Full Outline Essay On Extremism In Society

Workshop held in AEPF 7, Beijing, October 14th 2008
co-organised by

  • Centre Lebret-Irfed
  • Labour Party Pakistan
  • Asia-Africa Development and Exchange Society of China


In analyzing our societies today, we can no longer ignore the impact and influence of the drastically changing religious picture on the geo-political situation of countries and regions. Ecology, demography, rights, economy, personal life, international relations, all these elements are in one way or another marked by the upheavals that have come about in the religious sphere. On the other hand, we should also ask : has globalization, and more recently, the U.S. policy of « war and terror » been key in these upheavals ?

The rise of religious extremism in many of our societies is one phenomenon which not only poses a strong danger and threat to people’s lives and security and to the consolidation of a more democratic and pluralistic political life but has also reached such an amplitude where terror reigns and solutions have become even more difficult to achieve.

While this workshop aims to address this particular issue of the rise of religious extremism, it will also be the opportunity to speak about the relationship between religion and politics in general. We hope to be able to arrive at a better collective understanding of the phenomenon in the light of the various contexts in Asia and in Europe. And, more than simply trying to comprehend how this phenomenon has developed, the question « how can we counter religious extremism and what can we do together to fight this ? » would definitely be more challenging for us. The question is not simple to answer and those who are confronted with the problem on a daily basis know this difficulty.

The workshop should also provide us with the opportunity to bring persons and organizations involved in the AEPF network and confronted by these problems in their work and activities to link up and explore ways of developing the spirit of solidarity amongst each other.


Workshop Organizers and link persons:

  • Développement et Civilisations Lebret-Irfed (DCLI) – France (Ms. Sally Rousset)
  • Labour Party Pakistan (Mr. Farooq Tariq)
  • Asia-Africa Development and Exchange Society of China (Ms. Wang Feng)


  • Mr. Yang Guang (Research fellow, Institute of Western Asia and Northern African Studies, CASS, China)
  • Ms. Sally Rousset (Développement et Civilisations – Lebret-Irfed, France)

First part : Contribution of panelists:

  • Mr. Farooq Sulehria (Labour Education Foundation, Pakistan) on The rise of political Islam;
  • Mr. Silvo Devetak (Institute for Ethnic and Regional Studies, Maribor, Slovenia) on Religious and Ethnic extremism in Europe;
  • Ms. Wang Junrong (Research Fellow, Institute of Religions Studies, CASS) on The Influence of Islamic Revivalism in World politics;
  • Ms. Pushpa Bhave (Pakistan-India People’s Forum for Peace and Democracy) on Religious fundamentalism and the Indian experience
  • Ms. Elga Sarapung (Interfidei, Yogyakarta, Indonesia) on Christian Fundamentalism in Indonesia.

Second part:
Debate and testimonies on initiatives and solutions.
Discussion on concrete recommendations for AEPF and ASEM.

Aside from reactions/contributions from workshop participants, two representatives from the preparatory workshops co-organized by DCLI in Malaysia and and Belgium shared the essential points that came up in these workshops on the issues of religious fundamentalism and religion-based political movements:

  • Ms Musdah Mulia, (ICRP-Indonesia, for the Asian Workshop);
  • Mr. Antoine Sondag (Secours catholique and DCLI -France, for the European Workshop)

Rapporteur: Mr. Darwis Khudori (France/Indonesia)

Note : This workshop in China was preceded by 3 preparatory workshops:
  • in Europe (Paris, France, March 2008 and Brussels, Belgium, September 2008), organised by DCLI (Développement et Civilisations – Lebret-Irfed): “The rise of fundamentalisms and the impact on “living together” (See workshop reports in French: Paris and Brussels );
  • in Asia (Kedah, Malaysia, July 2008), organised by Darwis Khudori, Professor at University of Le Havre (France) and member of DCLI: “The role of religion based political movements: a threat or a chance for peace, security and development among nations?” (See presentation of the publication )


The contributions of the speakers and participants can be grouped into three main points:

