In a fine article, Amir Zia writes today for Reuters about an organization named Hizb ut-Tahrir and its ability to inspire young men to leave their birthplaces in the United States and Great Britain and return to their ancestral homeland of Pakistan. Two extracts:
They are considered a new breed of Islamic fundamentalists, who study at top British and American schools yet abhor Western values, advocate a pan-Islamic state and favour the removal of Pakistan's pro-U.S. government. Militancy and violence is not part of their agenda; they want to achieve their "lofty goals" through peaceful and non-violent struggle. But analysts say such men, fired by the passion of an Islamic renaissance, stand on a thin line dividing political and violent struggle. …
With their trimmed beards and Western clothes, they stand in contrast to the turban and skull cap-wearing traditional followers of local Islamic parties. But their anti-West rhetoric is as radical as that of their more orthodox counterparts. Intelligence officials say the shadowy network is taking root among educated Pakistanis and a few of its members are under surveillance. Group members include engineers, chartered accountants, computer experts and doctors.
Once again, this goes to show that one cannot judge an Islamist by his clothes, birthplace, profession, or other external feature. (October 3, 2004)