The cold, almost bitter response of Pakistanis towards Malala can be a bit puzzling. This reaction is not just from radical elements but also from the general populace. Explanations for this reaction have ranged from jealousy to conspiracy.

Tehmina Kazi, Director of British Muslims for Secular Democracy,  focuses on the jealousy part:

“The criticism is ostensibly about how Malala's message has been used by “the West” for their own “nefarious” ends, but much of it is actually rooted in jealousy that a plucky teenager – a girl at that – has achieved more coverage and goodwill in her short life than her critics ever will.”

Of course, Kazi is part of a dubious organization consisting of illustrious anti-Muslim bigotry-enablers, so her support of Malala is actually a sort of reinforcement for the second explanation—that of conspiracy theories questioning the entire shooting episode, with Malala and her family being agents of the West. Thus, Sofia Ahmed on cue, “Tehmina and her ilk have one goal, and that is providing ideological support to the advancement of colonial interests and Western tyranny”

There is no doubt that some may harbor jealousy. In a country that is struggling to get on its feet, where poverty is widespread, seeing Malala's family achieving fame and wealth can be a source of jealousy for some folks. There is also no doubt that conspiracy theorists are dime a dozen in Pakistan. Who can blame them? Especially considering the nation's less than memorable experiences with the West, going from being “special allies” in the 1980s, to being forced to join the ill-fated “war on terror”, to becoming second fiddle to more special relationships with arch-rival India.

However, to simply dismiss the negativity as being just about jealousy and conspiracies is unhelpful. It ignores complex realities and reduces a nation to very low common denominators.

Instead, I believe that the more significant reason for the negative reaction is an impulse for a people to reject the imposition of “their” heroes upon “them”. In other words, a nation likes to make its own heroes and as soon as it is imposed upon it by a foreign party, the first and natural reaction is rejection.

Furthermore, Malala feeds into a very black and white world in Pakistan, of terrorists against good guys. She ignores the massive swathe of gray; that of terrorists among good guys and of good guys among terrorists. Consider the letter by a Taliban leader to Malala. While despicable in many parts, it does paint a more complex picture of the ground-reality and question the basic premise of the “Taliban against girls' education” hype.

Another facet of this complex story is that Malala doesn't talk about drones (her recent meeting with President Obama was a rare occasion where she spoke about drones strikes), and about the other countless injustices in Pakistan against women. Her one-track diatribes are like music to the ears of Western imperialists and do-gooders. It makes them feel right.

“It can sometimes feel as if the entire West were trying to co-opt Malala, as if to tell ourselves: “Look, we're with the good guys, we're on the right side. The problem is over there.” Sometimes the heroes we appoint to solve our problems can say as much about us as about them. Malala's answer is courage. Our answer is celebrity.” – Max Fisher

As Assed Baig wrote, “The actions of the West, the bombings, the occupations the wars all seem justified now, “see, we told you, this is why we intervene to save the natives.”

At the same time, we cannot, must not blame Malala because she was shot by a Talib, not by a drone. She was only 14. To expect her to create a complex narrative is unfair and unrealistic. Rather, the blame lies more upon her father and the adults around her, who are constantly and consistently feeding the story that the Western military complex loves to hear.

I cannot conclude without saying that Malala is a brave, eloquent girl, who can be a leading force for positive change in Pakistan. Despite the issues I have mentioned, we should still be proud of her as she is an amazing kid.

I just hope that Malala is allowed to fully blossom and mature into an independent thinker, and not just another human drone.

Further reading:

71 Responses

  1. Mahmud

    Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    I just read an article on resentment in Pakistan to Malala. Right on cue…..

    The bottom links don’t to anywhere so please fix that.

    Other than that, I think it was a concise article, straight to the point and SHORT which means most people should have time to read it.

    JazzakAllahu khair, may Allah accept it from you.

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  2. Razan

    People are being unnecessarily negative, even though I see where they are coming from. Malala is a brave and wonderful girl, raising awareness about some very important issues – but her story is becoming co-opted by media as a ‘feel-good’ story, to quote, “In the past months, though, the Western fawning over Malala has become less about her efforts to improve conditions for girls in Pakistan, or certainly about the struggles of millions of girls in Pakistan, and more about our own desire to make ourselves feel warm and fuzzy with a celebrity and an easy message.” I’m glad that she didn’t get the Nobel, because it would have reinforced that ‘slacktivism’- instead, she can focus on working for her cause. May Allah preserve her and reward her for her work!

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  3. Hassan

    Assuming she (and her father/family) is not actively working against Islam and Pakistan (which apparent facts suggest as well), what would you have done in her father situation:

    1. Lets captialize on this attention and money (coming around the world) to enhance our goal (noble one), end result of which will be less extremism, more balanced approach towards west and education for all!!

    2. Lets talk about drones and injustices of war on terror and be hero in Pakistan to be forgotten very soon and being bacl to zero

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    • amad

      Apparently she mentioned drones in her meeting with Obama… so I think her PR team is trying to balance her message. And I do hope she gets a PR team around her– to “capitalize” on the attention as you say. Because her father seems to only have one message and that is going to get boring soon.

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      • Hassan

        Well he is not in entertainment business, and his message may get boring to some. But is he not successful in promoting his goals and agenda? Should he have sacrificed for drones?

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  4. Abu Muhammad

    No doubt what happened to Malala was horrible just because she wanted to go to school and was outspoken on the subject, however lets not make here the offical ambassador for the Muslim world.

    She is definitely being used for propaganda purposes by the western governments and the media. She is a smart girl but she has ways to go before she can speak for the Muslims (if that is her intention). I have nothing against her but sorry I am not iimpressed by her speeches and interviews.
    if these same western governments had any dignity, they would release Afia Siddiqi.

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    • O H

      May Allaah hasten the release of Aafia Siddique, Tarek Mehanna, Shaykh Ali Tamimi etc. Ameen!

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  5. Jon Solis

    Malala, a young minor female, was targeted for assassination by the Taliban because she dared to speak up in opposition against the Taliban’s campaign to limit the education of young women in Pakistan. Her message to the world is to continue this campaign against the Neanderthal tendencies of the Taliban and their supporters. Those that would criticize her for not broadening her message to criticize all sorts of other issues are really just trying to deflect the justifiable criticism against the barbaric un-Islamic Taliban (They THINK they’re Islamic but they haven’t really a clue). The Taliban represents the evil cancer that has arisen from men that see only the ugly in Islam and should be opposed by all intelligent good people.

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    • Amad

      Jon, I wish it was simple as that. First of all, the “taliban against girls’ education” is not completely factual, as the letter (if it is to be believed) is true. Not to say that Pakistan doesn’t still needs to eradicate their violent message or reconcile them to peaceful co-existence.

      Secondly, the majority of Pakistanis and Muslims are against Taliban. So there is no need to deflect attention from Taliban when majority would rather see them gone. This isn’t a Bush’s “either you are with Malala, or you are with Taliban” world. The realities are far more complex.

      Thirdly, no one likes heroes imposed upon them. And I believe this is at the heart of the situation. I would urge you to read Max Fisher’s Wapo article and I think he really nails it in many ways. And you can hardly accuse him of being pro-taliban.

      What i have tried to do in the article is to present a balanced picture. That we should admire this young girl, that we should give her a chance to be an independent thinker and leader, but at the same time, let’s not let her one-dimensional message become the reinforcement of Western one-dimensional foreign policy approach to Pakistan/Afghanistan.

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      • ZAI

        “Jon, I wish it was simple as that. First of all, the “taliban against girls’ education” is not completely factual, as the letter (if it is to be believed) is true.”

        Br. Amad, you seriously cannot believe their letter to be sincere.
        When the Taliban say they are not “against education” what they MEAN is they are not against women sitting in a madrassah(of their interpretive persuasion ofcourse) until they are about 10 years old and get married off. That’s what they mean by “education”.

        “Secondly, the majority of Pakistanis and Muslims are against Taliban. So there is no need to deflect attention from Taliban when majority would rather see them gone.”

        …but the desire to “stick it” to the West, or India, or Israel or “national interests” seems to outweigh that, and that’s a major problem which allows them to survive.

        “Thirdly, no one likes heroes imposed upon them. And I believe this is at the heart of the situation”

        I don’t think it’s so much about imposed heroes, as it is about hurt nationalist pride, and a knee-jerk opposition to anything the West seems to be for.

        ” let’s not let her one-dimensional message become the reinforcement of Western one-dimensional foreign policy approach to Pakistan/Afghanistan”

        Her one-dimensional message reflects her one-dimensional focus bro. Her focus is education, therefore that’s what she and her father speak about. Since when is speaking about any and all subjects, “balance” and constant equivocation prerequisite to speaking about any one single topic? It’s not her job to do that nor necessary to her message. These types of demands play right into the hands of the Talibs who want to obfuscate what they’re doing and shift attention elsewhere.

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  6. O H

    I would rather prefer the people to be skeptical and cautious than to naively & blindly believe everything she and her supporters say. However either extreme is unhealthy.

    “O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful.” [Surah Hujurat Verse 6]

    I am not calling her a disobedient one, its just that verification of the media is advisable considering most or all sources have a bias or agenda.

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  7. Plaf

    Is MuslimMatters jealous of Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Malala Yusafzai?

    The whole thing is not just about Malala, but rather Malala and her father.

    As a muslimah, I think we should be proud of both of them! The father apparently has spent his life building schools and pushing for girls’ education in Pakistan. Naturally, that is his main message. I don’t care if people will get bored of this or not – that is people’s problem if they choose to do so, but we muslims have to support THIS (his) message!

    Why are we so negative?
    We have to go forward and let of go of our “conspiracy theory” mentality.

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  8. Aziz

    Just to let anyone who is interested know, if someone was shot at point blank range with an AK 47, the back of their head would literally be blown away as a result of the exit wound. This would cause almost instantaneous death.

    Malala is being (politically) pimped by her unscrupulous father who has been disowned by the Yousafzai tribe (to which they formerly belonged), under the Pakhtunwali code. Malala herself has become the object of svengaliesque control by the likes of Gordon Brown (the former UK PM) in particular. Many of the Western news reports about this girl/woman are/were laden with ‘lolita’ like innuendos.

    Malala has been writing blogs and articles for the BBC since she was 11 years old. If this isn’t a type of ‘grooming’ by the West, to create a ‘Benazir-type’ then what is?

