Just as the conflict in the Middle East is between different religious groups (Muslims & Jews), the conflict between India and Pakistan is between religious groups as well (Muslims & Hindus). Those religious tensions are kept simmering and are easily brought to a full boil by anyone who wants to expolit them for power and/or financial gain. Time has a nice description of the start of the conflict:
On the afternoon of March 29, 1857, Mangal Pandey, a handsome, mustachioed soldier in the East India Company's native regiment, attacked his British lieutenant. His hanging a week later sparked a subcontinental revolt known to Indians as the first war of independence and to the British as the Sepoy Mutiny. Retribution was swift, and though Pandey was a Hindu, it was the subcontinent's Muslims, whose Mughal King nominally held power in Delhi, who bore the brunt of British rage. The remnants of the Mughal Empire were dismantled, and five hundred years of Muslim supremacy on the subcontinent was brought to a halt.Sixty-one years ago, the country now known as Pakistan was birthed from part of India. The country is a haven to Muslims but has never quite managed to become the enlightened Islamic democracy her forefather's envisioned. Pakistan's provinces are diverse and with a common denominator of the religion of Islam. As we all know, not all denominations and streams of thought of a religion have the same goal and, in that, Islam is no different than the other two Abrahamic religions (Judaism & Christianity) - especially when it comes to religious fundamentalists. When it comes to Muslim [radical] fundamentalism, the religion is not Islam but Jihadism and those forms of Islamofascism have spilled all over the Middle East into Pakistan maintaining an easily exploitable instability that is playing out in India today.
Muslim society in India collapsed. The British imposed English as the official language. The impact was cataclysmic. Muslims went from near 100% literacy to 20% within a half-century. The country's educated Muslim élite was effectively blocked from administrative jobs in the government. Between 1858 and 1878, only 57 out of 3,100 graduates of Calcutta University — then the center of South Asian education — were Muslim. While discrimination by both Hindus and the British played a role, it was as if the whole of Muslim society had retreated to lick its collective wounds.
Over the past few years, India has seen many in her lower castes converting to other religions, some to Buddhism, some to Christianity, and most to Islam. Those who have converted to Islam bring with them the memory of discrimination at the hands of higher caste Hindus that fits in well with Muslim resentment of the continued discrimination. India has millions of Muslims but they are still a minority in an over-populated country that, despite considerable economic and technological growth, still bears a resemblance to a third world country (regardless of their objections at being referred to as such). This bodes well for the Jihadists who can and do use continued Indo-Pak tensions to their advantage.
So here we are 151 years later and Mumbai is burning. The attacks took place at India's financial center - at hotels known to be used by Westerners as the terrorists were specifically gunning for Americans & Brits. Since they were already at it, the figured they'd follow the Islamofascist tradition of nailing a bunch of Jews too - that way they can tie the attacks to the Israel-Palistinian conflict and get at least some European sympathy since European's en masse pretty much blame Israel for much of what ails the world (and in saying this, I am not saying that Israel hasn't made some huge blunders but that I can't help but notice she is held to a much higher standard than any other country in the world and that a lot of "blame Israel" still smacks of institutionalized anti-semitism that seems to be a core belief of conservatives and liberals alike). This, folks, is religious fundamentalism at it's worst.
While the group that has laid claim to the attacks is relatively new and unknown, it's unlikely they are not affiliated with a better known organization and it's very likely they received training and other assistance through Jihadist madrassahs and known terrorist organizations in the region. It looks like the Obama administration's will have no choice to follow up on the campaign trail's tough talk about Pakistan with action sooner rather than later.
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