The Taliban target teachers and schools for a reason. Because education and knowledge sets you free.
You cannot claim to be the sole possessors of all knowledge when you have schools constantly contradicting things you teach as gospel.
The world was a very dark place when humanity started it’s tentative footsteps. Our ignorance blinded us and made us fearful. Religion taught us to fear and hate the darkness by constructing fanciful tales and rituals to protect us. However science built a fire. As the darkness receded we found that there were fewer things to be scared of than we realised and as science progressed many of the things we feared became more scared of us than we were of them. In order to be relevant, religion had to destroy the light.
But it failed in most cases. It may have silenced Galileo but his words set other minds alight… And they tried. They tried to silence Malala and all it achieved was make her voice one of the most influential in the world.
But then what of paradise? Well I feel the Taliban require a terrible world to exist so they actively create one. Why else would someone sacrifice themselves for a hypothetical paradise unless the world as they knew it was seen as nothing but horrible. In order for that to occur you have to make the world miserable. You have to destroy the pleasures in life, be it singing or music. Or even health. The Taliban target doctors, nurses and healthcare workers for a reason…
The fundamentalists of Islam are fighting that fight still. To crush the fires that light our darkness so that it is easy to convince children to kill themselves.
What could convince a 14 year old boy to kill himself and others? To them it’s a zero sum game. You either live a long life and achieve absolutely nothing or you achieve absolutely nothing now but gain paradise. It’s a no brainer if the world is terrible. There are failed suicide bombers out there from the Jihadi culture and what seems to be universal is how “child like” they are. Often they are rewarded with acceptance, a father figure and a strong sense of being. Far from being driven men they are dangerous because they “want to please” and are often hopelessly naive.
Suicide bombing achieves nothing, it only destroys. Islam has a problem, it’s moderates are often silent or worse… complicit by excusing the behaviour of their extremists. In a rush to portray Islam in a good light they forget that involves cutting away the bad bits rather than banning all discussion of them.
There is no loud voice of the majority protesting the actions of these individuals. There is no difference between the young men who kill thousands of Iraqis and the young men in Chechnya or Kashmir who do the same things (only they kill people who are “baddies”) and are regarded as heroes.
Islam as a whole needs to take a long hard look at what it’s becoming. This is a sign of things to come if we do not spread education and infrastructure faster than the Taliban can knock it down. This process exists in Africa too. And it’s spreading in Pakistan.
If ever Islam has needed to wage a Jihad, it is now and against the extremists, and it would be by educating the children and improving women’s rights rather than by the sword. It’s by learning to be flexible to prevent the alienation of it’s young men. The 7/7 attacks in London demonstrated it clearly that terrorism can even touch the jaded and disaffected youths of western nations and we see this again in the Boston bombers.
We can extend a hand to Islam but it has to meet us at least halfway. We need to engage the moderates and stamp out the extremists and the only way that’s going to happen is if moderates themselves make a stand against the extremists.
Otherwise there will be more Tsarnev Brothers and more 7/7 Bombers.
Avicenna is blogging for the SSA over the May Day holiday and will be doing so on the Saturday/Sunday too. He is trying to reach the goal of $500 of your shiny American Dollars. Help him do so by donating here. And leave your suggestions on the concurrent hangout happening over here.