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Pakistan Palestine Sufism and Terrorism

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Pakistan Palestine Sufism and Terrorism


The star (*) represents more information can be found in references and notes. This blog with following topics is concerned with select Op-eds of Pakistani scholars.

  1. International Political Opportunists
  2. Hate and Intolerance
  3. Palestine State and Khilafat Movement
  4. South Asia Developments
  5. Death of Humanism
  6. Hopes for Future
  7. References and Notes for Islamic History


International Political Opportunists

Irfan Husain a respected Pakistani Op-ed writer in defense of a case for Palestine state presented interesting arguments based on select history to counter the firestorm ignited by a flame thrower and a want-to-be GOP nominee, American Newt Gingrich. Prof Gingrich had recently claimed that Palestinians were invented people. Before Mr Gingrich’s claim, Mr. Zuhair Mohsen stated that “The Palestinian people do not exist.”*

Here are some factors and questions to consider:

  1. Prof Husain may have been hinting for a UN mandate for establishingPalestine.
  2. Prof Husain may not remember statements of Mr. Zuhair Mohsen, a member of the PLO Executive Committee given to a news paper in March 1977.
  3. Demand for the UN mandatedPalestinemay catalyze a demand for a Khilafat.
  4. Prof Gingrich has a “take-no-prisoners” approach to politics. Prof Gingrich is for power using the ugly politics.
  5. A question I have for Mr Husain is why restrict history to the period of the Ottoman Empire (1299 – 1923) to stake a claim of statehood of Palestine  for Arab farmers and ignore history of the Jewish state ruled by the Herod the Great (37 – 4 BCE)?
  6. Why not consider history for at least 2,000 or may be 5,000+ years to be fair to non-Islamic faith followers?
  7. Muslims have staked claims to many lands outsides deserts ofSaudi Arabia, the land of birth of Islam.
  8. Muslims built several empires starting 7th century.
  9. A brief history of Muslim Empires is reviewed in references and notes.


Muslims in 20thcentury were 50+% in some areas of theIndus delta as a result of the land grabs of past 14 centuries. Partitioning ofIndia was agreed to by three leaderships: the Muslim,India’s Congress Party and the British.Pakistan was carved out of theBritish India by the Raj rulers.

Hate and Intolerance

The creation of states based on religion is fueling the faith based hate and intolerance as well as political opportunism. It has added another twist for Muslims staking claims for nationhood to spread Islam. Most of the minorities of Pakistanin last 64 years have either fled to Indiaor were forced to converted to Islam. What is happening to minorities in Pakistanhas also happened in the Mughal Empire (1526 – 1764) and prior to that (10th to 16th centuries) in Muslim occupied lands ofIndia.

History is clear that Jews were persecuted by the politically motivated Romans from 100 BC to 500 AD before and after they converted (3rd century) to Roman Catholicism. The holocaust of 20th century is fresh in our minds. Jews were (6th century onwards) and continue to be persecuted in Muslim lands as well.

Once Jews became subjects of European and Muslim occupiers of Jewish lands they dispersed and prospered everywhere they settled by being entrepreneurs to generate wealth that the Muslims and Christians rulers of the land coveted for.

Palestine State and Khilafat

Unlike most international political opportunists including Newt Gingrich the Pakistani Op-ed writers for Arab causes ignore history that Jews in thekingdomofHerodthe Great ruled Judea and most if not all of what is now known asPalestine. Such politicians inflame international public opinions from time to time.

Unlike creation ofPakistanthe the creation ofIsraelwas mandated by the UN resolution. Arabs for long time refused to accept existence ofIsrael. Religion is the basis used to demand of the UN for establishment of a Muslim Palestine next toIsrael.

Establishment of Palestine has potentially unacceptable international consequences from the world view of theUSand West. Such a development may potentially catalyze a possibility ofPalestinestate serving as a precursor for reassembling theOttoman Empire. Remember the Khilafat Movement of 1918 – 24?

A PLO leader Mr. Zuhair Mohsen has already stated that oncePalestineis agreed to, next step will be the integration with Jordon. What next? Isn’t precursor a step to reestablish a Caliphate by combining all states that were carved out of theOttoman Empirein 1923? What is a likely hood of the UN agreeing to such a potentially unacceptable possibility?

A new development is the Arab Spring of 2010 – 11; it is introducing youth movements for transformational reforming of political Islam in 6 of 57 OIC (Organization of Islamic Communities) states. Political Islam as we know it is facing internal struggles for change.

South Asia Developments

Many Pakistani journalist who believe that the army can do no wrong indulge in revisionist history. In a commentary Mr A. Cowasjee has as usual tried to report factual history that many Pakistanis, especially those who believe that the army can do no wrong prefer not to remember. These are not the Muslims who believe and were raised in Sufi (Barelvi) traditions.