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    • ZAI

      What absolute nonsense.
      I asked a Yousafzai elder I know just to verify or not whether she’s been disowned and he said
      she nor her family were disowned and most families/people in Swat support her message. There is an outright terror campaign being waged by the Talibs, so most people are simply silent as they do not want to suffer her fate.

      What part of Pashtunwali have she or her father gone against?
      Is education against the rewaaj? His schools were even segregated by gender to
      cater to local culture.

      Lolita innuendos? Unscrupulous father…as opposed to the peaceful scrupulousness
      of the Taliban? Her father is instilling unscrupulous education in kids, whereas the scrupulous Talib brothers are strapping bombs on their chests and sending them to die while killing others.

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      • Aziz

        Hiding behind ‘Zai’ doesn’t give you the right to be the ‘sole spokesman’ (then again your tag may well just be a ruse!) I too have spoken with with a couple of Yousafzai elders on this matter hence my post.

        If you have even ASK which part of Pakhtunwali has been breached, then I rest my case!

        Mere words are often a preamble to bloodshed! By jumping on the West’s bandwagon and lauding both this girl and her father (as well as their ‘advisors’), you become guilty of the subsequent drone and other attacks that have plagued the region.

        Your ‘attempted’ responses are nothing but rhetoric, I’ve read you posts on this thread, they contain nothing but polemics and ‘strawmen’ diatribes. Perchance that you are Pakhtun then my guess is that you are ANP, hence your critical and fanatically anti-Taliban remarks which are the hallmarks of the ANP’s anti-Islamic agenda.

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      • ZAI

        LOL.
        I am not a spokesman for Pashtuns, let alone a spokesman for anything. I’m just offering my opinion and the opinion of others whom
        I’ve spoken to. Nor do I have the “power” to kick others out of the Pashtun nation because I disagree with them. Nor do I cast doubt on their “pashtuness” because they disagree with me.

        I’m responsible for the drone strikes because I don’t support the Taliban? LOL. Are YOU an expert on Pashtunwali? How HAS she violated it? Are YOU the spokesman for Pashtuns, since you apparently have the power to decide which one of us are or are not?
        What are my polemics and strawmen diatribes? I’m ANP? LOL. I’m not even Pakistani buddy. I’m AFGHAN. QANDAHARI.

        No worries though.
        I love your posts and comments.
        Your insults at anyone who does not agree with you,
        accusations of treason, accusations of collusion, your vulgar
        insults directed at the girl( “lolita”)… do a better job of highlighting
        the Taliban then I ever could. Keep it up.

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      • Aziz

        “Many of the Western news reports about this girl/woman are/were laden with ‘lolita’ like innuendos.”

        ….I re-posted the part of my original comment, as you chose (perhaps you just plain didn’t understand!) to misquote me. Vulgarity is the hallmark of those who are devoid of dignity, and common sense, which seem to be the essence of your ‘post’s.

        If your are ‘Qandhari Afghan’ as you claim, then being on the ‘other side’ of the Durrand Line should be irrelevant to you, as the Pakhtun (and Afghanistan as a country) do not recognise it!

        As for the ‘excommunication’ of Malala’s father, I was merely responding to your arrogant claim of knowledge on the matter!

        Your polemical ranting is, if anything, an indictment of those who are imbued with self hate. Your little minion ‘cheerleaders’ are if anything an embarrassment; you are welcome to them; lock, stock and barrel!

        To reiterate the fallacy of your rants, I am grateful that you have decided to become a ‘spokesperson’ for those with an islamophobic and westoxification tendency, for there could never be a more damning indictment than your ‘posts’.

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      • ZAI

        Sorry my brother,
        But it is you who have chosen to go down the road of personal attacks and vulgarity… not I. Whether it is Malala, her father, or even a nobody like myself you choose to make baseless accusations, question people’s identities, imply they are less than Pashtun or Muslim and engage in overall personal attacks…so please spare me the lecture on vulgarity, adab and akhlaq. You don’t attack lines of argument or the subject at hand, but individuals.

        You might not have called Malala a lolita, but you implied you agreed with it by quoting it and stating as if fact that she is “controlled” by Gordon Brown and being “groomed”, the meaning of which is clear to anyone who has followed the gang “grooming” scandal in the U.K. Your initial post was nothing but vulgar, yet you accuse others of vulgarity or bad manners? I’ve had my fill of laughs for the day, so spare me more…

        As for my being Afghan or on whatever side of the Durand line, your line of logic about recognition of said line or not is ridiculous and a tangent. I only clarified my origin to refute that I am an ANP acolyte, which was yet another baseless accusation by you. I am not Pakistani and could care less about Pakistani political parties, let alone be a part of one. One can accept or reject the Durand Line WITHOUT being a member of some political party. Who are you to define what political or religious position makes one a Pashtun or Muslim anyway?

        MY arrogant claim on the matter of excommunication? LOL. Your original claim was arrogant buddy. The burden of proof of a positive statement is on YOU. Where is the jirga declaration that he has been excommunicated? What Yusufzai chief or shura has proclaimed this? Bring the evidence..Everyone should just accept it as fact based on your word, especially when you’ve shown yourself to be subjectively against the girl and insulting her? Gimmie a break. Your personal attacks against people and acting as the arbiter of Iman and Pashtuniyat are the very definition of arrogance. Who are you? LOL

        You are in no position to make unfounded accusations, insult people here, question their loyalties or judge any one.I have attacked your position and statements, but not you even despite your vulgar line of argument, conspiracy theories,accusations and other personal attacks. Until now. Your posts are full of them. Infact that’s ALL they’re full of. No argument of the issue is to be found. Only insults, insinuations, accusations, baseless attacks and vulgar implications…whether directed at the girl, her father or someone who is no one of importance like myself.

        I could care less what you think of me or what I write.Feel free to insult me. Could care less after this point. People can read these posts and see for themselves who is engaging in these lowly methods of argumentation.I’m glad the moderation team has let them be…Keep writing.

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      • Shahid

        My Suggestion:

        Just start prays 5 times daily,
        then you see All is well.

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    • Zaheer

      It’s not certain that she was shot with a machine gun – not sure who’s saying that, but as you point out, more likely she was (poorly) shot with a hand-gun/pistol. Most probably the only reason she didn’t die instantaneously was because, for whatever reason, Allahu a’lam, the bullet exited her skull without damaging too much of the brain. Amazing recovery, and good work by the UK doctors.

      Speaking of, you’re right in that UK doctors making an extraordinary effort to save this particular Pakistani Taliban young female victim, her writing articles for the BBC etc, begs the question, “why her?” What makes her more important, or “special” enough to warrant such a directed media campaign. extending into Nobel Peace Prize nomination, a major deal in the modern West.

      Can it all be explained by the fact that she represents the oppressed, forcibly uneducated female youth, oppressed females in general, “victims of Islam” (or, they would be more PC and say “Islamism” or “Islamic extremism”) in that region of the world? And of course, her story is especially horrific because she, a young innocent teenager, was shot purely due to her promotion of female education.

      I’m not sure – I’m inclined to be suspicious of something with such a high Western approval rating. I’m not suspicious of Malala – she’s just a girl, who happens to be caught up in something far bigger than herself, or any one individual, let alone a 14 year old girl.

      I think to deny that Malala is being used as an ideological/political aid for the West’s anti-everything-else (remember the West opposes, not only Islamic extremism, but any movement/society which does not conform to its Western-style liberal democratic principles) agenda, is to deny something which is becoming increasingly obvious. I also think it betray’s an emotional response to the situation – after all, it’s hard not to be on “Team Malala” when you think about the fact that she was brutally attacked by her own people. Further, it also betrays an inability to put this into context – to look only at this incident, and not the broader ideological conflict between the West and “Islamic extremism”.

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  9. saba

    I think a lot of negative coverage this young girl is getting from within Pakistan comes from a totally sick mindset and is shameful. She is a courageous child and has been attacked with extreme brutality for standing up for a crucial cause in Pakistan; the educational advancement and betterment of the condition of girls in the tribal regions of the country; where it’s a harsh life for women by any impartial assessment. A lot of people who are denigrating this young girl and her efforts, themselves see things purely in black and white, and are just as bigoted (probably more so) than those they are directing their criticism at. They have simply chosen to position Malala within their tired ‘absolutely everything is an American/Zionist conspiracy’ and ‘this is a conspiracy to defame Pakistan/Islam’ narrative…..Their hatred for Malala is an extension of their hatred for anything associated with the the West…the fact that she was considered by an award committee which is constituted, to a significant extent, by people from the ‘West’ is enough for them to slander and vilify her.
    I do not think conflating with the Drone issue, as you have done, serves any useful purpose here. The drones issue is an extremely important one in it’s own right…and I don’t see Malala being championed around the world primarily because she makes those supporting the initial military intervention and subsequent actions in Afghanistan feel good about themselves. I think that she is admired by many people around the World (Western and non-Western who may have very diverse opinions on American military intervention in the region ) because she is a symbol for humanity, and she exercised great courage in a very misogynistic and brutal environment. It’s extremely unfortunate the reaction of many Pakistani people is not to reflect on the deplorable condition of women in some parts of the country, and how brave girls like Malala are a blessing for Pakistan….it’s just to malign her and fit her within their fixed political trajectory….It’s never occurred to them to think that she’s actually doing something good for the country, and that Pakistan needs people like her….acknowledging that there are gender issues in Pakistan, and that these have to be fixed is the last thing they would do. If you read many of the opinions expressed on the web, u see many people saying things like she’s a CIA agent and a disgrace to Pakistan…It’s sick and twisted. I understand that u yourself are criticising this attitude…but the angle you’ve taken (a common one in Pakistan) indirectly assists it.

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    • ZAI

      Well Said!
      Keep sayin’ it loud and proud.
      I’m sick and tired of the reductive reactionary politics of Muslim nationalism.
      These haywaan need to be shown for what they are, because we will be their
      first and primary victims, just as Malala was.

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      • Aziz

        “Haywaan”? Is that the limit of your ‘Arabic’! Wouldn’t ‘janwer’ be more apt? Your choice of words reflect you own (lack) intellect.

        ….Perhaps you just lack confidence all round? Btw, are you EVEN a Muslim?

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      • ZAI

        Wow. More personal insults.
        I’m so suprised…lol.
        #1.I used haywaan as it is used in Farsi and Kandahari Pashto. I do not speak Arabic.
        #2 Yes I am Muslim, though I am not aware of who gave you the power to judge or ask.
        #3 Lack confidence? What? lol. Where did that come from?

