Dangerous Excuses

Wonderland Revisited

Following yesterday’s post about efforts to propagate the reassuring fiction that Islam and terrorism are in no way related, the following item seems relevant. The UN Human Rights Council may claim that highlighting the spread of jihadist ideology is a “defamation” of Islam, but one has to ask when the HRC plans to tell that to the believers featured below, who, it seems, take a different view. The following clip from Channel 4 News demonstrates a familiar blurring of piety, violence and coercion at one of Pakistan’s growing number of radical madrassas. In this case, Pakistan’s largest girls’ madrassa, Jamia Hafsa, is sited just streets away from the centre of government in Islamabad. Despite the HRC's pronouncements, readers may struggle to find a sufficiently clear and reassuring line between four-year-old girls being schooled in radical Islam and older girls at the same school brandishing bamboo clubs, beating women, abducting police officers, and appointing themselves arbiters of virtue and vice.

It’s worth noting that Abdul Rashid Ghazi, the madrassa’s deputy head, is seen making comforting, if implausible, comparisons between the Taliban and Rudy Giuliani, and is then seen five years earlier declaring violent jihad against those who ousted the Taliban and allowed almost four million exiled Muslims to return to their homes. Ghazi’s rejection of democracy and his admiration for bin Laden, along with an enthusiasm for firearms, Sharia and the killing of US soldiers, has been reported elsewhere. But perhaps we should avert our eyes and pretend such things simply do not happen, ever, and pretend that registering otherwise is an act of wilful “defamation.” And perhaps we should make great efforts to ignore other unflattering evidence, however dramatic it may be, and pretend, with increasing urgency, that things are other than they are.

Update: More here.