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Understand history and pakistan

Reader comment on item: Musharraf's Historic Speech

Submitted by an Indian (United States), Sep 21, 2005 at 01:05

Daniel Pipes is correct to commend Musharraf on his relatively positive words towards Israel. Perhaps this is the first time that a Pakistani leader has publically referred to Israel as anything but the "zionist entity". If nothing else, this is progress.

One should not however think there is any deep change in Pakistani society or islamic belief system. It is important to understand the nature of islam in Pakistan versus india. malaysia, bangladesh etc. In Pakistan, Islam was established thru genocide and conquest. The local people, mostly hindu and buddhist converts, suffer from a kind of "stockholm syndrome" in which they must always prove themselves more muslim than arabs. This kind of phenomenon has been noted in other groups that have been similarly traumatized. As a result, even though most pakistanis have never met an israeli or a jew they are full of hatred for them. None of this will change as Musharraf's address is mostly at a personal level.

There is another positive benefit to his address. If Pakistan formally begins to normalize relations with Israel, it opens the way to a deeper relationship between India and Israel. Why? Because, india has a significant muslim minority whose leadership (most indian muslims are fairly apolitical) has always been anti-israel. This move undercuts their position significantly (if the crazy pretend-arabs Pakistanis are OK with israel then who are they to protest?). This may ultimately be Musharraf's chief legacy.
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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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