothesis is that American Muslim organizations create conditions for extremism to flourish in guise of the minority complex.//

    I can understand your hatred towards those organization but we can’t accept any of your hollow claims just because you have sketched a long story here.

    I will only APPROVE your theory once its established by credible investigation agencies that American Muslim Organizations are actually the root of cause of making grounds of terrorism in that part of the world.

  57. Mansoor Khalid

    Although I disagree with the author at some points but it is a good observation in the whole. One point we are missing is that slowly the description of terrorists is changing. Middle-class, educated young men are being drawn to this. We must address the root cause and as per the popular belief now it’s not the poverty and marginalization which are the roots. The roots are deeper than that.

  58. @ Vajra, I never took it badly but seriously I want to know what makes you think I am diverted from my stance. 😐

  59. yasserlatifhamdani

    “I will only APPROVE your theory”

    My dear lady, I don’t give a rat’s ass if you don’t “APPROVE” my theory.

    “you can’t deny the doubts being raised on his visits to Pakistan”

    Nor do I need to. Read the article again. That is not my claim. No need to go in circles.

    “Why is it getting diffficult”

    I have already supported my arguments above. So far it is you who has back-tracked after claiming a whole load of nonsense :).


    Darling … a rather large word for someone like you who has made a living out of stalking celebrities on twitter and getting blocked for harassing them on a regular basis.

    But frankly if you try and read the responses…. you’ll realize that your offer to repair my reputation on this forum is premature.

  60. yasserlatifhamdani

    //I have already supported my arguments above. So far it is you who has back-tracked after claiming a whole load of nonsense 🙂 . //

    Supported where ? I still want to know on what basis you have established the theory that Islamic orgs are making grounds of terrorism abroad and not Pakistani taliban, where are the references ?

  61. Ammar

    So what prompted Faysal Shahzad a supposedly educated and enlightened man with good education to resort to such violence? Mid-age crisis? The renewed faith? Or as YLH pointed out the radicalization by Muslim organizations. Now there could be multiple factors but YLH has rightly pointed out the segregation of Muslims in America they do not intermingle with other communities hence the PR is rather weak, despite living there for decades they are still stuck in trivial issues of Halal and Haram meat! And they do not engage in intercultural events. The professions of Muslims and Pakistani’s are restricted to either being a doctor or computer geek and they will not work in social sector or media outlets ( predominately) which is why we see the community going in a shell after something happens.
    While it is important to eradicate the centers of terrorism it is also vital to engage the Muslim community to reflect upon their way of life

  62. YLH

    1. No one said Taliban were not breeding terrorists. Don’t put words in mouth.

    2. The issue was radicalization of Faisal Shahzad. He was radicalized before he established contact with Taliban.

    So don’t try to be clever by half. Read Ammar’s comment above. You obviously haven’t studied abroad or you would know what I am talking about.

  63. //1. No one said Taliban were not breeding terrorists. Don’t put words in mouth.//

    Alright, something we both agree that Taliban are the core force who play vital role in breeding religious terrorism.

    //2. The issue was radicalization of Faisal Shahzad. He was radicalized before he established contact with Taliban.//

    May be I am unable to clarify my point here, let me ask again.

    If they are really involved in radicalizing moderate Muslims to an extent that even you are aware of their activities, why suspect Islamic organizations or clerics not being raided/ apprehended by FBI ?

    //Read Ammar’s comment above. You obviously haven’t studied abroad or you would know what I am talking about.//

    Is Ammar some authority or what ? His sudden jump into the argument and supporting you speaks volume, I keep my comments reserved on Ammar’s view.

    Anyway please respond to my queries precisely

  64. YLH



    For some reason this impression persists only for some that I am trying to deflect blame off of Pakistan. I am not. Pakistani Taliban are culpable in providing logistical support.

    But the issue as Fouad Ajami pointed out is of a significantly different nature. Post information, internet revolution Muslims see themselves as a global minority. In countries like US this is even more pronounced. Faisal Shahzad is a foot soldier of an imaginary army of “anti-imperialist” Islam.
    TTP trained him after he was radicalized.


    Islamic Organizations were investigated thoroughly after 2001 attacks and we know that Islamic groups have been scrutinized.
    Just shows how little you know.

    TTP are a core terrorist training network. Assorted terrorists have visitef TTP from all over the world.

    Most people have supported this point of view that I have presented. As for Ammar ..please do enlighten us on his comments and sudden jump. How about Vajra, Mansoor Khalid, Azad?

    You don’t know much about what goes on on these campuses and therefore it would be better if you acquaint yourself with the facts instead of making strawman fallacies.

    Now tell me …is it your position that Islamic organizations are completely blameless?

  65. Vajra


    I just finished responding to the rest of your comments on my points on your own blog. It may be better to leave those discussions there and keep the thread of these discussions here, and allow each of us, you separately, I separately, to keep responsibility for our own consistency of argument. I think what I have to say is best said on your own blog, and would rather not confuse matters by taking up issues here. With your permission, then, I will stick to responding to you there. It may be helpful, rather than force you to fight a battle on two fronts.

  66. kashifiat

    Dear YLH,

    Your article nothing contribution other than the creating problems for Muslims students in European countries.

    Its unnecessary to poke your nose in each & every topic with your narrow mindset & shallow thinking.

    In my view, its useless & an intellectual garbage.

  67. Amna Zaman

    @azad. Why would you think this a good piece?? I don’t believe this article. Radicalization concept is in our country more than it is anywhere. We should accept this fact. What the author has to say about the Universities abroad have no acts of recruitment so this article has some foolish insights.

  68. YLH

    Tanzeel, you must be really desperate.

    The Rawalpindi IP address (without mask) for Aamna Zaman and Tanzeel is a perfect match.

    Other moderators can check.

    Tsk tsk. Why such desperation to prove your point.

    Have some dignity woman.

  69. Zainab Ali

    Perhaps the power lies in the hands of ordinary people; they are the harbingers of change and if they are not influenced by Mullahs they can surely undo the change that was brought about during the times of Zia.

  70. Vajra

    @Zainab Ali

    It absolutely lies in the hands of ordinary people. Even from an Indian view, it is clear that the ordinary people, given an electoral choice, have never consciously voted for an Islamic party, or made a choice in favour of sectarian strife.

    On the other hand, their exercise of their democratic power has been strangled through half of Pakistan’s existence by ‘extra-constitutional centres of power’. This distortion has prevented natural and humane policies and those who would have promoted such policies from coming to power. Instead, power has been exercised by an elite which concentrated on keeping itself in perpetual domination of the country, on aggrandising itself, acquiring assets, property, businesses, licenses, and every economic advantage that it could put together, and deliberately fomenting an atmosphere of enmity towards the traditional enemy, so that they could plead for a concentration of budgetary resources to their own purposes, rather than to health, education, housing, power, irrigation or any of the pressing problems that naturally surround a growing nation.

