The following steps must be taken with deep efforts, seriously and effectively:
1) No more the twisted mirror image. To view Islam through Western inclusive pluralistic lenses means not only never understanding Islam but also it may produce disastrous results. What if the struggle is between two polar opposite cultural conceptions, between a society that aspires to modernity and progress, as against totalitarianism of thought, traditional tribal values and religious extremism?
What if Islamic approaches do not play by the Western rules of the game, by the Judeo-Christian morality? What if Islamic behavior is deeply rooted in the hearts of the Muslims as a norm of social behavior, as a cultural reflection of their society? What if Muslims are devoted to implementing their values out of profound hatred and hostility?
Psychologist Norman Dixon has defined the issue aptly: We are busy performing two things: first, denying reality, and second, when the catastrophe happens, rationalizing our mistaken behavior. This is the reason why the Free World is flattering, appeasing, and serving as useful idiots to Islam and Muslims. If we do not know why the Muslims hate us so deeply and they shamelessly continue pushing for concessions, is there any hope for us to prevail? One Jew of the Holocaust survivors, who was asked what he had learned from the Second World War, replied: “When somebody says he wants to kill you, you should believe him.” Everything is so clear and obvious, yet, we do not want to learn.
Let us take, for example, the issue of language, which represents Orwell’s 1984. There is a heated debate concerning the difference between Islam and Islamism. As if Islamism is a political ideology of a small minority which holds that the essence of Islam is Jihad and conquests, while Islam is a peaceful religion. However, this is the Western debate, the Western language and a twisted formula to evade reality. There is absolutely nothing on that matter in the Islamic vocabulary.
Moreover, what if the terms ‘moderate’ and ‘extremist’ are totally opposite in Western and Arab-Islamic political culture? What if we all use the same terms — peace, political arrangements, negotiations, coexistence, etc. — while we translate them operationally and understand them conceptually totally differently? What if for Islam “good” is only whatever advances the cause of Islam to control the world, and “evil” is whatever resists the cause of Islam and enables the existence of the Kuffār? What if Islam teaches war in the name of peace, and hate in the name of love? What if, Ayman al-Zawahiri and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi are the moderate true believers, since they strictly follow the orders and commandments of the Sharī’ah, and those whom we relate to as moderates are in fact the extremists, even infidels, in the Islamic perspective?
There is another perspective, which is Theodor Adorno’s idea of the authoritarian personality. Scholars had determined that social conservatives suffer from ‘mental rigidity,’ ‘dogmatism,’ and ‘uncertainty avoidance,’ together with associated indicators for mental illness. This is a Machiavellian psychological command and control device. Its purpose is the imposition of uniformity in thought, speech, and behavior.
This is exactly the Arab-Islamic personality that leads to cultural terrorism. Obedience is the result of force. Force is the antithesis of humanizing actions. It is synonymous in human mind with savageness, lawlessness, brutality, and barbarism displayed in an inhuman attitude toward the other. Consequently, it rejects, for example, the first principles of the US Declaration of Independence of “unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” It is rejected by Islam as its uppermost characteristics is submission to Allah.
According to Ali Sina’s paraphrasing, there are three categories of Muslims residing in the Free World: the good, the bad, and the ugly. However, this division is not according to Western definitions. The good are in fact the bad; the bad are in fact the good and the ugly are in fact the good face of the Islamic propagators introduced to the Free World’s public opinion, in order to deceive and mislead. So, in fact, nothing in Islam is what it is because everything is what it is not. Each and every group has its role in the world game of Islam to occupy the world and subdue humanity to Islamic rule.
What if the terrorists are actually good Muslims, practicing the commandments of the Sharī’ah? Muhammad raided and butchered people merely because they were not his followers. The good Muslims do the same. Bombing and terrorism perpetrated by Muslims are replicas of Muhammad’s raids, Ghazawāt, for booty (Ghanā’im) sanctioned in the Qur’an. Muhammad ordered the assassination of his critics, killing the apostates, slaughtering the infidels and decapitating their heads, and imposing terror on them. It is all written in the Qur’an.
