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Spiritual leadership is a combination of natural and spiritual qualities. It is used to influence God’s representatives towards assisting religious followers to achieve spiritual fulfillment. This webinar aims to present the factors that lead individuals towards the acceptance of violent extremism, the role of Community Leaders in preventing Violent Extremism and the role of Media in pushing negative stereotypes of Muslims.

Moderator:

Ms. Selen Eşençay. Journalist.

 

Opening Remarks:

Mr. Tom Freebairn. Middle East Expert.

 

Speakers:

How The Media Construct Radicalism and Terrorism: Issues in the United Kingdom and the US

Mr. Ahmed Patel. Global terrorism consultant.

 

Islamization of Extremism or Radicalization of Islam?

Dr. Nina Käsehage. Religious Scholar.

 

The event

The discussion had by Dr. Nina Kasehage & Mr. Ahmed Patel focused heavily on the process of radicalization and presentation of radicalization in western media. Dr. Kasehage gave useful definitional points about how terminology can influence the view and approach to terrorism. She spoke about the use of the term “Islamism” and its negative effects in framing the crisis of radicalization. Despite fears of otherness, she pointed out there were more Muslims in the French military and security services than in the entire al-Qaeda network. She explained how anti-extremism measures often alienate and isolate Muslims in the West, rather than prevent radicalization. In particular, she pointed out examples of French restriction on expression through limiting religious garb and headwear under the Laicite policy of enforced secularism. She added how this frequently genders the issue, as hijabs and burkhas are often the first targets for these measures. Dr. Kasehage offered an interesting caveat about how Islamic prophecy and scripture can be used to counter terrorism and extremism. She cited a verse from the Kitab al-fitan which prophesized an army of black flags and savagery, which scholars and clerics used to justify opposition to the Islamic State.

 

Mr. Patel discussed the sensationalism of the media and certain experts in issues of radicalization, as well as the double standard Muslims face compared to white Christians accused of terrorism and radicalism. He shared his compelling personal experience, as the brother-in-law of the 7/7 bomber, who helped carry out a terror attack in the United Kingdom. He mentioned how many Islamic civil society groups, such as the Tablighi Jamaat, are unfairly accused of promoting radicalization because of their religious nature. In particular he cited his brother-in-law’s distaste for the Tablighi Jamaat group, because of their apoliticality, and how this can act as a counterbalance for radicalization, rather than an aid.  He critiqued broadly many so-called terror experts who focus heavily on the Islamic nature of perpetrators, while learning little of the faith. Claims that the faith breeds terror, Mr. Patel argues, are unfounded and only serves to encourage mistrust and prejudice towards predominantly peaceful Muslim communities. He examined how important childhood trauma, developmental issues, and drug abuse were to radicalization, but how frequently these issues are glossed over when dealing with Muslim terrorists. He added the expectation that Muslim imams can be responsible for their entire community is unrealistic, and yet many imams are blamed if members of their flock radicalize. His conclusion advanced the idea that religious leaders, Islamic experts and Muslim communities are part of the solution rather than the problem and must be given a seat at the table to help prevent terror.

The webinar was recorded via Zoom Friday 4 of March 21:00 Frankfurt time zone.

 

Author

  • Research Team

    The Research Team is the dedicated collective behind the insightful contributions on the Washington Institute For Defense & Security. With a profound understanding of global dynamics and a commitment to rigorous analysis, the Research Team delivers authoritative perspectives, enriching the discourse on critical international matters.

1 Comment

  • Avatar

    Eric Hyom

    March 16, 2022 - 10:16 pm

    You will never look into the eyes of anyone who does not matter to God.

    We are all created by the same God and the same God hears all our prayers, despite our differences. We have a duty to care for all of God’s creation, and that has to mean caring for each other despite all our differences.

    At some point, we shall all have to stand before God, how can we possibly justify terrorism, murder, rape and all the other war crimes.

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