    The result has been disastrous. The deliberate policy of promoting sectarian and international hatred has led to internal disturbances in Pakistan, to the disenfranchisement of a number of sections which originally loyally defended Pakistan, and still continues to be loyal to the nation in spite of suffering repeated blows, to the organised murder of minority sects within Islam itself, and to an atmosphere of tension and disharmony. On the international plane, it has led to fomenting a poisonous regime dedicated to reverting to a mediaeval barbaric regime, to the sponsoring of a widespread terrorist supporting environment, and to the creation of terrorist gangs such as those which have killed hundreds of Indians, and made India the loser of the largest number of lives to terror attacks.

    For the people to seize power, it is the liberal, secular and democratic elements in Pakistan that have to provide leadership, and thrust away all attempts at diverting attention from this key goal, and ensure that power seized thus is never relinquished to institutions pretending to promote the greater good of Pakistan. There is no greater good of Pakistan that the people exercising power directly cannot achieve by themselves, and that has to be achieved by undemocratic dictatorships.

  71. YLH


    For Pakistan to be rid of Jehadi culture, it is imperative that drone strikes are carried out on Mansoora.

    Till then it would remain a half hearted effort.

    Infact after your comment, I have decided to pen a general piece on Jamaat e Islami and its terrorists as well as a follow up to bigoted Islamist organizations in the west.

    The foremost thing to do is to investigate terrorists like you spreading hate through hate-filled newspapers like the Ummat.

  72. Vajra


    Not to mention Deoband. Have you seen what they did over the weekend? It isn’t terror, but it’s an exact match of what the wretched ‘khap’ panchayats are doing in their own sphere.

  73. @ Yasser,

    I don’t know what makes you so stupid, but believe me it really works!– thank god you know Kashifiat otherwise you would have turned him into me as well as he has also given you a damn!

    Anyway I belong to Karachi and Mods may verify my IP with Amna.

    Now come back to the topic,

    //Islamic Organizations were investigated thoroughly after 2001 attacks and we know that Islamic groups have been scrutinized.//

    Did scrutiny produce any results ?

    //Most people have supported this point of view that I have presented. As for Ammar ..please do enlighten us on his comments and sudden jump. How about Vajra, Mansoor Khalid, Azad?//

    yeah, and those who don’t agree with you are my fakies….what an insecure soul you’re!

    //You don’t know much about what goes on on these campuses and therefore it would be better if you acquaint yourself with the facts instead of making strawman fallacies.

    Is this the way you counter arguments ?

    //Now tell me …is it your position that Islamic organizations are completely blameless?//

    They are blameless until proven guilty!

  74. @ Vajra,

    I agree with you, a usefil discussion is already going on that blog, will respond your queries there, tonight. As you write too much and that too in detail which needs thorough replies..

  75. Bin Ismail

    @ AZW (May 12, 2010 at 6:56 am)

    Your words: “That Jinnah stood for a liberal democratic Muslim republic is well known to many of us here. However, it is not known to many people in Pakistan.”

    1. “…..That Jinnah stood for a liberal democratic Muslim republic is well known to many of us here…..”

    In my opinion, and with due respects, Jinnah stood for a liberal democratic [Muslim-majority] republic.

    2. “…..However, it is not known to many people in Pakistan…..”

    Solution: Dissipate the words of Jinnah. The following link may be useful:



  76. kashifiat

    For all Liberals

    میرے دشمن میری سچائی بتاتی ہے مجھے
    تیرا بیٹا میرے لشکر کا سپاہی ہو گا

  77. YLH

    Tanzeel, frankly I cannot go in a tit for tat circular debate with a bored housewife. If you disagree with the article go ahead do so at your peril.

  78. Majumdar

    Pakistanis are going great guns,…. quite literally. Apparently someone just got picked up sneaking into US embassy in Chile with explosives.


  79. Luq

    YLH, could you possible concede that it is irrelevant *where* the radicalization took place as we do not have conclusive proof / evidence to support the claim.

    It could even have happened over the internet from Indonesia *after* the guy settled down in the US.

    If someone from Pakistan wants to plan and execute acts of terror in the US, it is but logical for them to go head hunting from the talent pool already *inside* the US for obvious reasons. Saves a lot of time as well.

    Another question that crops up is – why are the nuts in the muslim brotherhood not getting caught in acts of terror?


  80. Azad

    @azad. Why would you think this a good piece??

    Amna, I have lived in the US long enough and interacted with Pakistanis at different levels and places that I have a fair understanding of how they think. I meet Pakistanis at mosques, social gatherings and functions and believe me this issue is always at the top of any discussion. I have also met many tablighi jamaat folks and I know how they are integrated in Pakistani community and what they are actually preaching. When I went to school in the US, there weren’t many Muslim student associations but now they are found on many campuses.

    I am from Karachi and I know many Karachi-aite former IJT and Jamaat sympathizers who take active part in the community affairs and have definite influence in the community. The makeup of the Pakistani community has changed over the years too. Pakistanis are now in greater numbers and in every kind of profession but mostly in non technical jobs. Also, the people from Karachi no longer dominate the diaspora in the US. There is a certain element of dogmatic approach to Islam in people from Punjab and NWFP(now KP). Some of them tend to be aggressive and try to muzzle the differing opinion in mosques etc. and they don’t hesitate in calling people ghadaar and non muslim, if they find them speaking against the dogmatic Islam or even the Pakistan army.

    I have also seen many apparently moderate persons turn in to religious fanatic within a few years of landing in the US. I don’t know what I can attribute it to, but I think most of them came here in the 90s and had been exposed to the revival of religious bigotry at its peak in Pakistan around that time.

    I don’t agree with kashifiat that articles like these expose the Muslim community to some backlash. I think it is important to expose the bigotry within our community before it causes damages that might be more than just botched attempts.

    Someone has mentioned why the FBI does not act if there are people on the campuses preaching fanaticism. FBI has arrested many Pakistanis and they continue to watch many. The laws in the US prevent the FBI from arresting people on mere suspicion. However, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies have arrested many people when they have some evidence that something was being planned.

    Btw, there are more Pakistanis in the US jails on terrorism related charges than people from any other ethnicity. Some of them might be innocent or might be just guilty by association, but there is definitely a streak of fanaticism in Pakistani community and the cause of it is not some discrimination against Pakistanis but the undue influence of religious preachers masquerading as community well-wishers in mosques and community centers.