        Br., there are MANY people here who disagree with things I have to say. However, most of them have good manners and also engage the subject with facts, logical argumentation and without indulging in personal attacks. They disagree with me, but I respect them and they me as a part of basic manners. Our Br. Zaheer comes to mind. So, I will go now and engage in discussion with him and the others and leave you with your personal quest to find every post of mine and insult me. lol…It is a better use of my time.

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      • Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

        Aziz

        We do not appreciate calling into question the Islam of our fellow commenters. You are treading a very thin line so please desist from any comments on other commenters and stick to the topic. And if you feel you can’t do that step out from theconversation. JazakAllahu Khairin.

        -Aly
        Comments Team Lead

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    • Zaheer

      Salaam, saba

      You make some good points here but I think your pre-existing bias colours your comment on this article.

      Brother Amad explicitly praised Malala, and made it clear that the complexity of the situation lies more in the distrust of the Western campaign to propel Malala to stardom, than with herself, or even with her goals. While many in Pakistan, especially those more traditionally minded, will explicitly state that they disagree with Malala’s goals of, basically, forced minimum education for girls, or at least no prevention of it for ANY girl, ANYWHERE, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, I think the author isn’t even focussing on that.

      The basic assumption is that her intention is meritorious; it’s her use as political aid for the Western campaign of anti-Islam, or at least their “war on terror”, that is worrying. I think he is touching on the fact that Malala, and others in her (previous) situation can be used as a “trump card” by the West to continue their war, with little to no emphasis on reducing civilian casualties. Because, after all, with success stories like Malala’s, which came about purely due to Western intervention, of course, and the millions of other girls who are suffering as she has suffered, how can the West not be justified in attacking the Taliban/Al-Qaeda by any means necessary?

      Of course, it can’t be denied that in many places in the Muslim world, women are oppressed, in a general way, and female children are just another group in that. I think it’s an extremely complex issue, because it involves the role of women in society; the West will have us believe that gender roles are meaningless and arbitrary – we as Muslims know better. To go from the Taliban/Al-Qaeda/ extreme of female oppression to the Western extreme of treating females and males as identically as possible (except when we choose to sexualize our females, dress them scantily, have them parade their naked bodies around, but “shoosh you, that’s not related to what we’re talking about you terrorist!”), is reactionary. One needs to realize that while what Malala is pushing for is Islamically acceptable, and generally speaking a good idea, the West has no interest in seeing Muslim females prospering in an Islamic environment. Their agenda is for all peoples to put their religion/culture second to the sacred ideas of Western-style democratic liberalism. If they can fool you into believing that they support your ideas, as a way to get the ball rolling, they’ll do it and spend millions to convince you they’re on your side.

      So I think it’s important to realize that accepting Western help, approval, etc. comes with certain risks. The biggest one being that their cultural influence in your country increases, and eventually, if you’re not careful, your country/region has the potential of turning into a chattel for Western use to influence the broader region’s politics.

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      • saba

        Wasalam Zaheer,

        I don’t have the pre-existing bias which you are arbitrarily imputing to me. I am extremely familiar with the kind of arguments made by Abu Muhammad, and the broader narrative arc in which they fit. My view’s on the wider political context echo quite strongly with the sentiments expressed by ZAI further down in the comments section (at 1:35 am). There is an element of truth in the assertion that Malala’s narrative is making some people feel good about American military intervention in the region, but much more than that, people admire her for the courage and conviction she displayed in the face of brute force, while being very vulnerably situated. I’m not inclined to espouse such a cynical view of the responses of thousands of people around the world to her story,a lot of the warmth and admiration expressed for her is spontaeneous and heartfelt…. It is not primarily a ‘”trump card” by the West to continue their war, with little to no emphasis on reducing civilian casualties’, and if some people feel that external assistance and support is required for women in Afghanistan and Pakistan, then surely that view is not without foundation; it’s a very bleak situation for them in Afghanistan and significant parts of Pakistan. It has gotten worse with the initial military intervention, but it was pretty bad to start with: these women were failed by their own societies.

        About you comments regarding gender roles, and the function of women in society etc: Like you, I don’t think men and women are identical in all respects, and that there is no descrepancy between them with respect to their functions; women generally being better carers etc. But I am stating the obvious when I say that women have been endowed by thier creator with the same intellectual capabilities as men, and confinement within the four walls of the home, without any outlet for thier own intellectual or creative needs can only lead to stagnation. Deprivation of any intellectual stimulus or opportunity for growth affects women as it affects men. Denying them the right to pursue an education, and to grow and develop thier minds is a form of cruelty. I see the cause of female education in Afghanistan and Pakistan as imperative and not merely ‘acceptable’. And in thinking this way I do not see myself a victim of ‘western brainwashing’ or an adherent to western-constructed notions of human needs. As ZAI as pointed out, framing the debate chiefly in terms of ‘them and us’ is niether appropriate nor helpful. Accordingly, I would take issue with your assertion that:

        “Their agenda is for all peoples to put their religion/culture second to the sacred ideas of Western-style democratic liberalism. If they can fool you into believing that they support your ideas, as a way to get the ball rolling, they’ll do it and spend millions to convince you they’re on your side.”

        Many cultures think that there way is the right way. Accepting much needed assistance in the cause of education from ‘the West’ and reciprocating, need not entail a wholesale acceptance of all the ideological baggage that comes with it….and what we are discussing here certainly isn’t (or shouldn’t be) contentious…the education and upliftment of deprived and persecuted young girls in tribal Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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      • Zaheer

        Salaam Saba

        I don’t think we’re really disagreeing here; perhaps it’s just a matter of degree of agreement, if that makes sense:-)

        I don’t believe ” women have been endowed by their creator with the same intellectual capabilities as men”. This is patently false. Women and Men have completely different intellectual capabilities. This is not to say women should not be educated; however it does mean that their education should differ.

        In a heated debate such as this, it’s easy to draw binary distinctions. If you’re not 100% Team Malala, you’re probably 100% Team Taliban/Extremism. I’m not saying you think this, but I want us to keep it in mind when reading each other’s comments.

        Of course it’s true that extremism in that region of the world has led to massive oppression. The thing is, men have been oppressed as well. There is a perception that only females are being specifically oppressed; As ZAI pointed out, we should be aware that the entire region is in the midst of a power struggle, and has been for quite some time.

        I agree that accepting foreign intervention doesn’t _necessarily_ mean a complete rejection of local religious/cultural norms and values. However, it’s all very easy to say this; when the actual help comes, the West “frees” your society, such words and thoughts are forgotten. When the West inevitably makes their demands, you listen because you have no choice. This is not a “conspiracy” or anything of that nature – people complain about KSA being “Western Lackeys”. How do you think they got that way? They made a deal with a West. And you’ll be naive to think that accepting their help comes with no-strings-attached.

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      • saba

        Women being endowed with the same intellectual capacity and intelligence as men is ‘blatantly false’? How so? I think our outlooks differ in quite fundamental respects. I absolutely stand by my assertion that the deprivation of any intellectual stimulus or opportunity for growth affects women as it affects men. What kind of different education would you propose for women? Along with religious education shouldn’t they be taught Maths, the sciences, history, economics etc? I also strongly disagree with your identification of my perspective as a simplistic binary one. Neither ZAI or myself are positing simple dichotomies here. I have never postulated that you are either with Malala 100% or with the terrorists 100%. People can choose their own heroes.
        However, without a doubt, a lot of negative coverage Malala and her father are receiving is malicious and slanderous, and comes out of a warped, and really quite sick mindset. It ensues from a pathological hatred for anything remotely associated with the West. The way this girl has been treated (shot in the head for speaking out against a ban on schooling for girls) is not, for some people, a cause for introspection and reflection on the condition of women in the country. Their anger is not directed against the perpetrators of these atrocities, but against the child for giving the country a ‘bad image’ once her story becomes a high profile case…and once her cause (a vitally important one) becomes championed by people in the ‘the West’ she can be freely vilified. And yes; both men and women are hurt by brutal extremism, but the ban in question (on education) was specifically directed at females. Women, moreover, are often more physically vulnerable in ways that men aren’t.
        You say that “people complain about KSA being “Western Lackeys”. How do you think they got that way? They made a deal with a West.”

        So the West is now primarily responsible for the Saudi regime’s despotism and corruption? States like Saudi maybe allied with the west, and even obtain military backing thereof, but this does not take away from the fact that these State governments are primarily responsible for their poor governance, corruption, stagnation and oppressive practices. It certainly doesn’t seem that ‘the West’ has been particularly successful in transporting notions of gender equality within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

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  10. Abu Muhammad

    “I think a lot of negative coverage this young girl is getting from within Pakistan comes from a totally sick mindset and is shameful.”

    What right do you have for insulting people who obviously happen to have a different opinion from you. Your tirade seems to have all the western talking points and stems from an emotion and hero-worshiping mind-set. Do you have a clue what life has been like in Pakistan during this FAKE “war on terrorism”? Thousands of women and children have died because of it and almost a semi
    civil-war exists in that country.

    The parts of the country I would travel safely as a teenager are totally unsafe to travel. My own cousin was kidnapped and killed a few years because of these criminal gangs. So, I have no love lost for these Pakistani Taliban, who are nothing but criminals and murderers.

    So, no please don’t tell us and people in Pakistan about how we should feel about a girl, albeit very smart and intelligent, being made the media darling so the western nations can wash their hands of the crap they caused in the first place by radicalizing thousands of young people by having their nearest and dearest killed.

    “I do not think conflating with the Drone issue, as you have done, serves any useful purpose here.”

    That is the crux of the issue. Without these drone attacks, such groups wouldn’t even have been able to grow and the US/NATO forces are fully aware of the problems it is causing to a country like Pakistan (no doubt the Pak military is also complicit in it)

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    • Zaheer

      Salaam Abu,

      I think you have made some good points here. There is a much larger issue of the clash of the West’s “war on terror” ideology, used to justify their quest to eliminate any system of rule/societal model but their own, and Islamic ‘extremism’, which in part is created by people feeling like they have no alternative when their entire society, literally, lies in ruins.

      People attempting to isolate the issue and focus too heavily on Malala, and the media frenzy around her (which she herself is probably embarrassed by; however her handlers, including her own father, have groomed her well), are showing a lack of understanding the holistic context on the issue.

      PS mods: my other comments seem to have been removed; any specific reason why?

