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Big News: Justice Vs Jihad

BIG NEWS with Dave Crampton

Justice Vs Jihad

This morning I witnessed the 50-minute Taliban press conference held in Spin Boldack in Southern Afghanistan, broadcast on BBC World. It was held for the sole purpose of telling Western journalists that the Taliban were going to continue the fight and were not leaving Kandahar. Flanked by Taliban soldiers clutching rifles, 25-year old spokesperson Sued Tahyyad Asha told journalists that the terrorist attacks are the problems of George Bush and Tony Blair and that the Taliban will defend Kandahar not for power, but because they feel compelled to spread Sharia, or Islamic religious law. Also, the Taliban said they had cut ties with bin Laden.

“We have no idea where he is – there is no relationship, no communication,” said Asha.

Maybe the Taliban now see bin Laden as a liability, after initially harbouring him for five years – that’s of course if the Taliban are to be believed that they have cut ties with the $NZ60 million dollar man. And many are scouring the caves of Afghanistan in the hope that they’ll find bin Laden and get the big bucks if they bring back the body.

However it is difficult to know if the Taliban is telling the truth about bin Laden. They have said that those living in Kandahar are quite happy with the Taliban rule. But according to the Washington Post, Pashtuns in areas of Taliban rule just down the road in Spin Boldack, where the media conference was held, are trying to get to Pakistan, but they can’t get over the border. Instead they are living in camps awaiting some sort of broad-based government. Most Taliban leaders have been from the Pashtun ethnic group, the biggest in Afghanistan, but that hasn’t stopped the conflict between groups. This conflict in Afghanistan is like a form of tribal apartheid.

Currently the Taliban control about five provinces in Afghanistan – down from 95 percent of the country - and they consider that America will be broken, not by war, but by “Mighty Allah”. Well it appears the Taliban’s hold on Afghanistan is weakening more so than Mighty Allah’s success in breaking America. Afghanistan is broken enough as it is.

It seems that the Taliban are continuing to treat this war as a religious war, when the US, Christian and religious leaders of all faiths are trying just as hard to emphasise that is not a religious war against Islam. Sure there is a religious component to the terrorist attacks, but most Christian leaders will maintain it is not a religious war against Islam, but a war against terrorism - which most people link to the Taliban, and particularly to the Arab bin Laden and his Al Qaeda group.

But this war on terrorism will last not just for weeks or months but perhaps for many decades. Marxism took the most part of last century to fight, so terrorism won’t be wiped in a week. It will be around as long as religion is - and long after they find bin Laden.

And on the topic of religion and war – you will notice that it is the Islamic people who are declaring war on Christians, not the other way around. In Indonesia the Muslims have declared a jihad against Christians which is getting quite ugly. The terrorist attacks in Washington were also done in the name of religion - to kill and be martyred - but those in the US – led bombing aimed to get out of it alive.

It just so happens that America is seen as a western Christian country by the East, who interpret the US bombings to be a Christian jihad against the Muslim faith. Jihad, or holy war is an act of revenge – as opposed to The US bombing which was done in the name of justice.

That’s the difference between justice and jihad. One is more likely to result on peace, the other in conflict.

- Dave Crampton is a Wellington-based freelance journalist. He can be contacted at davec@globe.net.nz

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