  81. FM

    I feel it was not a big deal if we had not reacted in this manner and waited for some details to come from USA. Regardless Faisal is a US Citizen and they have the right to deal with him as per the law of the country. Some quarters take the advantage to blow up things of their interest to mlign Pakistan by being more loyal than the king.
    He was perhaps infunced by his wife from Karachi. Though he also had all the potential being from Bara area at present.

  82. Bin Ismail

    @ Vajra (May 12, 2010 at 3:58 pm)

    “……Not to mention Deoband. Have you seen what they did over the weekend?…..”

    The Deobandi parties had genarally opposed both the Pakistan movement as well as the person of Jinnah. Following the birth of Pakistan, and after the demise of Jinnah , the attention of these ulema turned towards the new political opportunities and potentially greener pastures and got politically active Pakistan. Then during the 70s, financial assistance from the Saudis became a priority, at any cost, for successive governments in Pakistan. This process accelerated during the Zia era. The Wahhabi mindset of the Saudis corresponded closely to the Deobandi school of Pakistan. Aid is never a free lunch. It comes with strings. Patronization of the Deobandi/Wahhabi school was a prerequisite for Saudi money. This requirement was duly met by Bhutto and Zia both, and ironically with equal fervour. Then came the so-called Afghan Jihad. Then came Talibanisation in Afghanistan. Then came in Pakistan.

    SOLUTION : Revert to Jinnah’s principle. Jinnah said, ”Religion should not be allowed to come into politics. Religion is a matter merely between man and God.”

  83. Azad

    You are asking some pertinent questions and I see that the author of the article is struggling in his replies. The article is written based on personal experiences and the author is coming up short because some of his assertions are being scrutinized in depth. What I say here about the community is also based on personal experiences and observations and certainly some other folks might have a different take from the same situations that I encountered. I would admit that I might not be able to defend my observations in my previous posts because I don’t have any other sources to quote and can’t document what I have written.

    Still, the point is that Pakistan is in the grips of a phenomenal upsurge in religio-political thoughts and there is no reason to doubt that some Pakistanis here in the US or outside Pakistan are not influenced by the events that are taking place in Pakistan.

    I personally feel that the Islamic parties led by Jamaat Islami helped first by Gen. Zia and now the Pakistani media have really blurred the lines between reason and dogma. As AZW mentioned religion already had a major influence on Pakistani politics and Pakistani ideology from the very beginning. Zia just took it to another level. What we are coming across now is the full blown impact of years of influence of dogmatic religious approaches in politics, education, and in general public discourse. There was a gradual increase of religious rhetoric in Pakistan from 1947 onward. Surprisingly, as the numbers of literates in the country increased, mostly educated in Western education system, the influence of religion increased too. Obviously, the assumption that western education helps in developing secular thoughts was proven wrong in Pakistan, primarily because the organs that opposed the secular discourse in the country had more influential and powerful tools in their hands and they easily beat out the Western education system.

    The debate is not about some organizations or whether they have been scrutinized enough or not by the US agencies, the issue is which way the Pakistani community is headed. I certainly worry about the directions it is taking in the West, but my concern is more about the directions the society is taking in Pakistan. There are plenty of sane voices in Pakistan; we rarely hear them because they defy the conventional wisdom as defined by the Pakistani media and the Pakistani political parties including the religious parties.

    People often talk about the root cause. The root cause has value when we talk about an insurgency by the poor but in Pakistan’s case the ideological wars are being waged by the Middle class and the elite. So the root cause of the problem in Pakistan is the misguided and dogmatic middle Class that encourages the poor folks to get involved in some heinous crimes like the suicide bombing. Now that there is apparently a short supply of the poor converts or they are wisening up, the same middle class religious zealots are pushing the sons of middle class like the Faisels in to the fray.

  84. stuka

    Can you post a link to the Najam Sethi show / interview when he makes a distinction between Kasab / Shazad?

  85. Bin Ismail

    Erratum: Please read as: “and got politically active [in] Pakistan”

  86. YLH


    I am not struggling in any responses. Some of us cannot go in circles with foolish trolls and bored house wives.
    My assertions were that Islamic organizations create conditions that radicalize young men… I didn’t say arm them or make them terrorists. So most of tanzeel’s “pertinent” questions are based on strawman fallacies and her own rather poor knowledge.

    Asking me for evidence for terrorism and violence on part of the Islamic organizations in the US is just ridiculous because what I have claimed above is in plain English language. And I am not sure what questions haven’t been answered. Tanzeel started by claiming that only Pakistanis resorted to terror…I proved that wrong. She brought up KSM and OSS …I showed her that these men fit in with my thesis. Now she wants evidence for “radicalization”…when I am operating on a plausible cause. And the personal experiences are evidence enough for me. But these are also the personal experiences of many Pakistanis.

    Now if someone wants concentration camps in the US you won’t find them. However US has monitored Islamic student bodies and many like Sami Al Arian etc were consequently found to be involved in radical activities … So I am not sure what I have come short on. Frankly.

  87. YLH


    Tonight With Najam Sethi Duniya TV …May 11th.

    Do you have any doubt that Qasab and Shahzad present two different strains….one a poverty stricken victim of a cynical and wretched establishment and their goons … The other a global jehadist radicalized by the ideology of Syed Qutb and other Islamists intellectually?

    My point is not irrelevant at all. It is a clear and present danger to American society that on campus and off campus Islamic bodies present.

    I agree that this irrelevant to the issue of the culpability of Taliban…but America also needs to look at Islamists in America and the kind of anti-Americanism they are creating on campus.

  88. YLH

    @therealylh on twitter.

  89. Luq

    What do you suggest they (americans) do? Take away civil liberties? from people who have not (yet) committed a crime?

    Where do you draw a line between what is harmless practice of one’s faith (however stupid it be) and being a real danger to society.


  90. YLH

    Civil liberty that is practice of religion is always subject to restrictions.
    Is it without precedent? Is it not US’ established policy to crackdown on consentual polygamist colonies in Utah? Isn’t that “harmless” practice of faith?

    I don’t have solutions but America must realize that it is a serious problem.

  91. @ Azad

    You are asking some pertinent questions and I see that the author of the article is struggling in his replies. The article is written based on personal experiences and the author is coming up short because some of his assertions are being scrutinized in depth. [2]

    What I can see is this guy is producing random replies to my very precise question. I don’t know what to debate with him but whatever he has written is based on mere assumptions since he has not backed his claims by any authenticated source.

