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Taliban and Islam

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The recent attempt to kill the 14 year old girl Malala Yusafzai by two members of the Taliban in Pakistan needs a further analysis of the background of this crime.

- What is the background of Malala?

- What is the background of the Taliban?

- What was the reason that the Taliban wants to kill her?

- How to stop this violence?

Malala Yusafzai is a Pashtun girl, who lives in the Swat valley, Pakistan. In 2009 the Taliban was ruling the Swat valley and forbid girls to get education and closed the schools using cruel violence.

To get an impression of the reality in the Swat valley in 2009 look at the following movie (9 minutes): http://youtu.be/Ekn7cbWPgfI.

This movie shows Malala as an 11 year old girl in the beginning of 2009, who tries to fight against the rule of the Taliban who wanted to stop the education of girls. It shows also how her father is supporting her.

Reading Wikipedia about her you can discover that her father is a poet and head of private schools. He is well-educated and he wants the same for his daughter.

Does the Taliban that their daughters become well-educated? Obviously they don’t like this idea.

So, what a kind of people are these men? Are they educated? It seems they aren’t. But they realize that by education you can get a more important position in society. They can be overruled by women as they were overruled by the West (England) in the past. They are afraid to be a loser and lack hope on a better future for themselves. This possibility hits their self-esteem. They have a kind of pride that overrules their self-respect. Self-respect has been based on awareness of own talents, respected by other people. Their kind of pride is a hidden fear not to be respected.

Two points play here a role:

1. Everyone has the right on education to develop his/her talents, serving the community. This right has to be implemented anyhow. Was this right implemented in the past?

2. Where competition plays an important role, there is only one winner in a specific field. The others are losers, who have to fight back. The stress on winners is a hidden form of violence and will block cooperation between people. This can explain why the Taliban acts so violently. They don’t want to be a loser, losing their self esteem.

A small story makes this clear. There was a test among children from an Indian tribe in America.

They must make a sum on a board. Who finished, must turn around. But every time everyone turned at the same time. The reason was that the tribe could only live and survive, if everyone cooperated. Everyone is needed. It meant that everyone waited, until the last finished the sum. The West fails this attitude. This makes understandable why the Taliban is so opposed to what they see as Western influence. They use the Islam as an alibi for the violence, but this is opposed to it. Read Sûra 60,7: It may be that Allah will establish friendship between you and those of them who were your enemies. This excludes anyhow violence towards anyone else.

Observing the behaviour of the Taliban I wonder if they ever made the Hajj to Mecca, where Muslims experience that everyone is equal for Allah. They cover their face as if they like to wear a Burka. They are afraid of being recognized

They use a machinegun as if they don’t trust on Allah. The Taliban show a behaviour, which doesn’t fit with Islam.

Islam has to inspire politicians to be righteous like Ibrahim and is not an alibi for a destructive policy.

How to find a way out? For the long run it seems to me important that local people become more aware of their own culture and its values in order to develop their self-respect and self-consciousness. Then they learn to appreciate education based on their own values, which are respectful. They can learn their history, culture and historic values and those of their neighbouring people like Pashtun, Pathans and Balochi. They can learn what Islam really means and the meaning for their culture. They can experience and learn to appreciate that for Allah men and women are equal.

Louis Bohte

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Louis Bohte ofm

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