March 30, 2011: Suicide attack targets Islamist leader in Pakistan

On March 30, 2011 seven people were killed when a suicide bomber riding a motorbike blew himself up near a crowd in north-western Pakistan.

SWABI TOWN, PAKISTAN – Sometimes terrorist attacks almost – almost but not quite – lead you to say “I told you so!”

If there is one thing I learned in more than three decades working in intelligence for the Canadian government, especially the latter half of my career when I focused on jihadi terrorism, it is that religion is a force for good and evil.

I grew up Catholic and went to what we in Ontario called ‘separate’ (DON’T ask why we use that term please!) schools at the primary and secondary levels. I saw a lot of good in my very dedicated and devout teachers, some of whom were priests and nuns, and many of whom inspired me to the nth degree to become more informed. In truth, I would not have gotten where I did if it were not for them in large part.

And yet, no one can deny the seedier side of the Catholic Church. It may see itself as the furtherance of Jesus Christ’s message for humanity but to say that it strayed on occasion from that message would be an understatement of epic proportions.

I’m not so sure we always follow WWJD (what would Jesus do?). (Photo: By Pompeo Batoni – National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons)

Catholicism is by far not the only faith to have within it elements and individuals which embody beliefs and practices many would see as the antithesis of the true meaning intended. I saw it with my own experiences in investigating Islamist terrorists: their ‘interpretation’ of Islam is, shall we say, a tad shy of what it should be.

On occasion an attack occurs in which you almost suggest that the victims had it coming. No, I am not supporting terrorism! I just think that those who live by the sword sometimes also die from it – sometimes literally!

On this day in 2011

Seven people were killed when a suicide bomber riding a motorbike blew himself up near a crowd in north-western Pakistan. They had gathered along a road to greet a prominent hardline Islamist leader, Maulana Fazlur Rehman of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) party. Rehman himself was unharmed. Interestingly, a second attempt to kill him followed 24 hours later and another ten were killed. The Pakistani Taliban were believed to be behind both attacks.

He is safe and the meeting has been cancelled. We can’t immediately identify the attackers. We don’t know who is involved. But we can say the target appears to be the JUI leadership.

Police spokesman

The JUI is a hardline Islamic party that is conservative to the max. Not that this justifies a terrorist attack of course, but the history of violence shows us time and time again that hanging around intolerant, hateful people can sometimes put you in the wrong place at the wrong time. Just saying…

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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