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Monday, 5 August, 2002, 16:03 GMT 17:03 UK
Pakistan's 'culture of Jihad'
BBC Islamic affairs analyst Roger Hardy visits Pakistan in his continuing series on Islam and modernity.
Of all the countries visited in this series - Iran, Turkey, Egypt - Pakistan's situation is the most perilous.
Under the pressure of events since the 11 September last year, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf is trying to eradicate the extremism which has taken root in his country over the last 20 years or so.
As the country celebrates 55 years of existence, there is still fierce debate over its character and identity as a homeland for the Muslims of the Indian subcontinent.
Above all, the debate centres on whether Pakistan should be a religious or a secular state.
So how did Mohamed Ali Jinnah, Pakistan's founder, see Islam? It was a question I put to the writer and journalist Khaled Ahmed.
"I don't think he studied Islamic jurisprudence in any great detail, because, as a lawyer, he never dealt with that. I personally believe that he never thought that Islam and secularism would clash," Mr Ahmed said.
"He thought that Islam would flourish in Pakistan, together with other religions. But he was certain that the state will not become religious and will not take sides. He had that kind of secularism."
There is persuasive evidence that Jinnah was a modern-minded secularist.
But ever since his death - shortly after the birth of the new state - there has been a tug-of-war over his legacy.
Hamid Gul is a retired general and the former head of Pakistan's powerful intelligence agency, the ISI.
He is also a well-known Islamist. What does he think of the idea that Jinnah was a secularist?
"No, this is not accurate. I think he has been misquoted. There is only one speech on record [about the subject] - and that is on 11 August 1947 - when Pakistan had already been announced [as a state]," Hamid Gul said.
"Then, in the Constituent Assembly, he made a speech, saying: 'In the new state of Pakistan, everyone will be equal before the law, and people will cease to be Muslims and cease to be Hindus, in the eyes of the law.'
"But what law did he mean? He meant Islamic law. Implicitly - he was clear in his mind - he implied that it would be Islamic law. So I think Jinnah has been misquoted... [Jinnah] is quite clear that he did not want a Muslim nation-state. He wanted an Islamic state."
Two kinds of Islam
This tussle is at the heart of Pakistan's search for a modern identity.
While most Pakistanis would say Islam was very important to them, there is no consensus over the role religion should play in government and law.
There's the Barelwi tradition - the Islam of the shrine - and the more orthodox, more puritanical Deobandi tradition.
At the time of independence, the Barelwis were dominant. But as Pakistan grew, the Deobandi sect became stronger.
The Deobandis received a big boost in the 1980s, when the country's military ruler, General Zia ul-Haq, introduced a programme of what he called "Islamisation".
General Zia subordinated the constitution to the body of Islamic law known as the Sharia.
He also introduced the controversial "zina" law, under which a woman convicted of adultery can be stoned to death - provided four righteous Muslim men have witnessed the illicit act.
Basharat Qadir, a prominent lawyer, explains how this is supposed to work.
"Functionally, for practical purposes, this punishment is really not capable of being enacted. Because you have to have these four people, almost with ringside seats," Mr Qadir said.
The sentence has never been carried out. But that is scant comfort to feminists, who point out that the "zina" law obliterates any distinction between adultery and rape.
In a recent case, a woman who alleged rape by a relative found herself accused, and convicted, of adultery.
Women's rights activists like Tahira Abdullah are campaigning to get the law abolished.
But why did she think such legislation had been introduced in the first place.
"It's a lethal mixture of patriarchy, feudalism, tribalism, illiteracy, poverty, and a mindset, a world view, a mentality and attitudes that belie the trappings of modernisation that one sees in all the gadgets, the electronic items, the information technology era that we're entering into in Pakistan - versus the lack of modernity in one's thinking," Ms Abdullah said.
'Factories of jihad'
Changing the law was only part of General Zia's "Islamisation" programme.
One of his most fateful decisions was to turn many of the country's madrasas, or religious colleges, into factories of jihad.