  92. Tilsim

    @ Tanzeel

    I will only APPROVE your theory once its established by credible investigation agencies that American Muslim Organizations are actually the root of cause of making grounds of terrorism in that part of the world.

    Well, personally speaking I don’t need that standard of proof as I don’t accept the premise that any one factor is the ‘root cause’ for terrorism carried out in the name of Islam. I don’t believe YLH is saying that either. However YLH’s central assertion that there are black sheep within American Muslim Organisations which want to promote a certain confrontational world view amongst muslims resonates a lot with me. America is not an island and immune from extremism. The American Muslim Organisations do exert influence on the community in America as has been mentioned by several bloggers here. I don’t need the certificate of an intelligence agency; there is plenty of evidence of trouble makers if one observes and listens carefully. These people cannot be ignored by the MSA , firstly because black sheep should not be allowed to hijack the mainstream. That’s a threat to Islam first and foremost, if one cares for one’s religion. Secondly, ignoring or being fearful of these black sheep is only inviting huge trouble; the space for Muslims in America will only get narrower as the host community develops a wider and false consensus that actually Islam itself is the problem and something more dramatic needs to be done about it. Many Muslims in the West recognize this and are taking active steps to dissociate themselves from these black sheep but because the terror attacks keep happening the job is not complete and inevitably more needs to be done. I was humbled to hear that the father of the Nigerian kid who tried to blow up the Delta airline talked to the CIA about his fears for his son. That is the sort of example that non-Muslims need to see repeated time and again to believe that Muslims are standing shoulder to shoulder with them against terrorism. America on the whole has been a generous and tolerant host to Muslims, specially those from Pakistan. We cannot expect this generosity to be boundless unless Muslims are leading the fight against violent extremists in their midsts. This is the real Jihad, because it is the Jihad to reconnect again with our conscience and morality.

  93. stuka

    “Do you have any doubt that Qasab and Shahzad present two different strains….one a poverty stricken victim of a cynical and wretched establishment and their goons … The other a global jehadist radicalized by the ideology of Syed Qutb and other Islamists intellectually?”

    Completely agree. Former is a pawn of the establishment, latter is a liability for the establishment.

  94. ArsalanKh

    No Islamic organization would act as a terrorist completely or partially in western countries. Yeah, There are individuals in that. Time to time, Many individuals have been charged. One can equate these organizations with Islami Jamiat Taliba who has produced many terrorists.

    These organizations have indeed potential to make any one psychopathic fundamentalist by indoctrinated how much ‘Zulm’ is being done on muslims.

    Why don’t you guys consider the example of Dr. Afia ? How did she go radicalised?

    West believe in freedom that why you see revolutionary mulims who threaten SouthPark guys are still free. However, there are several networks who have been caught in UK and USA.

    about Al-muhajiroun- Its an old but would be a good e.g ?

    ‘Generation Jihad’ another documentary about how western muslims get radicalised, would be a good watch too.

  95. Vajra

    @Bin Ismail

    What follows is completely off-topic, and is intended to clear up a minor misunderstanding.

    I am sorry to have created confusion. I was referring to a fatwa where they have ruled – are you ready for this? are you sitting down? – Muslim women may not work in offices or places of work where men are present, unless they are given separate accommodation and facilities. In general, the news reports say, with exaggeration and sensationalism, that the fatwa bans Muslim women from working and earning.

    You can imagine the impact on all of this incredibly stupid ruling.

    This happens at a time when the khap panchayats, caste-based self-governing councils, with no official sanction, have declared that they want the Hindu Marriage Act amended to follow their rulings about permitted degrees of relationship in marriage. Their rulings are that Jat youngsters belonging to the same totemic clan may not marry; in effect, they are brother and sister.

    While this is not understood or understood very poorly in Pakistan, the fact is that we are under siege in India from religious reactionaries of every kind. The Buddhists alone have found nothing stupid to say or do at present, but no doubt, under ‘peer pressure’, they will.

    Most Indians who participate in these discussions are active in moving against these attacks on society; we talk to you about your issues in the intervals, not as a whole-time and unhealthy preoccupation with the goings-on in the neighbour’s household. Sometimes this is not understood, even by the most senior and mature Pakistani commentators; I feel that this cannot be emphasised sufficiently, to make our interventions and comments comprehensible and acceptable to our friends.

  96. YLH


    Thank you. I tried to explain as much to tanzeel but she is just so sure of her “precise” questions based on strawmen about what I actually said.

    Reminds me of what Ali Eteraz told me last year …he said online debate is pointless because there is no principle of res judicata operating.

  97. AZW


    First of all, let me say that criticizing Pakistan’s confusion with Islam is not an attempt at disparaging Pakistan. Pakistan is our motherland and is an exceptional country in many regards. It is still a young country and still coming to grips with an identity that is polluted due to its weak knee rulers who sought to play with fire to extend their short term rule. Patriotism for me is to call out what I think will kill the society. It is not about staying quiet when state and society are committing hara-kiri in the name of anti-Americanism or religious based nationalism.

    This has absolutely nothing to say on your ideals which happen to be almost exactly mine as well. But differences in opinions do arise. In my mind, unless Pakistan realizes the stopgap solutions will only keep plugging the holes but not solve the problem, Pakistan will not fully stem the rot that has been building for many decades.

    It is slightly beside the point but I have always wondered if General Zia, probably the worst ruler that we have had so far, genuinely thought of himself as anything but a fiercely patriotic Pakistani. Blind patriotism kills if it is not open for debate. We are debating a major point in Pakistan’s current state of affairs; that if all roads for terrorism are originating from Pakistan whether the participants are many Pakistanis in USA, Canada, or Britain, are we realistically saying that it is these countries fault for not controlling radicalization?

    I would go even further and say that a Pakistani-American or Saudi-American Muslim deeply disturbed about the US policies has the right to be aggrieved about it. This is what an open society is all about. It allows its members to express their grievances and talk about it. Yet the Pakistani generation that has grown up in the shadows of General Zia and the persistent talk of Islamic fortress is prone to turn this grievance into an outright hatred against the Americans. Hoodbhoy asks the same question: why do Pakistanis hate the United States more than the Vietnamese or Japanese whose civilian population were heavily bombed by the US in military conflicts.

    The reason in my mind is that history seldom works in linear relationship. That thoughtless actions do not come back to haunt nations right away. Pakistan’s forays with Islamic alignment had begun taking toll on the nation, but the country’s deterioration was gradual. It was clear in the 1971 that the concept of religion to keep the two arms of the nation together was grossly inadequate, and the confused identity with Islam that supplanted the much needed nationalist identity came back to break the country apart. When Bhutto started working on the Islamic bomb and excommunicated the Ahmadis, he was setting the stage for a truly horrible episode in Pakistan. General Zia arrived in 1977, but it could easily have been another 20 years more until we would have seen a mard-e-momin like Hamid Gul ruling the country and taking it towards another brutal rule in the name of Islam.