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  11. ahsan arshad

    I totally agree with the fact that the opposition of malala is due to the fact that pakistan did not make her a hero. But the west did and obviously that would be denied. Pakistanis have become so skeptical of the west that even if they try to do good to us solely for the sake of good-we pakistanis would be sooooo skeptical of it that they would better do us no good.
    We all appreciate Malala-a young courageous girl who went through a tragedy because of extremism which is denied/despsied/rejected by even the most “radical” (as called by some) people/groups.
    However, one must look at the cause of this extremism. The stakeholders of this extremism. Who are Tarek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)- Even the pakistani government/politicians have not provided us with the straight answer to that question. Many believe that they are the work of the foreign powers. Since this cant be discussed in a comment. I simply wanted to share as a pakistani that if such complexities are ignored and a celebrity is raised in opposition to taliban. Then I guess we pakistanis are back to our mentality of skepticism.

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  12. Ali

    Some Pakistanis are very confused and this confused mindset leads them to not just criticize Malala, but also to the sympathizing with TTP, blaming every ill in Pakistan on Mossad, Cia and RAW and the worship of the Hamid Guls and the Mumtaz Qadris.
    A lot of the criticism against Malala would have been justified if she had wither 1) Promised to be a spokesman for all of Pakistan’s problems, or 2) Went to the West and spoke about how she hated Pakistan and how bad it is, she has done neither.
    Many Pakistanis want Malala to be a younger, female Imran Khan, who will speak out against the evil West and its conspiracies and promise a fight for Kashmir and spout other nationalistic rhetoric.When they see her not follow that script, she becomes a traitor.
    As for jealousy, it certainly is the case for some Pakistanis, including the 2 I heard few hours earlier at a Borders; they see her newly released book, flip a few pages and comment “even with our businesses we have to fight for a visa, and this r**** does drama and moves there so easily”. Of course they had to honor the time honored tradition followed by some Pakistans of calling any girl or women they dont like by synonyms of “whore”

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    • ahsan arshad

      You mentioned the jealously people have with regard to Malala. That is just sad and stupid. Unfortunately it is part of the society but better to be kept out of an academic debate

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  13. qudrat

    kk, even if malala’s not exactly been saying the right things/the right decisions of recent, she’s one of us . so we r d ones to help her get back in place and not be exploited by the west’s interest (considerinng d enviroment she is now). as the yoruba saying goes something lyk, ‘your child dat has offended comes home running; a lion is chasing him, u dont still close d door on him’
    we as muslims shud help her pull herself together in d right course, so she doesnt turn to them dissapoited at us. Ma’a salam

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    • Maruf

      Getting rid of her alliances with the West would be a great first step. This may restore confidence among the Muslim masses. Until then her words and actions will be doubted and scrutinized by the Muslims severely, whether rightly or wrongly.

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  14. ZAI

    I think this issue all boils down to nationalist sentiment for the most part.
    What happened to her was horrid and embarrassed Pakistan.
    I think that her continuing to speak and Western media putting a spotlight on
    it is triggering nationalist resentment. People generally don’t like the nation
    being cast in a bad light and it’s causing anger from embarrassment. There tends
    to be a paradigm among many people that you don’t “air dirty laundry” in public and
    the anger/resentment towards her and her father, seems to be a reaction stemming
    from the perception that they’re embarrassing Pakistan.

    I think it’s extremely important for Pakistanis to keep in mind though, that
    the embarrassment here and Western exploitation of it for their own purposes, does
    not negate that what was done to her was wrong. This often get’s lost in the knee-jerk
    reactionary response. This is extremely dangerous because frankly what happened to her,
    what happened to Salman Taseer, what happened to Shabaz Bhatty, what has happened to
    so many others in not only Pakistan, but Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq or across the Muslim world
    is MUCH MORE of a threat to our nations than possible embarrassment or Western media/government exploitation. We HAVE to put that aside for the moment and concentrate
    on the more immediate and tangible threat of these barbaric extremists. Frankly, these
    terrorists and fanatics RELY on us reacting in a nationalist(whether Muslim nationalist or ethnic nationalist) knee-jerk manner and concentrating on the West and being embarrassed, rather
    than their barbaric crimes.

    We HAVE to get out of this “us” vs. “them” mentality. The extremists on all sides RELY on it to
    thrive. The girl has every right to speak out and tell her story, but not only that…she is doing
    us a service by pointing out the danger of these fanatics. No amount of fame or money in
    the world is worth the fact that these nutjobs and their sympathizers across the world are
    still gunning for her and promising to finish her off still…so accusations that she’s in it for fame
    and fortune are frankly pathetic and the last refuge of the nationalist scoundrel.

    I find the constant mention of “balance” ridiculous as well. It is not Malala’s job to highlight each
    and every issue on Earth in order to speak about another issue. If this standard was consistently applied no one would ever speak about anything ever. The drone campaign frankly has
    NOTHING to do with her story. The fanatics in Swat began their terror and oppression campaign when Bush was in office and hardly a drone had struck. What they were doing was hardly connected to drones in any way, shape or form. This whole line of argument is just another way
    the extremist fanatics obfuscate their own crimes and get us instead to once again focus away from them and on the West, Israel, India or whatever. It is no different from how US politicians maneuver any and all discussion away from US foreign policy and onto Saddam, the Muslim Brotherhood, Mosques or whatnot. It’s all diversionary nonsense.

    Finally, regarding Pakistan specifically:
    It is time for the Pakistani people to wake up already.
    Stop listening to right-wing whackos like Zaid Hamid or Shireen Mazari.
    Stop listening to nonsensical hypocritical garbage from the ISI or army that the Afghan people
    think the Taliban terror campaign is a fight for freedom…LOL.
    Stop with the outrageous conspiracy theories about RAW, CIA or the broke Afghan government which can barely run Afghanistan, let alone finance and organize separatist movements in
    Baluchistan. The problem in Pakistan is that Pakistans military.ISI and government have made using terrorist proxies a pillar of Pakistans strategy in India and Afghanistan for decades, and now those chickens are coming home to roost. It is IMPOSSIBLE to support this garbage in Afghanistan and Kashmir, but expect it not to infect the country of origin. This nonsense of “good” extremists and “bad” extremists is a complete pathology on the Pakistani socio-political fabric. It is WAY past time the Pakistani public demands its government and military put an end to this.

    It is time to stop pretending the evil of drone strikes themselves are happening in a vaccum. Sorry, but the fellows in Waziristan, Bajaur, Mohmand, etc. are not sitting around planting daisies and singing love songs. America should definitely cease and desist those strikes which kill civilians, but the world is not so stupid as to think Pakistan is squeaky clean either. The place is definitely, without doubt, a hub for regional terrorism and extremism and it’s way past time to end that support. If that is not done, then Pakistanis should not be surprised if hawks in the US, India or Afghanistan say they don’t have a choice but to defend themselves. The solution to the drones is TWO fold: cessation on behalf of the US AND cessation of support for terrorist proxies by Pakistan.

    Malala is not balanced? How does it sound when Pakistan talks about respect for
    it’s sovereignty while it’s regularly violating the sovereignty of India or Afghanistan? I mean, it’s laughter inducing. Pakistans government and military have done WAY more to destroy Pakistans
    image than Malala has. I applaud the girl…as a Muslim and even a human being. The world, especially the Muslim world caught up in it’s ideological confrontation with the west, needs to hear these blunt truths. The came for Malala first, and they will next come for the rest of us MUSLIMS if we dare speak against them. That is a more immediate danger for 99% of Muslims around the world than the Western media and their self-righteousness.

    Finally…please abandon the idea that these fanatics can be “negotiated” with. Giving them what they want simply emboldens them because they think their violence was successful in getting what they want. What the want is ultimately control of these countries, the will of the people be d*mned. Over in Afghanistan our government has offered them FULL PARDON from the the top down, but they are still murdering, assassinating and terrorizing because they do not have any intention to share power. It’s their way or the highway…or the grave. Khalaas. Pakistanis should take a warning from this. You give them Swat, in 5 years they will be on the outskirts of Islamabad. Imran Khan and the rest who want to “negotiate” are living in fantasy land. He will end up on the end of a rope just like Najib did. Everyone who was resenting Malala will be praising her as a Cassandra then.

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    • saba

      Great comment ZAI ! You articulated what I was thinking, but with greater clarity and confidence than I would have. I broadly agree with everything you have said. I also think the comment about the constant mention of ‘balance’ being needed, is indeed ridiculous. As you say, the drone campaign is not relevent to Malala’s individual story. The commentors on this forum have been fairly civil, but more generally in conversations with acquaintances and personal exchanges, it is so easy to be silenced and bullied by conspiracy theorists and hardliners who subscribe to a fixed political ideology and mould every little fact to fit into thier particular trajectory .

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    • Abu Muhammad

      “….but the world is not so stupid as to think Pakistan is squeaky clean either.The place is definitely, without doubt, a hub for regional terrorism and extremism and it’s way past time to end that support.”

      Every country has it’s own foreign agendas for their own survival. Let’s not forget that during the Russian- Afghan war, there were about 3 million refugees living in Pakistan and even now, there are 1.7 million according to UNHCR. So, what happens in Afghanistan does affect Pakistan,especially since it is a land-locked country and it doesn’t help matter much either Kabul has allowed India to build a bunch of embassies right across the border from Pakistan.

      “Finally…please abandon the idea that these fanatics can be “negotiated” with….”

      Wow, so you want us keep go back to the failed policies of the “great commando” Musharraf, who has single handedly started a semi-civil war in the north and south of the country. Why don’t you tell the same thing to the NATO alliance who have poured billion of dollars into this war and have finally decided to negotiate with the Taliban. Sounds to me like the typical talking points of the “Northern Alliance”.

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    • Zaheer

      Salaam ZAI,

      What you’ve said here is mostly true. In fact, there is nothing in it which is not true; however I think there are some subtle things you have not mentioned, which gives and incomplete picture.

      As someone with roots in that region of the world (if I’ve read previous comments correctly), you acutely understand the tribal sense of ‘shame’ when it comes to such matters. Sometimes, when the incident is so widely talked about, people are unsure how to react, so they fall back into their lock-step, knee-jerk thinking: conspiracy theories, justification for extremism, etc. etc.

