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Theoretical and Operative Framework of the Vicious Cycle of Muslim Radicalisation PDF Print E-mail
Commentary
Written by Alhaji Dr. Foday M. Kallon, 076 788 967 /077 320 425   
Wednesday, 14 June 2017 08:42

I am a scientist, not a Muslim scholar per se, but a truly concerned Muslim practitioner .  An Islamic  value of importance for social equality can be seen in the institution of zakat (an alms tax). Another central theme is respect for creation. Both cases can be widely read up in the Holy Qur’an. The underlying theological principle of creation is the unity of Allah (Arabic: tauheed). 

According to the Glorious Qur’an, everything has been created by and strives to return to Allah (the God), thereby giving meaning to human existence. In addition to the emphasis on the unity of Allah in a monotheistic sense, the unity Allah is also embodied in creation. The theoretical principle of creation is closely connected to the principle of responsibility. The creation principle assumes that there is a harmonious state of nature (Arabic: fitra) for both people and creation. Human beings are thought of as fundamentally different from other life forms because of their capacity for reason. People are aware of the linearity of time and are therefore responsible for carrying out the role of earthly vicegerents for Allah (Arabic: khaleefa).  They are also responsible for promoting civilization. The question is: How much has the Muslim majority done to uphold this principle of harmony and civilization?  Wars, bloodshed, suffering, wanton killing of innocent lives in the name of Islam? However, Islam came as an instrument to enjoin peace and extend mercy for Mankind.

The Muslim brotherhood in Egypt and ideologically related groups in other parts of North Africa initially emerged as winners from the Arab spring. By then, politically-motivated Islamic practices had lost power almost everywhere, and their radical and violent practical manifestations prevailed.  One major reason was the failure to tackle the people’s problems (compare to the civil war in Sierra Leone). The other one was a vicious cycle of repression by the authoritarian regimes, that were back in power, on the other hand and sectarian-based radicalization on the other hand.

The Arab spring was followed by extremism. At that time, more than two years after the start of the Arab spring, politically-motivated Islamic practice was at its zenith. It was the big winner of the upheavals in the Arab world: Egypt had a Muslim Brotherhood president, and Tunesia’s constitutuent Assembly was dominated by a similar ideologically related Party. Islam is not a religion of ideologies.

Opposition to that development was signally led by Saudi Arabia, where a different form of Islamic practice was dominant: Wahhabism, a branch of Sunni Islam which is linked with the House of Saudi since the 18th century. Wahhabism gave rise to modern Salafism.  Salafists advocate a return to the values and social structures that existed in the earliest days of Islam. Islam is a way of life, and not a religion per popular definition. While Salafism places doctrine first, the Muslim Brotherhood was formed in Egypt in 1920s as a political and social movement. The return to Islamic values was a means to an end, and the end was liberation from colonial hegemony. The harnessing of Islam to a social agenda and anti-Western politics is still inherent to the movement up to date.

The Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafists share similar beliefs and practices. Nonetheless, the Muslim Brotherhood opposes the form of government that exists in Saudi Arabia and most of the Arab States, with their conspicuous wealth and alliance with the west. So the rulers of those countries saw the development of the Arab spring as an existential threat. The attempt by Saudi Arabia and some of its neighbours to turn back the tide, should not be seen as a fight against politically-motivated Islamic belief and practice but as a school of thought-based clash within the“Mazhab” (school of thought): Wahhabists/Salafists versus Muslim Brotherhood.

Only one country in the Gulf stepped out of the line. Interestingly, the country is also a Wahhabi society, Qatar. Qatar lent backing to the Muslim Brotherhood across the Arab world, granted its leaders asylum and provided media support through TV broadcast Al-Jazeera.  She is only a small country of only 300,000 (three hundred thousand) people, overshadowed by neighbours Saudi Arabia and Iran. The Emir of Qatar adopted that policy in order to make clients of the most likely winners and thus secure Qatar prosperity and independence.

Sunni Islam, particularly in its Wahhabi and Salafi forms, regard Shiites as heretics. To Jihad-Salafis, they are as much an enemy as no-Muslims. The religious hostility towards Shiites is connected with the rival claims of Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran to hegemony in the region- and given the fact that the two countries see themselves as leaders of their respective religious denominations. Conflicts that erupt in neighbouring countries (Syria, Yemen, etc.) are sometimes effectively proxy wars.

Conflicts in the ethnically and religiously heterogeneous countries of the Middle Ease were kept under wraps for decades, if not for centuries, by authoritarian forces.  With the end of the authoritarian regimes, there was nothing to stop them” boiling” over. They were provoked by instrumentalisation of minors and denominational allegiance in Islam by actors with various interests.