    Rather than learning from the mistake of combining religion and state, this generation leans even more towards it to fend off its own insecurities. Pick any Urdu newspaper that is read widely in Pakistan; it is full of conspiracies, anti American op-eds, Islamic revival prophecies and anti India/Israel condemnations. And these Urdu newspapers and their sister publications are sold widely in the Diaspora community in North America too. The same Diaspora views Geo TV and other channels and finds itself relating to the hatred that Pakistanis like to spread around in Pakistan.

    It then becomes a simple probability equation: That a society that feeds on anti Americanism, hates it in mainstream media, can convert a supremely confused Pakistani descent individual in this day and age of electronic communication into a wannabe Jihadi. Add to the fact that mosques and recruitment centers in Pakistan are available to turn these Jihad dreams into reality and the flock of those confused Pakistan Americans, or British Americans head to the motherland. And this is why Pakistanis form the top bracket in the list of Jihadis in the United States. And this is why Pakistan invariably appears in all the terrorist plots that have been hatched or executed over the past decade. It is not just the FATA problem, it is the whole Pakistani state machinery that is ambivalent towards the militancy as long as it does not target Pakistan.

  98. AZW

    Quickly switching gears now, here is an important report from RAND that details the acts of terror attempted in the United States since 2001. Here are some excerpts from this report about how Jihadis are formed and what are their backgrounds. There is nothing special about them that a university organization or a particular mosque converted them to the violent side. It was mostly the ubiquitous internet that did the trick.

    Many of the jihadist recruits in the United States began their journey on the Internet, where they could readily find resonance and reinforcement of their own discontents and people who would legitimate and direct their anger. Some of the recruits gained experience on the streets. At least 23 have criminal records—some of them very long records—for charges including aggravated assault, armed robbery, and drug dealing. A good percentage of those arrested could be described as having the experience and skills that would make them dangerous.

    But what is most at issue here are intentions, not ability. The 46 cases demonstrate earnest intent. The individuals were ready to be terrorists. Their ideological commitment was manifest. Some were naïve, some were adventurers, some were misguided. But many were no doubt sincere in their anger and determination, having made the ideological leap to armed jihad. They came into contact with U.S. authorities when they tried to act on their beliefs. They had, in the words of one prosecutor, “jihadi hearts and jihadi minds,” and juries convicted them on their intent

    The composition of the Jihadis indicted in the United States since 2001 is as follows:

    Beyond their common beliefs, America’s homegrown terrorists are a diverse group. Information on national origin or ethnicity is available for 109 of the 125 individuals named in the radicalization cases. Most are U.S. citizens. Sixteen of them come from Pakistani families, and 16 come from Somali families. Twenty are of Yemeni (8), Jordanian (7), Egyptian (2), Iraqi (1), Lebanese (1), or Palestinian (1) origin. Seven come from the Muslim areas of the Balkans: Albania (3), Kosovo (2), and Bosnia (2). Twelve are native-born Caucasians, and 12 are African-Americans, seven of whom belong to the Seas of David, while five others are converts to Islam. Two are Hispanic-Americans. The remainder are first- or second-generation immigrants from or nationals of Guyana, Trinidad, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Eritrea, or Turkey


  99. YLH


    I finally managed to read the debate on the other blog and now it is clear to me why that blogger is taking contradictory positions. Indeed the positions are not contradictory – self serving is a better word.

    The problem is that tanzeel is seized with the notion that it is upon her shoulders to defend the honor of Muslims, Islam and Pakistan in that order by means.
    Contrary to my earlier perception, I must say that my objection to Dhume is qualitatively different.

    Hardly anyone can deny that Pakistan’s wretched establishment is not doing enough to end this menace in Pakistan. Had this been not true it wouldn’t be so easy for people like Shahzad to get in touch with Qari Mehsud and what not.

    In 2008 Pakistan’s wretched establishment tried to pass the buck to the democratic government and to their credit they took by the horns. Ultimately the establishment was forced to take action kicking and screaming.

    The thing is that unlike tanzeel, I don’t hold the brief for Pakistan’s wretched establishment. Nor do I feel the need to defend the American Muslim establishment. The brief I hold is for the liberal sections of Pakistani society, the bridge builders, the Jinnah-ists if you will and for the elected government of Pakistan which is at great odds keeping up the good fight against the wretched establishment, terrorists and international pressure.

  100. YLH


    There are no two opinions about what you are saying but I am a little surprised that you have to write the first paragraph to me. When did I say criticizing Pakistan’s confusion with religion is an attempt to disparage Pakistan? Are you saying that I am accusing myself of disparaging Pakistan…or do you have doubts about the fact that I have criticized the confusion of religion and state more than anyone else in my writings.

    Why at my expense Adnan?

  101. YLH


    You have your answer in the rand report quoted by AZW. An overwhelming majority of terrorists are not Pakistani. And Pakistan produces proportionally less number of terrorists than all of these other countries if you consider their populations.

  102. Bin Ismail

    @ Vajra (May 13, 2010 at 6:21 am)

    Thankyou. Actually the very sound of the word ‘Deobandi’ tends to trigger off several thought processes simultaneously.

    The fatwa itself surprises me least. It is interesting to note however, that the Holy Prophet’s first wife Khadija was a leading and successful businesswoman. A leading entrepreneur could not conceivably have been a recluse.

    Priesthood, regardless of which religion it claims to represent, is in my opinion, and forgive me for this blasphemy, a retarding force. Priesthood is to Religion what Lethal Dose is to Medicine.

    I fully appreciate the predicament.

  103. AZW


    No the first wasn’t meant for you. I didn’t mean that mixing religion with Paksitan is disparaging towards Pakistan. I meant that being harsh towards Pakistani state and its policies by me and others can be construed as unpatriotic. It was a bit of a mix up on my part in addressing various topics in one comment.

  104. AASH

    I don’t buy the author’s argument. From the anecdote it appears that social conservatism is linked to the kind of radicalism that would make one kill and bomb. Ok. Evidence? Moreover, that a liberal form of Islam will not lead to radicalism and terrorism. Rutgers is only one campus? What about experiences on other campuses?