What if the bad Muslims are those who do not practice their religion and do not follow its ordinances? What if the ugly Muslims actually appear beautiful? They are eloquent, articulate, intelligent, attractive, and highly manipulative. They know what to say to gain the Muslim majority’s approval and applause. They are charming. Their words are reassuring and their faces are reliable and authentic. They act efficiently in diplomacy of deceit; they use propaganda in order to make you believe that Islam is not only peaceful and poses no threat to you, but in fact is cooperative and dialogue-oriented. These are wolves in sheep clothing proving that deception is as deadly as terror.
Muslims that practice and support the ideology and doctrine of Islam are all part of the problem. That is, they wish to occupy the world and to subdue humanity. Some use terrorism and violence; some use Da’wah and good words of propagation; and some, perhaps the majority, push forward, by charity money of Zakāt, by demography and birth-rate, and by being the silent majority, that is refraining from denouncing and alienating the terrorists. The result: Islam acts firmly and steadily to take over the world. This goal is rooted deep in every Muslim, the good, the bad and the ugly, each with its own strategy and tactics, but all with the same objective.
There are also good people, in Western terms, among the Muslims. But they are, unfortunately, a very small minority. They really wish to reform and democratize Islam, and to take away all Islamic signs of hatred and incitement to the other. However, the belief that Islam can be reformed from within is something impossible. The Qur’an is the heavenly book given by Allah. One cannot change the words of Allah, as it means blasphemy and it leads to punishment by death. There are verses in the Qur’an and Ahadīth that clearly state, he who changes even one word of the Qur’an must be killed. It is even forbidden to wonder or ask questions about it, let alone to criticize it. Islam is not adaptable with the times and cannot adapt itself to modernization. The gates of innovations (Ijtihād) have been closed since the 12th century. The mountain of Islam has not changed as what is written in the Qur’an cannot be changed.
In a revealing, perhaps surprising, analysis, the Jerusalem Post editorial, took a bold step by criticizing the media in the US:
The irony, of course, is that our postmodern media analysts, while preaching the gospel of cultural relativism, are themselves entirely blind to the moral values, cultural underpinnings and ethical standards of those who adhere to different sets of guiding principles. Rather, their search for answers are steeped in their own narrow mindsets, nurtured at the universities they attended and reinforced in the scholarly journals they read and in the social circles they embrace. The attempt by the media elites to paint a portrait of these men as alienated, disaffected youths is symptomatic of such a mindset. Their faux sophistication is belied by the narrow Western lens with which they view the motivations of these Islamists living in the West.
In essence, they are guilty of the analytic omission which they accuse others of: an honest attempt to understand events beyond the context of their own cultural biases and narrow frames of reference. If they did, they might find the anger and alienation of these young jihadists have nothing whatsoever to do with the familiar narrative of youthful rebelliousness depicted in iconic American cinematic and literary touchstones such as Rebel without a Cause or The Catcher in the Rye. Hence, the multiculturalist thinkers, plagued by Western guilt, seek conflict resolution through understanding and compromise. For the jihadist (lone wolf or otherwise) those are alien notions. They have already determined that there is no place in the worldwide caliphate to come for those who do not submit to the laws of Allah – Western commentators included.
2) No more ‘multiculturalism’ and ‘moral relativism.’ These are in fact names without any common sense, odd and alien notions without a logical definition, inventions that aim at destroying our existence as a free society. These also intend to confuse and to mislead, in fact leading to chaos and disruption.
‘Multiculturalism’ as opposed to ‘multi-ethnicity,’ dictates that groups of people with different cultures will live in one society and retain their culture, rather than trying to assimilate into the culture of the host nation. The all but inevitable consequence of this approach is that the law of the land will need to be altered so as to accommodate the culture of the new migrants. This could bring about a whole new set of laws that lead to the demise of the original culture. Multiculturalism was the myth, the keystone to the whole tyrannical mythology of political correctness.
Multiculturalists immediately attack anyone who seems to challenge their new religion called ‘multiculturalism,’ and brand him a racist and fascist. Studies and analyses which show any negative side to multiculturalism are silenced and consequently any dissent and criticism are paralyzed. We live no longer as a free society in our own political systems. The intimidating situation was that academia embraced this notion of multiculturalism in its entirety, while the media followed it with enthusiasm and the governments go along with it in intimidation. So, instead of an idea being debated whether it had any merit, the peoples were forced to accept this dubious lethal idea without being allowed to question it, even to understand its meaning and consequences.