The war helped the West defeat the Soviet Union - and earned Zia a huge windfall of American dollars and Saudi petrodollars.
But it also spawned both the Taleban - the puritanical Islamic movement which took over Afghanistan in the mid-1990s - and Osama Bin Laden's al-Qaeda, the group America holds responsible for the 11 September attacks.
And one of the side-effects of this Afghan war was to create a "culture of jihad" within Pakistan itself - a culture the current military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, is struggling to uproot.
There is no doubt that many of the madrasas have fostered a "culture of jihad".
So why have parents been so keen to send their children to them?
Poverty and extremism
Many people say they see a link between extremism and poverty.
"We have more than 2,000 madrasas in the Punjab. And all of them provide boarding and provide medical facilities - everything, from scratch," journalist Azmat Abbas said.
"The parents aren't supposed to pay anything. There's a culture of having six or 10 kids. And it's not possible for a poor parent to feed all of them.
"Somebody takes responsibility for two or three young men, saying: 'Okay, I'll feed your kids, they'll grow up to become religious people.' They might even be leading prayers or addressing religious gatherings. So it's a matter of pride for rural people that one of their sons is already a religious person," Mr Abbas said.
It will not be easy to uproot the culture of jihad nurtured by the more militant madrasas over the last 20 years.
Young Pakistani men have strong views on this subject.
One young man told me: "Holy war or jihad is done when you are being murdered, you are being killed... your innocent brothers and your sisters are being killed. Then you go into the field of battle and war against the enemy.
"This is jihad, and nothing more. This is not terrorism. This is to stop terrorism," he said.
Such young men admire the Taleban, and they are angry at its defeat at the hands of America.
They are angry that Pakistan switched sides, dumping the Taleban in order to support George Bush's "war on terror".
They are angry at what they see on Western TV channels.
They see Muslims being killed in Palestine, in Kashmir, in Chechnya.
New kind of Jihad
So can General Musharraf change the minds of young Pakistanis like these?
In a speech a few months ago, he called for a different kind of jihad - a jihad for education and science.
Hamid Gul - the Islamist and former general - acknowledges that, historically, Muslim scholars have distinguished between two kinds of jihad, which literally means "struggle" - peaceful struggle and armed struggle.
But he insists it is a Muslim's duty to take up arms in a just cause.
"Armed resistance, of the oppressed people, of the persecuted people, of the enslaved people - that jihad has the UN sanction," Mr Gul said.
"Who is Pervez Musharraf to say we should stop that, when the Koran says it and when the United Nations Charter backs it up? Musharraf says: "Stop the jihad, do this, that and the other." No, no, no. He cannot. There is a clear-cut Koranic injunction."
But the reality is that Muslims will go on debating the meaning of jihad, just as they have for centuries - and Pakistani Muslims will go on debating why Jinnah's dream of a Muslim renaissance in the Indian subcontinent has remained unfulfilled.
Religious violence has ravaged Pakistan during the last 20 years.
General Musharraf has pledged to eradicate it - and the West badly wants him to succeed.
Pakistani liberals, too, want the culture of jihad to be uprooted - but they are not sure an unelected military ruler is the right man for the task.
The irony is not lost on Pakistanis that the West - which supported General Zia in the 1980s - is now supporting another Pakistani general in an effort to reverse course.
There is no guarantee General Musharraf will succeed.
Many of the factors which helped fuel the jihad are still there - the poverty which drives families to send their sons to madrasas, the grievances which drive young men to fight holy wars.
Pakistan was created in the name of Islam. But competing visions of Islam are in danger of tearing it apart.
Waiting for the dawn: Muslims in the Modern World will be broadcast on BBC World Service at the following times:
Programme One: Egypt
Broadcast time: Fridays 1830GMT/1930BST
Repeats: Tuesdays 0930GMT/1030BST
30 Jan 02 | South Asia
19 Oct 01 | Americas
31 Jan 02 | South Asia
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