theguardian: by Ben Doherty —
Those who suffer most from Islamist extremism are not people in rich western nations, but other poor Muslims.
This is the fundamental truth that obliterates the false cloak of righteousness so ostentatiously donned by Islamist jihadists: the very people these misguided men and women claim to be fighting for, are the ones they kill in greatest numbers.
Headlines in the western world seize upon the self-evident fact, borne out by the statistics: terrorism is rising, and more and more people are dying from it. But there is a fundamental deceit to this claim. The devil in the detail lies in who is being killed.
The city of Sydney – however the attack in Martin Place is characterised – has been shaken to its core by brutal, senseless assault this week, as London, New York, Madrid, and others were before.
But the Taliban’s attack on a school in Pakistan a day later, killing at least 141 people, 132 of them schoolchildren, is a stark reminder of the outsized price paid by the Muslim world for vile actions of a misguided few proclaiming the cause of their religion.
The global terrorism database maintained by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland shows a surge in terrorist attacks in recent years – from around 5,000 in 2011 to more than 8,000 in 2012 and nearly 12,000 in 2013 – the three largest years on record for terrorist attacks.
But, as Bernard Keane analyses here, the raw numbers are not the full story. The number of terror attacks in western countries did rise, and rise significantly, last year.
In 2012, there were 140 incidents of terrorism in the west. In 2013, that figure was more than 250, the increase driven by a sharp rise in attacks in Northern Ireland and Greece. Twelve people died.
In non-western countries, the increase was from 8,000 incidents in 2012 to more than 11,000 in 2013, the rise driven by continuing sectarian violence in Iraq and Pakistan, and deepening unrest in the Philippines and Egypt.
The number of non-western terrorism deaths in 2013 was over 22,000.
In November of this year, nearly 5,000 people died in Islamist fundamentalist terror attacks, the majority of those at the hands of Islamic State (Isis) or Boko Haram.
Just over half the dead were civilians, “the vast majority … Muslim,” theInternational Centre for the Study of Radicalisation said.
The “war on terror” is a tool of political rhetoric, not a real war. But its victims are real. And, overwhelmingly, it is the world’s Muslims who suffer most. Pakistan has lost more civilians to the “war on terror” than almost any other nation.
In the wake of the Peshawar attack this week, the hardest part for Pakistan now will be to hold its line. The country’s greatest weapon against the scourge of terrorism is not more bullets in response, but education.
It is girls and boys in school.
In Pakistan’s Swat Valley two years ago, I visited an army-run school called “Sabaoon”, an Urdu word that broadly translates as “the first light of dawn”.
It was a school for suicide bombers.
The boys who sat quietly there, in their green-and-white-striped uniforms, had previously been kidnapped or brainwashed by the Taliban. They’d been arrested or rescued from the insurgents’ mountain strongholds. Some had carried weapons into war, some had killed before.
One 15-year-old told me how he’d been dressed by his militant “brothers” in his heavy explosive vest one winter morning, and carefully told which wires to touch together when he reached the police checkpoint. Then he was driven to the police post, and told to walk towards the men in uniform.
It was only the intervention of a quick-thinking officer, who saw him shaking in fear as he approached, that meant that this boy was alive and in school to tell his story.
I asked the head of the school, a gruff, uniformed major, what the root cause of radicalisation was.
What was the fundamental, underlying reason why these boys could be convinced to kill in the name of a distorted religious interpretation, to don a vest they knew would kill them and walk towards a target?
“Poverty,” he said.
“It’s poverty, and that comes from a lack of education.”
Boys in school, he explained, didn’t grow up to become suicide bombers. Young men with good jobs didn’t run away to the hills to join the Taliban.
Literate girls go on to lift entire families from poverty. Women with an education don’t allow their sons to be radicalised.
The cost now might seem too high, but Pakistan must keep its children in school.
That’s how the war will be won. And the whole world will benefit.
Origional Post here: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/dec/18/pakistan-attack-reveals-the-truth-about-terrorism-it-kills-more-poor-muslims-than-rich-westerners?CMP=share_btn_fb