What the Slaughter of Christians in Lahore Says About the Global Jihad

Mar 30, 2016

Photo credit: Arif Ali/AFP/Getty

By Maajid Nawaz

At least 72 people were killed and 300 injured by the suicide blast that shook the crowded Gulshan-i-Iqbal Park in Lahore, Pakistan, on the evening of Easter Sunday. Many of the victims were children. A Taliban splinter group called Jamaat-ul-Ahrar has claimed responsibility for the attack that targeted Pakistani Christians without warning. The group is believed to have carried out previous attacks, including the beheading of 23 paramilitary soldiers in February 2014. A spokesman, Ehsanullah Ehsan, said his group wanted to send a message that it has “entered Lahore.” He then threatened further atrocities.

Yesterday’s heartbreaking blasts made this the third time this month alone that Pakistan has been attacked by jihadists. All this just in Pakistan, just in March. And this needs to be understood in the context of the global jihadist insurgency that is upon us: unprecedented in its scale, pluralistic in its leadership, fractured in its strategy, nevertheless inspiring in its central message, and popular enough in its appeal that it is able to move masses.

Again, just in the month of March there have been jihadist attacks in eight different countries, and I’m not including the ongoing jihadist civil wars in Afghanistan or Syria, the similar one brewing in Libya, and smaller scale attacks and killings across the world. Turkey, Ivory Coast, Iraq, Mali, Nigeria, and Belgium have all fallen prey to this insurgency.

A jihadist guerrilla war is being waged against world order, and the international community is woefully unprepared to address the problem.

Many still deny this insurgency exists, and it is true that these countries have locally specific factors that contribute to their respective insurgent conditions. Yes, the groups behind these attacks are not under one central leadership, rather they are either affiliates or offshoots of competing jihadist groups.

But they all share one cause.

They are all—including ISIS—derived from, or affiliated to just two jihadist groupings: al Qaeda and the Taliban. In turn, jihadists all drink from the same doctrinal well of widespread, rigid Wahhabism. And they share the ideological aims of popular non-terrorist Islamists. They are all unified behind a theocratic desire to enforce a version of Sharia as law over society. Considering that non-violent Wahhabi and Islamist Muslims exist in their millions globally, this drastically increases the potential recruitment pool for jihadists. The insurgency could not succeed were this not so. There is no use in denying it.

For many years, liberals—and I speak as one—have refused to acknowledge the ideology of Islamism. All talk of “ideas” was seen to be nothing but a “neocon” line taken directly from the worst excesses of the George W. Bush years.

Ironically, due to this very fear of political incorrectness we wound up repeating many of the mistakes of the neocon era. While we feared to engage in a debate on values with Muslim communities, we tried to restrict the problem to the realm of mere criminality, as something to be dealt with by law enforcement or, failing a solution there, by the military—and ultimately by war, even if that word went unspoken. Under this doctrine, President Barack Obama developed a secret kill-list, preferring simply to assassinate his enemies, even if they were American citizens, and he has wound up dispatching more drone strikes abroad than Bush ever did.

Anything to avoid discussing ideas.

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4 comments on “What the Slaughter of Christians in Lahore Says About the Global Jihad

  • 1
    Pinball1970 says:

    I am sick of being negative about this it is time to stop getting angry and start doing something about it

    Anyone got any ideas?

    What can do we do with communities? Local government?

    National government without coming across as a neo Nazi?

    Has anyone contacted Quilliam? Is anyone a member? What sort of initiatives are they doing? Does anyone think Nawaz is deluded or trying to delude us?Some British muslims call him a western puppet and a sell out, I don’t think he can win but as far as options go I think this is the only middle gound that both sides can reach.

    “I want to demonstrate how the Islamist ideology is incompatible with Islam. Secondly … develop a Western Islam that is at home in Britain and in Europe.”

    I disagree but I think my opinion is worthless on this, muslims are not going to ditch their religion because we think it is a bad idea.

    The second part of the statement is doable simply because the Christian church in Europe managed to transform itself from a deluded, racist, tribal, savage, vengeful, murderous, homophobic, superstitious ,unscientific, supremacist, misogynistic, anti Semitic, cowardly mob, into a deluded superstitious bunch of mainly ok but extremely annoying but on the whole civilized peoples.

    That is CofE with women bishops and gay priests the catholics have a way to go yet.

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  • 3
    Pinball1970 says:

    This is not about law and order.
    If the site wanted to put an article on crime and violent cities I think they would have gone for a city in Brazil or central America

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  • The rejection of science and substitution of faith-thinking, can be less discriminating in who is killed by actions of believers!


    An explosion and blaze sparked by fireworks have killed at least 100 people at a Hindu temple in the Indian state of Kerala, police say.

    The local district magistrate had denied permission for the display to be held this year because of safety concerns and complaints from residents about the danger of these fireworks in the past.

    A power outage hit the complex after the first explosion, further complicating rescue efforts, a witness said. Houses in the area of the temple were also said to have been badly damaged by the blast.

    “Our house is unliveable. Everything is blown off… If we had stayed in our house last night, we would have all died”, resident Anitha Prakash told BBC Hindi.

    One of the victims was said to be a biker hit by a piece of flying concrete 1km (0.6 miles) away from the scene.

    “Huge pieces of concrete were flying through the air,” said resident Jayashree Harikrishnan. “Chunks landed in our yard.”

    The Kerala government has ordered an investigation, and the police are planning to take action against the temple administration and the contractors who were putting on the display.

    “There was no permission to even store the fireworks,” Kerala’s Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said.</>

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