At a Christian-Muslim conference in Geneva this week, participants agreed to build a network for “peace teams” to intervene in crises where religious differences are invoked as the cause of the dispute. The idea is that religious differences may not be the real problem in a so-called religious conflict, but rather a means to mobilise the masses in a dispute that actually stems from political or economic rivalries.
from Pakistan: Now or Never?:
Amil Khan has a post up at Abu Muqawama about last week's bombing at a Sufi shrine in Karachi and its implications for intra-Sunni conflict between Deobandi Taliban militants and people of the majority Barelvi sect:
(Photo: Volunteers help injured after suicide attack on Shi’ite procession in Quetta September 3, 2010/Rizwan Saeed)
Pro-Taliban Pakistani militants are trying to fuel a sectarian rift, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Saturday, as a new wave of violence piled pressure on a government already struggling with a flood crisis.
(Photo: Pakistani flood victims line up for aid distribution in Muzaffargarh district, September 2, 2010/Damir Sagolj)
Lime green dresses for girls spill out of the sack of food, supplies and shoes — a gift from the Islamist charity Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD) to help flood victims celebrate the Muslim festival of Eid this month.
(Photo: Men gather near dead bodies after bomb attack on Shi’tes in Lahore, September 1, 2010/Mohsin Raza)
Suspected Islamist militants exploded three bombs at a Shi’ite procession in the Pakistani city of Lahore on Wednesday, killing 33 people and piling pressure on the government already overwhelmed by floods.
The Jamaat-ud-Dawa, the humanitarian wing of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group, has been providing relief to those hit by Pakistan’s floods.
from Afghan Journal:
Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari has once again spoken of the danger of hardline Islamists exploiting the misery of the flood-affected to promote their cause, which must be cause for worry for security forces in not just Pakistan but over the border in Afghanistan as well, fed by the same militant fervour. Zardari called it the " ideal hope of the radical" that the floods would discredit Pakistan's government and warned that some of these extremist groups aimed to scoop up orphaned children and "create them into robots."
(Photo: Flood victims wait for food handouts in a relief camp in Sukkur, August 20, 2010/Akhtar Soomro)
Pakistan has said it will clamp down on charities linked to Islamist militants amid fears their involvement in flood relief could exploit anger against the government and undermine the fight against groups like the Taliban. Islamist charities have moved swiftly to fill the vacuum left by a government overwhelmed by the scale of the disaster and struggling to reach millions of people in dire need of shelter, food and drinking water.
(Photo: Evacuees from a flooded village dodge an army truck carrying relief supplies in Pakistan’s Punjab province on August 11, 2010/Adrees Latif)
They’ve been left homeless and hungry by the worst flooding in decades, but for many Pakistanis, their suffering is no reason to ignore Ramadan, the Muslim fasting month that began in their country on Thursday.
from Afghan Journal:
Pakistan's floods are now considered to be more damaging than the massive earthquake that devastated its part of Kashmir in 2005, not least because of the inability of the administration to respond quickly to the crisis. Pakistan is not alone in the region ill-prepared to cope with natural disasters. Bigger, richer India is just as unable to either eliminate or limit the destruction that its bountiful rivers unleash each monsoon, and you hear the same chorus of criticism of government apathy. Bangladesh, too, gets more than its share of cyclones and floods each season, and yet successive governments are overwhelmed each time disaster strikes.