      You’ve pointed all this out, and it’s true it needed to be said. However, what you have not mentioned is that these extremists have legitimacy for another reason – they are seen as the only ones willing to defend their region against foreign influence. Remember this “war” (if one can call it that) goes back a long, long way. Much further than Bush jnr; there are many theories, but it’s fairly certain that Western support of Israel, for instance, and Western involvement, wanted or not, in the Islamic world sparked off a resistance. Al-Qaeda was simply one of the first organizations to be just that – get Islamic militants with disparate aims organized. So we can’t ignore this when speaking about any issue regarding terrorism.

      We can’t just tell people to “wake up” and recognize the extremists for what they are. Firstly, painting all extremists/mujahideen with the same brush is doing exactly what they do when they indiscriminately kill innocents via suicide bomb. Theirs is a much more extreme version, obviously, because they take life; however it’s the same mindset. Those I don’t agree with are all power-hungry “scoundrels”/”barbarians”/etc.

      Secondly, if all extremists disappeared off the face of the earth tomorrow, or perhaps less extremely, were muted, automagically converted into moderate Muslims, or _insert_whatever_peaceful_scenario_you_want_here, what do you think will occur? While I agree that extremism is probably more of an immediate threat to Islam than anything the West wants to achieve, I also think you are being too generous with the West.

      You mention that they need to ensure they do not kill civilians; what you don’t mention is their interest in the war in the first place. It’s not just retaliation to terrorist attacks; if that were the case they would respond in kind. Instead, they too, seek control of not only this region of the world, but the entire world. The West will not rest until every inhabited place follows its insane crusade of liberal democracy. Its own conservatives (not neo-con Republicans) have spoken about how their system has failed, how the fruits of the French Revolution are now beginning to show (and it ain’t sweet). I think it is folly to accept such systems of rule when they have never worked, anywhere.(and I know you and I disagree here, from the Niqab article).

      So yes, we need “balance”. Balance to recognize the evil of both sides. Malala is such a small part in this. Yet you don’t call the Western media frenzy about it “diversionary”, when it clearly.is.

      I’m not denying that Malala is pointing out something which needs to be said. Nor her bravery in having to deal with the consequences thereof. I’m also not saying she should be a spokesperson for every issue in Pakistan; in fact that’s exactly the opposite of what I’m trying to say – she’s 14 years old, and those thrusting her into the cut-throat International Political Game clearly care more about their own agendas and axes to grind, than for her normal development as a child. But as I’ve said, this is one, small minor issue in a myriad of interwoven issues in the wider conflict.

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      • ZAI

        W’Salaam Br, Zaheer,
        I will attempt to respond to your concerns about my comments as methodically as possible by answering them one by one to the best of my ability:

        “However, what you have not mentioned is that these extremists have legitimacy for another reason – they are seen as the only ones willing to defend their region against foreign influence.”

        Br., whether these types have any legitimacy going forward is open to debate. I think many, if not most, Muslims are seeing that these bozos are often WORSE than whatever it is they’re fighting against…atleast domestically, and this legitimacy is plummeting. Even their more moderate cousins in Egypt, Tunisia, etc. are getting the boot lately, so it remains to be seen what support they actually have…

        For the sake of argument though, let’s say they have legitimacy. Br., can you tell me exactly WHAT foreign influence they are fighting against? When I see Saudi Arabia being one of the closest allies of the US on one hand and women cannot even drive there on the other, I have to wonder if this whole rebellion against foreign influence is simply some amorphous artificially constructed straw man or what. Even in Afghanistan, the US practically has no say in domestic governance despite their army being there. Our illustrious cabinet of warlords and illiterates regularly passes such laws as the allowance of marital rape. beating of wives, imprisoning women escaping forced marriages and our grand Ulema council offers up such gems as “Men’s needs are primary and over the needs of women”. So what US influence is going on here exactly?

        If you want to talk about influence, we’re going to have to narrow the definition of the word, because I honestly don’t see much foreign interference in Muslim nations in terms of domestic law, culture or anything else being enforced. If you mean ECONOMIC interference, yes…I’d agree with you on that account, but frankly my view on that is that it’s not Western manipulation per say, but rather militarized Western enforcement of RICH PEOPLE’S neo-liberal capitalist interests, whether they are in the US, China, India, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan or wherever. They are the “muscle” defending an ECONOMIC SYSTEM that benefits ALL rich people wherever they are. This is why a Saudi Sheikh owns a 10%+ stake in Fox News while it spouts all manner of Islamophobic poison, while at the same time Saudi Arabia fills it’s books with hatred for “kafirs”…Then Abu Sheikh ibn Saudi and Sean Hannity get together at the shareholders meeting and laugh about how they keep the rest of us busy with Muslim Brotherhood this and The West is doing that, while they count their money and loot the world. It’s not really about the “West” and “East” or whatever else anymore Brother. As you like to say, it is much more complex in that and PLENTY of our Muslims are part and parcel of it.

        ” Much further than Bush jnr; there are many theories, but it’s fairly certain that Western support of Israel, for instance, and Western involvement, wanted or not, in the Islamic world sparked off a resistance. Al-Qaeda was simply one of the first organizations to be just that – get Islamic militants with disparate aims organized. So we can’t ignore this when speaking about any issue regarding terrorism.”

        I do not and never have denied the REASONS for terrorism are complex. That does not necessitate that I tolerate the acts/reactions though, and therefore I don’t…especially not when it defames Muslims and drags the ethics of our religion through the mud. It would be great if these self-appointed defenders spent some time ruminating on the ayaat or sunnah of patience, chivalry, discipline, etc. instead of measuring beards and pant lengths.

        “We can’t just tell people to “wake up” and recognize the extremists for what they are. Firstly, painting all extremists/mujahideen with the same brush is doing exactly what they do when they indiscriminately kill innocents via suicide bomb. Theirs is a much more extreme version, obviously, because they take life; however it’s the same mindset. Those I don’t agree with are all power-hungry “scoundrels”/”barbarians”/etc.”

        Br. I have nowhere painted all mujahideen this way. I am an Afghan and have relatives who FOUGHT as mujahideen against the Soviets. Many of the mujahideen in the 80′s were honorable men. People like Abdul Haq Ahmadzai come to mind. The people I am criticizing are the violent extremists who murder and attack innocents. I would not insult someone for simply disagreeing with me. I do not care much for the Muslim Brotherhood whatsoever and will never agree with them on many issues, but some mistakes like trying to monopolize the Egyptian constitution aside, I think what happened to them is outright wrong and a clear case of secular-liberal extremism. Where in my writing did you read something to assume I think they’re all extremists because I disagree with them? That is a completely unfounded assumption. I draw the line of tolerance at violent fanatics who threaten and kill innocent people…whether religious, secular or whatever else.

        “Secondly, if all extremists disappeared off the face of the earth tomorrow, or perhaps less extremely, were muted, automagically converted into moderate Muslims, or _insert_whatever_peaceful_scenario_you_want_here, what do you think will occur? While I agree that extremism is probably more of an immediate threat to Islam than anything the West wants to achieve, I also think you are being too generous with the West.”

        Br., I have a question for YOU: What have these stupid brain dead fanatics accomplished except bringing MORE oppression, death and misery upon Muslims through their actions? These idiots are like a GIFT to people who want pretexts with which to do wrong to Muslims.

        “You mention that they need to ensure they do not kill civilians; what you don’t mention is their interest in the war in the first place. It’s not just retaliation to terrorist attacks; if that were the case they would respond in kind. Instead, they too, seek control of not only this region of the world, but the entire world. The West will not rest until every inhabited place follows its insane crusade of liberal democracy. Its own conservatives (not neo-con Republicans) have spoken about how their system has failed, how the fruits of the French Revolution are now beginning to show (and it ain’t sweet). I think it is folly to accept such systems of rule when they have never worked, anywhere.(and I know you and I disagree here, from the Niqab article).”

        Br. who is this “West”? The West is not some monolith, just as Muslims are not. There are MILLIONS of good people in the West who are aghast at what many of their governments do, and there are many Westerners who are also suffering for speaking out…Edward Snowden, Bradley Manning, etc…and finally most Westerners are not benefiting from this economic system any more than Muslims my brother. This obsession with the “West” is frankly anachronistic. There is no West and east man…there are Bushes, Al-Sauds, Al-Maktoums, Cheneys, Clintons, Blairs, Mittals, Tata’s and the rest who are ALL benefiting, while the majority of the WORLD, including most Westerners, are suffering.

        As for democracy, we’ve had that discussion before, so will omit it here to stay on topic.

        “So yes, we need “balance”. Balance to recognize the evil of both sides. Malala is such a small part in this. Yet you don’t call the Western media frenzy about it “diversionary”, when it clearly.is.”

        Yes brother, balance is needed but there is a time and place for it. When it is demanded as a prerequisite for EVERY issue, it just muddies the water and obfuscates the topic. Malala does not need to outline the history of colonialism and US warfare every time she wants to speak about education. Those things can be talked about on their own, and they are. As I mentioned before, this is no different from US politicians talking about everything but their foreign policy when examining terrorism or Israelis talking about the Holocaust 24/7 whenever the topic of their land-theft is brought up. It’s ridiculous equivocation that subverts focus on the issue at hand…which is ultimately what the people doing it WANT. It’s an indirect way of shutting people up or muddying the water so much, that the topic is lost. Netanyahu is a world class expert at this…watch ANY speech he gives.

        Finally, I do not deny that GOVERNMENTS and MEDIA in the west might be using Malala as a diversionary tactic, but there is a saying bro “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water”. The fact that some Western media or governments might be doing this doesn’t mean we Muslims should have a rejectionist attitude and dismiss the girl, her message or have a negative opinion of every westerner who has sincerely felt for her. The whole problem is that TOO MANY Muslims do EXACTLY that. “What, the West is supporting her…well then we gotta reject her, even if that means making excuses for the people who shot her”. It’s pathetic.

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      • Zaheer

        Salaam ZAI,

        Good points here. Even though we disagree (and have in the past), I can always count on you to keep the debate interesting and make me reconsider some of my views :-).

        I’m not going to address each response here. I already have a habit of posting too-long posts so will try to summarize as best I can.

        In some ways, using terms such as ‘the West’ is an anachronism, and not accurate. The issue is a lot more complicated than “us vs. them”. However, I still think there is some use in speaking about Western interests versus other interests.

        While I agree that the West is not some monolith where everyone follows the same-line (we all know how they cherish their “freedom”), when I speak of the West, I’m speaking of their representatives. Whether there are millions of people in the West who don’t agree with their governments’ decisions, is neither here nor there. They democratically elect these governments, which you yourself consider the only/ideal way to elect a government, and ipso facto, their actions are sanctioned “by the people”. So whatever broader strategies the Americans/Europeans agree on, we have to assume majority of the populations in those regions agree on, since they’ve democratically elected them to act on behalf of them.

