March 28, 2016

Ithaca College Journalist and Scholar Discusses Roots of Radicalism in Pakistan

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Raza Rumi, a journalist and Scholar in Residence at Ithaca College, explained the roots of extremism in Pakistan and described the efforts to deter radicalism in a lecture last week.

“The country has in the last decade or so suffered huge losses,” Rumi said. “Between 50 and 80 thousand Pakistanis have died in pure acts of violence and terrorism across the country.”

Rumi, a Pakistani himself, said these deaths include those of civilians and members of the military. Rumi said there have been attacks in airports and headquarters of intelligence agencies and blamed these losses the Pakistani Taliban. The Pakistani government has been involved in an operation called Zarb-e-Azb, which targets militant hideouts in Northwest Pakistan, he said.

“It includes bombing places, arrests and other methods to ‘neutralise’ terrorists,” Rumi said.

The bombing of a Pakistani school last year, which killed over 140 people, indicates the presence of a violent ideology directed targeting civilians, according to Rumi. He tied such acts of domestic terror with the recent terrorist attack in Brussels that took place in an airport and the subway.

“These things are linked, because the issue is that there is an ideological battle going on,” Rumi said. “It has been claimed as a battle of Islam or Muslims versus the rest of the world, or between Muslims and Western countries, but in reality, it is more a conflict within Muslims themselves.”

He stressed that the majority of Muslims do not subscribe to acts and ideologies of terror, but aded these displays of violence are usually carried out for political motives.

“The vast majority of Muslims overwhelmingly do not subscribe to acts of terrorism or violent history,” Rumi said. “Yet there are groups or organized groups that carry out acts of violence that are largely political in nature.”

Rumi said he was the victim of a terrorist attack carried out by the Pakistani Taliban two years ago, when he was working as a TV broadcaster in Pakistan and professed an anti-extremist ideology.

“A gunman fired at my car in a dark corner of a road, in which my companion who driving the car died instantly,” Rumi said. “I had a guard who was injured, and I was back at of the car, so I ducked and laid down on the floor of the car.”

After the attack, he said he spent some time in Pakistan, and then decided to come to the United States.

“I felt very insecure and traumatized, and my sisters live here in the United States, so I thought this would be a time to take a break from Pakistan and be safe,” Rumi said.

Rumi emphasized his belief that the Pakistani government is working to combat terrorism, explaining that in Operation Zarb-e-Azb, Pakistan is cleaning up the tribal areas near Afghanistan that contain a large population of extremists. Over 3,400 militants have been killed in this operation, which has also enabled the government to create codes that expedite the trials of extremists, according to Rumi.

“I have many reservations against military courts because there are chances of human rights violation, where you deny due process,” Rumi warned of this system.

Rumi said that examing and challenging Pakistan’s institutions could promote a more peaceful future for the country.

“Pakistan is going to have to deepen its democratic institutions, strengthen media and civil society, it will have to create space for its minority groups,” Rumi said, “And it will have to develop a secular model of government and constitution.”

Rumi said that 70 percent of Pakistanis are under the age of 30, adding that  Pakistani youth groups are working to end extremism within this age group.

Artemis Tapliga ’18, Director of Academic Events in CIAS, noted that Cornell has active Muslim communities and Pakistani groups. She expressed her hope that progress can be made so that more people are aware of what is happening in the Pakistani region.

“The biggest role we can have, even as non-Pakistani people, is to talk about it,” Tapliga said. “It is far away, but it is also affecting people that are really not that different from us. Maybe they practice a different religion, maybe they have different customs, but at the end of the day, they’re human beings just like us.”

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  • Arafat

    The terror in Pakistan is not extremist Islam it is Islam.

    Pakistan for thousands of years had been a relatively peaceful region with Hindus and Buddhists living there side-by-side. But then the Muslim jihadists came.

    It is said that during the last thousand years of Muslim jihad in southern Asia that 70 million Hindus have been killed by these Muslim jihadists.

    Look north from Pakistan and we find Afghanistan. Afghanistan once had beautiful Buddhist villages and cities. But today there is not one single Buddhist left alive in Afghanistan. And this is not enough as the Muslims are also destroying every last Buddhist relic they can find, including blowing up the stunning Baniyam Buddha statues.

    The Muslim jihadists did the same thing wherever they went in their conquest throughout southern Asia, north Africa, southern Europe, and of course the Middle East.

    It is said that when Muslims cannot fight infidels they turn against themselves, and that is what Razza is describing. Islam: a curse upon us all.

  • Arafat


    Something for you to consider…


    We ex-Muslims living with Islam’s formal and informal death penalty for apostasy know that Mohammedanism is a cruel and deadly fraud.
    The 164 jihad verses in the Qur’an make jihad warefare a central tenet of the Islamic creed. At least 75% of the Sira (biographies of Muhammad and quotes attributed to him) is about jihad.
    The largest part of the Islamic texts (the Qur’an, hadith and sira) relate to the treatment of unbelievers, kafirs. Approximately 67% of the Qur’an written in Mecca is about the unbelievers, or politics. Of the Qur’an of Medina, 51% is devoted to the unbelievers.

  • Arafat

    “Islam was like a mental cage. At first, when you open the door, the caged bird stays inside: it is frightened. It has internalized its imprisonment. It takes time for bird to escape, even after someone has opened the doors to its cage.”
    ― Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Infidel

  • Arafat

    “Fortunately millions of non-Muslims are being forced by world events to wake up to how truly dangerous Islam is. We ex-Muslims know that Mohammedanism must go the way of the dinosaur or the planet will drown in the blood of sharia as Muslims enforce the laws of Islam.”

  • Arafat

    “Muhammad was a narcissist, like Hitler, Saddam or Stalin. He was astute and knew how to manipulate people, but his emotional intelligence was less evolved than that of a 6-year-old child. He simply could not feel the pain of others. He brutally massacred thousands of innocent people and pillaged their wealth. His ambitions were big and as a narcissist he honestly believed he is entitled to do as he pleased and commit all sorts of crimes and his evil deeds are justified. ”