Western universities are founded on the principle that each and every idea is up for critical thinking, according to the tradition of academic freedom. However, now the forces of evil coerce their societies to embrace destructive ideas without questioning, and if one resists, he is labeled by academia, with the assistance of the media, with a whole set of accusations based on racial prejudice. Yet, the truth is clear: This notion has never been part of the Western values of freedom of speech, expression and conscience and it contradicts the basic civil rights ideas. In fact it is clear that fundamental Western deep-rooted values are in a fast process of disappearing exactly as a result of this horrific notion called ‘multiculturalism.’
So currently, across the Western World, ideas are introduced which nobody is allowed to question; ideas that become the basis of new laws which nobody is allowed to criticize; laws that lead to disastrous consequences, and still nobody is allowed to question and to criticize. We live in an era in which our precious freedoms are in danger and no wonder that Western societies are degenerating.
Sweden, once known as one of the most peaceful and law abiding countries in the world, is now the rape capital of Europe, a state of havoc and disarray. It has become a symbol and framework to be a first third world country in Europe in the course of the next decade.
Formerly peaceful and homogenous France now has over seven hundred no-go zones for non-Muslims where the government has no control and no ability to enforce French law. Terror acts by Muslims are common and become a routine.
The UK has embraced legal provisions for Muslims who now have Sharī’ah courts all over the country, while many neighborhoods in London, Birmingham and several other English cities, have areas which are being declared no-go zones.
The situation in Germany is no less bad. Germany is now home to the largest number of immigrants in the EU, and also has the second-largest Muslim population. It continues to be the recipient of the largest number of asylum applications in the EU: more than 200,000 asylum-seekers in 2014, and more than a million at the end of 2015.
A report, produced by the police headquarters of North Rhine-Westphalia, the state with the largest Muslim population, warns that the government is losing control over problem neighborhoods and that the ability of police to maintain public order cannot be guaranteed. There are districts where immigrant gangs are taking over the entire social setting, where native residents and business people are being intimidated and silenced. According to a Duisburg City Councilman, “When I say that steps must be taken to ensure immigrants comply with rules and regulations, I am immediately branded as a far right extremist… But spiraling levels of violent crime perpetrated by immigrants cause areas of lawlessness, areas that are becoming de facto ‘no-go’ zones for police.”
Leaders of the major powers have expressed misgivings over multiculturalism. It has “failed, utterly failed,” according to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. This attitude has been the opinion of a former French president and of prime ministers of Spain and Australia. The most forceful denunciation of multiculturalism came from British Prime Minister, David Cameron, who also calls it a “failure.” However, nothing is done about it. It has not been a “failure,” but a lethal disaster to the Western way of life.
Unfortunately, even before Muslims have changed Europe, the Europeans themselves did so, as leading European states have trashed their national identities and labelled their national awareness as worthless. Since European nations are reluctant to stand for what nations traditionally stand for, religious and/or ethnic identity, it is no wonder that they are undergoing a deep identity crisis and are subdued by the Muslims’ desert reality.
Western liberal democratic civilization is falling apart and dismantles, not because of conquest from outside it, but because its leaders and cultural elites in the media and the academia have turned everything upside down, on their own free will. Right is wrong; good is bad; the ideology of evil is forgiven and understandable; and the forces of primitivism and savagery deserve a higher place in Western societies’ considerations. Cultural and moral relativism, political correctness and moral equivalency are the on the top, and it is even forbidden to call a spade, a spade, and all must stick to the New Emperor’s cloths.
These are the most dangerous time in the walks of our civilization. We have fought and won over tyrants, and dictators, and evil regimes. We have managed to do so as we could strictly and correctly define the situation, to separate between right and wrong, and to fight evil. Today everything has been turned over to the opposite. The horrendous forces of evil of Islam win, not because they are strong, or because they are correct, or because they have a new massage, a new development and innovations to humanity, but because Western civilization has a death wish. Western civilization has determined to commit suicide. The great prophet of our mired situation, George Orwell, is rolling in his grave. Indeed, he was strictly right: in our twisted atrocious new situation, peace is war; love is hatred; and truth is lie.
According to Pascal Bruckner, the West has no shortage of reasons for guilt. The West has no monopoly on evil, and though it has created monsters it also destroyed them: the abolition of slavery; the renouncing of colonialism; the building of peaceful and prosperous technological societies; and the establishing of law and order, of roles and institutions that are models for mankind. However, Western guilt has gone too far. It has become a pathology, an obsessive that has obscured Western understanding and distorted its behavior, even its balanced logic.