    It was exactly during the late 90s when a significant push back from second generation born and raised american muslims began that sought to steer any discourse on Islam, America, muslim integration and politics in america away from an “Islamist” framework. Intellectuals like Khaled abou fadl, Umar Faruq and Sherman Jackson began to fascinate the younger generations in the MSAs with a more criticsl understanding of Islam and muslim relations with America. Even before the late 90s there already existed a diverse array of approaching these issues apart from a very narrow lens as the author describes in people and institutions such as Ismail Raji al Faruqi and the IIIT and Esposito, etc. Who is to say which campus group was influenced by whom?

    Besides, if Faisal was radicalized back then, then why wait to carry out the attack for so long after going through the various rituals in life which provide for emotional stability and a sense of purpose. The question remains – what exactly happened to this guy to induce him to do something stupid?

  105. Vajra


    Yes, yes, yes!

    It is extremely frustrating to discuss matters with someone so obviously well-intentioned but seized of the wrong notion.

    Incidentally, I am more and more convinced that it is one and the same argument being articulated on this thread: that there is a climate of persuasion and propaganda in western countries, where far too many cultural and religious extremists have taken refuge, partly due to state pressure in their native lands, partly due to economic opportunity, and that this docks neatly into the jihadi-factories of South Punjab and Waziristan.

    Slightly off-topic, you would notice, if you look, that this holds exactly true of Hindu and Sikh communities in those countries too; it is a truism that ‘non-resident’ communities are more extreme in their attitudes than their parent communities back in the mother country.

    I am not equating the degree of extremism – that would be a perverse claim for the sake of an argument – but there is a parallel.

    If there were Hindu fascist training camps, as that blowhard Dharmayoddha seems to be jumping up and down about, the circle would be complete.

    Even more frustrating, on that blog, I have got caught up in one of those utterly stupid mein-mein tu-tu kind of things that break out like measles in conversations between Indian and Pakistani. But that is an occupational hazard.

    @Bin Ismail

    About women in supposedly traditional countries, besides the example of the lady Khadija, we have more martial examples: the Battle of the Camel, for instance. Actually, there is a plethora of examples of women taking active roles in public life, before the clamp-down of recent centuries, and it is just that it is tiresome to revert to these Neanderthals with such obvious examples. They should know their own history. The impression is that they do, but deliberately suppress it.

    I have a bone to pick with you, and am writing this in some agitation. Denouncing the priesthood is not blasphemy, absolutely not , in no sense whatever, unless we are equating the sorry creatures with divinity. Not even a high-born Iyengar Brahmin, to take the subject away from Islam, will claim that; imbued with the divine spirit, never equal to, or in some way the Almighty. I write this as an agnostic. I think the phrase used by Deoband is ‘waris al abniya’; even less than that above. No blasphemy, this.

    My extreme antipathy to organised religion seems to have carried me away: apologies.

  106. Prasad

    Bin Ismail: Please accept Dear Vajra’s apologies. He has apologised already to Tanzeel ( on another blog), YLH, AZW and God know whom all

    Dear Vajra:

    Gawd you are everywhere oozing your LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOng drawn odourless Farts on all blogs.

    When you are in a ‘Disturbed state of mind’ ( Referring to your post on Tanzeel’s blog’) you write 20 paragraphs. When you are in the ‘Right state of mind’ you write 30….may be 40…..oh no still counting

    You dufoooos.

  107. YLH


    I have about 1000 emails now of people in the US from all campuses confirming their experiences.

    I don’t care if you don’t “buy” my argument. I am not selling.

  108. AASH


    We can all get a thousand e-mails confirming experiences. Must feel good to be leading a mindless mob.

  109. YLH

    Darling certainly not as mindless as you my friend.

  110. YLH

    In case anyone is wondering, among this “mindless mob” are people like WSJ author Asra Nomani, famous Danish journalist Puk Damsgaard Anderson, Salman Masood of Newsweek, Anita Joshua Pakistan bureau chief of The Hindu, Sana Bucha of Crisis cell and countless other people of susbtance.

    I don’t need any patronization … But I’d say these are much more substantial than the people speaking of “mindless mobs” here.

  111. Vajra


    My dear Sir, Please feel free to omit reading my posts, since they cause you such sympathetic gastro-intestinal difficulties. Just skip them. Nobody compels you to read them. No negative marks.

    Read whatever else meets your criteria, and leave me to do what I do best – analyse a complex problem without pretending that it can be summed up in a Tweet.

  112. Bin Ismail

    @ Prasad (May 13, 2010 at 9:39 am)

    Ridicule, the art on which, you appear to claim proprietorship, can also be practiced with a bit of decency. Some commentators, including your worthy self seem to regard the word “decency”, a virtue with which Vajra has been amply blessed, synonymous with the word “sycophancy”. Conformity and difference of opinion, both, when expressed appropriately, add to the quality of the discussion. One must admit, though I doubt you ever would, that Vajra’s contributions to the various discussions at PTH have added to the quality of discussion. Please accept my apology for pointing this out rather plainly.

  113. Prasad

    Vajra: Sure Sir. Please continue.

  114. Prasad

    Bin Ismail: You are right. I am not sure if Vajra was positive or otherwise in forums. Yes when is brief, he makes an impact. When he stretches beyond our permissible readable limits, he induces yawns. At times, the very purpose of discussions get diluted in the vortex of his complicated sentences

    I was trying my bit to highlight this to him and if you have followed our discussions, it all started with a very brief request to do so. And oh yes he almost included me into the list of hatemongering fundamentalists. well i dont need any certification from anybody. I try doing what I think makes sense to the forum/discussions overall. I like the fact that I get to learn a lot about Pakistan here which otherwise we are not exposed to, got to learn about Islam which otherwise is a one sided story in India, got to understand some stunning history discussions between Ganpat and YLH on Jinnah and thoroughly enjoyed it

    My message to Vajra and all very intelligent bloggers is this – please convey your message in very simple language and keep it brief.

  115. Vajra


    I shall endeavour to adhere to your instructions as best as my limited capabilities will permit me.

  116. Prasad

    I am sure moderators agree here. Vajra recommends various rules on extreme views documented by a few bloggers here. I am sure moderators must come up with a rule on the volume of blogs as well. Vajra: Take note pls

  117. Vajra


    Yes, Sir.

    Incidentally, how did you read the minds of the moderators?

  118. Amna Zaman

    Sure mods may verify my IP address and Tanzeels. I am from Isb and he is from Karachi. Anyways
    @azad. I graduated from Texas state and as much as I think I cant really agree with the above artice. The religious extremism in our country Pakistan is much to be discussed upon rather than pointing at other nations.

  119. YLH

    I probably have called out Pakistan’s home grown extremism far more than anyone else …

    Do tell us which “Texas State University” you graduated from?

