Beyond the evil

Pakistan is in the headlines once again. On December 16, 2014, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, a notorious terrorist group, launched a deadly attack on a school killing 132 children in Peshawar, Pakistan.

The alarming and heartbreaking attack has been condemned widely, including in Canada. Students from the University of Manitoba and the International College of Manitoba mourned this heinous act by holding a candlelight vigil on Dec. 19 to grieve for the victims.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the gruesome tragedy during its occurrence, calling it a response to Pakistan’s recent military actions against militant groups in the tribal belt. A Taliban spokesperson said the attack was a retaliation for the deaths of family members of Taliban fighters in North Waziristan.

What started as a regular school day ended with a brutal massacre. The wounded children who managed to survive the attack emerged with horror stories about how these fanatics were wearing explosive jackets and opened fire indiscriminately in the school auditorium.

Although similar terrorist incidents have recently occurred in Pakistan, this has been the Taliban’s deadliest one. It was not long ago, when Pakistani child education activist Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head in a failed assassination attempt by the Taliban for speaking up for girls’ rights to education. In Pakistan she has been accused of being a CIA agent, working with Indian spies, and acting as an agent of Zionists.

With the recent attack on the Peshawar school, some in Pakistan are shifting the blame onto Indian forces or other western and anti-Islamic foreign agencies rather than accept responsibility for Pakistani nationals committing these atrocities.

Widespread radical ideological thinking and an ambivalent attitude toward the Taliban is the reason terrorist acts like this are possible in Pakistan. Extremism in Pakistan is increasing every day and becoming a threat not only to the country itself but to the Western world as well. Pakistan’s religious leaders need to preach tolerance and humanity rather than hatred and violence to stop these acts from happening.

There is no religion in the world that teaches terrorism – including Islam. Islam, commonly known as a religion of peace, has been hijacked by the people of a specific mindset who do not believe in the humanity of all people. Pakistan needs to adapt to the ideal model of secular education, and moderate religion, knowledge, tolerance, and peace for minority groups from the Western world in order to eradicate the terrorism it has long been known for.