Today, there remain a few last bastions that keep Western civilization alive, because Europe has been attacking its own values and has raised generations of self-hating elites, and unfortunately the US academia and the media have aped their European models. It is time to find our own Judeo-Christian roots again, and to assert our values with pride and affection and without being afraid to speak out. The fact is that multiculturalism has become a clear code of submission to Islam, because it clearly leads to a new Dark Age, imposed by a medieval fascism of self-haters enabled by the collaboration of the leftists and the fanatical doctrine of Islam.
There is a disturbing situation. An alliance between Islam and Western left seems odd and grotesque. On the surface, Muslims with their single-minded dedication to the destruction of Western civilization, imposing worldwide Islamic rule according to the prescriptions of the Shari’ah, they are vehemently opposed to the left’s touted beliefs in the socialist utopia. However, a closer look makes understandable driving these strange bedfellows into each other’s arms. For the left there is just one overpowering consideration. After the collapse of communism, radical Islam appears to be the only power capable of defeating capitalism and the hated United States as the last obstacle on the road to Bolshevik ideas. One analogy stands clear: the Nazi ideology hatred to the Jews and its admiration of Islam.
For the Islamists, on the other hand, the rationale is fully congruent with their worldwide objectives. The leftists, though infidels who deserve death, are valuable as useful idiots to be exploited on the road of destruction of the Free World. The 1991 project of the US Muslim brotherhood indicates a “temporary cooperation” with movements opposed to colonialism and the Jewish state and working with “various influential institutions and using them in the service of Islam.” As both share “anti-American and anti-imperialist ideology,” this alliance ceases to be strange.
The result: the putative romance of the Left with Islam have become an affectionate embrace. An example to the “anti-imperialist coalition” is ANSWER. (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism). Founded, not coincidentally, three days after 9/11 It was designed to serve the Islamic objective of preventing U.S. retaliation against Muslims. ANSWER called for a “partnership with the Arab-American and Muslim community,” and to oppose any American policy or legislation that could ban the activities of Islamic organizations. The case of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which has become an unabashed defender and apologist for Islamic groups, mainly CAIR in instructive, and in fact its legal arm. Since then, the left-Islamic nexus has moved into the US establishment, the White House and all American branches.
It is again Daniel Greenfield to so aptly remarks: Islam is tribal. Tribes are nomadic and they raid each other. They mount coup on each other. They steal and humiliate each other’s women. They lash out and kill each other over insults. Islam incorporates the religious feelings and the tribal behavior. Terrorism also incorporates both the tribal and the religious. Islam sanctified the tribal raid as a religious act and turned the dead into martyrs. Islamic missionary activity in the West also targets dissatisfied minorities, potential fifth columns.
To the leftists, Islam is an inefficient sort of Socialism dependent on medieval superstition and lacking modern idea. To the Muslims, the left is an inefficient sort of Islam that’s missing the Shari’ah. It is all just a problem of explanations and textbooks.
In their confused world order, leftists believe that the terrorists are attacking “our values” and we in turn must attack “their values” with our superior “values.” While the left attempts to integrate the Muslims with “our values”, the Muslim immigrants show that Europeans have no honor on a tribal level.
However, no meaningful dialogue is possible between the Islamic “Allahu Akbar” and “Our values” Western religion. Both insist on absolute submission. The left’s demand for submission is based on the absolute moral superiority of “Our values,” while Islam’s demand literally means submission to its religion. To the Muslim mind, we are a series of fragile tribal associations. The “Our values” leftists think of the threat in terms of “radicalization”, but the real threat is “integration.” Indeed, if multicultural Westerners continue to ignore, deny, embrace, appease and nurture the truths of Islam’s objectives, they do so at their own existential peril.
The left’s multicultural vision made this mess possible. It’s also making it worse. The left despises tribal thinking and yet its entire political infrastructure is built on rewarding it. Our enemies are not states and they will not fight us as states but as tribes. To the extent that they are religious, they will attack us that way. But the real problem is that we are no longer states and we do not think and act like states. We are in the grip of a mystical deluded cult of multiculturalists that opened the gates to a cruel, backward enemy. And in doing so, they have brought a tribal war into our own homelands.
