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Religious Extremism in Pakistan
Description of the problem:
A usually religious movement or point of view characterized by a return
to fundamental principles, by rigid adherence to those principles, and
often by intolerance of other views and opposition to secularism.
More formally, it is the act of taking an extreme view regarding a specific
The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said: “ Beware of extremism in religion,
for extremism destroyed those who went before you.”
( IBN MAJAH, NASA’I)
Back in 1979, millions of jihadis were trained in Pakistan to
achieve US interests of containing Soviet Union in Afghanistan.
These Mujahedeen were tagged as ‘terrorists’ soon after the 9/11
incident. They felt used and deprived of their rights and showed
their reaction in the form of extremism.
Consequences of the problem
Threat to faith and life:
Religious extremism threatens the faith and life of other people.
It does not allow them to practice their religious rituals freely
Threat to peace and security:
It threatens and harms the peace and internal security of the
Religious extremism results in clashes between social groups
and religious sectors causing domestic war.
It weakens national solidarity and allow others countries to
It gives rise to terrorism and people misunderstand the
difference between terrorism and jihad.
The factors leading to religious extremism in Pakistan can
be categorized into:
1. Internal factors
2. External factors
some internal factors are as following:
Illiteracy : Ignorance, lack of awareness, backwardness and lack of
knowledge are the main reasons for religious extremism.
► Brain-washing: In some areas, children are sent to madrassas
where they can be easily brain washed. Example of this is
the incident of Laal Masjid, Islamabad.
Terrorist acts across the country, improper security situation and
faulty political system leads to severe extremist thoughts.
Lack of law enforcement (regarding the organizations supporting acts of
religious extremism) also leads to religious extremism.
Some external factors for religious extremism are:
► Drones/NATO :
Drones/ presence of NATO/ 'Ethnic cleansing policy' against Muslim states
(Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine etc.) causes frustration and revolt in the masses.
►International Policy :
No step is taken by authorities when foreign countries violate laws.
Example: Aafia Siddiqi case , Raymond Davis case.
Furious Youth :
All aspects like drone attacks and NATO activities are the factors
which lead to a furious youth resulting in religious extremism as a reaction
to such problems.
Domestic interference :
Allowing domestic interference to USA is also one of the many reasons
of religious extremism in Pakistan.
Safe environment :
The state should provide enabling environment and institutions to ensure
equal access to the resources of life and freedom of expression.
►Exposed to general public:
To expose those in the public arena so that they cannot continue to find
access to the general public.
►Training of religious workers:
To continue training new religious workers and Sheikhs with the know
hows and the rebuttal documents enabling them to expose extremism and its
Focus on human centered values:
Religion-based approach of political and social engagement should
transcend differences and focus more on common human centered values.
Religion should not be hijacked by religious leaders with personal agendas.
Role of education :
Special emphasis should be put on the role of education in the fight against
Role of media :
To maintain a media broadcast that supports rebutting and curtailing
extremism act undressing their disguise and motives.
I think the best solution to this type of extremism is that the
government should take serious measures to educate the
population of the country, as religious extremism has its base in
the fact that Pakistan has a high rate of ignorance and illiteracy.
It is easier to brain-wash a dull mind, but it is impossible to
convince an educated mind about something that has no rational
My point of view is that religious extremism is basically a
state in which a person goes far beyond certain limits. The
person or group of people hold rigid beliefs and are not
ready to bring any sort of change in it. They cannot even
rationalize their rigidity and their point of view. They
believe that they are always right and others should adapt
themselves according to their beliefs like in case of