Sunday, January 3, 2010

More Muslim outrage

I found a link to this Article on Juan Cole's Blog. There's lots of good stuff there, both ideas and research. Cole is president of the Global Americana Institute, and has written at least two books on the interactions between Islam and the West.

Thomas Friedman recently wrote a column in the Nytimes demanding that more Muslims speak out against terrorism. Isn't fifty-three protests enough to merit some sort of western coverage? The NYtimes put the explosions that were being protested on the front page of their web site, but I saw nothing about the protests. The number of people who caused the explosions was probably in the very low hundreds or less. There were a thousand people at only one of those 53 protests. These protests were co-ordinated by the Pakistani organization Aman Ittehad, which is a powerful force for peace and should be encouraged. I just joined their face book group, and found this photo among many others on their flickr page.

Perhaps these don't count in some people's eyes because they were protesting both the Taliban bombings and the American drone strikes. But a peace rally is a peace rally, and for obvious reasons, Muslims don't see any difference between slaughter of innocents by Americans or Taliban. Our willingness to see the rights and lives of other Muslims as "collateral damage" is an inevitable consequence of seeing terrorists as soldiers instead of criminals. No American police force would consider it acceptable to destroy an entire city block in Harlem or Compton just because they knew that there were drug dealers in one apartment there. But that is the strategy we are following with our drone attacks against terrorists, because this is supposedly a war, not a police action.

Perhaps the American Government is making a mistake in thinking they have to kill terrorists to eliminate them as a threat. If we just let them reveal their barbarity to the local public, rather than matching it with barbarity of our own, they would probably lose the support they need. Al Qaeda's insistence on killing Shiite Muslims destroyed their credibility in Iraq, and it is destroying their credibility in Pakistan. Many of the rallies mentioned below were organized by Sunni groups protesting the killing of Shiites. Cole says, "The Pakistani public is clearly fed up with the Taliban, and is cheering on the army in its struggle against them. If it weren't for the American drone attacks, in fact, there would not be the slightest ambiguity in the politics of peace and anti-terrorism."

Rally in capital reaffirms commitment to promote peace
Saturday, January 02, 2010
Rasheed Khalid


More than 1,000 citizens marched in the Federal Metropolis as part of a nationwide campaign in which people took out rallies in 53 cities and towns of Pakistan to reaffirm the commitment to peace and observe Jan 1 as a day to express solidarity with those who suffered violence and injustice.

Under the banner of Aman Ittehad, the peaceful rally marched to the point law enforcing agencies allowed it to proceed near the Parliament House here on Friday. Chanting slogan of “Aao milke zulm mitaey — hissay ki apne shama jalaen,” the demonstration was one of the 53 public rallies held nationwide at Aman Ittehad’s call across Pakistan.

Representatives of civil society organisations including trade union leaders, mediapersons, business groups, youth organisations, lawyers, students, teachers, and political activists participated in the rally in Islamabad.

According to a spokesperson of the Aman Ittehad, rallies were also held in Karachi, Lahore, Quetta, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Muzaffarabad, Multan, Hyderabad, Dadu, Badin, Larkana, Sukkur, Jamshoro, Naushero Feroz, Mithi, Umerkot, Jacobabad, Khairpur, Nawabshah, Bahawalpur, Faisalabad, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Chakwal, Dera Ghazi Khan, Rahim Yar Khan, Khushab, Muzaffargarh, Okara, Gujrat, Hafizabad, Sheikhupura, Chiniot, Mandi Bahauddin, Kasur, Mardan, Swabi, Mingora, Abbottabad, Haripur, Mansehra, Karak, Dera Ismail Khan, Buner, Havelian, Mohmand Agency, Kurram Agency,Orakzai Agency, Khyber Agency, Kohat, Loralai and Sibi.

Ali Asghar Khan, younger brother of late Omar Asghar Khan, addressing the rally in Islamabad said that the fact that citizens from every part of Pakistan are holding public rallies today reflects public aspiration for peace and their resolve to strive for an end to violence and extremism. He said that we will continue this struggle for democratic governance, rule of law, and equal opportunities for all citizens.

Earlier, Naeem Mirza of the Aman Ittehad requested participants to pray for all those that have lost their lives due to suicide attacks, target killings, drone attacks, etc

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