Multiculturalism is so disastrous that it is shown in the mass-rape plague in Europe. Dennis Prager draws our attention to the horrific fact: between protecting over the European girls from repeated gang rape and protecting Muslims from being identified as the rapists, British authorities chose to protect multiculturalism and “diversity.” That is, in the competition between multiculturalism and one of the most elementary obligations of civilization, the protection of women from sexual violence, civilization lost. The U.K. is not alone in taking precedence of the fear of being branded racist or Islamophobic over protecting women. This is also the situation in Germany and Scandinavian states.
Altogether, this is cultural Marxism disguised as multiculturalism. Western political leaders have sold out to the Marxist idea of multiculturalism and the result has been an emboldening the entire world to submit to the Shari’ah. In Europe, this sickening display now culminating in destruction of much of its cultural identity. Multiculturalism would be good if all sides were equally respected and mutually enriched. But, multiculturalism is one-sided, just a fake word that provides cover for its true meaning: the occupation of Islam. Multiculturalism has become code-name for submission to Islam.
How divine books guide and socialize an individual into society
When an individual born it interact with social group in which it is present. The term socialization refers to the process of interaction through which the growing individual learns the habits, attitudes, values and beliefs of the social group into which one has been born. … Socialization prepares people to participate in a social group by teaching them its norms and expectations. But why there is need of socialization ? The answer is we are born there is something in our DNA that make us feel there should be some one who we need to follow, that there is someone who make us, who is very superior to us.
Very interesting question. what a religion actually is. As per the Oxford dictionary, “religion” is: “The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.”
That is what religion is very simply put .strictly speaking, all “religions” in the world revolve around this same concept: a belief in a superhuman controlling power. They all build on this central concept, assigning various different attributes and holy books to this superhuman controlling power.
In Hinduism, this “power” is called Brahman and has many forms, manifesting itself in every sentient being, In Islam it is called “Allah” and so on so forth. But the bottom line of all these religions is: There is a god.
There is God who have sent us and give us the way to live the life. Through the learning process one give priority to the religion it follow. The religion guide us through holy book. Divine books are four in numbers revealed to different Prophets i.e.
Tawrat to Prophet Musa
Zabur to Prophet Dawud
Injil to Prophet Isa
Quran revealed to Prophet Muhammad SAW
but Muslim believes that they all carry a same message or guidance for humanity. Divine books provide set of rules to live a life. They can also act as a source of history and motivation for the followers. Quran is last Divine book but it contains some references of all other Divine Books.
Divine books act as source of religion provider. Beliefs, values and practices related to spiritual concerns are described by religion. It is also known as crucial roadway of socialization for many people. In many religious institutions like temples, churches and mosques individual of many religious communities assemble to glorify and to grasp knowledge. Many ceremonies related to structure of family like marriage and birth are also related to religious celebrations. Shared set of socialized value which passes through society are foster by organized religion. Each social theorist define religion according to their own perspective
The purpose of sending divine books to the followers of certain religion was to give them the principles of religion. The teachings of Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, Christianity are very similar to each other. The conflict occurs in their ideology and oneness of God. Reforms in individual life and society’s life like harmony and unity are brought by these books. They act as a balance between life of both the individual and society by safeguarding rights, assigning individual responsibilities which are guided by Divine books. Divine books deals with the demand of society and behave as building block of thinking and behavioural processes and lay stress on Faith , through this human hearts and minds are completely transformed and remodelling of our thinking and behavioural pattern occur which as a result changes the whole society.
Pakistan On Its Way to Promote Interfaith Harmony
People from various cultural, racial, and religious backgrounds live in Pakistan. 96.28 percent of the country consists of a Muslim population. Minority groups make up 4% of the population, with Christians at 1.59%, Hindus at 1.60%, and Ismaili and Qadianis make 0.22 %. Unluckily this diversity is now being mistreated. Whether it is the ongoing violence against non-Muslims or the sectarian violence among Muslims across the nation, these misperceptions about other religions are a major contributor to violence among religious communities. Unfortunately, Pakistan has fallen prey to these social ills.
