Do Blame The Taliban
K. K. Shahid's Don't Blame The Taliban series of articles/blogs make for a pretty interesting reading. I criticized one particular aspect of the Part I recently. Part II and III are relatively more sophisticated in the arguments, and I think some of them are quite valid, especially the ones directed at the apologists of Islam who continue to maintain that Islam is 'inherently peaceful' and dismiss any criticism on the basis of context. I believe K. K. Shahid is quite justified in being irked by such apologists and their tactics, and his articles are a desperate attempt of sorts to deflate this balloon of apologism. It is a balloon that I wish to deflate as well. I will present my own criticism of Islamic apologists separately, because it is a topic that needs addressing.
What bothers me about K. K. Shahid's articles is his 'defence' of Taliban as the true followers of Islam. This is how he describes them in Part III:
"The Taliban understandably aren’t particularly fond of Muslim apologists, as asserted by Ehsanullah Ehsan, the Pakistani Taliban spokesman, following the Malala attack. They probably don’t understand how they – the Taliban: the students of Islam, who do nothing but study Islam and its scriptures and endeavor to personify them – are misapprehending the ideology, while most Muslim apologists – who quite often don’t even border on following the basic Islamic tenets – seem to understand Islam better than them."
"The Taliban are merely striving to propagate the message of the Quran and of the prophet how it’s said to have expanded in the 7th century AD. Islam orders the true Muslims to wage war against those who spread Fitna, which is described in (2:217) as disbelieving Allah and not following his path. This basically means that the Muslims are ordered to ensure that every part of the world follows the Islamic way of life, and use violence – if need be – to ascertain Islamic supremacy. The Taliban understand the meaning and act accordingly, the Islamic scholars throughout the past 1400 years comprehend it and elaborate it accordingly in their tafsirs and literature, but the apologists are hell bent on claiming, and perhaps believing, what they want the teachings to articulate – not what they actually proclaim – at the cost of multitudinous lives."
Whatever my own feuds with Muslims, I genuinely don't think that this is the case. The Taliban are not well-intentioned students of Islam, who are trying to follow the true spirit of their religion with pure hearts, but are led to commit horrific violence just because the religion they happen to believe in is intrinsically violent. If only we could show them the errors of their religion, they would return to being the peace-leaving people that they are! The Taliban are students only in name. They are a Frankenstein army of artificially bred religious warriors. Their version of Islam is not your traditional Islam. It is a malignant form of Islam in which all the checks-and-balances and the emphasis on due legal process is markedly absent. It is a vigilante form of Islam in which they have expanded the notion of fitna and enemies to include even other civilian Muslims who differ from them in how to practice their religion. By way of analogy, they are a cancer. Just as a clump of cells in the body loses all its inhibitions and begins to proliferate in an excessively abnormal fashion, invading the other normal tissues of the body, similarly the Taliban are a cancer, which have pumped-up the inherent growth potential and have discarded all the inhibitions of their religion, and are now waging a war against other Muslims. Yes, blame the religion, if you wish, for possessing that inherent growth potential, but do blame the Taliban, for they are surely not without blame.