I. The controversial concept of fundamentalism

A conceptual problem of the workshop was raised leading to the change in the workshop title from “religious fundamentalism” to “religious extremism”. The change was done in Beijing during the preparatory workshop meeting as the Chinese speaker, Ms Wang Junrong questioned the accuracy of the term “fundamentalism”, defending the use of the term “extremism”). According to her, “fundamentalism” was first used in the United States at the beginning of the 20th century to speak about the phenomenon of religious movements which led the Christians (Protestants) to go back to the “foundational” elements of Christianity. In the Muslim World, the term “fundamentalism” is understood in two meanings: on the one hand, it means going back to the initial elements of Islam, the spirit as well as the formal and institutional elements; on the other, it means going back to the initial message and spirit of Islam, which do not necessarily adopt its formal and institutional elements, and which is not in contradiction with modern civilisation. Insisting on the use of “extremism” as the acceptable term by both secular and religious circles, the change of the title was for her very important for mutual understanding and benefit between the secular and the religious communities.

The argument of Wan Junrong was strengthened by Siti Musdah Mulia (Indonesia) in her report on the AEPF preparatory workshop held in Malaysia. The Malaysia workshop used the title “The Rise of Religion-based Political Movements” instead of the “Rise of Religious Fundamentalism” for two reasons: 1. The term “fundamentalism” is a subject of controversy among the scholars as well as the activists of religion-based movements. 2. What is called “fundamentalism” is just a part of a larger phenomenon, that is the rise of social and political movements based on religions.

Nevertheless, the majority of the speakers, mostly the non-academic ones, have been using the term “fundamentalism” during their inputs and during the debate. For the Pakistani participants, the term used in Pakistan today is “religious fundamentalism” without ambivalence, as this phenomenon and its negative effects are very much present in the everyday life of the population.

The workshop held in Brussels in September, also dealt with that question, and agreed to the following meaning when using the word “fundamentalism”:

  • A strict respect of foundational elements of the religion and the refusal to put them in historical perspective;
  • The refusal of debate, interpretation and mediation;
  • The consideration that only one way leads to the truth;
  • The exclusion (or even destruction) of anyone not being part of the group.

II. Analysis of the phenomenon

Role of the Media
The mainstream media play a very important role in provoking religious extremism. Farooq Sulehria (Pakistan/Sweden) pointed out the dictatorship of Western media that tend to make a very simple stereotype of Muslim societies (especially in Pakistan) as characterised by the women wearing the burka and the men with a big beard. Pushpa Bhave (India) pointed out those who tend to equalise individual with community and religion with nation: when a Muslim commits a crime, then all the Muslims are criminals; when a religious group of a country does something harmful, they then say that the whole nation is terrorist.

Role of Religion-based Movements in Society
Not all religion-based movements are harmful to societies. Silvo Devetak (Slovenia) gave some examples from Eastern Europe where religion-based movements were helpful in promoting democracy and human rights in the 90s.

Reporting on the Malaysia preparatory workshop, Siti Musdah Mulia (Indonesia) identified four roles that religion-based movements play: as social service provider (hospitals, schools, orphan houses, social housing, etc.), as a means of emancipation (promotion of democracy and human rights, access to political participation and to social integration), as disguised political movements (in the totalitarian and authoritarian regimes) and as pressure groups (in the democratic regimes).

She also noted two tendencies in religion-based movements: those who go for community egoism and those for community pluralism, each of which has two variants. Among the adherents of community egoism, there are the radicalists who wish to apply their conviction to the whole society in a radical way, including violence and terror. This is what many people call “fundamentalism”, “radicalism”, or “extremism”. There are also the gradualists who choose to apply their conviction in a gradual way, including political parties. On the other hand, the defenders of community pluralism are characterised by two attitudes: tolerance and altruism. The real threat for peace and security comes in fact from only a variant of community egoism supporters, that is, the radicalist one. While the real chance for peace and security comes particularly from the altruist variant of community pluralism movements.

Politicisation of Religions
What is harmful is the “politicisation” of religion or the “wrong use” of religion as political tool. “Even non-believers use religion to gain political power”, denounced Pushpa Bhave (India). This also happened in Central and Eastern Europe when religions were used in the interest of militarism and nationalism, especially in the Balkans.

