The Times Square Bomber: Home-Grown Hatred?
By Ahmed Rashid
From The New York Review of Books
Published May 14, 2010
The Pakistani media is in a state of apoplexy about the would-be Times Square bomber, the Pakistani-born US citizen Faisal Shahzad. Predictably a great many commentators in the press and on the non-stop talk shows that run on over 25 TV news channels have discussed whether it was a CIA plot to embarrass Pakistan or provide an excuse for American troops to invade us: Was Shahzad an Indian or Israeli agent? And in any case, why should Washington hold Pakistan responsible, since he was an American citizen?
Not surprisingly, the Zardari government, the army, and Pakistani politicians have also muddied the waters. Although the government has said it will fully cooperate with US investigators seeking to find out which extremist groups trained Shahzad and where, Islamabad continues to fudge the paramount issue—the need for Pakistan to launch a comprehensive campaign against all extremist groups rather than the hit-and-miss anti-terrorism measures it is presently pursuing. That selective campaign leaves untouched the Afghan Taliban based in Pakistan—including Mullah Omar and other top leaders—who are not killing Pakistanis but are organizing attacks against US troops in Afghanistan; it also has ignored the Punjabi Taliban groups who have been attacking Indian nationals and government buildings in Kashmir, Kabul, and elsewhere, as well as killing numerous Pakistanis in suicide bombings in Lahore and other cities.
Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, FATA, Identity, Islamism, North-West Frontier Province, Pakistan, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, violence, War On Terror
By Nabiha Meher Shaikh
As someone constantly exposed to the so-called “youth” of this country, I do believe I have some insight and some valid criticism of the recent ban on facebook, which, ostensibly, has to do with blasphemous content.
Firstly, what is the “youth” of this country? And why are they lumped into a monolithic entity? Why is it assumed that they are all one and the same when their realities are different in many ways. To assume that our “youth” is living air-conditioned lives, constantly logged on to the internet, chatting away etc. is purely delusional. The truth is, the vast majority of the “youth” are very poor and cannot access websites. The “youth” is actually the majority of our population. And we are constantly trying to box them into holes on what they should be, what they should do, how they should think, how they should behave, killing off any diversity that exists… this has lead to an increase in intolerance which I have noticed in my less than three decades of existence, despite the fact that sensitivity towards women’s issues has increased as compared to my generation (I’m only talking about educated people here though. I do acknowledge that the ground realities for women have become even more horrific). Sounds contradictory? It’s not. Read on. It’s all connected to religion and wanting to desperately prove that their religion is not barbaric towards women, a criticism that has very valid roots since, let’s face it, the status of women in the Muslim world is far from decent. So even though I see an increase in gender sensitivity, I also see an increase in linear thinking, mostly intolerant, reeking of a severe persecution complex (“the world is out to get us and destabilise Islam!”), which is very, very dangerous. Continue reading
Reproduced from The New York Times
Published: May 15, 2010
This article was reported by Andrea Elliott, Sabrina Tavernise and Anne Barnard, and written by Ms. Elliott.
Just after midnight on Feb. 25, 2006, Faisal Shahzad sent a lengthy e-mail message to a group of friends. The trials of his fellow Muslims weighed on him — the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the plight of Palestinians, the publication in Denmark of cartoons lampooning the Prophet Muhammad.
Mr. Shahzad was wrestling with how to respond. He understood the notion that Islam forbids the killing of innocents, he wrote. But to those who insist only on “peaceful protest,” he posed a question: “Can you tell me a way to save the oppressed? And a way to fight back when rockets are fired at us and Muslim blood flows?
“Everyone knows how the Muslim country bows down to pressure from west. Everyone knows the kind of humiliation we are faced with around the globe.”
