Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) organized a Public Talk on “Understanding Extremist Narratives and their Impact on the Society” on February 18, 2020 under its Distinguished Lecture Series. Professor Dr. Samina Yasmeen (AM), Director, Centre for Muslim States & Societies, University of Western Australia, was the guest speaker at the event.
Welcoming Professor Dr. Samina Yasmeen, Director General ISSI, Ambassador Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said that the subject is complex and highly relevant. He was of the opinion that we need to understand the extremist narrative, especially in Pakistan where exposure to such narratives is high. The entire South Asia is a good case study. For centuries, the people of South Asia did not know the real meaning of extremism as these societies were very tolerant. Muslim and Sufi saints were very peaceful. The issue of extremism started in the 20th century among Hindus when the RSS develop their extremist thoughts, and among Muslims when the Deobandi school of thought adopted certain fundamentalists view points. Fast forward to 80’s when the seeds of Afghan jihad were sowed in the region and which created problems of extremism in Pakistan. But with heroic efforts, Pakistan managed to overcome the situation. Much of terrorism and part of extremism was dealt with an iron hand and the situation is now much better than it was a decade ago. Next door in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trying to create Hindu ‘rashtra’, and now, extremism is taking roots in India and narrow nationalism is on the rise?