Historien om drapet på danserinnen Shabana i Mingora i Swat-dalen i Pakistan, er en man ikke glemmer så lett. Orientens kultur er mangsidig, variert, folk har påvirket hverandre i århundreder. Dans er viktig, og også muslimske samfunn har bevart kontakten med denne kulturen. Men salafisme og islamisme betrakter denne kulturen som uren og farlig. Disse to retningene har gått som rene Svartedauden over hele den muslimske verden, fordi den ødelegger det kulturelle rommet, som menneskene trenger for å leve, og der de kommuniserer.
Ikke noe viser dette tydeligere enn drapet på danserinnen Shabana, og den påfølgende flukten fra Swat-dalen for 1.000 dansejenter. Dette er ikke en bagatell. Det er selve kulturen Taliban dreper.
Taliban sier dans er prostitusjon. Det er en kvinnefiendtlighet som minner om Røde Khmer. Man må forstå at denne retningen står for barbari, og må nedkjempes, hvis ikke kan den sette hele verden i brann. Den spenner fra Pakistan til Algerie, og det er ikke tilfeldig at liberale stemmer i denne del av verden stadig oftere trekker paralleller til nazismen.
The bullet-ridden body of Shabana in the centre of Mingora’s Green Square sent two clear messages to the locals in the Swat Valley’s largest town: «un-Islamic vices» will no longer be tolerated, and the Taliban is now effectively in control.
Shabana’s body was found slumped on the ground, strewn with bank notes, CDs of her dance performances and pictures from her photo album. In case anyone had not grasped the message the local Taliban commander Maulana Shah Dauran broadcast a warning on one of its FM radio stations in the valley: his men had killed her and if any other girls were found performing in the city’s Banr Bazaar they would be killed «one by one».
This weekend the last of the bazaar’s dancing girls, many of whom had trained under Shabana’s wing and lived in her house, were seen loading their belongings on to trucks and fleeing to the relative safety of Karachi and Lahore, where their talents remain in great demand.
The banishment marks a key turning point in the battle for the Swat Valley between Taliban militants and the Pakistan Army. It followed recent orders to close down girls’ schools in the valley, shut shops selling music CDs and films, and edicts on barbers to stop shaving beards.
The performances of the dancing girls in Banr Bazaar had been one of the city’s last «vices», but in the narrow street where, until last week, they plied their trade, signs were posted on doors stating: «We have stopped dancing, please do not knock on the door.» The street now closes at 8pm and only those who live there can leave or enter.
More than 1,000 girls have now fled, though some who remained told The Daily Telegraph that Shabana had paid the price for publicly defying the Taliban’s radio mullahs and that she had ignored personal warnings to stop the performances and the training of young dancers in her home.
«On the eve of January 2, some men knocked at the door and asked for a dance party,» said Shabana’s father Qamar Gul. «She instantly agreed and opened the room and asked the men to wait while she prepared herself.» When she returned the four men said: «Let us start.» They seized her at gunpoint and told her they were going to slit her throat.
Shabana begged repeatedly while crying for help but they dragged her out of the house, took her to the Green Square and shot her.
Fayaz, a Banr Bazaar resident, said he had now moved to a safer part of the city, and only arranges dance events for selected known clients.
He said dancing could earn about 50,000 rupees (£415) a night, but the business was now finished. The Taliban had denounced the dancing as prostitution, he said, but only 1 per cent of the community was involved.
Farzana, a Banr Bazaar dancer who has moved to Peshawar, said: «We are here for a temporary period. We entertain only selected people and not everyone because we are threatened even in Peshawar. Several of our colleagues have already shifted to Lahore and Karachi, but Banr Street is where we opened our eyes, passed our youth and have acquaintances and fans.»
She tearfully broke into verse: «This street, this house, don’t come here again – now I have left the place, so there is no one for you.»