A question was raised by Antoine Sondag (France): How is it that the mainstream debate switched from socio-political (class-based) categories to cultural (religion-based) categories? Encouraging religious-based mobilisations, designing certain religious groups as scapegoats, focusing and over-emphasising on one religion’s trends: all these mechanisms allow certain social groups to pursue in a hidden way political objectives and to prevent people from demanding for social and political accountability. The impact of religious extremist trends is strengthened when people feel “lost in the city” as what happens to migrants, or when social and political spheres offer no other alternatives for taking care of people’s vital problems. As one of the participants said: “Weak state (when failing to address social questions), strong religion”…

The question was also raised as to whether or not Church intervention could have positive effects on political and state decisions. As a response, actual examples were given showing the negative consequences of religious intervention in politics.

“Minority” vs. “Majority” religions
Religious extremism also exists with religious minority groups. Elga Sarapung (Indonesia) gave some examples from Indonesia where religious extremism grew among the Christians, a minority religion in Ambon and Poso, under pressure from the majority Muslims (the introduction of Islamic law or Shari’a among others) and also due to a “minority” complex and feelings of fear. But a strong return to religion-based politics can be observed both in Islamic fundamentalism (majority religion) and in Christian fundamentalism (minority discriminated religion). However, Pushpa Bhave, basing herself on the violence directed in India by Hindu majority groups against other minority groups, noted that extremist majority communalist groups can be more dangerous than the minority ones.

Another reason why Christian Chinese in Indonesia also tend to be extremists is due to the fact that they are a “double minority”: ethnically and religiously. In Europe, religious extremism have happened among the migrant workers (especially Muslims) who are confronted with a double problem: the discrimination and the incompatibility of their religious traditions with those established in the host countries (family and individual laws, the question of polygamy, etc.).

Religious extremism and the global context
Religious extremism cannot be separated from the global issues: hegemony of superpower, territorial occupation, globalisation. For Silvo Devetak (Slovenia), religious extremism is a part of the planetary crisis that raises a worrying question whether humanity will be able to solve the problem. Farooq Sulehria links the rise of political Islam to the growing weakness of left parties in the Muslim world, during the 1990s after the fall of Soviet Union, on the one hand; and, on the other hand, to the loss of credibility of the populist anti-imperialist mass-followed parties, such as Popular Party (Bhutto’s) in Pakistan. Religion became the only anti-imperialist available platform. He strongly pointed out that religious extremists such as the Talibans in no way represent an alternative against imperialism: they themselves exploit, oppress, kill those who do not share their beliefs…

Wan Junrong (China) pointed out that among the movements of religious extremism, those based on Islam address global issues, are spread all over the whole world and form trans-national networks, while those based on other religions (Buddhism, Christianity or Hinduism) operate limitedly at local or national levels.

Diversity and dialogue
Silvo Devetak pointed out the deep gap between Eastern and Western Europe: they know very little of each other, and the main European religion (Christianity) shows very little interest for the other religions, be those historically present in Europe (Judaism) or currently growing in the number of believers (Islam). Europe is also going through inter-ethnic frictions that could be a major source of division (the “Kosovo syndrome”). Reconciliation has not begun yet, and new approaches are needed to go beyond historical grievances and stereotypes. This crisis of identities is a very favourable ground for the growth of religious extremisms. Europe is facing a real challenge: it should be a community of persons, it needs a strong affirmation of the common democratic values that make “unity in diversity” possible. This also means to take into account new values brought about by the social evolution of the European space.

Interfaith dialogue provides a space in which people can sit and talk together:

  • How do we view each other?
  • What are our hopes for the future of the country?
  • What can we do in common? How can we bridge our differences?

One of the experiences shared during the Brussels workshop was the use of “inter-convictional dialogue” in local communities as a means of understanding each other better. In such dialogue, one addresses not only the spiritual dimension but takes the whole person into account (the person as a believer or a non-believer, as a worker, as a parent, as a user of social services, as a resident of a neighbourhood or a village, etc.). The person should not be seen only as a Christian or as a Muslim or as an Hindu, etc.. This avoids getting fixed in direct doctrinal confrontations and gives more chances of arriving at consensual and practical solutions.