In this age of information technology and search engines many Op-eds in Pakistani media have appeared that did not accurately quote what Cowasjee reported. In the 1971 war of liberation ofBangladesh, Cowasjee quoted, “79,700 regular Pakistani soldiers and paramilitary troops were prisoners of war in Indian hands, together with 12,500 civilians. Thirteen hundred men were lost in battle.” Expecting such people to remember history is futile.

Not many Pakistanis want to remember what Cowasjee quoted from the instrument of surrender signed by Lieutenant-General J.S. Aurora (representingIndia) and General A.A.K. Niazi (the commander of thePakistanforces inEast Pakistan) at Ramna race course at one minute past five in the afternoon of Dec 16, 1971.

Pakistan as long as it is aided by one to three patrons (Arabs, the US and China), in all likely hood will continue as an internationally recognized promoter of terrorism and the army controlled ISI to be responsible for justifying terrorism using manufactured facts (Michael Krepon, Dawn, Dec 18). Terrorism starting 1990 led to perpetual wars of present day to replace the Cold War of 20th century. The nuclear deterrence ofPakistan has embolden its army to use proxy wars to continue its thrust for a regional empire and to exploit opportunities by its three patrons.

Death of Humanism

Not every Pakistani is happy with the political situation judging from articles such as one by Prof Ishtiaq Ahmed. Prof Ahmed resorted to a revisionist history to recall wide spread practices of the Sufi traditions in theBritish India. Some of what he didn’t report follows.

Pakistani Punjab is a fusion of two regions. North is Pothohar and south is Saraiki. Sufis dominated south and martial Rajputs descendent are Pothohar Muslims. In the occupied lands Rajputs converted to Islam to continue to be appointed as surrogates of Islamic invaders from the Asia Minor (Persia–Tajikistan). In some respect it is parallel to the Jewish subjugation by Romans about 2,000 years ago.

Humanist traditions of Gorakhnath and Nathis recalled by Prof Ahmed representing the Hindu Bhakti movement with its inclusive traditions served to a limited integration of all Hindus divided by the caste barriers and Caliphate minded Islamic ruling classes. Sufism originated as a mystic Dervish order, which was a reaction to worldliness of the early Umayyad Caliphate (7th – 8th centuries). It spread eastward fromTurkey through Asia Minor toIndia. The Sufi poetry and literary works of Rumi (Persian, 1207 – 73; born in the village ofWakhsh,Persia -Tajikistan) and Khalil Gibran (Lebanese, 1883 – 1931) are globally acknowledged.

The 1947 partition of British Indiaset in motion the destruction of humanism of people of the region on both sides of the artificially drawn international line by an ignorant British officer eager to return home. As a Punjabi scholar who knows the fissures caused by militants of Punjabin last several decades presumably Prof Ahmed is trying to draw attention to humanist qualities of the majority of Punjabis. The superimposition of Wahabi-Salafi brand Islamic culture and values in Pakistan (1979 to present) and on Muslims of the British India, who were already politically charged with the duality presented by the Deobandi (Sunni)  and Barelvi (Sufi) teachings; in Pakistan the Sufis appeared to have lost their message of peace and inclusiveness for all.

Hopes for Future

The on-going Arab Spring movement across the Muslim lands is crying out for dramatic transformational reforms of the Islamic political ideology. Campaigns of terrorism starting 1990 have instigated perpetual wars. It is time for Pakistani public and politicians in general and the army in particular to bring back Sufi wisdom for the benefits of Pakistani masses. Such a transformational change depends on the end of terrorism driven proxy and Cold Wars.

With nuclear deterrence a nation with nearly 200 million populations in 2012 and a population growth rate of about 2% Pakistanis are potentially facing the demographic catastrophe in a decade or two. It needs policies for population control and regional peace for prosperity of the nation to eliminate wide spread poverty. It does not need to compound its problems with perpetual wars. A hope for revival of the Khilafat Movement certainly or should not be supported for creation of the UN mandatedPalestinestate. It is within the powers ofPakistanto embrace the Arab Spring inspired transformational reforms of Islam for peace and prosperity on earth.

References and Notes for Islamic History

  1.  Irfan Husain, Palestine’s search for statehood 1219 2011
  2. Wikipedia, “Zuhair Mohsen,”
    • In an interview with the Dutch newspaper Trouw in March 1977, Zuhair Mohsen, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, stated the following:
    • “The Palestinian people do not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct Palestinian people to oppose Zionism. For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all ofPalestine, we will not wait even a minute to unitePalestine andJordan.”
    • The great majority of now a days Palestinians are descendants of immigrants from the Arabian Peninsula(mainly from the regions of Syria, Iraq and Yemen) and N. Africa (Yasser Arafat’s origins are Egyptian), who came to this region to benefit from the economic boom created by the Zionists.
    • After WW1 the British Empire encouraged Arab immigration to the region because of their need for manpower to service the British army stationed inPalestine.


