Yet another tragedy has taken place thanks to the Taliban, who were apparently being ‘successfully’ wiped out under operation Zarb-e-Azb.  The entire world, including hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis, condemned the attack on the Army Public School, Peshawar. We’ve come out on the streets, holding candles, reminding ourselves of the gruesome incident that will be etched in the history of Pakistan forever. And by lighting a candle, posting a Facebook update and demanding the public execution of the members of TTP that are held captive in the prisons of Pakistan, we believe we have played our part. We are delusional.

The TTP does not get its strength from outsiders. It isn’t fed by another force, a third party, a ‘foreign’ enemy as we like to believe. Despite the fact that we very successfully convince ourselves that we have nothing to do with the Taliban, the truth is, we have a lot more in common with them than we’d like to believe.  We delude ourselves into believing that the Taliban are yet another attempt by the kuffar to give Islam a bad name. While that is a very convenient statement to believe in, it is far from being true. The Taliban are very much part of our religion; they answer to the same call to prayer that we hear five times a day, they recite the same verses that we do and bow down to the same God that we worship. They seek to implement the same laws that we support. Their interpretation of Islam may be different from ours, but there’s no denying the fact that they still practice the same religion as we do.

We condemn suicide attacks. We openly speak up against such atrocities as violations of basic human rights. Yet, we support the idea of punishments such as stoning, lashing and beheading. We call the Taliban ‘inhumane’ for killing innocent people in the name of God, yet we ruthlessly murder individuals in the name of God too.

We condemn attacks on a school which the Taliban justify as ‘jihad’. Yet at the same time we  glorify the concept of jihad. We emphasize on the status that a martyr attains upon dying. We promise the highest of ranks in heaven to those who ‘fight for religion’. Yet when our schools are attacked, which according to the Taliban is nothing but jihad, we condemn these attacks. We justify ourselves by suggesting that jihad against the kuffar is the ‘good jihad’. Well, according to the Taliban’s interpretation of Islam, we too are the kuffar. Does this not imply that we indirectly justify the actions of the Taliban?

We despise the Taliban for treating women as inferior beings. We disagree with the Taliban’s notion that women are inferior to men, yet in many cases, our courts require two women to testify in order for the testimony to be considered equal to that of a man’s. We express grief over the fact that the Taliban do not allow girls to be educated, yet we hate Malala for promoting education for women. We say that the Taliban are destroying our country, yet when Malala says the same, she is criticized for bringing a bad name to our religion and our country.

We have gone as far as to sympathize with the Taliban. Our hatred for the West has overpowered the love we have for our own country. How many times have we declared that the War on Terror is America’s war, that the Taliban are the unfortunate victims of the Jewish plans to destroy Islam? We’re blinded by our hate for the West to an extent that we have blurred all lines between what’s right and what’s wrong.

The truth is, we strengthen the Taliban without even realizing it. Our hollow condemnations do not qualify as criticism that the Taliban should be showered with. The Taliban get their support from our actions and beliefs and they too are aware of the fact that as long as the masses continue seeking to ‘purify’ their religion, they will remain unshaken. As long as we believe the West to be the source of all our problems, as long as we feel that our religion is threatened by western ideology, as long as we believe that the entire world is conspiring against our religion and as long as we continue glorifying Jihad, we will continue feeding these monsters. By choosing to remain delusional, we merely strengthen them.

Wishal Raheel is a finance student who enjoys travelling and spends a lot of her time writing about social issues. Follow her on Twitter