The government of Pakistan has contributed significantly by carrying out numerous initiatives and plans to guarantee all of Pakistani society with various religious and ethnic backgrounds the opportunity to socialize with one another. The 1973 Constitution of Pakistan specifically mentioned the rights of minorities to preserve interreligious harmony. To represent religious minorities’ voices Article 51 (2A) of the Constitution grants ten additional public services to the Christian, Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist and Parsi religious communities in the national assembly. The Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan mandated the establishment of a National Council for Minorities. The prime objective of the Council is to oversee, the effective application and protection of rights guaranteed to minorities by the Pakistani Constitution. The Council also demands from the Federal and Provincial Governments to structure the policy proposals to uphold and defend the rights of minorities as per the 2014 Jurisdiction of SC.
Since the last decade Pakistan has been working on the issues of protection of religious minority’s rights however, the process speeded up in 2018. The Ministry of Human Rights created the Action Plan against Religious Persecution in 2016. The election campaign of the political Party “Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf” introduced, in their manifesto to establish a “legally empowered, well-resourced, independent National Commission on Minorities, followed by provincial Commissions/Departments”.The strategy outlines a strenuous effort to be undertaken with numerous stakeholders to protect and advance religious minorities so that they are better able to contribute to the peace and development of the nation and become a part of Pakistan’s mainstream social fabric fearlessly. It constitutes a task force at the federal level for developing a strategy for promoting religious tolerance. Curb hate speech in social media. The creation of an endowment fund for student scholarships, development of a complaint/redress mechanism, review/proposal of amendments for discriminatory laws, and protection of places of worship are just a few of the initiatives mentioned in the Action Plan. Others include raising awareness and providing training on interfaith harmony, reviewing and revising education curricula at all levels to foster a peaceful and inclusive society, and raising funds for student scholarships.
Subsequently, it is pertinent to mention here that religious harmony is crucial for maintaining interreligious relations. For this purpose, On January 16, 2018, a National Narrative (Paigham e Pakistan) for Peaceful and Moderate Pakistani Society based on Islamic Principles was presented under the watchful eye of government officials. In January 2019, the Paigham-e-Pakistan Centre for Peace and Reconciliation Studies released a fatwa (verdict) signed by over 1800 Pakistani religious scholars denouncing suicide bombings, armed uprisings, and other acts of terrorism committed in the name of Sharia.
One of the main issues facing minorities, which is being echoed around the world, is the forced conversion of young girls. The Hindu Marriage Act of 2017 was passed by the National Assembly in response to this challenge, covering all of Pakistan except Sindh. To make it easier for the Hindu community to get married under the Sindh Hindu marriage Rules, 2019, the Sindh government passed the Sindh Hindu Marriage Act 2016 (amended in 2018). Additionally, to resolve the issue and dispel any negative perceptions about forced conversion, the Pakistan Hindu Council and Ulema confined an agreement. According to this agreement, the law approved by the Parliament will be adopted regarding conversion. Any Hindu who approaches ulema for conversion will be reported to the local Hindu community leader, to meet with their parents (in absence of Ulema), until the law is approved. Still, if he/she wishes to convert will be allowed to do so.
The Pakistani religious and political elite have used religious segregation by emphasizing “divide and rule” and discouraging the idea of “unity in diversity to effectively consolidate their power. Segregation based on religion has become a major tool for encouraging violence against non-Muslims. This encourages extremism by instilling the desire in jihadist groups to commit acts of religious terrorism against members of other faiths. It is therefore essential to oppose any misuse of religion. Likewise, we must guard against religious fanaticism and extremism to promote interfaith harmony. Under the guise of religion, encourage hatred or even terrorist acts are destructive and poses a serious threat to the peace and prosperity of Pakistan.
Betting on the wrong horse: The battle to define moderate Islam
Proponents of a moderate Islam that embraces tolerance, diversity, and pluralism may be betting on the wrong horse by supporting Muslim scholars on autocrats’ payroll.
Polling in the Middle East seems to confirm that state-sponsored clerics lack credibility.
Recent research suggesting that non-violent protest has increasingly become less effective magnifies problems posed by the clerics’ legitimacy deficit.
The combination of lagging credibility and reduced effectiveness enhances the risk of politically inspired violence.
Add to that that young Muslims gravitate towards militancy in a world of perceived persecution of the faithful.
