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University education and radicalization in Pakistan

The convicted terrorist Saad Aziz, presently on the loss of life row, is Pakistan’s maximum distinguished “knowledgeable” terrorist. He attended the prestigious Institute of Business Administration (IBA) in Karachi, and earlier than that, studied for his O’ and A’ tiers at Beaconhouse and Lyceum colleges, respectively. In April 2015, Aziz killed Sabeen Mahmud, the Second Floor (T2F) founder, a space devoted to innovative and liberal discourse in Karachi. Aziz claimed to have been angered via Mahmud’s anti-Taliban, anti-mullah (and anti-Red Mosque) pronouncements—even her spreading of Valentine’s Day cheer. A few weeks after Aziz killed Mahmud, he confessed to being one of the militants who killed forty-six Ismaili Shias on a bus they used to work on.

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There are valid doubts about whether or not jihadism drove Aziz to dedicate these crimes or whether a connection with Pakistan’s intelligence agencies played a role in his movements or confession. The day she became killed, Mahmud had convened Baloch activists for a public event at T2F. Security agencies have an extended record of shutting down Baloch dissenters and asked for the same occasion that month on the Lahore University of Management Sciences to be canceled. The story of Aziz’s radicalization provided using the joint investigation crew report, although shocking, turned into almost too clean and left unanswered questions; his coolness throughout his confession also sowed doubt in his story. Nevertheless, Aziz’s case gives a beneficial starting point for considering better education, extremism, and radicalization in Pakistan.

Drawing conclusions approximately violent extremism from facts is an incorrect workout because of the tiny numbers that ultimately engage in violence. Data but can assist us in concluding approximately attitudes in the population. But, for violence, the strive ought to not be to locate socio-demographic correlates but to discern out what the personal stories of violent terrorists tell us about radicalization if something. Extremist views and violence are connected—no longer because all of us with radical attitudes will become violent. However, radicalization provides the base for violent extremism and a logistical and ideological guide community because it had been for militancy.

As I display in my new e-book, Pakistan Under Siege: Extremism, Society, And The State, an evaluation of polling records reveal that those with a little college schooling are substantially more negative closer to all terrorist groups (al-Qaeda, the Lashkar-e-Taiba, the Pakistan Taliban, and the Afghan Taliban) relative to those with less education. That is ideal information. But comparable possibilities of college-knowledgeable respondents expressed beneficial views toward terrorist companies as people who never attended school (college- knowledgeable respondents are lots surer in their views, so a better percent answered the question). And for views on apostasy, college training makes no distinction. University-educated people are as likely to believe (round seventy-five %!) in loss of life penalty for apostasy as those who never attended school.

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The content of college schooling is a mixed bag in Pakistan. A few elite, non-public universities, like the Lahore University of Management Sciences, are very liberal. But even in interviews with students studying records and political, technological know-how at a public college in Lahore, I determined them overtly debating and hard the spiritual framing of the Pakistani country-wide narrative.

The most important factors that stimulated them have been reading the politics and records of other sector elements and a professor who engaged with them and taught them to question universal narratives. But students in most engineering universities and medical schools face the equal indoctrination in Pakistan’s “ideology” that they did in excessive school. And pupil wings of Islamist parties—particularly the Jamaat-e-Islami’s student wing, the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba—threaten revolutionary discourse on many college campuses. They purpose to disrupt cultural events and prevent significant debate.

Pakistan has visible violence on its college campuses. 12 months in the past, a mob of students at Abdul Wali Khan university beat fellow student Mashal Khan to demise on prices of blasphemy, armed with a militant spiritual zeal—and a preference to take Pakistan’s legal guidelines in its personal fingers—that their college schooling changed into not able to decrease.

The tale of Aziz’s radicalization, if in reality true, is instructive. He began displaying a non secular zeal simultaneously as at IBA and turning far away from liberal ideas. At college, he wrote about religion and the clash of civilizations. But it became a peer he met at some point of an internship—satirically at a multinational company—who certainly set him on the route to radicalization. He went to Waziristan beneath his influence, where he seems to were ideologically and bodily skilled via jihadists. He confessed to being moved with the aid of movies of the struggling of Muslims worldwide, consisting of in sectarian violence—part of the terrorist propaganda toolkit.

There are lacking links here. The first is character primarily based. What actually drove Aziz to the jihadist camp in Waziristan? Researchers have shown that the elements that propelled young people to join al-Qaeda were one or extra of the subsequent: a choice for energy or status, for revenge, for identity, or a thrill. Others have counseled a deep alienation, a need for social belonging. We don’t understand what took place in Aziz’s case, but he seems to have had a strong and “normal” family shape around him. He ran his own family’s eating place.

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The 2nd puzzle is why Aziz’s schooling wasn’t able to counter the propaganda he acquired. After all, his was no rote getting to know-based conservative government curriculum or absolutely religious, biased madrassa training that would be blamed for susceptibility to militant rhetoric. There is certainly no decision to this apart from to renowned that while on common, the ones educated in the British-based training machine have more tolerant attitudes than those educated in public faculties and madrassas (as Tariq Rahman’s studies show). Aziz changed into an exception, or his private motivations had been too sturdy, and in the long run, overpowered him.

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