Utrikespolitiska Föreningen Stockholm » Combating radical ideology

Artiklar • april 12, 2012

Combating radical ideology

By Mohamad Zakaria

Radicalism has been a problem facing the world peace and the cooperation among nations. In every nation, one may find radical nationalists, religious fanatics, and people with extreme political ideologies. Criminal gangs who deliberately kill their own fellow innocent citizens are indeed also radicals.

The recent killing and violence that happened in Toulouse in France, where three French Soldiers having North African Muslim origin who served in Afghanistan, and the four Jewish that were killed in separate incidents, are an example of the consequences of radical religious views. As an example of the consequences of radical nationalism are the atrocities committed by Anders Behring Breivik against his own fellow citizens belonging to another political party during the summer 2011 in Norway. Moreover, the US soldier that killed and injured dozens of Afghan civilians is also an act of terrorism as consequence of radical views and revenge. Therefore, radicalism has no nationality, religion, or identity.

Terrorism cannot and should not be justified. Those benefiting from any terror act committed by a Muslim are mainly the radical right wing politician in the West. They use such events to further market their ideologies of hate against the Muslims living within their societies. At a time of general elections, such as nowadays in France, the recent violence will only benefit the radical politicians of France and their political parties in the forthcoming presidential elections.  One may raise questions not only about the motives behind the recent violence in Toulouse and the way it was dealt with, but also on the timing of such events and who is actually the brain behind it.

Muslims are too frequently singled out as “terrorists” or potential terrorists. If one Muslim with radical beliefs who has been brainwashed commits a crime in the West, all the Muslim immigrants in the Western countries become monitored as potential terrorists. This is unfair and very dangerous for the social peace within the societies. The reaction of radical right wing parties in France and other Western countries after the latest violence in Toulouse and their open hate speeches against the Muslims residing in Europe is destructive and may create further division in the society among various religious groups. Radical and unwise reaction may also hinder the integration policies of immigrants in those countries and thus create a base for radicalisation of more people.

Terrorism cannot and should not be justified.  As a Palestinian myself, I can openly say that using the Palestinian cause to kill innocent people in any country in the West does not positively contribute   to solving the Palestinian problems in any way. On the contrary, such violence in the name of Palestinians has very negative impacts on the Palestinian cause. Moreover, the individual acts of terrorism committed by radical Muslims in the West have very negative impacts on the image of Islam as a religion and also badly affect the reputation and image of the majority of Muslims living peacefully in the Western countries. Additional to that, those individuals committing such crimes destroy years of constructive efforts done by the Muslim communities living in the West to show they play a positive role in the well-being of the Western societies they are living in.

Nevertheless, the political, financial and military support of some countries in the West to the unelected regimes in the Muslim world has reinforced the radicalisation of some Islamic movements, increasing the number of their followers. Moreover, some Western countries continuous support of the Israeli government covering up its atrocities and injustice actions against the Palestinians including ignoring the rejection to follow some basic rules of international law, have also played directly into the hands of the radical organizations. Therefore, governments in the West are partially blamed for the phenomena of Islamic extremism. If the governments in the West would  sincerely be willing to correct their ways of dealing with the Muslim world in a more positive and constructive way only then efforts might succeed to minimize the hatred and radicalism behind the ideology that do not only cause terror in the West but also harm the Muslim world itself.

The conservative and extreme right wing organizations in the West are lawfully operating, unjustly spreading the hate against Islam and the Muslims. Leaders of some powerful states in the West have used their radical ideologies and their fanatic religious beliefs as motives to make wrong decisions and acting incorrectly which have threatened the international peace, leading to conflicts and wars. George W. Bush and Tony Blair additional to many of their advisors are some examples of such influential political leaders. Hence, it is unfair, unjust, and wrong to say that Islam as a religion and all Muslims are potentially terrorists.

On the contrary, the vast majority of the Muslims are moderate and tolerant to other religious groups and fellow human being, and do not support the radical Al-Qaida ideology. Those who have visited Middle Eastern countries may agree with this. Islam itself as a religion calls for peace, dialogue and cooperation among nations for the good of the humanity. However, the media in the West has managed to portray Islam as a religion of terror and Muslims as terrorists that should be kept in isolation and for the world to be afraid of. This has led to the sad fact that even Western plane-passengers sometimes get afraid of other passengers flying the same flight that may have the ethnic appearance resembling someone from the Middle East. Some major media channels have been used as tools for spreading hate amongst nations. Therefore, media has both the moral and global responsibility to be positive actors facilitating the dialogue among religions and nations and not to be used as tools to further hatred.

Let’s contribute with the efforts to reduce the hatred amongst nations. The more moderate and thoughtful political leaders we  have, the better the environment that creates mutual respect and dialogue amongst and within nations will be to avoid the further spreading of radicalism.

Photo: Creative Commons license, Bird Eye (Title: Muslims in Mumbai protest against terrorism)

(The opinions presented in this article represent those of the author and are not intended to represent the views of UF in any way, nor are they intended to represent the views of any organisation or company which the author represents. UF is a politically and religiously independent organisation.)

Upplagt av: Markus Lyckman

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