Published Date: May 22, 2012
COUNTER-TERRORISM: SCHOLAR PROPOSES GENDER-SENSITIVE POLICIES
Counter-terrorism efforts need to move away from a militaristic approach to people-centered, gender-sensitive sustainable interventions. This was stated by a Pakistani scholar Dr Maleeha Aslam while introducing her book in Islamabad on Monday, according to a press release.
Member of Wolfson College, Cambridge and Fellow Cambridge Commonwealth Society Dr Aslam was speaking at the launching ceremony of her book ,”Gender Based Explosions: The Nexus between Muslim Masculinities, Jihadist Islamism and Terrorism”, organised by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI).
Dr Aslam was of the view that the dimension of masculinity has been under-researched in relation to global security and terrorism. “In Muslim societies, socio-economic and political oppression coupled with culturally idealised gender constructs, lead men towards militant Islamism and terrorism,” said Dr Aslam. She underlined that counter-terrorism policies involving surveillance and racial profiling provoke Muslim men because they are an attack on their honour and affiliations, such as the fallout from drone attacks in Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
She shared the highlights of her study which reveals that religious affiliation has no direct linkages with offering oneself for jihad. During her study, she found that most practising Muslims are against suicide bombings. The study reveals that men who seek an adventure-based identity will offer themselves for jihad.
The scholar warned that jihadist Islamism will grow rapidly, as grievances cannot be removed through development initiatives but by ending violent means of action. On the basis of her research findings, she recommended making counter-terrorism and de-radicalisation policies gender-sensitive.
PPP MNA Dr Nafisa Shah said that the book gave a fresh insight into the counterterrorism debate, while focusing on male ego-centric behaviour in conflicts. She said the book shifts the discourse from religious to gender dimensions of terrorism, implying that religious affiliation does not necessarily lead to extremism. “It’s a man’s desire to prove himself that draws him to violence,” she added.
Executive Director SDPI Dr Abid Suleri, urged participants to explore the nexus between masculinities and militarism. He said the debate on terrorism must go beyond Islam, arguing that, there are vast commonalities between Hindu, Sikh, Christian, Jewish and Muslim masculinities which must also be studied. Dr Suleri advocated investing in human development a safeguard against terrorism.