        A simple example: in various Republican/Democrat changeovers in leadership, America’s foreign policy hasn’t changed in decades. They’re still fighting the same type of foreign wars, for the same/similar reasons. I know there’s such a thing as 70 excuses, but really now. Clearly, the US populace, “on the whole”, according to the sacred principles of liberal democracy, supports this. If that weren’t the case, eventually they’d elect a government which radically alters their foreign policy. I’d like to see this happen before I believe it. The rest of “the West” (UK, most of the EU, Eastern satellite states such as India) just follows America’s lead, in general. So they support their actions (in general), and hence the same applies to them.

        So I think I’ve clarified what I mean by ‘the West’. All nations/regions who, more or less, support Western-style liberal democracy. This usually involves the relegation of religion/traditional culture to a personal eccentricity which anyone is “free” to practice. The reason I use the term is because America/Europe are the masters of this type of system, and the most aggressive in pushing it on other nations who, foolishly, hold on to their backward ways.

        Now, while all of the above might seem completely unrelated to Malala, to me, the link is clear. To most of the world, Malala = another example of why the “War on Terror”, in all of its manifestations, with all of its atrocities, is ultimately justified. So, for me personally, the way some have tried to raise her status to undeserved levels, is a sign that they’re losing their focus on the wider issues.

        I’ll repeat that I have nothing against Malala. I don’t think you think that I do. However, I think you may believe that I sympathise with those who do. I don’t, I can simply understand the type of thinking which conflates mistrust of America/EU/”the West” with rejection of Malala as a national hero. But you’re correct – it’s not rational to behave/think in such a manner. Perhaps it is best to separate Malala, and her aims, from the wider conflict. Neither side seems to want to do it – so, conceivably a third voice should.

        Lastly, in answer to the question you’ve asked: extremists, if nothing else, have “accomplished” one thing: they’ve shown not everyone wants a lifestyle based on materialism. Paint it which way you want, that’s what this war is about. We can speak all day about how this war on terror is about “freedom” for the poor oppressed people under the thumb of the religious zealots, but the real war is about a clash of civilizations. So extremists have shown that they’d rather die than accept foreign rule. The thing is, they’ve gone about it in a completely incorrect way, because they’ve destabilized their own countries, and hence opened the door for any violent fanatic to use any excuse to settle scores with his opponent.

        However, as I’ve pointed out with Western populations and their governments, the most extreme voices now represent Islam – we can shout all day from the roof-tops that people who kill civilians in the name of Islam are misrepresenting our religion. But we’ve allowed them, and their backers, to take control over large regions of the Islamic world, so as far as the rest of the world is concerned, they speak for us. I have to live with that fact, and while I may set people straight who conflate Islam with terrorism, I don’t see why one rule applies to us, but populations in “the West” can hide behind “o but you see Bush stole the election, so none of us wanted the Iraq War” or “well you see them damn Republicans love war so much, so blame the Southerners because they elect them”.

        Hope this clears up some of what I’ve been saying.

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      • ZAI

        “While I agree that the West is not some monolith where everyone follows the same-line (we all know how they cherish their “freedom”), when I speak of the West, I’m speaking of their representatives. Whether there are millions of people in the West who don’t agree with their governments’ decisions, is neither here nor there. They democratically elect these governments, which you yourself consider the only/ideal way to elect a government, and ipso facto, their actions are sanctioned “by the people”. So whatever broader strategies the Americans/Europeans agree on, we have to assume majority of the populations in those regions agree on, since they’ve democratically elected them to act on behalf of them.

        A simple example: in various Republican/Democrat changeovers in leadership, America’s foreign policy hasn’t changed in decades. They’re still fighting the same type of foreign wars, for the same/similar reasons. I know there’s such a thing as 70 excuses, but really now. Clearly, the US populace, “on the whole”, according to the sacred principles of liberal democracy, supports this. If that weren’t the case, eventually they’d elect a government which radically alters their foreign policy. I’d like to see this happen before I believe it. The rest of “the West” (UK, most of the EU, Eastern satellite states such as India) just follows America’s lead, in general. So they support their actions (in general), and hence the same applies to them.”

        Br., this is a dangerous line or argument in my opinion because terrorists like al-Qaeda use a variant of it to say there are no civilians in the West and all Westerners are legitimate targets. I know you do not believe that, I’m simply pointing out that this argument is a very slippery slope that could be dangerous in the hands of people who are not as disciplined or ethical as you are.

        In any case, Brother I would agree with you about the US government but I think you are giving too much weight to assumed support for those policies among the people. I am for democracy and appreciate certain freedoms in the US, and that they’ve been maintained..but Iam under no illusion that the political process hasn’t been subverted here bro. Our political process is heavily corrupted by money and has become a cancer on our policy making and discourse.

        The government here regularly does things the population doesn’t want. Poll numbers will bear this out. Our politicians regularly do the will of lobbyists and corporations, above that of the general populace. Money in politics has also allowed the Democrats and Republicans to control the electoral process and prevent other parties from mounting an electoral challenge. Furthermore we have a vast propoganda machine in the media that serves the interests of the elites, as Im sure you well know.

        In short br., Westerners are as susceptible to media/government propaganda as Muslims are in Muslim nations. Furthermore, I don’t think you can honestly believe Western governments really care about spreading neo-liberal democracy brother. Again, the US’s closest allies in the Muslim world are authoritarian monarchies in the gulf…hardly democrats. It brings to question whether the US is simply making common cause with whatever corrupt leaders our societies produce for MUTUAL benefit in the economic sense or not. From what I see, the US does not care about whatever kind of government you have aside from propaganda purposes against ENEMY regimes who do not play ball on the economic front.

        “Now, while all of the above might seem completely unrelated to Malala, to me, the link is clear. To most of the world, Malala = another example of why the “War on Terror”, in all of its manifestations, with all of its atrocities, is ultimately justified. So, for me personally, the way some have tried to raise her status to undeserved levels, is a sign that they’re losing their focus on the wider issues.

        I’ll repeat that I have nothing against Malala. I don’t think you think that I do. However, I think you may believe that I sympathise with those who do. I don’t, I can simply understand the type of thinking which conflates mistrust of America/EU/”the West” with rejection of Malala as a national hero. But you’re correct – it’s not rational to behave/think in such a manner. Perhaps it is best to separate Malala, and her aims, from the wider conflict. Neither side seems to want to do it – so, conceivably a third voice should.”

        Yes Brother, I agree many in government and media in the West are using her for propaganda purposes. What Im saying though is we should not let that fact be used to silence her or those like her in OUR lands, when it is an important topic we NEED to discuss and remedy. We need to get beyond emotionalism in the Muslim world and take a rational look at issues, and sometimes that means strictly focusing on a topic without constant distractions. Unfortunately our extremists rely on these distractions, just like they also hide out among women and children, using them as shields, then crying phony crocodile tears when Western extremists send a drone their way. I agree with you…it is time for the silent majority to stand up and deliver what would be termed a “3rd voice” as you put it.

        “Lastly, in answer to the question you’ve asked: extremists, if nothing else, have “accomplished” one thing: they’ve shown not everyone wants a lifestyle based on materialism. Paint it which way you want, that’s what this war is about. We can speak all day about how this war on terror is about “freedom” for the poor oppressed people under the thumb of the religious zealots, but the real war is about a clash of civilizations. So extremists have shown that they’d rather die than accept foreign rule. The thing is, they’ve gone about it in a completely incorrect way, because they’ve destabilized their own countries, and hence opened the door for any violent fanatic to use any excuse to settle scores with his opponent.”

        Br, we will have to agree to disagree about it being a clash of civilizations. I don’t think most Westerners are benefiting from the neo-liberal economic model any more than Muslims are. Frankly I think we are ALL victims no matter the civilization. In my opinion it’s a clash between greed & it’s muscle on one side and everyone else on the other, but unfortunately the greed and it’s muscle have done a good job whether in the east or the west keeping the rest of us focused on everything and anything but their heist.

        “, I don’t see why one rule applies to us, but populations in “the West” can hide behind “o but you see Bush stole the election, so none of us wanted the Iraq War” or “well you see them damn Republicans love war so much, so blame the Southerners because they elect them”.”

        You are right Br. They DON’T get to hide behind those excuses and shouldn’t be allowed to. They have just as much responsibility as us Muslims in changing the status quo. Just like it will take time, patience and hard work among Muslims though…it will also take hard work among Westerners. If we cannot change Afghanistan or Saudi Arabia overnight, we cannot expect the US to change overnight either. It takes discipline, commitment and patience. All of us must seek out and work with people in every place and civilization to do this hard work and just hope the extremists on both sides don’t doom us all in the meantime. Educating and changing people takes time though br., especially considering the massive disinformation machine we’re all up against. People with vested interests in this mayhem are not going to go easily, whether in the Muslim world or the West.

        In any case Brother, I know we will not agree on many things…but you make a good case that challenges me at times and you’ve always been polite/civil, which I appreciate. We both want what is good for Muslims and even the world, although we differ mightily on nuances and what that good would comprise. I do respect you though and civil discussion is never a bad thing, so God bless you and may he send his blessings on the world and help us all. Ultimately he is all that matters, not any of us.

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      • saba

        ZAI,

        You should start up your own blog, as well as being a regular commentor here. You can separate and distinguish complex issues with such clarity and lucidity. Some of us espouse an outlook very similar to your own, but could not articulate our thoughts with the same efficacy. I also think that the fact that you bother responding and writing comprehensive replies is in itself commendable. Sometimes certain very tired, and oft-repeated arguments and attitudes just induce weariness and frustration more than anything else, and one doesn’t bother replying….but to change people’s perceptions you have to continuously engage with others, and not allow weariness, anger and frustration to get the better of you. I strongly recommend that you start up your own blog, it would sort of be an aggregate of your own thoughts, and contain a compilation of responses to some commonly made and ill-conceived arguments.

