The “Merry Men” of Sharia
“Its systematic. The Taliban move into an area, they use local existing resentments. They often go in with the guise of being Robin Hoods. They scare away some local thieves, they impose very, very quick justice, very harsh justice, and initially in some places they are even welcomed.” Yet, unlike the English Robin Hood, these (sharia) justice seekers forbid women from appearing in public, throw acid on school-girls, and regularly persecute Christians: So the “Robin Hood” analogy may not be wholly accurate.
“Taliban push Robin Hood image in Pakistan,” by Ivan Watson for CNN, April 27:
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) — In radio broadcasts and sermons, Taliban militants have been promoting themselves as Islamic Robin Hoods, defending Pakistan’s rural poor from a ruling elite that they describe as corrupt and oppressive.
That message has been resonating throughout the Pakistani countryside, where the culture is deeply conservative and the people are desperately poor.[…]
Across this overwhelmingly Muslim country, there is widespread hope that adopting a strict code of law based on the Koran will transform a society where corruption is rampant and where at least a quarter of the population lives under the poverty line.
Enforcement of sharia law is the platform the Taliban have been using to justify recent land-grabs, such as last week’s armed occupation of the district of Buner, some 60 miles from the Pakistani capital.[…]
“Its systematic. The Taliban move into an area, they use local existing resentments. They often go in with the guise of being Robin Hoods,” said Amnesty International representative Sam Zarifi. “They scare away some local thieves, they impose very, very quick justice, very harsh justice, and initially in some places they are even welcomed.”[…]
“We love the Taliban,” announced one Pashtun farmer who asked not to be named. He called the militants heroes.[…]
But if farmer Babar Hussein has his way, Taliban justice would mean taking away freedoms from Pakistani women, like the right to have a driver’s license.
“Women should not even come out of their houses. That’s against Islam” he said, while complaining about the un-Islamic fashions he saw women wearing in Islamabad.
When Taliban militants overran Buner last week, they told women to stay indoors, warned men to stop shaving their beards, and threatened shopkeepers who sold movies and music.
In Pakistan’s rural society, male strangers are not even supposed look at local women. And yet, some farmers enjoy blaring Bollywood music and even dancing on trailers full of hay, while driving their gaudily-decorated tractors.
If the Taliban’s rural revolt succeeds, it could bring silence to the Pakistani countryside.
In other words, nothing left will be “merry.”