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Insights into the Islamic world in the words of former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf speaks to Elon community on past and present issues affecting Muslim countries By Katie Essenfeld Pervez Musharraf shared his insights into the Islamic world at Elon University’s Fall Convocation this Tuesday. “Islam and the Muslim world are not all about terrorism and extremism as is perceived and projected today,” he said. After the industrial revolution the Muslim world started to recede into colonization and foreign domination. Since then, Muslim culture has been seen by countries all over the world as focused on terrorism and extreme actions. “We are the victims of very negative profiling by those who refuse to recognize political frustrations of the Muslim world,” he said. The All Pakistan Muslim League, a potential new political party, Musharraf’s return to politics has been controversial. After surviving two assassination attempts and resigning from his presidency in 2008, Musharraf aims to bring progress and prosperity to Pakistan in the future. Musharraf gave a profile of his view on the Muslim world starting with its history. Until the Middle Ages the Muslim empire ran the strongest economy in the world. However, after the Industrial Revolution, the Muslim nations experienced a downfall. Events from 1979 and beyond were led by the creation of the jihad in Afghanistan, and the formation of al-Qaeda and the Taliban which released challenges and anxiety amongst the 57 Muslim nations spanning the globe. He called 1989 to 2001 “years of disaster” after being abandoned by the US and the West entirely with no resettlement. After the Soviet war in Afghanistan the Pashtun people began to receive global recognition. Conflicts arose between the Pashtuns and Taliban. “All Taliban are Pashtuns but all Pashtuns are not Taliban, therefore we need to wean the Pashtuns from the Taliban,” Musharraf said. He then outlined the major dilemmas facing the Muslim nations. Musharraf raised the question of why the people of Pakistan would believe that the United States will not betray them again like they did in 1989. He also clarified that al-Qaeda and the Taliban are not welcome in Pakistan, “Let me tell you with full confidence, with full authority, they are hated in Pakistan,” he said. He discussed that both ideas that Muslims of the world think that Islam is being targeted intentionally by the west, and the West think that Islam is a religion of terrorists and extremists are wrong and have been created by society. Musharraf left the audience with a question of what the true cause of turmoil in the world is. “I think the biggest cause of turmoil is unresolved political dispute,” he said. “You all need to rise to the occasion; it is the US that needs to lead the way to understanding the Muslim world so we can solve its complexities.”


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