Mechanisms of violence and false solutions
Pushpa Bhave (India) analysed some of the mechanisms of violence: As mentioned above, by equating one person with a whole group (e.g. a terrorist act perpetrated by a Muslim is viewed as if the act is endorsed by the whole community) and by equating one religion with the nation (speaking of “Hindustan” instead of Bharat to name the country), the dominant Hindu class creates an atmosphere of fear, and can instigate hatred leading to violent actions against non-Hindu groups. The latter and the fact that so many people all over the world support hedious acts clearly show that terrorist legitimacy relies on a strong psychological dimension, dealing with the capacity of taking power on minds. It is thus not a military problem, and military solutions prove to be counter-productive. Farooq Tariq (Labour Party of Pakistan) agreed with Pushpa: “You can’t bomb ideas”.

Civil society organisations have a pre-eminent role to play: their ideas, if put in practice, can be much stronger than fundamentalist ones. The true way to prevent fundamentalist violence is through education, both formal (State’s responsibility) and informal one (civil society’s responsibility). But education itself is not enough. The question is how to empower people so that they influence policy-making and ensure that their problems are attended to. This leads to the issue of participation and to the link between representative democracy and participatory democracy.

III. Conclusions and recommendations

Religious extremism is a growing threat and danger to human society. Its causes go beyond religions as such: religions have been abused as a means to achieve political goals.

In order to address the causes of religious extremism, the workshop participants recommend that:

1. Civil society organisations (CSOs) should continue to fight for peace, security, human rights, social justice, equality and poverty alleviation.

2. The State should provide enabling environment and institutions to ensure equal access to the resources of life and freedom of expression.

3. Religion-based approach of political and social engagement should transcend differences and focus more on common human-centred values. Religion should not be hijacked by religious leaders with personal agendas.

4. Special emphasis should be put on the role of education in the fight against religious extremism.

5. Special emphasis should also be put on the inter-and-intraconvictional dialogues at local, national, regional as well as international levels (the term “conviction” is used instead of “faith” or “religion” for its larger scope including those who do not believe in religion or in God).

6. When using dialogue as a mean of reaching better understanding and living together, one should address all the dimensions of the person, and not only the religious dimension.

Prepared by: Darwis Khudori and Isabelle Duquesne (DCLI, France)

kindly check my essay on (EXTREMISM & TALIBANIZATION)

dear members kindly check my essay

Extremism & Talibinazation
• Introduction.
• Different types of Extremism.
• Characteristics of religious Extremism.
• Characteristics of Talibinazation.
• Difference between fundamentalism and extremism.
o Fundamentalism, rigid but focused on self correction.
o Extremism, rigid and cohersive but focused at forcefully molding behavior of others.
• Roots of Extremism in Pakistani society.
o Soviet war in Afghanistan
o Rise of Kalashnikov & Drugs culture.
o Proxy wars of other Muslim countries been fought in Pakistan.
• Factors that gave rise to Talibinazation in Pakistan.
o Certain areas in Pakistan unchecked by the government.
o Inefficiency of law and order agencies to reduce arms and animations in residential areas
o Governments unchecked the rise of Madarisa Culture. (no regulation)
o Lal Masjid Jamia Hafsa event.
• Reasons of success of Extremism & Talibinazation in Pakistan
o Hopelessness and suppression in the Muslim world.
o Inability of the political system to deliver.
o People losing faith in current form of democracy prevalent in Pakistan.
o Deficiency of social justice.
o Poverty
o Illiteracy and un-education
o Different education systems in one country.
o Unemployment.
o Improper investment in social sector and lack of attention on human development.
• Consequences and impacts of extremism on our social and cultural situation.
o Deteriorating law and order situation and loosening of writ of the government.
o Extremism giving birth to terrorism
o Threat to internal stability
o Culture giving birth to intolerance
o Increase in sectarian violence
o Social distress
• Consequences of extremism on the economic environment of Pakistan.
o Flight of foreign investment due to environment not conducive for business.
o Contraction in economic activity due to violence, strikes and vandalism.
o Sole breadwinners of families killed in terrorist attacks.
• Extremism and Talibinazation causing very bad name to Image of Pakistan in outside world.
• Is military operation a solution to extremism?
o Partly yes – in short term.
o Partly not – in long term.
• What is needed at Government level?
o Formulation of policies to remove disparities at socioeconomic level.
o Investment in social sector.
o Government initiatives needed to uplift economic activities in backward and war trodden areas.
o Devise a mechanism for dialogue b/w different schools of thoughts in the religion
o Standardization of education & regulation Madarisas.
o Active role of law enforcement agencies for reduction of arms and ammunition.
• What is needed at private/ individual level?
o Family is the basic unit for inculcating the norms and values in an individual.
o Role of Ulema.
o Role of intellectuals
o Responsibility of the upper class and well off individuals toward the poor.
• Conclusion.