Tam Hussein, an award-winning investigative journalist and novelist, who has spent time with jihadists in various settings, noted in a recent blog and an interview that a segment of Muslim youth, who see Western militaries operating across the Muslim world, often embrace the jihadist argument that Muslims would not be victims if they had a genuinely Muslim state with an armed force and religious laws that would garner God’s favour.
Achieving a state, the jihadists say, has to be ‘through blood (because) the rose isn’t got except by putting one’s hand on the thorns.’
Mr. Hussein cautioned that “this sentiment of young Muslims…cannot be combated with platitudes, ill thought out deradicalisation programmes, and naff websites set up to combat social media.”
Mr. Hussein’s insight goes to the crux of a rivalry for religious soft power in the Muslim world that, at its core, involves a struggle to define concepts of moderate Islam.
In essence, Mr. Hussein argues that a credible response to religiously inspired militancy will have to come from independent Islamic scholars rather than clerics who do Muslim autocrats’ bidding.
The journalist’s assertion is undergirded by some three-quarters of Arab youth polled annually by Dubai-based public relations firm ASDA’A BCW who have consistently asserted in recent years that religious institutions need to be reformed.
Commenting on the agency’s 2020 survey, Gulf scholar Eman Alhussein said that Arab youth had taken note of religious figures endorsing government-introduced reforms they had rejected in the past.
“This not only feeds into Arab youth’s scepticism towards religious institutions but also further highlights the inconsistency of the religious discourse and its inability to provide timely explanations or justifications to the changing reality of today,” Ms. Alhussein wrote.
Mr. Hussein warned that “what many…well-intentioned leaders and Imams don’t realise, and I have seen this with my own eyes, is that radical preachers…have a constituency. They hit a nerve and are watched” as opposed to “those they deem to be ‘scholars for dollars’… There is a dissonance between the young and the imams. …
When the no doubt erudite Azhari sheikhs such as Ali Gomaa seemingly support Sisi’s killing of innocents followed up by Habib Ali Jifri’s support for his teacher, one cannot help but understand their predicament and anger,” Mr. Hussein said, referring to scholars of Al Azhar, a citadel of Islamic learning in Cairo.
Mr. Hussein was pointing to Ali Gomaa, who, as the grand mufti of Egypt, defended the killing of some 800 non-violent protesters on a Cairo square in the wake of the 2013 military coup led by general-turned president Abdul Fatah al-Sisi. The coup toppled Mohamed Morsi, a Muslim Brother and Egypt’s only democratically elected president.
A Yemeni-born UAE-backed cleric, Mr. Al-Jifri, a disciple of Mr. Goma, is part of a group of Islamic scholars who help project the Emirates as a beacon of an autocratic form of moderate Islam that embraces social reforms and religious diversity, rejects political pluralism, and demands absolute obedience of the ruler.
The group includes the former Egyptian mufti, Abdullah Bin Bayyah, a respected Mauritanian theologian, and his disciple, Hamza Yusuf, one of America’s foremost Muslim figures.
Mr. Hussein could have included Mohammed al-Issa, the secretary general of the Muslim World League, the primary vehicle employed by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to garner religious soft power and propagate his autocratic version of Islam.
Autocratic reformers such as UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed and Mr. Bin Salman offer an upgraded 21st-century version of a social contract that kept undemocratic Arab regimes in office for much of the post-World War Two era.
The contract entailed the population’s surrender of political rights in exchange for a cradle-to-grave welfare state in the oil-rich Gulf or adequate delivery of public services and goods in less wealthy Arab states.
The breakdown was sparked not only by governments’ failure to deliver but also by governments, at times, opening political space to Islamists so that they could counter left-wing forces.
Scholar Hesham Allam summarised the policy as “more identity, less class.” In effect, Middle Eastern government were hopping onto a bandwagon that globally was empowering religious and nationalist forces.
Using Egypt as a case study in his just publisjed book, Classless Politics: Islamist Movements, the Left, and Authoritarian Legacies in Egypt. Mr. Sallam argued that” in the long run, this policy led to the fragmentation of opponents of economic reform, the increased salience of cultural conflicts within the left, and the restructuring of political life around questions of national and religious identity.”
To revive the core of the social contract, Messrs. Bin Zayed and Bin Salman have thrown into the mix degrees of social liberalization and greater women’s rights needed to diversify their economies and increase jobs as well as professional, entertainment, and leisure opportunities.
