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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Following ISIS Attacks, Arab Journalists Call To Acknowledge Existence Of Muslim Extremism.

Following ISIS Attacks, Arab Journalists Call To Acknowledge Existence Of Muslim Extremism.  (Memri).

The large number of terrorist attacks carried out by ISIS in Western countries over the past year – including the July 14 truck attack in Nice, France (84 dead, some 100 wounded), the June 12 shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida (49 dead, over 50 wounded), the March 22, 2016 combined attacks in Brussels, Belgium (32 dead, over 300 wounded), and the combined attacks in Paris, France in November 2015 (129 dead, 350 wounded) – has sparked a wave of harsh criticism in the Arab and Islamic world, both due to the fear of Western responses and the increase of Islamophobia, and due to the torrent of youths who flock to the extremist organization.

Alongside the many articles that stressed that terrorist attackers do not represent Islam and operate out of outside interests, there have been an increasing number of articles in the Arab media calling to acknowledge that Islam, and the obsolete interpretations of it that are still applied today, are indeed related to the wave of global terrorism.

Writers called on Muslims to be honest and admit the existence of Muslim religious extremism instead of blaming others, and to uproot it.
The writers argued that the source of ISIS's extremist ideology is the Muslim social and cultural structure and that Muslims must therefore declare a war on this "cultural affliction" in their midst. According to them, this war requires fundamental reforms in Islamic interpretations alongside reforms in cultural, governmental and education patterns in Arab countries, which, they say, cause many Muslims to harbor covert sympathy for ISIS.
Many writers argued that most of ISIS's religious practices are drawn from the most important Islamic law books, while stressing that these laws do not reflect explicit Koranic dictates, but rather the opinion of jurisprudents that lived in a certain reality that is no longer relevant today. 

Therefore, they explained that in order to rescue the universal values of Islam from the culture of ignorance, backwardness, and violence, the Islamic jurisprudents of today must critically and rationally review the history of Islam and its religious texts, and adapt Islamic interpretations and laws to the spirit of the times, while taking into account the current circumstances and the greater good. In their opinion, some Islamic dictates should even be cancelled altogether to conform with universal progressive values such as liberties and human rights.

The writers harshly criticized the passive response of Muslims to ISIS crimes.

According to them, clerics make do with condemning the crimes of terrorist organizations, and some even take part in spreading extremist ideologies themselves. They argued that "ideology can only be combatted with ideology" and that no one other than clerics can "defeat and eliminate terrorism based on uncompromising ideology." 

Therefore, the clerics must combat extremist religious discourse that captures the hearts of many youths, and systematically refute its ideas and rulings as part of ideological, practical, and informational programs. In this context, some of the writers mentioned the silence of the Muslim Brotherhood, which they said begat these extremist takfiri organizations and now refrains from coming out against them and their ideology.

The writers also pointed to the confusion afflicting the common Muslims today, whether due to the refusal of Islamic religious institution to accuse ISIS and its ilk of apostasy, or whether because matters that were once uncontroversial in Islam – such as offensive jihad and slavery for prisoners of war – are currently forbidden according to modern world norms.

The writers stated that changing the religious discourse was a vital and urgent step, since the ongoing political and cultural situation in the Arab and Muslim world is "a wonderful recipe for extremism and backwardness," and that preserving and sanctifying ancient Islamic heritage would birth groups even more extreme than ISIS and lead Muslims to their doom.

The following are excerpts from these articles:

  • Palestinian Writer: We Must Admit That Terrorism Is Tied To Islam And That Muslim Education Inculcates Implicit Support For ISIS

  • Moroccan Writer: Arab World Must Change The Religious Discourse, Deal With Islamic Extremism

  • Palestinian Writer: Every Muslim Anywhere May Have Some Measure Of Sympathy For ISIS; We Must Make Islam Compatible With Universal Values

  • Egyptian Writer: Culture Of Arab Societies Produces Violent Islam Whose Followers Murder Anyone Who Disagrees With Them

  • Jordanian Writer: We Must Urgently Reexamine Islamic Religious Texts; Clerics Not Fulfilling This Duty

  • Senior Saudi Journalist: Muslim Clerics Should Completely Disprove Takfiri Jihadi Ideological Arguments

  • Saudi Journalist In Series Of Articles: Actions Of Al-Qaeda, ISIS Originate In Past Islamic Religious Texts And Interpretations; We Must Issue Fatwas In Line With The Times
Read the full story here.

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