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View: Spreading education in Pakistan harms Taliban


The Taliban attempted to kill Malala to quiet her mission. To its surprise, Pakistanis showed an unusually strong and united reaction of revulsion against the Taliban and its cowardly act.

Ahmadiyya Times | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: Duluth News Tribune
By M. Imran Hayee | November 6, 2012

In America, where freedom prevails and the literacy rate is 99 percent with 40 percent of the population possessing college degrees, fact-checking is a common routine, especially during the heated presidential election campaign.

In America, where freedom prevails and the literacy rate is 99 percent with 40 percent of the population possessing college degrees, fact-checking is a common routine, especially during the heated presidential election campaign. The fact-checkers around the country have been working diligently this fall to untangle candidates’ arguments and claims, some of which have been convoluted and twisted.

In contrast, in a country like Pakistan, where freedom is not a celebrated value and the literacy rate is 57 percent with only 6 percent of the population having college degrees, fact-checking is a rare phenomenon — even when big lies are imposed on citizens.

A few years ago, when the Taliban slowly infiltrated from neighboring Afghanistan and occupied the Swat Valley region of Pakistan, it shut down 200 schools mostly for girls by telling a lie that Islam bars women from getting an education.

An unlikely fact-checker, an 11-year-old girl, Malala Yousafzai, stood up and defended her right to an education, exposing Taliban’s biggest whopper. In an online blog for BBC, she wrote, “I will show them the Quran, what Quran says. Quran didn’t say that girls are not allowed to go to school.” Malala also remembered Prophet Muhammad’s advice that, “Seeking knowledge is obligatory on every Muslim man and Muslim woman.” Using her knowledge and unparalleled courage, Malala repeatedly pleaded with the world to help her people get rid of ignorant and barbaric occupiers.

The Pakistani army knocked the Taliban out of the Swat Valley in 2009, and Malala continued to champion the cause of education, earning herself fame and many accolades from around the world. Desperate and defeated, the Taliban shot Malala, now 14, in the head and neck on her way home from school on Oct. 9. The Taliban immediately proclaimed, “We do not tolerate people like Malala speaking against us.”

While Malala struggles with her life in a hospital, the Taliban has threatened to target her again if she survives. Malala has become the Taliban’s biggest enemy for standing up for something the Taliban hates to see flourish. Malala stands up for the supremacy of reason while the Taliban would like to see ignorance prevail. Malala stands up for the true Islamic values taught by Prophet Muhammad, whereas the Taliban wants to impose its bigotry in the name of Islam.

The Taliban attempted to kill Malala to quiet her mission. To its surprise, Pakistanis showed an unusually strong and united reaction of revulsion against the Taliban and its cowardly act.

“There is a groundswell of sympathy for her and also a very strong demand for the Pakistani state to do something about this issue,” said Raza Rumi, director of policy and programs at the Jinnah Institute of Pakistan.

This is an opportunity as well as an obligation of the Pakistani government to take solid steps to eradicate Taliban and like-minded extremists from every corner of Pakistan and to revamp all those Madrassas (religious schools) where power-hungry clerics nurture the future Taliban.

Why should America help its past ally in the global war on terror to bring Malala’s dream to reality?

President Lyndon Johnson once elegantly articulated, “For the individual, education is the path to achievement and fulfillment; for the nation, it is a path to a society that is not only free but civilized; and for the world, it is the path to peace — for it is education that places reason over force.”

Whomever America picks as president today must show the courage of Malala and the wisdom of President Johnson to devise a foreign policy that helps spread education throughout the world and especially in vulnerable areas like Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is in the national-security interest of America that Pakistani youth be educated. Tens of billions of dollars doled out to Pakistan in the past 15 years have gone mostly to build its arsenal. It is time the U.S. assistance is tied to spending on education and building a moderate and an enlightened youth in Pakistan.

Spreading education will do what drone attacks will never achieve: a clear and decisive defeat of the Taliban and its extremist philosophy, bringing peace around the globe and here at home.

—————–
M. Imran Hayee is a professor and director of graduate studies in the electrical engineering department at the University of Minnesota Duluth

Read original post here: Local view: Spreading education in Pakistan harms Taliban

This content-post is archived for backup and to keep archived records of any news Islam Ahmadiyya. The views expressed by the author and source of this news archive do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of Ahmadiyya Times.

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