Extremism is a critical problem faced by Pakistani society today, leading to social, economic, cultural, political turmoil and humanitarian crises, it has nurtured due to internal and external factors, internal being the prevalence of social injustice, inequality, illiteracy and exploitation in the society and external factors being the involvement of Pakistan in the regional and international power game and proxy wars. Modus operandi of extremism is the expression of a fanatic behavior by individuals and groups, who are not able to convey their will in the society, through prevalent social mechanism. The people who cannot exert their influence, in the decision making process, go for violent means to express their opinion. As a result we see anarchy in the society. This situation fuels the flames of poverty, terrorism and social distress. Extremism can by of different types, it can be ethnic, linguistic, narrow nationalism but the most severe kind of extremism faced by our society is religious extremism. The main characteristics of religious extremism are:
• Forcefully imposing the own version of religion on others.
• Intolerant behavior towards other sects.
• Strict regulation of women, including formal schooling & most of the employments.
• Persecution of minorities i.e. people of other religions.
A new terminology coined in recent past is Talibanization; it is a form of extremist ideology that has its roots in Soviet war in Afghanistan and is currently prevalent in both Pakistan and Afghanistan. Apart from above features, there are certain specific features of Talibanization, such as:
• Conducting terrorist attacks on government building and public places.
• Implementing the own version of Sharia Laws.
• The destruction of non-Muslim artifacts, especially carvings and statues such as Buddha of Bamyan.
• Banning activities like hairstyles, shaving and clothing.
• Forceful closure of music/video centers and banning electronic media.

Sometimes the term ‘extremism’ is interchangeably used with ‘fundamentalism’; however there are some basic differences between the two terminologies. In lexical meaning the term ‘fundamentalism’ is used for those who are the strict believers of the codes of any religion or any ideology, it is focused on one’s own self regulation rather than forcefully molding others’ behavior and as like other religions, Islam also preaches peace and equality of human beings, the fundamentalists would be having the respect of human life and would be less violent toward others. Conversely, in cultural context, the term ‘fundamentalism’ is associated with Christian extremist groups which violently imposed their religious beliefs on others, this difference in lexical and cultural meaning of the term ‘fundamentalism’ is creating conflict between Muslims and west, Muslims perceive the lexical meaning with the Christians perceive the term in cultural context.

Extremism has existed to some extent in our society; however its impact on the society was not that much worrisome. It was after the Pakistan’s involvement in Soviet war in Afghanistan, extremism started significantly affecting the society. Pakistan’s involvement in the big power game in Afghanistan, to support US interest and Afghan brethren, brought amalgamation of Afghani tribal culture in Pakistani culture. The Mujahideen ideology was a motivational factor to recruit Jihadis who fought against Soviets. These Mujahideen were having full support of the USA; Pakistani governments also left unchecked, the rise of Jihadis within the country. More and more people from other Muslim countries as well as from the inside of Pakistan started being recruited for Afghan Jihad. The easy excess to weapons and wealth provided by US brought drugs and Kalashnikov culture in Pakistan. After the disintegration of USSR in December 1990, US interest ended in the region, this created a power vacuum in the region, paving its way of civil war in Afghanistan amongst many tribal groups, Mujahideen united themselves under the banner of Taliban and occupied the majority of Afghan territory (Approx 95%). They ended civil war and established some degree of order in the society, but the negative consequences of Taliban regime was their forceful imposition of religions ideology on others. In Pakistan also, there are considerable number of supporters of this ideology.

