Islamic fascists targeting Pakistani women

22 05 2009

“The situation is Pakistan is deteriorating day by day and Taliban can soon invade Islamabad”. You must have heard this statement thousands of times. Though Pakistani military and political establishment denies this fact, the situation is actually worse than what is reported in western media. Taliban insurgency – that also has support from some elements of Pakistani spy agencies – is making its way through the common Pakistani society.

Pakistani society, that was once known to be a follower of Sufism, is turning towards the militant version of Islam. The urban lower middle class of Pakistan is fast becoming a hostage to Islamic fascists. In recent years, numerous Islamic organizations have been set up. Most of these cater to average Pakistani urban women. These women, who have got some education and can influence others, regularly visit gatherings where they ‘learn’ about the actual Islam.

Most of these gatherings are arranged by the women wing of radical Jamaat-e-Islami (that also has links with Al-Qaeda). There are other parties as well like Hizb-ut-Tehreer and Ahl-e-Hadith organizations. These entities, with direct interests in militancy, have adopted a new method to boost their outreach to common Pakistanis. They are targeting women as they find it easy to ‘brainwash’ an illiterate or semi-literate Pakistani female who is totally dependent on her male relatives for sustenance.

A typical congregation of women would start with a lecture on basic teachings of Islam. This, however, soon changes into an America bashing exercise. Using distorted definitions of Islam, these women are encouraged to model their lives as per Islamic teachings. The focus always remains on Jihadist tendencies. “Send your children to fight the evil Americans”; “West is behind all our problems” and “Boycott the use of American and Jewish products” is what you will hear in these congregations.

And they have gained currency with average Pakistani women. These gatherings, mostly held on a weekly basis, attract thousands of women. Some of these organizations also help the participants by teaching them skills like sewing and embroidery and thus attract a large number of poverty-stricken women.

This mass infiltration is going on without any checks. These organizations draw their funding from rich and mostly corrupt Pakistanis with some funds coming from overseas. The popularity of these extremist organizations is really alarming. Almost all Pakistani women now wear hijab as they are taught that traditional Pakistani dress is un-Islamic. Most also shun the western products, terming them as Jewish and Pro-Israeli. Those totally brainwashed are even ready to send their sons to fight ‘nasty’ Americans and Western ‘infidels’.

What Pakistani government is doing? Unfortunately, the weak and corrupt Pakistani government and politicians have lost their ground in urban areas of Pakistan. People are fed up with corrupt politicians and this void is being filled by militant organizations. The war against extremism is far complex than it seems. It is possible that Pakistani forces claim some victory in recent offensive but an army of young and brainwashed boys is ready to replace the current Taliban. And their mothers are fully supporting them.

The biggest threat to United States and European countries is the fact that some of these organizations have strong organizational base in some countries. This can be verified by visiting any local mosque in Birmingham, Cologne or Paris. In New York, areas with high concentration of Muslims, like Brighton Beach, have some elements that sympathize with these organizations. The battle against Islamic extremism cannot be won if the US and European countries turn a blind eye to their own backyard.

The need of the hour is to chart out a new strategy for the Muslim world. President Obama is pressing congress to approve billions in aid to Pakistan. The country definitely needs some assistance but it should not be given as a charity without any checks. Instead of stuffing the coffins of corrupt government, direct assistance to organizations working for literacy and public health would be a better option. Pakistani society is a hostage to terrorists and militant organizations. US should not allow the descent of Pakistani society into total chaos even if it entails a direct attack. A country with over 100 nuclear bombs (with many under production) and a corrupt and weak government requires special attention.

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