Yet by some measures, Mr. Shahzad — a Pakistani immigrant who was then 26 years old — seemed to be thriving in the West. He worked as a financial analyst at Elizabeth Arden, the global cosmetics firm. He had just received his green card, making him a legal resident in the United States. He owned a gleaming new house in Shelton, Conn. His Pakistani-American wife would soon become pregnant with their first child, whom they named Alisheba, or “beautiful sunshine.”
Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, FATA, Identity, Iraq, Islam, Islamabad, Islamism, Pakistan, Religion, Taliban, USA, violence, War On Terror
Pakistan’s Ambassador to the U.N., Abdullah Hussain Haroon, speaks to CBS News’ Pamela Falk about U.S.-Pakistan cooperation in the investigation of the case of Pakistani-American would-be bomber Faisal Shahzad and what needs to be done to eliminate jihadists in the tribal regions of Pakistan.
Watch video here.
By Dr. Omar Ali
Originally published at wichaar.com under the headline “The Air Marshal’s incompetent bombmaker son”
The son of an air marshal ruined his own life and abandoned his wife and kids in an utterly incompetent attempt to blow up innocent people (some of whom were probably Pakistani cab drivers). Why is Pakistan is breeding so many Islamic fanatics (luckily for us, some of them are incompetent Islamic fanatics)?
In some ways, Islamic supremacism is not that different from Christian evangelism, Hindu revivalism or those Japanese rightwing nuts who go around in loudspeaker vans appealing to the emperor to restore Japanese honor and for everyone else to prepare to commit hara kiri. Its true that Christian fanatics and Hindu revivalists are not exploding in buses and trains in faraway countries, but psychologically the profile is very similar. In any case, in most places, STATES do most of the killing domestically as well as internationally. Or people fight the state locally. What is different about Islamist terrorism is that these killers are international in scope and action and they seem to have an endless supply of morons willing to ruin their own lives for the cause. But why are they headquartered in Pakistan? The ideology, after all, is more closely associated with Saudi Arabia. I think the reason is that the presence of Islam is not the critical factor. The road from ideology to actual explosion passes through state-sponsored education, an infrastructure of terrorism and a culture where this kind of bombing has become an accepted response to whatever is perceived as injustice. And the reason this infrastructure is headquartered in Pakistan rather than Saudi Arabia is because the elite has been uniquely stupid in Pakistan.
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. Continue reading
Unlike third rate commentators such as Fareed Zakaria and Sassanad Dhume – inspired more by their national bias (both are fanatically anti-Pakistan Indian ultra-nationalists) to pin Pakistan down than any real objective analysis- Fouad Ajami is a true academic. His article in the Wall Street Journal hits the nail on the head. Americans are well advised to read Ajami’s analysis carefuly and realize that the problem facing Pakistanis and Americans is the same. However even Mr. Ajami hasn’t made the real connection i.e. connection with Islamic extremist organizations operating on US Campuses. -YLH
By Fouad Ajami (Courtesy Wall Street Journal)
‘A Muslim has no nationality except his belief,” the intellectual godfather of the Islamists, Egyptian Sayyid Qutb, wrote decades ago. Qutb’s “children” are everywhere now; they carry the nationalities of foreign lands and plot against them. The Pakistani born Faisal Shahzad is a devotee of Sayyid Qutb’s doctrine, and Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, was another.
Qutb was executed by the secular dictatorship of Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1966. But his thoughts and legacy endure. Globalization, the shaking up of continents, the ease of travel, and the doors for immigration flung wide open by Western liberal societies have given Qutb’s worldview greater power and relevance. What can we make of a young man like Shahzad working for Elizabeth Arden, receiving that all-American degree, the MBA, jogging in the evening in Bridgeport, then plotting mass mayhem in Times Square?
The Islamists are now within the gates. They fled the fires and the failures of the Islamic world but brought the ruin with them. They mock national borders and identities. A parliamentary report issued by Britain’s House of Commons on the London Underground bombings of July 7, 2005 lays bare this menace and the challenge it poses to a system of open borders and modern citizenship. Continue reading