Another factor giving rise to the religious extremism in Pakistan is the proxy wars of different Muslim states being fought in Pakistan i.e. predominantly of Saudi Arabia and Iran, Saudi Arabian government is follower of Wahabi ideology and Irani government follows Shiite ideology, followers of both the ideologies live in Pakistan. So both the countries are fighting proxy war in Pakistan for the dominance of their co-religionists in Pakistan.

There are certain factors responsible for the heyday of Talibanization and extremist ideology in Pakistan. Most prominent is the inability of government’s law enforcement agencies and security forces to control and monitor the areas where terrorist networks have developed. These agencies have also unchecked the increased concentration of arms and ammunitions in certain areas of the country. In addition to it, government has not regulated the Madarisa system in the country. This has provided the operators of Madarisas, an opportunity to propagate the ideologies that are not in line with national interest of the country. The Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa events are prime examples of havoc created in the country. This situation has highlighted our institutional incapability to control the deployment of militants in key locations. It has also further given rise to Talibanization and extremism in the country because those innocent students who were used as human shields by the terrorists were killed, who were guilty of no sin, resultantly their family members, tribesmen and co-religionists are revolting against the government because of indiscriminate killing of innocent people along with panic creators.

Efforts have been made by various quarters of the society to eradicate extremist mentality from society, but this extremist psyche is increasing and getting hold, behind the success of this phenomenon there are various reasons. The chief reason behind growth of extremist mentality in our society is the hopelessness amongst masses living in Muslim countries, this hopelessness is mainly attributable to two factors; firstly due to absence of the mechanism whereby general will of masses in the society could be brought into the political system (due to the presence of despotic culture in politics of Muslim countries), second reason is the growing hegemony of USA, in its persecution of Muslims, to take over the control of mineral resources of Muslim countries. This has resulted in revolting attitude in Muslims in general and Pakistanis in particular. The hopelessness in Pakistan is complemented by inability of political system to deliver and resolve the basic problems of the people. Due to continuous failures of democracy in Pakistan (because of elite’s dominancy in Pakistani democratic setup), people have lost faith in the current form of democracy prevalent in Pakistan. The feudal setup has destroyed the national fabric by enabling the concentration of wealth in few hands resulting in deficiency of social justice. This concentration of wealth in few hands has raised the problem of poverty and people have to opt for forceful means for the resolution of their problems, they become dacoits, join mercenary organizations and conduct suicide attacks for financial gains.

A blend of illiteracy to poverty further aggravates the situation, people who do not have knowledge and education, formulate their belief system on the basis of prejudices and become infected with ethnocentrism (a tendency in which people believe their own culture and religion to be most superior all over the world). The class driven educational system has been instrumental to support prejudices i.e. education is not provided on equal footings in Pakistan, the children of elite class go to modern English medium schools, where they are provided up to date knowledge but the poor who cannot afford the education of their children send their children to Madarisas, which are run by Maulvis, who have no exposure to the English, science, social sciences and mathematic. Students graduated from these Madarisas do not posses any technical skills (that facilitate them to seek job), this raises the unemployment. The unemployed young men, having prejudicious attitude, hatred of political system, much deeper hatred against America, in their pursuance to change the system, become easy target of mercenaries. Who use them in the name of Allah and conduct various terrorist attacks from them.

Consequently, the extremism exerts very grave impacts on the society, it creates a vulnerable situation, whereby law and order situation deteriorates and writ of the government is challenged by the individuals and order of the system is in trouble. Frequent terrorist attacks are the result of this situation; Pakistan is one of such countries in the world where most of the terrorist attacks happen. This scenario is source of a great threat to internal stability of Pakistan, as the security of the state institutions as well as the general public is at stake. The terrorist attacks on religious occasions, further engrave the sectarian violence and create tensions between communities and people of different sectarian backgrounds living side by side. This creates an overall state of social distress.