    1. E. J. Dionne, “Newt Gingrich, weapon of an angry Republican base,”
    • Gingrich has “take-no-prisoners approach to politics. In 1978 he said: “One of the great problems we have had in the Republican Party is that we … encourage you to be neat, obedient, and loyal and faithful, and all those Boy Scout words which would be great around the campfire but are lousy in politics. … You’re fighting a war. It is a war for power. … Don’t try to educate. That is not your job. What is the primary purpose of a political leader? To build a majority.”


    1. A summary of Muslim history (6th century to present) follows:
    •  Islam spread across the globe for last 14 centuries (6th century to present). Islam appeared in 6th century to counter Roman Catholics political persecution of tribal non-Christian believers in occupied Arab and African lands. Islam spread using a political ideology similar to that of Roman Catholics after Muslims invaded lands under Roman Catholic control.
    • Muslim colonial rule included four Caliphates (7th to 13th centuries); Rashidun (632 – 661), Umayyad (66 – 750), Al-Andalus or Hispania or Cordoba (921 – 1031) and Abbasids (8th to 13th centuries) and ended with the Ottoman Empire (1299 – 1923). The Umayyad rule expanded westward across North Africa and into Hispania (Iberian Peninsula) and eastward through Persia and ultimately to the ancient lands of Indus Valley, in modern day Pakistan.
    • Muslims ruledSouthern Europefor 500 years. Muslim rulers were thrown out of theIberian Peninsulaat the conclusion of the Reconquista campaigns. Muslims have stayed on in all other occupied lands. Globally in 2011 there are about 1.5 billion Muslims; most Muslims are spread in 57 OIC (Organization of Islamic Communities) member nations.
    • Now Muslims argue over colonial lands forgetting that historically as colonizers they occupied lands of non-Islamic followers.
    • To prepare the summary following articles were consulted.
    1. Wikipedia, “Caliphates,”
    2. Wikipedia, Umayyad Caliphate, (661 – 750)
    3. Wikipedia, “Al-Andalus” (771 -1492)
    4. Wikipedia, “Reconquista,” After 500 years, in the 15th century, the last remaining Moorish government was the Nasrid dynasty in the Kingdom of Granada in southern Iberia. With its defeat in 1492, the entireIberian Peninsula was brought back under Christian rule, thus completing the Reconquista.
    5. Wikipedia,” Córdoba Caliphate (929 – 1031)
    6. Wikipedia, “Ottoman Empire,” (1299 -1923).



    1.  The Political Violence of the Bible and the Koran,
    •  The article offers a math based analysis and the article is likely to be branded and rejected by the political opportunists as the Jewish PR against Islam.
    • Muslims know with Islam and its teaching in the sacred trilogy of books and examples set by Mohammed (570 – 632) they successfully countered Roman Catholics advances into the tribal Arab and African lands. With many early successes they occupied (632 – 1492) for hundreds of years much of some lands of Roman Catholics. It took 500 years and the Reconquista campaigns ended (1492) once Muslim rulers were thrown out of theIberianPeninsula-the Christian lands. Muslims have held on to all other occupied lands in Africa, Asia Minor, Indus valley, and further North andEastAsia.
    • In my mind the issue is simple. For Muslims history started with Mohammed, for Christians with Jesus and we can go back for thousands of years for Jews, Greeks, Hindus, Zoroastrians, etc. Politically all others except Christians and Muslims do not count .India andIsraelare new kids on the block starting 1947 – 1948.
    • If it is acceptable for Muslim political opportunists, a PLO leader call Palestinians invented people, then why make an issue of assertion of an American historian turned politician Newt Gingrich to calls Palestinians invented people?
    • Muslims love to talk about colonization’s by Christian nations knowing full well that starting with Mohammed (570 -632) and Rashidun Caliphate (632 – 661) and continuing through 1923 they did the same. Now that Muslim Empires have disappeared with the end of Ottoman Empire in 1923, for spread of Islam they have turned to partitioning of nations where Muslims have significant (20+%) concentration to form a nation.
    • Every new kid on the block likePakistanthen restarts extraterritorial expansion following the path described in their sacred trilogy of books, which can be interpreted to suit their military power, etc.
    • The issue is simplified when political opportunist argue that if immigrant European and other Jews toPalestinecan haveIsraelthen why not aPalestinefor Arab farmers who were there during the Ottoman period (1299 – 1923)?
    • The issue will be resolved not by who makes sensible arguments but who can emotionally charge the public. In the age of democracy, Arabs know that with public they have the numbers and you don’t need math to understand it.


    1.  Wikipedia, “Khilafat Movement,”


    1. A Cowasjee, “Four decades on and where are we?”
    2. Ishtiaq Ahmed, “The humanist tradition of Punjab,”\12\18\story_18-12-2011_pg3_3
    3. Michael Krepon, “Pakistan’s patrons,”
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