In 1947 there were only 189 madrassas or Islamic Schools in Pakistan. By 2002 the country had 10,000-13,000 unregistered madrassas with an estimated 1.7 to 1.9 million students. A 2008 estimate puts this figure at "over 40,000". So, these schools have collectively produced millions of Pakistani graduates who were taught in these “Islamic” schools which mostly teach extremist versions of Islam. Many of those “graduates” become radicalizing elements within their local societies. They command respect and influence people around them. Although you may meet many moderate Pakistanis, I have to admit that I was shocked to observe that some Pakistanis have developed some of the most extremist Islamic interpretations present today. Many of these extremist Pakistanis now live in Britain or other European countries where they teach or preach in local mosques and Islamic centers. Many others mingle with the population and spread their message amongst immigrant communities or Muslim minorities often feeling socially or economically excluded in their new societies.
If Pakistan falls, could this event trigger the official start of a formal World War III? I think the War or skirmishes of such had already started some time in 2001. But if Pakistan falls, knowing the situation in Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Gaza, Sudan and Yemen, then we have a very unstable position stretching on a potential battlefront covering many thousands of kilometers. Many other countries, Arab, European and otherwise, have large populations of Muslims ranging from moderates to fanatics. Which side are they going to take? And if more wars are to break out, will this trigger internal stability and radicalization in countries such as Egypt which are still dominated by “Moderates”, such that extremists will take control or gain increasing power? Has the self-fulfilling prophecy of Armageddon finally come to fateful realization? Extremists on both sides have the Armageddon “promise” in their mythology. Each believing that their “own God” will come to their rescue and guide their troops to the path of victory. But what the rest of us can see, is a trail of blood and destruction. Is there an end to this madness?
How does a right-wing-governed Israel fit into this picture? Israel and its atrocities in Palestine is often seen as “the” most potent fuel for radicalization and a major cause of the rise of extremism amongst Muslims around the world. But will the new US administration be able to talk the right-wing Israeli government into a peaceful settlement of a century-long conflict? A settlement with whom, when the Palestinian house is divided? Will such a solution come in time? What pressure can the US exercise over Israel? What is the impact on the internal US political scene?
Meanwhile, the needle of the radicameter in Pakistan as well as in many other places is pushing into the red. And the clock is ticking.
From The Times
April 27, 2009
The threat that forced a fight
Taliban bar Pakistan army convoy as tension grows
By ASIF SHAHZAD
From The Sunday Times
April 26, 2009
‘Stop the Taliban now – or we will’
The US got tough with Pakistan as terrorists moved to within 60 miles of the capital
Pakistan Daily Times
US public warning of Pakistan collapse has risks
Pakistan Daily Times
PML-N asks Sufi Muhammad to disarm Taliban