  120. swapnavasavdutta

    Texas State Universtity at San Marcos which
    used to something called Southwest perhaps?

  121. YLH

    Well I welcome all non-muslims in America to visit any meeting of any MSA and Islamic Society for themselves and share their experiences with us.

    Pakistan has a severe Islamic terrorism problem. It is in Pakistan that terrorists are trained by disparate groups. All these are unquestionable facts which I mentioned in my article.

    But why should we not talk about the fundamentalist Islamic organizations on western campuses that preach Syed Qutb and Maududi day in day out?

    I am not sure why there is such reluctance amongst Muslims to indulge in introspection at all levels?

  122. Vajra


    May 13, 2010 at 4:22 pm


    Vajra is YLH’s dog in short Moderators dog. They work together (master and dog). How do you expect to do break the dog master nexus?

    You think that’s worth a biscuit?

  123. YLH

    Moderators please delete Karun’s posts without prejudice henceforth.

  124. Vajra


    Oh, I don’t know that it deserves so much attention. It’s in bad taste, not to mention rather rude, but in laughably bad taste. Karun is a bad-tempered little tyke with nothing to recommend him, and he was addressing a self-important puffed up little tyke with nothing to recommend him. Why bother with their posts?

  125. Prasad

    Vajra: why dont you add yourself as well

  126. Ammar

    @Tanzeel! I endorse YLH views for they offer a reality check, the radicalization of American Muslims is not a maligned conspiracy by the west, it is due to the introvert nature of American Muslims including the Pakistani community. You would see the foreign diplomats wearing shalwar qameez and assimilating with the local culture, this clearly lacks in our community. Islamist organizations in U.S rarely engage in cross cultural dialogues which is needed to understand to change the perceived notions regarding Muslims

  127. @Ammar,

    but I don’t unless he comes up with authenticated proofs to substantiate his arguments. A mere write up with no sense at all is just a waste of precious internet bites.

    He could have come up with some research to make his view convincing but he rather preferred to indulge in riff raff that lost rest of his credibility…though I don’t mean to hurt him yet its high time for him to use brains (if any) and come up with something that at least MALE SENSE.

  128. YLH

    Ammar thanks for trying to make sense. However I think poor education and an inability to understand the simplest of arguments operates as a mortal estoppel for our dear tanzeel, who keeps asking like broken record for “substantiation” for claims no one made.

    I am heartened though by the response. Other than a few idiots who are clueless about the topic at hand, most people who have come in contact with Islamic societies and MSAs on western campuses concur with my point of view.

    The resistance seems to have come from those who have a vested interest in safeguarding the status quo vis a vis these pernicious Islamic organizations in the West. The drsire on part of people like tanzeel – who on the other boards are defending Pakistan’s inability to crackdown on terror- to blame Pakistan exclusively here is symptomatic of a deeper malaise ie deflect criticism of Islamic orthodoxy and the holiest of holy … Saudi Arabia.

    Otherwise only a dishonest crook will claim – after reading the article above – deflecting criticism of Pakistan. Indeed how different is the perception of this article by say The New American which quoted it at length in “Faisal Shahzad the fall out continues” or the journalists like Puk Anderson and Asra Nomani who interviewed me on it … and of people like Tanzeel and Kashifiat.

  129. Hayyer

    The reasons for radicalization of Muslim youth abroad is the subject of considerable research, most notably by Roy Olivier. One need not doubt that young members of the Muslim diaspora from all nations pass through processes such as the one described by YLH; not all succumb.

    It becomes a problem when those who do gravitate towards Pakistan.

    Given their open tolerant societies there is not much that the US or UK can do about it without comprising the fundamentals of their systems. But as a result of the Shazad episode the threat to Pakistan is not just internal now. As long as the infrastructure in Pakistan exists it will attract wannabe Jihadis and some day, in some form, the US may feel compelled to act.

    Dhume and other Indians may enjoy Pakistan’s discomfiture, but this bit of schadenfreude is only natural. The two countries are supposed to be enemies and the bomb blasts in India whether by the Khalistanis, or the Indian Mujahideen, or from groups like the one that staged the Mumbai attack are all believed to have originated from Pakistan. Pakistan is now a bigger victim of terrorism than any other country but Indians while repelled by the horror of it all cannot understand why the PA does not yet perceive a threat to Pakistan.
    If the terror infrastructure is not serving Pakistan’s strategic goals its establishment needs to bite the bullet and disassemble what it built even if it takes India off the hook.

    It is really all of a piece. Secular governance, disassociating the state from religious groups, abjuring violent solutions, and economic development. Kashmir should await another time if diplomatic processes fail to come up with a solution this time around. A policy review can only help Pakistan.

  130. AZW


    Thanks for your calm comments again. Given the history of rivalry between our two countries, some sort of schadenfreude does creep into our analysis. Maybe it is not intended, but honestly I feel it when I read Indian commentaries on the state of affairs in Pakistan. And sometimes I feel it in Pakistani commentators talking about India and its own problems. If I can feel it than I can only imagine what an Indian readers’ feelings would be.

    I thought about the whole discussion regarding Faisal Shahzad and his radicalization today. For some reason, I felt uncomfortable that the debate is being construed as it is me-vs.-you debate between a secular democracy believers on the PTH. It is easy to miss the forest while focusing on the trees.

    What is the discussion about? That Dhume and Fareed Zakaria may or may not be ill-motivated by disparaging Pakistan. Or that the source of terror in the Western world is Pakistan and not the local countries.

    What it ignores is that Yasser has never said that Pakistan does not have a huge problem. His idea about Pakistani state leaning towards religious minded policy does not negate even an iota of the idea that for Pakistan to succeed as a viable nation on earth, it needs to start separating church from the mosque, let the democratic rule continue, and the system move towards the rule of law. That Pakistan is fighting a mortal threat against the religious elements with no agenda whatsoever is a reality. We all agree on that. Debating about semantics beyond a certain level becomes redundant and almost self destructive.

    What’s more, I have observed Yasser on this forum for the past 18 months at least. He lives in Pakistan, in the midst of the crazies who arouse passion, slander the liberals with the vilest of names, cheer the fanatics openly and hope the country that provides them food, shelter and living is overrun by the same medieval Jihadis; all so that momins would rule Pakistan and whatever privileges other sects enjoy will be taken away from them. I have all the respect for him; for his courage and his conviction for the cause of a Pakistan that Jinnah looked for 63 years ago. He remains a voice that enrages the religious bigots; as their empty rhetoric is given its due place when he argues for an equal Pakistan for all.

    And what are we arguing about right now? That militancy may or may not have roots in the United States.

