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Why The Red Mosque Islamists won't succeed.

Reader comment on item: Red Mosque in Rebellion

Submitted by Chris G. (United States), Jul 20, 2007 at 14:20

It's really quite simple why the Red Mosque Islamists won't succeed. Take note that in the aftermath of the Red Mosque assault by Pakistani government forces, there were no massive riots by the masses in support of the Isalmists. The only exception was in the North West Frontier Province which is a hotbed of Taliban/Al-Qaeda support. The vast majority of Pakistanis, while Muslim, are not keen on being ruled by overzealous Wahhabis. In Iran, almost all of the Iranians I have talked to over the internet hate their government and the way the government has crammed religion down their throats. Because of this most of them are either non-practicing Muslims (aside from when they are forced to practice) or they are outright atheists. There also has been an upsurge in Sufi mystical movements that have been brutally crushed by the Revolutionary Guard and Islamic police. Eventually, the Iranian regime kept in place by Revolutionary Guard thugs and a few extremist Ayatollahs, will fall from massive lack of support and protest by the people. It is only a matter of time.

Also take note that during the reign of the Taliban in Afghanistan, you did not see masses of Muslims flocking to that country to live in a beautiful Islamic paradise where the Shariat made everything perfect. That is because most Muslims saw that place as a hellhole full of overly-zealous hypocrites that were completely out of sync with the modern world. You mention successes by Islamists in Turkey and in the Palestinian territories. However I would hardly call the current Islamic party in Turkey "Islamists" in the same vein as those in Pakistan. They have said a few controversial things, but have not made any serious attempts at implementing Islamic law. Furthermore, the Turkish military is a highly secular force that acts as a watchdog and guardian of secularism in Turkey.

If any Islamic party in power goes too far, the military removes them as they have in the past. Another safeguard is that Turkey's most popular spiritual leader, Fetullah Gulen, has not supported the current ruling Islamic power and sees them as being too extreme in some of their statements. He has warned his followers to be wary of any radicalism and that to instead support a government of tolerance and secularism within the "spirit" of Shariat law.

As for the Palestinians, I would hardly count Hamas as being victorious. The only thing they have achieved is rule over Gaza and a complete fracture of the Palestinian people who by no means all support Hamas. Many are secularist Muslims and some are Christians (a fact often not noted by Israeli lobbyists) who do not support Hamas farther then having them as a weapon against Israel. When they start talking about implementing Shariat law, many Palestinians reject this. The same goes for those living in Lebanon under Hezbollah governed areas. Hezbollah has been smart not to try and cram religion down people's throats in the areas they control as they have seen the failures of Iran. Al-Sistani in Iraq likewise noted the problems in Iran's system of governance when religion is forced upon people. Unfortunately, Al-Sistani's voice gets drowned out amongst the radicals of Iraq such as Al-Sadr.

At any rate, the violence in Pakistan seems to be worsening and it seems as if civil war in likely to occur. In the long run this will probably be a good thing as Musharraff is likely to crush the extremists brutally and dismantle their infrastructures in most of Pakistan. The North West Frontier Province however will always likely remain "bandit country" unfortunately. The real danger at this moment of crisis in Pakistan is that some charismatic General in Pakistan's Army is going to seize the opportunity to stage a coup and assassinate Musharraff. If that happens who knows which direction Pakistan will go. Because Pakistan has nuclear weapons we have to be extremely careful not to weaken Musharraff and his successors. Otherwise both India and ourselves will suddenly face imminent danger of a nuclear threat that will be very difficult to deal with.

Chris G.

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