Sakset/Fra hofta

Når folk i den muslimske verden får oppleve hva terror virkelig betyr, synker oppslutningen om de ekstreme:

But the most significant effect of the carnage in Karachi may be on support for the militants. Here, as events in the 90s in Algeria showed, the exact responsibility for any given atrocity is not necessarily important. When I lived in Pakistan, in the late 90s, few supported such acts, at home or abroad. In the aftermath of 2001, the war on terror and the invasion of Iraq, support soared. In recent years, it has been dropping again. A recent poll, the Pew Global Attitudes Survey, found that whereas in 2004, 41% of Pakistanis said that suicide bombing and other violence against civilians were «often» or «sometimes justified» to defend Islam from its enemies, that proportion has now dropped to 9%. That drop came when bombings started in Pakistan itself.

Why? Because no one likes to live in fear and very few find the sight of their country’s pavements strewn with body parts and corpses acceptable. In Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Indonesia and elsewhere in recent years, it has become clear that militants have seriously damaged their chances of gaining a broader support in society at large because of the very natural reaction most reasonable people have when presented with the reality of «collateral damage».

In Afghanistan, the Taliban have, despite the equal casualties caused by criminally clumsy Nato and US airstrikes, not done their cause any good with bombs that kill large numbers of civilians. In Peshawar, the Pakistani city close to the Afghan frontier last week, I visited the site of a bombing of a CD market where dozens had been injured in a blast the day before. There was precious little support for militants among those who had seen what their bomb had actually done.

A blast that may backfire

If militants were indeed behind the Karachi bombing, they are unlikely to have won any support for their cause in Pakistan.