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      • saba

        I should perhaps clarify that when I discuss anger and weariness inducing arguments which are shallow and poorly conceived, I am not directing this criticism at Zaheer (though I certainly disagree with much of what he has said). It is a general observation which extends well beyond the blogosphere. Zaheer you say:
        Paint it which way you want, that’s what this war is about. We can speak all day about how this war on terror is about “freedom” for the poor oppressed people under the thumb of the religious zealots, but the real war is about a clash of civilizations”
        I don’t think I agree about the ‘clash of civilisations’ stuff; I think the aims are largely materialistic, with their being quite specific geo-political objectives in mind. I agree with you in that these wars were not prompted by largely benign motives and had disastrous indefensible results. However, I think that the ‘Evil West’ trajectory which has become so commonly espoused and vociferously forwarded in many parts of the world is doing a lot of damage to Muslims and hurting them.This because it is severely eroding any sense of personal and collective responsibilty amongst Muslims themselves in places like Pakistan,and it underlies the ‘perpetual victimhood’ mentality adopted by many muslims in this region. It is a negative,defensive, and perpetually apologist attitude.We do not honestly and unequivocally condemn even the most heinous acts, because we always feel that ultimate responsibility lies elsewhere. In an earlier comment,you write:

        “So, lest I be misunderstood, I do not think Malala is ‘evil’ (just very young, and therefore easily manipulated), nor do I even think the extremists who kill anyone considered to be an enemy are ‘evil’ (just terribly misguided)”

        I don’t think the comparison between Malala and extremist murderers is appropriate,but taking Malala out of it, I more broadly take issue with the excuse that ‘people have become brainwashed and radicalised in response to Western Intervention”. I think he can do good things for Pakistan, but everytime Imran Khan starts attributing responsibility to the West for heinous acts by militant extremists (torture,murder, acid attacks on young girls), it drives me up the wall. War, drones,loss of life will generate anger and resentment and even acts of violence, but don’t people have brains of their own…Where is their own most basic sense of human decency and sanity, when they blast schools with children in them and deliberately murder little girls. It’s more than a case of ‘being terribly misguided’. No one is irredeemable,and outside the bounds of Allah’s mercy and forgiveness, even militant murderers and criminals, but this ‘Evil West’,’Them and us’, ‘The West is conspiring to do this, nothing associated with any Western policy can ever have any benign element; these are all manifestations of cultural imperialism’ is doing us a lot of damage. You view is clearly not as simplistic as that, but there are shades of it in the opinions you have expressed.

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      • ZAI

        Sister Saba,
        I am flattered that you agree with anything I wrote. However, as per your suggestion I think the last thing we Muslims need is more people talking endlessly. My going on and on with a blog and indulging my ego while listening to myself is hardly what Muslims need. We have enough people doing this and it’s getting us nowhere.

        What would be productive is to go out and DO things that make a tangible difference. I remember a great article our brother Siraaj wrote here a few months back about less talk and more action, and I agree with him wholeheartedly.

        Go out and volunteer. If you care about women’s education, then do what you can to help it along. Collect books, Raise money. Donate supplies. Donate tuition fees so bright girls AND boys like Malala can go to college or even grade school and reach their potential. Find people who will help you in your specific focused goals, both Muslim and non-Muslim. Reach out to scholars like Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Shaykh Yasir Qadhi and others to design an educational program that teaches Muslim women their religion in a way that preserves the religion but also instills dignity and a sense of pride in them.

        All of us can do something in some specific area to help our brothers and sisters in a way that matters. I have friends in the Afghan community who focus only on education or sports or providing food or clothing to people in need. Some provide free medical care or arrange Umrah for people that cannot afford it. Thats what we need. All of us working in concert to make tangible differences in the lives of people, especially the children.

        It is individuals like you who would do this work that will help Muslims and change our situation in the world. The last thing we need is more people like myself just talking endlessly. Go out and make a difference! Read Br. Siraaj’s article if you haven’t already. He hit the nail on the head with what Muslims should be doing and prioritizing.

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      • saba

        ZAI

        You are assuming that what I do is confined to talk, and that I have not infact done any of the things you have suggested. If I comment on blogs, then I have personally never regarded it as an ego gratification exercise. Actions of course have prime importance, but I don’t think engaging with others, even on the blogosphere is a waste of time. If I thought that I wouldn’t be here. If the public discourse (amongst muslims generally) is heavily skewed in one particular direction (and in a direction which I think is destructive and erodes our integrity and sense of responsibility), then I think it’s important to try and change that. In places like Pakistan, the climate is such that you can’t even say what you think without being labelled a western stooge etc. So yes, I think talk is important as well, when then are proportionally very few people saying what needs to be said. Both girls AND boys need education (I don’t think that was ever contested), but girls are certainly the worst affected in the region we are talking about.

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      • Zaheer

        Salaam Saba and ZAI,

        I want to reply to you both, on all of the above messages (i.e. the several threads we have discussed), with just this message as I fear I’ve already posted too much here.

        I think both of you have made good points regarding the knee-jerk responses people have to the situation. I can understand why you’re emphasizing the points you do – currently, the ‘anti-West’ attitude is mired in a broader attitude of lack of self-reflection. It’s easy to blame others for your problems, and a large part of the human condition is to do so, to avoid self-reflection and taking responsibility for the problems we face.

        So let it not be said that I support this type of thinking. I don’t. I simply see, or more correctly, am emphasizing, the role and interests of foreign powers. I also don’t think that Islamic extremists are justified in killing civilians (as ZAI has correctly pointed out) just because the Western military powers do the same. Our Islamic literature is pretty clear on this, so I’m just making it clear where I stand.

        When all is said and done, I think our disagreements as to motivations of the various sides are not as important as we’ve made them out to be. In the end, this war will continue as long as all parties involved continue to resort to brutal violence as their first option for resolving conflict. The attitude which considers killing of innocents as collateral damage is prevalent everywhere, and no matter who wants what, it is this attitude which is perhaps responsible for causing the type of violence we see being carried out.

        So I think, as I’ve pointed out elsewhere, and ZAI has pointed out above, we need to focus on what unites us. We all agree that the violence, on the whole, is not only inhumane, but unlikely to ever achieve its aims for any of the parties involved.

        Lastly, I would like to add that I agree with ZAI’s call for more tangible action. There’s only so much one can achieve on the internet; eventually you have to go out there and do good things, otherwise you become a ‘slacktivist’ who pats himself on the back for yet-another-blog-post-proving-you’re-right-and-the-rest-of-the-world-is-wrong.

        PS: thanks to all for keeping the debate interesting, respectful and insightful.

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      • ZAI

        Sister Saba,
        I do not at all assume that all you’re doing is talking.
        My emphasis was that everyone, including people like you who are already taking tangible action, should focus and put MORE energy into that side of things as opposed to verbal/ideological side of things…and I include myself in that, which is why I wouldn’t put too much energy into a blog or something similar.

        I agree with you sister, that some dialogue and discussion is needed. There is definitely a lack of alternative voices as both you and Zaheer have pointed out. Isn’t that purpose already being served here at Muslim Matters and other websites though? I just don’t think we need to re-invent the wheel as it were.

        …and at the end of the day Sr., the tangible actions are going to go much, much further to getting to our goals than the talk, although some talk and changed discourse IS necessary. For instance, I was part of an Afghan forum for years founded by a friend who has since tragically passed away…and we spent years discussing things back and forth. Eight years passed and we were still there discussing things back and forth…however SOME people went further and went back to Afghanistan to start soccer leagues for girls, build schools, provide debt relief to people, prevent early marriage for young girls by offering subsidies and charities to the families…and all of them made a difference that mattered more than what the rest of us were doing at the forum.

        I do not negate the importance of discourse and the need for alternative voices, but when avenues such as this already exist to make that possible, then better to focus energy elsewhere. I’m glad to hear you are very active in doing the work i addition to discussion here and encourage you to keep going. You’re already doing more than I am. My career of choice and work schedule don’t leave me with much time at the present.

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    • Aziz

      “I think this issue all boils down to nationalist sentiment for the most part.
      What happened to her was horrid and embarrassed Pakistan.”

      ….pot calling kettle black? You proudly your ‘Qahdhari Afghan’ credentials in an earlier post. The rest of this particular polemic from you is nothing but a river of abuse directed against Pakistan. If Pakistan and Pakistanis are soooooooooo evil, how many Afghans was it that sought (many are still there!) refuge in the said when your soviet chums decided to invade, occupy and decimate Afghanistan?

      ……gratitude is not necessary, however, poisoned daggers in the back are quite unwarranted!

      Your Indian brethren were quite happy to both support the Soviet invasion and the subsequent puppet (has there ever been any other type of Afghan government?) regimes.

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      • ZAI

        “….pot calling kettle black? You proudly your ‘Qahdhari Afghan’ credentials in an earlier post. ”

        I did not bring up my Afghan ethnicity until you made it an issue. The only reason I use “ZAI” as my name here is because it’s a part of my last name and the moderation committee that has my email here can verify that. I am not an Afghan nationalist and criticize Afghans and the Afghan government all the time. Infact right in this comment section I have called our own parliament a collection of warlords and illiterates.

        “The rest of this particular polemic from you is nothing but a river of abuse directed against Pakistan.”

        I have not done anything except criticize what right-wing Pakistani nationalists and media say. If you can respond to the criticism, then do. If not, I am not interested in your personal attacks and bombastic proclomations.

        “. If Pakistan and Pakistanis are soooooooooo evil, how many Afghans was it that sought (many are still there!)”

        I do not think Pakistanis nor Pakistan are evil. I am criticizing it’s military, intelligence service and certain right wingers. Infact I do not want to see my Pakistani brothers suffering as Afghans have, which is why I want them to take a lesson from what’s happened in Afghanistan and turn things around in Pakistan before they suffer the same fate.

        “Your Indian brethren were quite happy to both support the Soviet invasion ”

        Yes, you are right. All governments do wrong. No government is innocent, including India’s. They are not harming us now though, Pakistans military is.

        “subsequent puppet (has there ever been any other type of Afghan government?) ”

        Yes. Infact we were one of only three Muslim countries to escape colonialization, including expelling the British three times. Our more recent governments have not lived up to that historical pride and failed their people. Have any more attempts at insults? lol

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      • Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

        Dear brother Aziz

        Please keep your emotions in check. Brother Zai has been gracious enough to soften his replies but if both of you go any further in this I. Will have to step in and clamp down on the exchange. The moderation level on this post has been a bit more lax due to the strong opinions on both side of the issue and the Eid holidays. Our apologies if certain comments got through that may normally be edited or censured.

        Zaheer And Zai were having a good discussion as is the aim of this commens section. Your arguments should hold weight Not your Personal attacks on the commenter.

        Further comments by you are put on approval and may take time to go through.