At the same time, they have cracked down on dissent at home and sought to impede, if not at times brutally, reverse political change elsewhere in the region.
Even so, researcher Nora Derbal describes in her recently published book, Charity in Saudi Arabia: Civil Society under Authoritarianism, discrepancies between interpretations of Islamic guidance as provided by government officials and state-sponsored clerics and charity and civil society groups that have their own understanding.
In one instance, Ms. Derbal noted that the government sought to restrict charity recipients to holders of Saudi national id card. She quoted a representative of one group as saying that “Islamically speaking, any person, Muslim or not Muslim, deserves aid if in need.”
Nevertheless, the notion of an autocratic moderate Islam appears to work for the UAE and holds out promise for Saudi Arabia but is on shaky ground elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa.
Recent polling by ASDA’A BCW showed that of the 3,400 young Arabs in 17 Arab countries aged 18 to 24 surveyed, fifty-seven per cent identified the UAE as the country where they would like to live. Thirty-seven per cent wanted their home country to emulate the UAE.
The survey’s results starkly contrast Mr. Hussein’s perceptions of discontented, radicalized Muslims and jihadists he encountered in Syria and elsewhere.
The diverging pictures may be two sides of the same coin rather than mutually exclusive. The survey and other polls and Mr. Hussein likely tap into different segments of Muslim youth.
Nobel Literature Prize laureate Orhan Pamuk described the men and women that Mr. Hussein discussed as having a “sense of being second or third-class citizens, of feeling invisible, unrepresented, unimportant, like one counts for nothing—which can drive people toward extremism.”
Some of those responding to polls may be empathetic but probably wouldn’t pull up their stakes because they are at a point where they have too much to lose.
Even so, recent surveys by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy showed that 59 per cent of those polled in the UAE, 58 percent in Saudi Arabia, and 74 per cent in Egypt, disagreed with the notion that “we should listen to those among us who are trying to interpret Islam in a more moderate, tolerant, and modern way.”
Given that in the milieu that Mr. Hussein depicts, the UAE is “seen by many as actively subverting the aspirations of millions of Arabs and Muslims for their own political ends, one can see why these (angry) young men will continue to fight,” the journalist said.
“When scholars don’t act as their flock’s lightning rod, or do not convey their sentiments to power, or are not sufficiently independent enough, the matter becomes hopeless and young men being young men, look for other avenues,” Mr. Hussein added.
Pakistan is one place where Mr. Hussein’s scenario and Mr. Pamuk’s analysis play out. In July, a United Nations Security Council report said that Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also known as the Pakistani Taliban, boasted the largest number of foreign militants operating from Afghan soil.
The report suggested that many of TTP’s 3,000 to 4,000 fighters were freed from Afghan jails shortly after last year’s fall of Kabul.
Recent academic research suggesting that non-violent dissent is seeing its lowest success rate in more than a century even though the number of protests has not diminished magnifies the resulting threat of militancy.
One study concluded that the number of protest movements worldwide had tripled between 2006 and 2020, including the dramatic 2011 popular Arab uprisings. Yet, compared to the early 2000s when two out of three protest movements demanding systemic change succeeded, today it is one in six, meaning that protests are more likely to fail than at any time since the 1930s, according to Harvard political scientist Erica Chenoweth. Ms. Chenoweth suggested that the sharp decline was starkest in the past two years.
By comparison, armed rebellion has seen its effectiveness decline more slowly than non-violent protest, making the two strategies nearly tied in their odds of succeeding. “For the first time since the 1940s, a decade dominated by state-backed partisan rebellions against Nazi occupations, non-violent resistance does not have a statistically significant advantage over armed insurrection,” Ms. Chenoweth said.
Ms. Chenoweth and others attribute the evening out of success rates of violent and non-violent agitation to deep-seated polarization, militant nationalism, media echo chambers, increased restrictions on freedom of assembly and expression that cut off avenues to release pent-up anger and frustration, and an enhanced authoritarian toolkit. The toolkit includes divide and rule strategies, digital repression, propaganda and misinformation, and the declaration of emergency powers under pretexts such as the recent public health crisis.
Said Ms. Chenoweth: “As authoritarian movements gain ground, democratic movements worldwide are struggling to expand their constituencies among those who have grown frustrated with the systems of inequality and injustice that continue to plague…countries worldwide.”
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