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Thursday, January 7th 2016 12:05 AM

Terrorism main ingredients: Authoritarian regimes & hypocrite First-world leaders

Amr Bazgifan

With guns, you can kill terrorists. With education, you can kill terrorism – Malala Yousafzai

We failed humanity and terrified the world with our radical form of Islam. Yes, indeed we did! It is crucial to admit that the lack of fundamentalism- preventive policies and moderate narrative have provided a fertile environment for radicalism and intolerance.

Muslims have always refused to admit that a distorted version of Islam may exist. The outdated rhetoric of accusing the west for creating a daunting form of Islam is pathetic. It demonstrates helplessness. It is sad to see the world welcoming the New Year surrounded by guards and police officers who clogged the streets as a precautious measure. Nonetheless, the west bears part of the blame. The phenomenon of terrorism and escalated violence is the outcome of a complex mixture of authoritarianism, illiteracy, exploitation, and hypocrisy.

Authoritarianism and Education

Muslim-dominated societies, mostly in Arab countries, suffer from authoritarian if not totalitarian leadership which most of the time nurtures illiteracy and uses it as a means to maintain the status quo. The fear of well-educated and ambitious citizens who read the constitution and demand amendments if needed is the key here.

"The Arab region has some of the world's lowest adult literacy rates, with only 62.2% of the region's population of 15 and over able to read and write in 2000-2004, well below the world average of [84%] and the developing countries' average of 76.4%" - UNESCO

Mohammed Noman, a graduate from Aden University, states that Saleh regime did not give much importance to education. To the contrary, it systematically allowed cheating on Wazhari exams- High school final year- especially in the southern governorates. He adds," Imagine students from Sana'a and other northerner cities used to sit for their exams in Aden, south Yemen. It can't be a matter of coincidence."

According to Nuran who is a political science student; the lack of real education under Gaddafi’s regime due to the systematic undermining of education gave the regime more space to rule without strong opposition.

  A Syrian scholar at the Lebanese American University, Nathir Haimoun believes that even though the Syrian regime has not nurtured illiteracy directly, it has accompanied education with fear which offsets educational benefits and eliminates the power of knowledge.


Radicalism and manipulation

The side effect of such policy, neglecting and sidelining education, is proneness to manipulative-and-fundamental religious rhetoric. The less educated people are, the less critical they are. In other words, it is easier for eloquent fundamentalists to manipulate religion and talk people into their agendas.

Islamist political parties such as Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt used the notion 'Islam is the solution' to harvest as many votes of the less-educated and illiterate rural inhabitants and it successfully did. The case of Egypt is particularly interesting because it was a precedent where political Islam has finally, and peacefully, assumed power. However, it was not long before its own leaders exposed the underlying impracticality of running a country with an Islamist ideology in the 21st century.  

Gohary, a Tomorrow’s Leader alumnus, states, “The example of the loan Morsey sought to secure from the IMF, against the advice of religious scholars, is the clearest example of the slogan they used. Perhaps, it would have done them some good to replace it with “the IMF is the solution!”.”

Hypocrisy and double standards

It would be unfair not to mention that the west also bears a great deal of the blame. Western policies in the Middle East directly and indirectly fueled terrorism and violence. When western leaders turn a blind eye to many human rights and freedom of speech violations committed by their oppressive Arab allies, they obviously are to be blamed of hypocrisy. They let go of many breaches in favor of their own interests; then injustices inevitably fire back cruelly and opens Pandora’s Box. 

The west foreign policy toward the eradication of terrorism is the Middle East is also part of the problem. Killing leads to more massacres and bloodshed. No wonder that the US drone-policy generated nothing but welcoming and hosting environments for terrorists in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen.

 Drone strikes have created hatred towards America even among those moderate civilian who had had no fundamental tendencies. Drones collateral damage assisted radicals recruit civilians who lost their beloved ones. Farea al-Muslimi, a Yemeni activist who was an exchange student to the US, insisted that what radicals had previously failed to achieve in his village, one drone strike has accomplished in an instant. He mentions there is an intense anger and growing hatred towards America [in Yemen].

Robert Fisk reveals, “The drone syndrome has spread across the Middle East. The missiles rain down on al-Qa’ida and civilians alike in Yemen." He adds, “The ethical disgrace of the drone syndrome is not that Mr. Obama – or some US officer near Las Vegas – decides on the basis of satellite pictures, mobile phone calls, numbers dialled and the speed of vehicles, which should live or die. The really shameful aspect is that the drone war has become normal. It has gone on so long – and been the subject of so much protest, so regularly – that it has become banal, boring, matter-of-fact."





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