The Faisalnama

Faisal is not your every day Muslim terrorist with a deprived, poverty-stricken childhood
and tutored in a Saudi funded madrassa manned by fanatic maulvis. Nor is he one of those vengeance-seeking young men whose near and dear ones were wiped out by a US missile.

Faisal comes from a well-to do, liberal family in Mohib Banda in Nowshera district, Pakistan. His father,Baharul Haq, a retired air vice marshal of the Pakistan Air Force, has settled on hundreds of acres of farmland in Dera Ismail Khan.

Faisal was privately educated and went to university in Peshawar. He first went to the
United States on a student visa in 1998, graduating from the University of Bridgeport with a computer science degree in 2000 and an MBA in 2005. He became a US citizen last year. His brother is settled in Canada. He is not a loner but married with two children.

Why should a person with such a stable, middle-class background earning a decent living
suddenly chose to join the ranks of  terrorists and act against the interests of his host country?

Coldly-calculated move

Reports say Shahzad had worked as a financial analyst in
Connecticut,where he lived before his house was repossessed last year because of debt problems. Should that have upset him so much that he would take up an act of terror that could have killed scores of innocents? Moreover, Faisal’s action was not a knee-jerk one based on the anger of the moment but a coldly-calculated one for which he prepared himself through a 5 month training programme in the wilds of Waziristan.

I will not blame the environment of Pakistan entirely. That benighted nation is more of a
breeding ground for jihadis recruited from poor, semi-literate backgrounds, with the state
lending a helping hand. Persons like Kasab are more of the Pakistani variety of jihadi product.

Incidentally, with reference to the recent NewYork episode, nothing could be more ironical than this statement of Pakistan’s interior minister, Rehman Mallik: “Let me reiterate the strong resolve of Pakistan that no one would be allowed to use Pakistani soil for terrorism in any part of theworld”. Perhaps he genuinely believes that the
LeT is the Pak version of the Sisters of Charity!

No, there is more to Faisal’s act than just his Pakistani background. Perhaps there is a clue in this statement to the Pakistani daily, ‘Dawn’, by a former mayor of Mohib Banda: “He was clean shaven here but I now see a change. He has grown a beard in the United States”.

Faisal is the latest in a long line of well-educated, fairly well off Muslim youth residing in
western countries, who have taken to the path of radical Islam. Ironically, it is to these
western countries that these fellows flee in order to escape the inadequacies and tyrannies of their countries of birth.

This is the common denominator for the perpetrators of the Madrid train bombers of
2004, London bombers of 2005, the Glasgow airport attempt in 2007, David Headley,
Rana, the US Army psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan, Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdul mutallab
and others.

What prompts these otherwise sane and well-educated persons into the insanity of terrorismis certainly not personal deprivation. It is a warped sense of wreaking vengeance against the West and re-establishing an Islamic empire that once straddled Europe and was decimated by the Crusades. This mind-set is implanted in them by the
crafty, mischievous and hatefilled propaganda enunciated by megalomaniac mullahs.

Of course, they rationalise their deadly pursuits by making out that the followers of the Faith are being persecuted by western powers and their allies in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.

Islamic insurgents are involved in creating mayhem in nearly 30 countries across the
globe. No other religion comes anywhere close to such numbers. And the transformation of apparently normal people like Faisal makes onewonder at the underlying cause — is it the country of birth or the personal circumstances or the religion?

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