KARACHI: As Muslims worldwide have just performed another Haj and are now celebrating Eidul Azha, it is perhaps an opportune moment to reflect on the current state of that abstract construct – the ‘Muslim world’.
While, indeed, the world as a whole is facing myriad challenges to the global order – political, financial, security etc – these problems are magnified manifold in most Muslim-majority states, Pakistan included.
While external players have had a role in destabilising Muslim states and regions, arguably, the greatest challenge is internal, most notably from decrepit and repressive political systems that stifle dissent, as well as from militant movements that thrive in suffocating environments and use Islamic imagery to promote a thoroughly savage agenda.
On the external front, it is impossible to defend the utter devastation that has been unleashed on Muslim states in the name of ‘liberation’, ‘democracy’ and the ‘responsibility to protect’ by external actors.
The invasion of Afghanistan to oust the hard-line Afghan Taliban has failed to produce a working state 15 years after the event.
Meanwhile, functional but autocratic regimes were ousted in Iraq and Libya, only to be replaced by a void thereafter filled by chaos and disorder.
Syria is another tragedy, where an internal movement to dislodge a strongman was seized upon by external players to fight a grinding proxy war; the result has been nearly 300,000 dead and the rise of barbaric groups such as the militant Islamic State group.
Palestine and India-held Kashmir continue to be lightning rods; in the former, Israel continues to suffocate Palestine’s people, while New Delhi has responded to calls of ‘azadi’ emanating from the valley with pellet guns and jackboots.
Indeed, all these scenarios engender a sense of victimhood in Muslim societies, and help extremists exploit people’s sentiments.
But the biggest threats Muslim societies face are internal.
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