Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, July 23rd, 2017

De-Radicalization

Radicalization has posed a serious threat to the world. Fundamental parties violate people’s basic rights and traumatize them through violence. Ideologues, who lack religious tolerance, are widely involved in violence and bloodshed. They claim to be in the right path and others in the wrong one. Fundamentalists act as if they are infallible creatures.  Their blind faith pushes them to pigeonhole nations and act aggressively towards those who are not following their school of thought. Now the entire globe suffers as a result of radical mindset.
To consider the Islamic radicals, mainly the Taliban and self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), they spread violence and hatred around the entire globe. They are the products of blind faith and radical ideology and show zero tolerance towards other sects, races and faiths seeking to impose their warped minds on people at the barrel of gun. Hence, their ideology free them from the red border of humanity and ethical code.
To mitigate violence and protect human rights, the world will have to find out the reasons behind fundamentalism and put an end to it. It is believed that blind faith and radical ideology, which lead to lack of religious tolerance, will pave the grounds for violence. For instance, the current fundamental groups in Islamic countries are engaged in violence due to the very fact. They seek to resist against progressive ideas, excommunicate individuals simply for not following their mentalities, and slaying the innocent people, including women and children, for belonging to a certain ethnic or religious group.
The ISIL’s cruel practices against Yazidi women reflect this fact. Following the declaration of caliphate by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, both the so-called and genuine ideologues filled the entire world with a sense of fear and hatred as a result of their indescribably violent acts. ISIL group intends to put its self-styled ideology in the frame of religion and impose it on people. Perhaps, ISIL group is a political project rather than a religious radical and there might be many reasons behind its establishment. Its active role in Syria’s conflict will prove this fact to some extent. But what I would like to say is that religion has been exploited throughout the history both in Asia and Europe mostly by policy-makers. It is likely that if religion is separated from political arena, people will be less vulnerable to self-styled ideologies, claimed to be the true spirit of religion.
Afghan has borne the brunt of radicalism within the past three decades. Kings ruled this country under religious aegis and alleged caliphate in this land. They called themselves, caliph, sultan, the divine shadow and many other bombastic terms to influence people. On the other hand, religious figures sought to either confirm or deny the kings based on so-called religious tenets. For example, when Amanullah Khan struggled for modernity and declared freedom for men and women, religious figures prompted people to show backlash. They generated religious emotions among the nation and persuaded them to resort to protest, which led to the collapse of Amanullah’s regime.
To view the Taliban group, it gained foothold in Afghanistan and established a regime under the pretext of implementing religious sharia, but their regime was political and their practices were all against sharia law. For example, they discriminated people on the grounds of their ethnic and linguistic differences. In brief, political officials have constantly exploited the religious feelings and virtue of pious nations, including Afghanistan. Currently, radical groups are killing individuals as a result of fatwa issued by their radical ideologues or caliphs.
Nowadays, the world is blackmailed by hardliners and terrorist groups which are founded in the wake of radical worldviews. Combating terrorism is likely to come to a stalemate and military strategy failed to put an end to this challenge. To think of Afghanistan, the “war on terror” was proved abortive and NATO’s military role was reduced to advisory role. Now the question is that how to de-radicalize the countries?

If you consider China, which is a multi-ethnic country with a large number of sects, extremism has no room in this country. There are two big reasons behind this fact: first, the state has curtailed the role of religious tenets in school text books. The students’ religious feelings will not surge up at schools and universities. Indeed, sometimes a word of a religious sect will spark argument among students and will lead to violence. Second, the clergy make commissions and invite other scholars from many countries to campaign against extremism. Moreover, the Islamic clergy publish articles and give speech to de-radicalize the Islam’s followers – according to a leader of Xinjiang Ethnic and Religious Affairs Commission whom I had interviewed in Xinjiang, China. He added that religious leaders of all ethnic groups make their commissions to promote religious tolerance among the public and combat against fundamentalism. Don’t you think that it is a good example for terrorism-stricken countries to fight extremism?