The FM Mullahs and the Taliban’s Propaganda War in Pakistan
Terrorism Monitor Volume: 7 Issue: 14, May 26, 2009
By: Mukhtar A. Khan
The scenic Swat valley is thundering with both aerial bombardments and fiery Taliban FM radio sermons. In a large-scale military operation dubbed Operation Rah-e-Raast (Operation Straight Path), the Pakistani army is hitting Taliban targets with gunship helicopters while the Taliban respond with AK-47s and their powerful propaganda radio broadcasts. More than a million people have fled the scene of battle and millions more are trapped inside the valley. While the government has asked the local people to help the military in identifying Taliban hideouts, the Taliban have been broadcasting warnings against supporting the military. Through their pirate FM transmitters, the Taliban have demanded that local parliamentarians, security forces and other government officials resign from their positions as a mark of protest against the military operations; otherwise they should be prepared for a jihad directed against them. The Taliban radio broadcasters, popularly known as “FM Mullahs,” continuously transmit anti-American and anti-government sermons, calling democracy “un-Islamic” and those practicing it “infidels.” In their fiery radio speeches, the Taliban preachers have demanded that the non-Muslim minorities of Malakand pay jizya (protection tax) or face jihad. In the same tone, they have issued warnings to local NGOs, musicians and anybody else involved in “un-Islamic” activities. Those defying their orders are butchered, and daily announcements of the details of their deaths are broadcast on FM channels.
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For Latest in Swat and NWFP, See:
Pakistan army 'regains' Swat city - BBC
Suicide attack, market blasts hit Peshawar - AFP