Monday, April 20, 2009

Pakistan could convert completely to Sharia, fall into radical hands


Pamela Constable, of the Washington Post Foreign Service, has a comprehensive front page story in the April 20 Washington Post, “Extremist Tide Rises in Pakistan: After Reaching Deal in North, Islamists Aim to Install Religious Law Nationwide”. It appears, as was noted on Fareed Zakaria’s “Global Public Square” program Sunday, that the Taliban (of Pashtun origin) is joining with other groups to blackmail the government into concession to religious law, and it appears that religious law may very well be implemented nationwide. The link is here.

The article says that Sharia goes in tandem with the government legal system, somewhat the way it would in a western country or region dominated by one religion (consider Mormonism and Utah). It is influential but does not replace the legal code. The article notes that much of Pakistan embraced tolerance until more recent times. In the United States and Canada, workers from Pakistan often worked in information technology and medicine and blended well into western capitalism; religion almost never came up.

What explains the change? Perhaps the gap between rich and poor, and the psychological experience of meaning that goes with it.

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