Make way for the Enlightened Moderate

Enlightened Blackmail

General Pervez Musharraf has authored an op-ed piece in the Washington Post enunciating his strategy of ‘Enlightened Moderation’

My idea for untangling this knot is Enlightened Moderation, which I think is a win for all — for both the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds. It is a two-pronged strategy. The first part is for the Muslim world to shun militancy and extremism and adopt the path of socioeconomic uplift. The second is for the West, and the United States in particular, to seek to resolve all political disputes with justice and to aid in the socioeconomic betterment of the deprived Muslim world. [Washington Post]

Shorn of all verbosity, Musharraf selling a neatly packaged version of the the only trick in his book – blackmail at gun-point. What he is so very politely stating is until the West resolves political disputes in favour of the Muslim world (for what else could ‘justice’ mean), the Muslim world will continue to support militancy and extremism. This is no different from the strategy Pakistan follows in Kashmir – only when India agrees to talks that are pre-determined to eliminate status quo as a potential solution will Pakistan agree to stop cross-border terrorism. It is rich for Musharraf to call for ‘justice’ for the Muslim world when the same ‘justice’ is such a rare commodity within the Muslim world.

Contrary to Musharraf’s lofty language and vacuous proposals, the solutions for the Islamic world are much simpler. Democracy – that allows ordinary Muslim citizens to tell their leaders that what they are really worried about is bread-and-butter local issues and not ideological battles foughts thousands of miles away. Education – that frees ordinary Muslims from the clutches of religious dogma and creates economic opportunities. Tolerance – that allows Muslims to live together in harmony with those of other faiths. These solutions are as relevant to the Islamic world as they are to everyone else.

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