In addition to the social and cultural consequences, the extremism has very deep negative consequences on economy of the country. The law and order situation; terrorist attacks, vandalism & strikes are very harmful for the business activity of the country, due to this the investor becomes shy and lack of investment in the industry shrinks the overall economic productivity. The contraction of economy affects the purchasing power and overall well being of the common men. Moreover, the killing of sole breadwinners of families killed in terrorist attacks is creating the disastrous situations for the victims of terrorism and extremism. On foreign front, the situation is very embarrassing for Pakistan, causing very bad name for the country.

The military operation started by current government to curb the extremists and Taliban in Sawat and Agency areas is a brave step, but it has both positive and negative connotations. The positive consequences are in a sense that government is iron-handedly crushing the panic creators, who are challenging writ of the government. This approach is helpful in the short run. However, in the long run this approach is not result oriented, because the government operation is indiscriminately killing the innocent and culprit both. As the tenure of army operation will increase it will increase the innocent killings, therefore the army operation will loose its legitimacy amongst the masses and will prove to be victorious for insurgents. Therefore army operation must be completed in minimum possible time with minimum possible civilian causalities.

For the lasting solution of problem government needs to address the underlying causes behind extremism. It should formulate policies to remove the social and economic disparities. For the wherewithal of people, creation of employment opportunities is needed and employment opportunities need business activity which further needs investment. In the current distressed business scenario, government needs to invest in social sector to uplift the economic condition of people; special focus is needed in war trodden areas. The government’s initiatives of NWFP & Baluchistan packages are trend setters in this direction but still a lot is needed to be done. Along with this (for the religious harmony) the government needs to devise a mechanism for a dialogue between different schools of thoughts, to remove the conflicts and sectarian violence. Another aspect, on which the government should intervene, is the regulation of Madarisas in Pakistan. Madarisas are providing a very essential service to the nation by providing the religious, boarding and lodging facility to children of poor families. However, there are some black sheep among them who are working against the interest of state, government needs to regulate the Madarisas and devise a curriculum for Madarisas which also include modern education along with the religious education; government also needs to invest in Madarisas to improve their condition. Last but not the least, government law enforcement agencies’ active intervention is needed to minutely monitor and control the terrorist movements and reduction of arms and ammunitions in the country.

No matter how strong the government’s efforts are to manage extremism in the country, it needs cooperation at individual level to attain success. There is role of private organizations and individuals units of society such as a family or tribe to inculcate the norms and values in society that prohibit extremist culture. Family is the basic unit of society, the basic change towards the retreat of extremist mentality is to be initiated at family level. The role of our Ulema is also of a significant importance, they should focus on eliminating the differences rather than fighting on minute issues. The intellectual also need to guide the society, discuss on thorny issues and help to find the midway, which enables to retain the gist of religion while integrating Pakistanis into the rest of modern world. Apart from steps taken in sociological, religious, cultural and ideological direction, the measures are needed at economic as well; upper class consisting individuals who are financially well off, need to discharge their fiscal and religious duty by contributing for the poor. It should be noted that Pakistani people contribute humungous amount in charity but the charity is used for fulfilling the current/ running needs of the poor, efforts are not made to create institutions that provide employment for the poor, we need to work in this direction – don’t provide poor the fish instead teach him how to catch fish and you provided him wherewithal.

Extremism is one of the social evils faced by our country, causing violence, hatred, terrorism and great vulnerability to our society. It has it’s the roots in our flawed foreign policies in the past, mainly on the northwestern frontier, our socio-polotico & economic situation has provided conducive environment for the extremism to flourish. Extremist mentality has severely deteriorated the business environment and economic situation of Pakistan. Government’s efforts via military action are handy in short run, but in the long run government needs to focus on changing the living conditions of people in areas where extremism is increasing. Individuals also need to cooperate with government for the eradication of extremism; there is very important role family, ulema, intellectuals and the well off (upper class), for the control of extremist ideology in our society. We have to take the issue of extremism serious and devise concrete measures for its eradication or else our society will be in the state of anarchy and civil war.


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