By Shavana Abruzzo
“I don’t believe that a true Muslim will make an attack on me…Islam forbids suicide bombings,” a hopeful Benazir Bhutto [1953-2007] had assured reporters last October upon departing Dubai – her home-in-exile for the past eight years after her release from prison – to wield new change in her native “Land of the Pure.” She wanted to re-lead the Pakistan People’s Party, founded by her father, Zulfiquar, who was executed in 1979 for ordering the murder of a political rival. Benazir Bhutto’s naive prophesy came to a deadly halt last Thursday in Rawalpindi, near the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, when – days short of a new year – a suicide bomber claimed the former prime minister’s life, his own and those of 20 innocent victims. “This is the work of those terrorists with whom we are engaged in war,” Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf mourned to his nation, adding, “I want to express my resolve and seek the co-operation from the entire nation and we will not rest until we eliminate these terrorists and root them out.” The 22-member Arab League of Nations damned the murder as a “heinous terrorist crime.” The 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference slammed the slaughter as an “outrageous and brutal murder.” Iran condemned it as a “criminal action.” The Islamic world’s words are bitter, but also tepid and tardy. Muslims, above everyone else, are familiar with the volatile and backward mindsets of fellow believers, yet have done very little – if anything at all – to abate their terrorists, at home and abroad. During her two terms as prime minister – in 1988 and then again in 1993 – Benazir Bhutto did nothing to better the lot of her economically and socially disadvantaged people. She was ousted from both terms because her maze of corruption allowed the Taliban and their madrassas to flourish unchecked, and left the people largely uneducated and scattered in remote villages without a pipeline to hope, amid breath-taking scenery that few tourists wanted to visit because of the succession of lawless regimes there. Bhutto’s murder gives new impetus to a nagging question: When are Muslims going to act against the cancer in their midst? The bacteria that births ticking human time bombs. The virus that has a total disregard for human life. The strain that revels in murder and mayhem. The disease of apathy surrounding the people. It becomes crystal clear with each passing terror attack that mainstream Islam – if indeed that even exists today – is interested only in ignoring its deviants, or paying them lip service, or issuing words of protocol to deflect international criticism. In fact, foul play has become so synonymous with Islam that is one now to assume that new believers must first take a pledge of terrorism? Historically, Pakistan and its frontier lands have been the barbaric safe havens of terror lords, providing amnesty to the likes to Osama bin Laden, the Taliban and a plentiful assortment of other Muslim miscreants – if only to shield its own profitable heroin and arms trades. After the World Trade Center bombings, the United States made the fateful mistake of allowing Pakistan, who paraded herself as our ally, to secure her own border with Afghanistan, thereby allowing the two-faced nation to give undesirables a free pass and continue its shady foreign policy. Pakistan, a nation with nuclear capabilities, is not a friend of the western world, nor of her own people. In the end, Benazir Bhutto was a typical Muslim, if atypical of her gender. She condoned the actions of her brethren and believed Muslim terrorists would never target Muslims. Such idealism proved to be perilously myopic and served to reinforce the fact that Islam has cornered the market on suicide bombers, and not even Muslims are safe any longer. As for that religion respecting women, you be the judge. E-mail“A Britisher’s View” at BritView@courierlife.net. All letters become the property of Courier-Life Publications and are subject to publication unless otherwise specified; please include your name, address and daytime telephone number for verification.