    For me it took a useless post by Kashifiat to realize this. Kashifiat, who absolutely does not care an iota about the American Muslim, condemns the US with the vilest of names in his empty columns, comes up to criticize YLH for making life difficult for the American Muslims. Another low attempt is made by an equally forgettable character.

    Suddenly for me, the forest appears. A correspondence with YLH also confirmed what I fear. That if our words are spent mindlessly arguing over smaller details, where is the big objective that we yearn for: a free Pakistan where everyone is free to go to mosque, church, or a temple. Where state has no business with the personal affairs of its residents, where the state is there for the full and equal protection of life, property and honour of its residents.

    The debate was instructive and educational for me, but I think beyond a certain point it becomes demoralizing and energy sapping for all of the participants. I think this discussion has run its course for me.

  131. dullah

    It is true that there are islamic fundamentalist groups in America including on uni campuses who try to influence muslim students into their ideology. Shahzad might have been influenced by them at some point. But that does not seem to be the only reason of his radicalization, after all he has been out of the campus for almost 5 years now. In the mean time he got married and had kids which does not sound like high priority goals of an aspiring terrorist. Then things did not go well financially. He did not find a good career. He was losing the house he bought. Wife and kids were in pakistan probably because he could not raise them in US. (It almost sounds like America version of Kasab.) Then he went back and forth to Pakistan a dozen times. It is more likely something happened during this time.

    Now may be Yasser do have a point that American gov should be monitoring such groups more strictly. Doing more than what Gov is already doing re this issue will back fire. we will see articles on articles on how Muslims in America are being persecuted due to their faith. The way it works that will produce even more radicalized fundoos else where. Level scrutiny right now is just about right…things are under control (proof:not many shahzads around) at the same time American muslims in spite of their routine whining about their continuing holocaust in America, seem to be mostly comfortable in whatever condition they are in.

  132. Vajra


    Your note does rather sum up the debate so far. It is discomforting to see right-minded elements in a discussion which is really on a small matter of detail. A certain amount of schadenfreude, and its concomitant touchy, sensitive response, has to be factored in largely to be discounted. The reference is only to serious commentary showing these signs, and not to the drive-by retards who festoon themselves anywhere there is the sign of life and habitation on the Internet.

    On Tanzeel’s board, this Dhume article did seem like schadenfreude, and therefore almost conspiratorial, considering the publication and its previous, rather lurid association with Pakistan. Inevitably, it brought forth the touchy reaction which has become almost customary. Both these elements obscured the many Pakistani voices which articulated precisely what one would expect a reasonable person to articulate.

    The point is that it is clearly visible from following the discussions and comments how much Pakistani public opinion, at least among the sections that are international in outlook while remaining firmly rooted in the country, has changed over the last one year. Going back to those earlier mails will startle and exhilarate the reader.

    Now what remains, if one may state what is visible without trivialising the massive task that it is, is for the military and its adjuncts and appanages to come to terms with the loss of absolute power, and to bring itself under civilian governance, without compromising on its role of guardian of the country’s borders, which seems to be its greatest fear, having been its greatest quest in the past. If they fail to do so, or take an extra-constitutional role, both nations need to brace themselves for a long winter.

  133. Ammar

    I fail to understand why is it so hard to admit that there is something wrong with the society in general. Religious extremism is rampant in Pakistan and yet we fail to acknowledge it

    @Dullah makes an interesting observation that Shahzad did graduate some five years back so it is possible that there can be sources of inspiration. We have to look beyond conspiracy theories and figure out why the society prefers to remain in denial?

  134. Vajra


    Read it but not very original. It just says the US is untrustworthy, it’s legal systems are untrustworthy, the whole case is rigged, and Pakistan should support its son. So what? Every criminal caught in the act says the same, or his supporters say it for him. What is new or illuminating about it?

    Sorry, but it makes little or no difference to people’s perceptions.

  135. lal

    absolutely agree with you.one cant really solve all the problems of all the world,real or imagined,to create a harmonius society.it is only by cutting of aspiring students from the harvard of terrorism,we can prevent some of these actions

  136. Akash

    Hayyer, Vajra,
    Looks like we are back to the same old tricks. So much for the civil society in Pakistan. Toothless tigers.


  137. karun


    The so called democratic and liberal elite of Pakistan do just lip service when it comes to terrorism and its infrastructure.

    You often get to hear: oh! we are waging the battle daily! we are struggling against terrorism worse than anyone. and then they give vague references about FATA and Waziristan and remote hilly areas.

    On this forum how many have come in open condemnation of the terrorist camps that exist in south Punjab and kashmir. Is terrorism still legitimate in Kashmir? or Terrorism which does not affect Pakistan is not terrorism?

    How is that the infrastructure of terrorism continues unabated in Punjab and kashmir. where is the admission? where is the urgency? and where is the public outcry against it that everyone from India and world expects?

    Why is there no discussion on the 9 terrorists other than Ajmal Kasab who had come on the Killing spree? who were they? where do they hail from? How is the participation so wide? Has anything being undertaken to prevent them from joining LET /JEM? where do the liberals stand vis a vis this?

    The Liberals of Pakistan should have been asking more questions. They are doing too little too late.

  138. karun

    Faisal Shahzad was trained by the militant group in the Mohmand region and received $15,000 to carry out the New York attack, officials say.

    A US newspaper claimed that the main suspect in the attempted Times Square bombing received several days of training in Pakistan’s Mohmand region and roughly $15,000 from the Pakistani Taliban to finance the attack, according to U.S. officials briefed on the case.

    It appears likely that Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani American accused of leaving a vehicle loaded with fertilizer and propane tanks in Times Square on May 1, came up with the idea of the car bomb himself, one official said. Shahzad then apparently persuaded the militant group to give him assistance when he traveled to Pakistan’s border region in 2009 or early 2010, they said.

    Shahzad has told investigators that he met with Hakimullah Mahsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, before returning to the United States to carry out the attempted bombing, two senior officials said. His claim has been repeated by at least one other source a suspect arrested in Pakistan with ties to the militant group, the officials said.

  139. kashifiat

    Karun !

    Was trainer so bad? didn’t he trained him properly?

  140. Moon

    I came to Canada in 2k, married in 2006, to a girl born and raised here. Very religious family, and crazy about halal. Cheese / ice cream every thing was to be labeled haram until proven otherwise. Even stuff halal shops. Not too bad, but it get worse. Halal meat, must not be cooked by non Muslims. Why? They’re filthy.

    But they did drink coke, and bought rice and flour…any ways, we divorced within a year. Still can’t believe they are living in Canada for 40 years?

    Married to a fresh pakistani here again, and life is beautiful 🙂

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