A Muslim professor spoke out about the nature and progression of Islamic terrorism at Dixie State University Wednesday.
Shadman Bashir, a visiting professor of business and political science from Pakistan, concluded his two-part lecture by focusing on the events that took place after 9/11.
Bashir said it is important for students to educate themselves on these issues in order to avoid jumping to conclusions and prevent bias and racism.
“After Pearl Harbor, the idea was all Japanese are anti-American,” Bashir said. “When the Iranian hostage crisis happened, all Iranians were supposed to be the enemy … If there’s a Muslim guy with a Muslim name firing a shot, he’s automatically a terrorist, and then 1.6 billion muslims are responsible for it.”
He said he had to deal with racism in the U.S. for a long time after 9/11, both at work and in his social circles. Regardless, he always strives to remain neutral, he said, and present the issues of terrorism as any academic would — from a purely objective perspective.
The first ever instance of suicide bombing that took place in Pakistan in 1995 marked the onset of violent terror crimes. Attempts at eradicating said crimes spawned a new way of waging war — drones, effective yet devastating killing machines that are not designed to tell friend from foe, he said.
It is estimated that for every terrorist killed by a drone, nine civilians are lost as collateral damage. There have been instances when the drone was given the wrong target, such as when a drone operator sent hellfire missiles after a group of children that he mistook for terrorists, Bashir said.
Bashir said terrorist leaders are taking advantage of the world’s reluctance to allow civilian casualties and are adapting their methods to minimize the likelihood of capture and maximize fatalities.
For example, after 9/11, suicide bombers’ explosives were filled with a new type of shrapnel that was designed to ricochet off walls after the explosion, Bashir said. Additionally, primary explosions were often followed by secondary explosions that were aimed at people that respond to terror attacks, such as police officers, paramedics and firefighters, he said.
Diana Smith, a sophomore criminal justice major from Heber City, said Bashir’s story about the training of the suicide bombers stood out the most to her. She said she found it interesting how Islamic leaders indoctrinate their young into blowing themselves up by promising an afterlife with 72 virgins in heaven.
“I thought it was really interesting that … 96 percent of terrorist attacks or acts of terror [in the U.S.] aren’t Muslims,” said McKade Christensen, a senior communication major from St. George.
He said he was surprised to find out the U.S. isn’t the only target of terrorists. The strongest impact of terror is experienced by Muslim civilians living in the vicinity of the terrorist organizations, Bashir said.
Bashir started a Global Law class at DSU where he discusses the legal systems that have stemmed from religious beliefs in order to shed more light on both his own religion and other major religions in the world.