Dr Muhammad Khan
On December 1, 2017, militants once again targeted an educational institute in Peshawar, killing nine which include six students and the security guard of the institution. It was 12th Rabi-ul-Awwal and people of Pakistan were celebrating the Eid Milad-un-Nabi, the birthday of Holy Prophet (PBUH) once Directorate of Agriculture Institute in Peshawar was assaulted by five militants. Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) accepted the responsibility of this attack. Earlier this organisation has destroyed hundreds of schools and academic institutions in FATA and KPK areas from 2007 onwards. While the memories of two prominent attacks by TTP terrorists; the APS Peshawar in 2014 and Bacha Khan University in 2016 were still fresh in the minds of Pakistani masses, the Directorate of Agriculture Institute was attacked.
Over the past one decade, TTP as a terrorist organisation while taking cover of Islam have been doing everything which goes against the basic teaching of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). Whereas the essence of the teaching of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) is ‘promotion of education and acquiring knowledge for the betterment of humanity and essence of TTP and other terrorist organisations is to bring an end to the educational system and push the people towards darkness. How can they call themselves as Muslims, once their narrative is against the core of Islam? The Prophet of Islam Muhammad (PBUH) once said, “A father gives his child nothing better than a good education.” On another occasion, the Holy Prophet said “It is incumbent upon every Muslim man and woman to acquire knowledge.”
Being the worst sufferers of the terrorism, the people of Pakistan have unanimously rejected the narratives of all terrorist organisations, since they are against Islam and humanity. The word Islam itself denotes peace and Holy Quran ‘teaches love and compassion for every human being’ irrespective of their religion. Indeed, Islam denounces terrorism and the violent and intolerant beliefs. Truly the radicalisation, the extremism and the terrorism is not the agenda of Muslims and Islam. Then, why Muslims are blamed for promoting and undertaking this menace of terrorism? A simple answer is that, all major terrorist attacks were either done by Muslims and most of the terrorism is found in Islamic world, therefore they get the discredit. But, nobody has ever tried to unearth the motives behind promotion of; radicalisation, extremism and terrorism in Muslim world. This has not been done even by the affected class; the Muslim scholars.
Generally, it is assumed that the anti-Muslim forces are conspiring against Islam and the Muslims. This may be partially true, but have the Muslim regimes ever tried to evaluate their governance system. Compared to West, in almost all Muslim worlds, there is a clear division between ruling class; the elites and the masses; the streets. Whereas, the elites enjoy the best of facilities, the streets suffers on economic grounds and mostly lack the very basic facilities; the education, medical treatment, justice system, basic nutritional requirements and above all right to express their concerns.
Owing to socio-economic deprivation, which indeed is a governance issues, the Muslim streets get into an extreme mind-set. This extreme mind-set push them towards radicalisation which subsequently outbursts into violence and terrorism. Since Muslim world has been bestowed by Allah Almighty with numerous resources and strategically located geopolitics therefore, as a rule of power politics, the international forces exploit the available opportunities, which is the law of nature. In the process, the elites (ruling class) lose the trust of masses and feel vulnerable, thus take support from external power(s), at the time of domestic violence. The external power(s) then, decides as per its own national interests and convenience. They exploit both; the elites for their obvious susceptibility and streets to use them against the rulers as well as for their strategic and economic achievability. This cycle of exploitation then continues unabated.
Had a farsightedness prevailed among the Muslim world, the ruling elites could have removed the basic anomalies and disparities, found among the masses of the Muslim world. Addressing the socio-economic deprivations would create the element of trust among the ruling class and the deprived masses. A good governance calls for a better care of the masses in all respect. This is the essence of Islam and humanity. Let’s have a positive usage of Islam as a religion as per its essence. Education is the process of learning and knowing, which is a holistic process and continues through our life. Even the regular happenings and events around us educate us, in one or the other way.
It would not be an exaggeration to say that the existence of human beings is fruitless without education. The essence of Islam is education as mention above. The current anti-Islam narratives of terrorists, while taking cover of Islam have created a scare among the youth in our educational institutions. Besides, some of the political elites in Pakistan too have made use of these elements for their political gains and as a vote bank. This is an example of bad governance. Let’s promote the education for discarding the narratives of terrorists as well as of those forces, conspiring against education, the religion and the state of Pakistan.
— The writer, Professor of Politics and International Relations, is based in Islamabad.