Do we really know what extremism is!

By Syed Hammad Khan

The concept of extremism is a deep one. There is no uniform definition till now. Everyone defines it in its own way depending upon their understanding. For me after reading various researches, articles and books, I consider extremism as “ when you go extreme in your opinion, when you consider your opinion, idea, belief or some group consider their ideology as right and don’t allow criticism, modification or discussion on it, when you impose your opinion, idea, belief forcefully or by using some measure in enforcing it”. It has been defined by Dr. Muhammad saeed in his research as “When you go beyond normal level on your idea, thought, belief and not accepting others”.
It is mostly used in a political and religious sense. It is an anti-democratic belief. It is both extreme both in its goals and means of achieving it.
“The extremist movement regards violence against the enemy as a legitimate political act, and tends to treat extreme forms of mass violence as part of its political creed.”
In extremism, the extremist imposes their belief strictly. In imposing such belief, they use force and create violence. According to the statement mentioned above they consider such violence as lawful. The only purpose of extremists is their object to achieve and they do everything for their object to fulfill. In recent decades, both the west forces and Taliban were extremist. Both consider themselves their opinion as correct and do not allow the countries to guide them. Both use force and due to which millions of people were killed and millions were injured and uncounted people were forced to migrate.
In this modern era, everyone is extremist up to some level. In democratic form of government, both government and opposition sides are extremist because both consider their view as correct one and do not want others to modify it. In the present time, the Senate of Pakistan rejected two FATF bills. The lower house passed such a bill with some 190 votes and considered it good for the betterment of the state but the upper house considered it not good for the state and rejected such bill. Both are extremist, instead of it if they modify or amend a few clauses of it and make it on consensus, it will give benefit to the state and will be ready to achieve their goals peacefully.
“Extremism is anti-democratic in nature; it seeks to abolish Constitutional democracy and rule of law”

Extremism can be explained in both ways. It may be right and wrong depending upon the point of view of writer and observer. Yes, extremism is anti-democratic. In most countries where extremism is observed, the root cause of it is superiority complexes of the group about its view. Like in the US, the white and black people clash can give rise to racial extremism. It is continuing till now. However, the constitution of US abolishes the concept of slavery and imposes rule of law. But till now we observed such kind of extremism in Africa, Subcontinent and US. It is anti- democratic and against the rule of law because in achieving their goals, objectives they go against the state law and cause disturbance in the state. In election days, racial extremism is mostly used in India. The conflict between Hindus and Muslims causes an emergency situation and due to which forces control an area and some particular group captures an area and impose their belief like the BJP did to the Muslims, destroy mosques, kill innocent and burn so many people. The most prominent group in such kind of extremism in India is United Liberation Front of Assam, which wants Assam independence and establishment of a socialist government.
As mentioned earlier, extremism is both bad and good. Now I will try how extremism is good? so for such point I will go to the low level in order for better understanding. Being a student of university, sometimes our right is violated continuously and when we want our right peacefully or through proper channel, we face rejection time after time. After such rejection when we do not get our rights in democratic system, it forces us to be extremist in order to achieve or attain our rights. In achieving it, we go for protest which is lawful but sometime it does not work, so we apply or use resistance on roads due to which we become extremist. But it is good because in a democratic system when there is rule of law and after it when you do not get what is your right. So, extremism is the only thing by which you can achieve what is your right in a democratic system.
“The root cause of extremism in educational institute is lack of merit, tolerance, freedom of speech”
Extremism in educational institutes is increasing day by day. There are various causes of it. One main reason for extremism is lack of tolerance. It has been observed or it can be seen on various occasions. The best example of it can be student and teacher relation. If during lecture a student asks some question in a topic which he did not understand when the teacher was explaining to him. He again asks the same question upon which some teachers show anger. Now such a situation can give rise to extremism in both teacher and student. First, I will try to explain how such a situation

can make student extremist. When a student sees such reaction of the teacher on asking the question again, he makes his mind that I am right and teacher is wrong that’s why he becomes angry at me. He goes to the extreme in his views and do not try to understand the other person why he is angry on me. Now I will try to explain why the teacher is extremist in such a situation? As mentioned earlier, that the main reason for extremism in educational institutes is lack of tolerance. When a student asks the same question again, the teacher gets angry that either he making fun of me or he is judging me. So, he goes to the extreme in his opinion and that’s why I called him extremist.
Both are extremist and if they adopt a different opinion then they cannot be extremist. The main thing which differentiate between extremist and non-extremist are level of understanding. If a student understands why the teacher becomes angry, or the teacher understands, why does the student ask the same question again. Looking at this situation in such a way can decrease the level of student and teacher on becoming extremist.
There are various other kind of extremism present in the educational institute. They are cultural, religious and ethnic extremism. In some universities across the country, it is observed that in one university Punjabi student group are dominant and, in another Sindhi, Balochi or Pashtun’s. Every group depend their own view, culture, belief and in doing it sometime they go to extreme it. Various clashes between such groups had been observe.
There are many causes of extremism. Some of them are lack of merit, freedom of speech, sectarian differences, media, curriculum, patience, economic opportunities, population growth, Islamic teaching and bad policies of the government. It can be limited, but for this government can play a key role. First thing which is necessary is change of policies. Government should change curriculum and add some topics about tolerance and humanity. It should create a uniform curriculum, then there will be no difference like in case of public and private institutes. Parents and teachers should give lectures and guidelines about the Islamic teachings. Government should provide equal opportunities to every citizen of the state and should select a person based on merit. There should be a control on the media for not propagating extremist information or such thing which tends the mind of people towards extremism. There should be a check and balance system in every institute of state so that when the right of a person is violated. He can get remedy for it.

The writer Syed Hammad Khan is student of law at AWKUM you can reach him with syedhammadk@gmail.com follow him on twitter@SyedHammadK