Radical Islamism and Jihad
Sultan Shahin, Editor, New Age Islam
We, the silent majority of moderate Muslims are disoriented. Can those Muslims who cherish democracy, peace, and pluralism still have a say in world affairs? Only a tiny fraction of one and a half billion Muslims see in the Quran and Hadees a permission to kill innocents from other sects and communities. But Islam or Islamism is being equated with terrorism because the vast majority of Muslims are still passive and silent.
Thirteen years after 9/11, the Islamist terrorist threat has become more diverse, more complex, and more dangerous. It seems that while the world has focused on fighting the terrorists militarily, it has not faced the challenge of the ideological narrative that Jihadism offers. It is this Islamist extremist narrative that has gained momentum now, animating not only groups like al-Qaeda, Taliban, Boko Haram, al Nusra, ISIS, etc but also independent actors who may prove even more dangerous.
Since the chief terrorist of the world declared himself a Khalifa and his group an Islamic State, Muslims have been bewildered. OIC and Jamia Azhar have condemned it, but many religious organisations and even governments are showing ambivalence. Meanwhile thousands of Arab, European and American Muslims have joined this Jihadist group. This has made Islamism virtually a synonym for terrorism now. Moderate Muslims must know that this has to change.
What are we, the Muslim moderates, doing wrong? Why are our youth joining the radicals?
What has happened is that Jihadists have worked out a radical narrative of Islam, a complete theology of violence, xenophobia, hate and Islam-supremacism based on common Muslim beliefs which they are using to brainwash Muslim youth, while we moderates have no coherent narrative or theology of peace, pluralism, co-existence and gender justice to counter that.
So what is the way forward? In my view, this situation calls for a clear refutation of the Jihadist ideology and working out a coherent narrative and a consistent theology of Islamic moderation, peace and gender justice. If not now, when?.....