        Best Regards
        -Aly
        Comments Team Lead

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      • Aziz

        Bunglewala,

        You can BOTH put your graciousness where the sun doesn’t shine! I’m in no need of sanctimonious sermonising from your type!

        Why moderate, when you are obviously biased and unable to keep YOUR emotions in check!

        ….don’t give up your day job!

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      • Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

        SubhanAllah! My dear brother I would advise you to Fear Allah and check yourself from such comments. The Prophet (SAW) warned us of the Day when the only currency will be good deeds and on this day I sincerely do not want to take away yours.

        As for being biased, as Allah is my witness, I do not let my personal opinions cloud my moderation of a subject. Many people on this forum will attest to that fact (including our brother Zai whose views differ greatly than mine on several subjects).

        Your Brother in Islam
        -Aly

        *Comment above is posted in a personal capacity and may not reflect the official views of MuslimMatters or its staff*

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      • Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

        Dear Aziz

        Unfortunately, your comments (the one above and the ones that were deleted), are not welcome on our forum which seeks to be a safe medium for discussion of ideas. Thus, on behalf of the MM Leadership, you are hereby notified that any further comments from you regardless of their validity will be deleted.

        Was-SalamuAlaikum
        Aly Balagamwala
        MM Comments Team Lead

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      • O H

        Brother Aly

        I understand the importance of censure on comments but I hope those who are in charge of enforcing these things are not dishonest and unfair. Just recently I put up the opinions of highly reputable scholars of the past who need no introduction such as Ibn Taymiyyah and Imam an Nawawi on a certain matter only for it not to be published. Every layman can post comments here but when scholars opinions need to be published, those who know it best, there isn’t any room for it? There was no swearing, rude element or accusation placed on anyone in that post. I hope there is a very good reason to hide such Islamic knowledge emanating from the righteous scholars from the rest of the people. I advise myself and also the MM staff to Fear Allaah.

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      • Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

        Dear Brother Omar

        JazakAllahu Khairin for being an active part of the MM Community. We value your views expressed and thank you for providing your insight on a range of topics.

        Comments moderation at MM is two-tiered: The author and the Comments Team. The author has the first right of approval for any comment followed by the CommentsTeam. If the author or CommentsTeam feels a comment does not add to the discussion, goes off on a tangent, or may lead to a discussion that may escalate and be hard to control, it may be removed (or placed on hold for further review).

        I hope that is helpful.

        WasSalamuAlaikum
        -Aly

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      • O H

        Barak Allaahu Feek brother Aly

        That explains it well. Comment moderation is a good system to have when implemented properly.

        Omar

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  15. Desertwind

    So much of the discussion of Malala has religious intonations. So I will play the religion card and add my humble opinion….If what she has become, or what she supports, or what she is nominated for, etc. was not driven by a “Higher Power” then why didn’t she just DIE from getting shot in the HEAD like most people? Seems like she still has some Divine-Inspired work to do.

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    • O H

      Some people may suggest that she is just another trial for the Muslims in the region. Allaah knows best

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  16. Zaheer

    Something which few are mentioning, and I think it’s something most can agree on (funny how we never focus on that which unites us, eh?), is that one of causes of these types of issues is related to the quote by Curran/Burke: “Evil prospers when good men do nothing”.

    We have divisive issues like this crop up all the time in the ‘Ummah, because the moderates/silent majority allow others to speak for them. Either we let extremists speak for us by their heinous actions, or we let outside influences, such as the West, speak for us by them hand-picking and grooming our spokespeople. In either case we’re reluctant to make our views known, so others assume the responsibility, and use it to justify their own.

    So, lest I be misunderstood, I do not think Malala is ‘evil’ (just very young, and therefore easily manipulated), nor do I even think the extremists who kill anyone considered to be an enemy are ‘evil’ (just terribly misguided).

    I am just trying to add another point for us all to consider: as long as we stay silent on the major issues, the “extremists” of every brand will take it upon themselves to be our spokespeople, and fight it out with each to decide the direction our societies head in. We’ll simply be collateral damage in their power struggles, and any survivors will need to serve whichever order prevails.

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  17. ahsan arshad

    I agree that not speaking up is our problem. With regard to extremism-many people accept the conspiracy theories and blame the foreign powers altogether. But extremism is a complicated issue. I dont think that we even stand up for other major issues such as regulation, accountability etc because I guess people dont expect any better from those in charge.

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  18. maruf

    Although the headline talks about the Pakistanis harbouring a negative perception of Malala, large sections of the Muslim world also hold similar views on this. Her supporters and friends are not much of a help when it comes to her reputation and image in the Muslim world. As the saying goes “Tell me who your friend is and I will tell you who you are!”

    Her seemingly noble aims and intentions may fool the naive and ignorant but the believer is cautious and is not bitten from the same whole twice. Any one with an ounce of reasoning & common sense knows very well which of the parties and their allies have been the transgressors against the Muslims in recent history and who are worthy of trust.

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  19. Bia

    Being a Pakistani, I am sick and tired of malala the drama queen. She gives me high blood pressure and nothing else. We have other serious issues to worry about. She is just an ordinary girl getting fame just because she is apple of us eyes. She is nothing better not equal to those poor girls who are still going to school in northern areas in the face of all the fears and ruthless, sinful talibans taking innocent lives. I think her father is getting her encashed. Please, please please, UK and usa if you adore her so much…always keep her with you. Never send her back to Pakistan to rule and ruin our poor nation furthermore.

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  20. Greg Abdul

    as salaam alaikum. I like many here are using the comments sections on articles as a way to write and express ourselves. Al hamdulillah. But good writing is brief, so insha Allah I advise myself first, because I am the first one to end up way too long in this type of medium. I am not Pakistani. and that matters because we are all influenced by nationalism to some extent, even though we hate admitting it as Muslims. I am an American Muslim, so I see a little girl who was shot (no conspiracy theory for me), and after being shot she has shown great courage and stood in front of thousands of people saying “Bismillah, every child in the world should go to school. Instead of bombing Pakistan, they should send us school supplies, books and teachers.” There is certainly no committee in the the Muslim world that decides who gets on the world stage. That we have a young hijabi, who most importantly, has not let go of her faith as she demands that children have access to education, for me, I can see no problem, other than those who complain about her. The author cites jealousy. What does our faith tell us about jealousy? This the the thing about us. Many of us toss religion when it is actually the time to apply it. If the West adores her, so what? What is supposed to be our response as Muslims? What does the Prophet teach us about disliking or being jealous of someone, especially a fellow Muslim, over their success? Is this the Sunnah? That’s the thing. Clothes and a name are not Islam. Behavior is Islam and that behavior is supposed to transcend our national pride. I see my black American community kept in the dark about Islam and I grieve, but then I see people who know better, who have been given Islam from birth and they constantly toss it aside for other interests. It’ like you don’t know. Nothing is sweeter or greater than Allah’s Mercy. I don’t know so much of His book. I don’t have time to be jealous of a little girl. He blesses whom He wills. Sorry for being long. The earth belongs to Allah and He decides everything.

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  21. Iftikhar Ahmad

    I can truly say that this is all Propaganda against true ISLAM. I am proud to be Muslim and Taliban were never against girls education, but being a Muslim one cannot bare that Islamic Laws are being mocked by Malala Yousafzai. Malala is against many Islamic Laws. She is against Face Veil of Muslim Ladies. She writes it in her book. So Don t judge Malala by praising her. Read the book first then You will know the reality and enmity she holds against Islam. She is getting awards because she is working against Islam. Her struggle against Islam is the main reason of getting these awards. I think the media is lying. Islam is for girl’s education. Malala is just a tool, 4 months from now people will forget her and nobody will care.

    Doctors and medical students must know that before performing neuro surgery her heads HUD have been shaved …. And she can t wake up and be able to talk or even be the tiniest bit conscious of her surroundings .. Whatever was all that drama of her reading a book.. And funny nobody ever knew where the bullet was. Lodged into the side of her head or front of her forehead.

    Her autobiography “I am Malala,” written with journalist Christina Lamb, has gone on sale in Pakistan. “Malala is the enemy of Islam and Taliban and she wrote this book against Islam and Taliban. This grand exhibition of Malala by the west is simply their way of telling the world…..”this is what we are going to nurture for the coming years to control the new Pakistani generation”. It does not take an idiot to realize that they are simply nurturing western puppet who would then enter Pakistani politics with boats loads of cash and other assets from the west to win in
    Pakistani politics to simply do the west’s bidding.

    This happened before, they are doing it again, and we are still stuck with the same primitive mind set akin to sheep. Universities in Pakistan are open for anyone who can make it incl girls. females in my office run logistics, contracts, and procurement. . we even allow them to fly Mach 2 jets. My cousin went to Quaid-e-Azam university in Islamabad more than four decades ago. He said at that time there were between 20-30 girls in the class and about 3 or 4 boys. I visited a few universities in Pakistan in 2010, and majority of students were girls. My village is in a very remote part of northern Pakistan, and all girls in my village go to school without any problem. There are many problems in Pakistan, but girls not being able to get an education is not one of them.
    Malala was groomed by the PR firms to speak in un. someone is spending a lot of cash to promote her crap autobiography. Malala is turning into a nuisance . Its high time this drama queen and her puppet show is done away with. TTP can kill a dozen policeman yet miss a 16 yr old at point blank.

    The bullet that Malala took was from TTP (CIA sponsored group) and Malala is also a West sponsored “agent in the making”. Someone explain to me as to how a common school girl of Swat; where almost all students speak sub-standard English; at the age of 14 can write exceptional English which resulted in the Daily Diary that Malala used to write during the TTP occupation of the city? This diary that has ever since been so heavily sponsored by western media that it was almost obvious as to their agenda.

    There are numerous people in Pakistan fighting for human rights and women rights and gay and lesbian rights for ages and all having their bits of success. Why haven’t they been picked up as a role model? Many have even dies for such rights. What about them? What makes Malala so unique? Is the bullet they intended to plant in her brain???

    Its a big game and she is the star puppet that is to be used so as to control Pakistan. I see it happening at least 10-15 years down the line. I still stand firm regarding Malala and the brain-washing machinery set forth by the west to condition us into accepting Malala as a potential alternative in Pakistani politics sometime down the line in 10-15-20 years from now. I just hope that smart people don’t fall for this scam but rather rally up and make sure she does not pave the future of our country without excessive scrutiny. I am not against Malala…she can continue to have share of fights for girls education in Pakistan…so long as she keeps her western compatriots at bay.
    IA

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