Editor’s Note : Some of Western world’s most noted scholars and journalists have come out against the obfuscation of the Shia genocide in Pakistan. For a number of years, media in various parts of the world has been projecting the various sectarian campaigns against minorities in Pakistan as Sunni violence. This is not true. Indeed this line of thinking is a great disservice to Sunni sects like Sufis and Ahmadis who hav enothing to do with violence In fact, Sufis and Ahmadis have been victims of violence. The bloodletting of the minorities in Pakistan, especially the Shia genocide is being committed by no other than the Deobandis, a heretical Sunni sect which is ideologically very close to Wahabism, the Saudi state ideology. The Shia-Sunni binary has been persistently projected by those who want to obfuscate the Shia genocide and give legitimacy to the Deobandi fascism by casting it as a Sunni ve Shia issue. Thankfully, however, noted scholars and journalists like Professor Christine Fair and Robert Fisk have started telling the people what the facts are. In their writings and tweets they have been telling the world not to confuse the persecution of minorities in Pakistan by blaming the Sunnis for it. It is the Deobandi ideology which is responsible for immense suffering of Pakistan’s minorities, especially the Shias. We encourage readers to pay attention to the voices of reason and put the issues in their true perspectives.
James Foley’s murder and the Deobandi connection – by Robert Fisk
As my esteemed colleague Ahmed Rashid has pointed out, while the Deobandis restricted women, opposed Muslim hierarchies and rejected the Shia, the Taliban “were to take these beliefs to an extreme which the original Deobandis would never have recognised.” But adopt their precepts, the Taliban did; after all, once Pakistan came into existence in 1947 – another uniquely British creation – the Deobandis became far more important in what was now the majority Muslim corner of what had been the Raj.
Even before partition, however, the Afghan government had sought help from the Deobandis to build state-controlled schools (madrassas) but half a century later, the Deobandi and Taliban distaste for tribal leadership coalesced. To quote Rashid again, the Taliban debased the Deobandi tradition of learning and reform, “excepting no concept of doubt except as sin and considering debate as little more than heresy.” By 1998 Taliban groups along the Afghan-Pakistan border were punishing sinners with stoning and amputation, killing Shia Muslims and forcing women to adopt Islamist dress. Sound familiar?
Even more so, perhaps, the next little tale. For in 2000, I visited a Taliban school at Akora Khattak in what was then the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan. It was a Deoband production line of young men from Pakistan itself, from Afghanistan, from Tajikistan and, yes, from Chechnya. They laboured over the Koran but they used modern computers. There were 2,500 students with a waiting list of 15,000. A poster showed a Russian bear skewered with a green Muslim flag. Another depicted the former Soviet Union coloured green. “All of this is going to be Islam,” one of the students told me. Again, does this sound faintly familiar? Isn’t the new ‘Caliphate’ talking about Islamising the world – including, I notice, the White House?