The brutality of the Taliban resurgence in Pakistan and Afghanistan has been well documented in the media. The danger officially metastasized into Pakistan on April 13 as beleaguered President Asif Ali Zardari signed into law the Nizam-e-Adl regulation. Translated from Urdu as the "System of Justice," this travesty gave the Taliban the right to dispense this so-called "justice" as per their interpretation of Shari'a law. It also gave them virtually unrestricted control of the Swat Valley.
The Talibs have been quickly expanding their control in this troubled region of Pakistan, gaining strength and legitimacy. Most telling is what their spokesman Muslim Khan recently said in a CNN interview, not only about gladly harboring and protecting Osama bin Laden, but also about his desire to see Shari'a law implemented beyond Pakistan, even in America. The kicker is that for four years the Taliban spokesman lived in the United States, apparently working as a painter near Boston.
All of a sudden, what has been depicted in the media as the cancer of Taliban extremism half way around the world seems to hit perilously close to home.
It is almost unimaginable that a person like Muslim Khan, who supports and advocates the extremism of the Taliban, actually worked and lived a seemingly unremarkable life as a painter in Boston. We can recall the NYPD report on homegrown terror and wonder how many more with such a trajectory are lurking within our cities. Mr. Khan seemingly evolved from a Boston painter to the radical voice of the Taliban. Real counterterrorism work by "American" Muslims would demand such an analysis urgently.
But there is an even more troubling aspect to this scenario here at home. Where is the outrage and urgency among so-called "mainstream Muslim organizations" and Muslim "thought leaders" against the developments with the Taliban and hardening Islamism in Pakistan? CNN has an easy time finding CAIR and MPAC spokespersons to voice complaints of domestic victimization, but forgets to ask them about their opinions on the extreme Shari'a law being advanced by the resurgent Taliban. It forgets to ask them about the radicalization of individuals like Muslim Khan and what they represent — advocacy of the ideology of Islamism that seeks a theological mandate globally — a clear and present danger to the United States.
Rather than supporting the FBI and our counterterrorism professionals in thwarting the designs of the likes of Muslim Khan, they are instead peddling divisive victimology. It is simply not enough, as a showpiece, to denounce terror, which is just a symptom. It is absolutely necessary, as substance, to denounce the disease — the ideology of Islamism — and work publicly to counter the spread of the disease domestically and abroad.
Sid Shahid is the director of research and publications for the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD). He can be reached at email@example.com.