CAMD Scholar Aazim Jafarey ’11 Shares Research on Youth Perspectives of Militant Islam

Aazim Jafarey ’11 traveled to Pakistan for two months this past summer in order to interview citizens and conduct research on Pakistani views of the militant Islamic world for his CAMD scholar presentation, “Youth Perspectives on Militant Islam in Pakistan.” Jafarey discussed his research in front of a group of students and faculty in Kemper Auditorium this past Friday, January 7. “I mostly focused on the Taliban and the idea of violence in Islam. It was interesting to hear the many different views and even experiences some Pakistanis had involving these two topics,” said Jafarey. The research that Jafarey conducted came from a wide variety of sources. He also mentioned that he included native children in his interviews. “I thought it would be easier for kids at Andover to relate to the views of Pakistanis our age. In fact, I visited a Pakistani school that provided me with the views of students and faculty at that school,” he continued. He discovered that many Pakistanis are less concerned with the presence of violence in the Islamic World than they are with social and economic issues, such as inflation. Throughout the presentation, Jafarey stressed the similarities between the Pakistanis and Americans. “One inspiration I had for conducting this research was the misconception that Pakistanis and Americans have completely different views. I wanted to show students at PA that, in fact, their views are very similar if not identical to ours,” he said. “Unfortunately, I found [the research] hard at times because some Pakistanis did not agree [to an] interview because I am American. However, on the flip side there were a lot of Pakistanis that were eager to clear the Pakistani name,” he added. Jafarey was able to use the research that he collected and compare it to similar studies published at the same time regarding related topics. “At the time of my research, a survey on a project similar to mine had just come out. It was great that I could compare my research with surveys to see how similar my results were with other research being done,” he added. Following the presentation, the audience divided into seven different groups to discuss the presentation. “It was great how passionate the audience was and how they related experiences with the Pakistanis,” he said. Jafarey said that the groups did not partake in a simple question and answer session but rather lengthy discussions regarding Pakistan. “It was amazing how long the discussions lasted. I expected for the presentation to last 50 minutes, but instead it lasted about and hour and a half,” he continued. Jafarey said that he feels a deep connection with his research because both of his parents are Pakistani. “Since I have close ties to Pakistan, and [I] will probably visit again, if not this summer, than the next, I think exploring this topic again is a total possibility,” he said.