Against this backdrop, the Islamic State (ISIS) became alarmingly “attractive” in the eyes of many Sunni Muslims. Its media-savvy use of violence even bewitched people in the west. In the eyes of many, ISIS is now the prevalent manifestation of politically-motivated Islamic practice. All this has made ISIS strong and now makes it so hard to defeat. The vicious and protracted cycle of radicalization is turning faster and faster, and the perpetration is taking new versions, dimensions, and forms.  Let us beware of digital Jihad. The Internet has become an arena of international warfare. The ISIS uses social media to target individuals and communities in the virtual world, with the aim of spreading their ideology and recruiting people. We need to focus on identifying ways to combat cyber-jihadism and disrupt digital jihad. More private sector cooperation and corporate social responsibility is needed: Google, Facebook, and Twitter have to police their platforms better so that they cannot be used for criminal activities. Moreover, a counter-narrative needs to be developed.  Especially web-savvy Muslims (precise knowledge and interpretation of the Qur’an and Sunnah) have to counteract ISIS propaganda by information, and must challenge the ISIS narrative rather than leave the interpretation our Holy Qur’an to the amateur.

If we don’t stop them online, we will have more problems offline. A piece of advice for America and her allies:  It is far more effective is to kill the “idea” than the “perpetrator”, for more of the latter will be born again and again. Therefore, the best prevention is an effective counter-narrative alongside tackling socio-economic and political grievances, like youth unemployment. Unless young people find perspectives, radicalism will appeal to them.

 

 

Editorial

2016 Global Peace Conference to be held in Freetown---as IPRA 50th Birthday confab ends in Istanbul

 

The 26th biennal conference of the Internatonal Peace Research Association (IPRA) is billed to take place in  Freetown, Sierra Leone in November 2016, marking the second time Africa has hosted the conference since the founding of IPRA in 1964. This was announced following the re-election of  the two IPRA Secretaries-general, Dr Ibrahim Seaga Shaw (pictured) and Dr Nesrin Kenar, who co-ordinated the 25th  IPRA conference in Turkey,  at the organisation’s administrative meeting on August 14 during the 25th  IPRA  conference in Istanbul  to serve a second term of two years.

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Business News

ACC CAPACITATES SIERRA LEONE COMMERCIAL BANK STAFF ON ANTI-BRIBERY AND ANTI-CORRUPTION ISSUES

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) on the request of the Management of the Sierra Leone Commercial Bank (SLCB) on Thursday 20th July, 2017 commenced anti- bribery and anti-corruption training with staff of the Bank.

The training which was held in the Bank's Conference Room 9th Floor, Christian Smith Building 29/31 Siaka Stevens Street, Freetown attracted over twenty members of the Executive Management.

Addressing colleagues, the Managing Director, SLCB, Idrissa Aloma Kamara disclosed that the Bank has integrated into the Bank's operations anti-corruption measures, such as the development of anti-corruption policy, anti-graft messages inscribed on Bank Statements and sensitization of staff on the dangers of corruption. With all these, the MD stated, it is the view of the Bank that the ACC which is the statutory body responsible for the campaign against corruption be brought in, to provide awareness training on anti-bribery issues for an efficient and effective banking system.

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Media News

Freedom of Expression Violations Rise Sharply in West Africa

The incidents of freedom of expression rights violations in West Africa more than tripled in the first quarter (January-March) of 2017.

Over the three-month period, a total of 47 violations were recorded as against 14 violations for the last quarter (October-December) of 2016. The violations recorded in the quarter under review range from arrests and detentions to physical attacks, online violations, shutdown of media houses, censorship, seizure and destruction of property and killings. The 47 violations occurred in 10 out of the 16 countries in West Africa.

These findings are contained in the latest edition of the West Africa Freedom of Expression Monitor, a quarterly report by the MFWA which analyses and highlights freedom of expression developments in the sub-region.

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Commentary

REVIEWING THE JUNE 2017 ECOWAS SUMMIT

A PASSIONATE LETTER TO HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT:  44TH EDITION

REVIEWING THE JUNE 2017 ECOWAS SUMMIT
 Your Excellency Sir,
 It’s been six months since I subscribed to my usual publications of this piece. And this is primarily because I have been out of the country for the entire period, and as such would not normally objectively tender a subscription. I do apologize to my readers for this. So having being in Monrovia, Liberia for the recently concluded ECOWAS Summit, I would like to do some analysis on such a historic august body and gathering of this sub-Saharan/West African region.
 
In resume, among other crucial achievements, ECOWAS, through its military apparatus, ECOMOG, played very sacrificial and invaluable roles in bringing peace, security and democratic governance to both Sierra Leone and Liberia during their past civil wars, and most recently ensuring that the Gambian people’s democratic change of government from the notorious dictatorial twenty seven years regime of Yaya Jarmeh, to the current government of President Adama Barrow, through their tactical robust intervention, overseen by President Helen JohnsonSirleaf of Liberia and other ECOWAS Presidents/actors, was enforced. Furthermore, ECOWAS has also spearheaded the enactment of several socio-political, advocacy and economic treaties in the sub region.
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View Point

WHY SIERRA LEONEANS HATE PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT

Honestly speaking Sierra Leoneans are well known for their hospitality all over the world, especially in Africa. But ironically many of them hate each other. But they love foreigners. They have high respect for strangers. But unfortunately they do not have respect among themselves. You can attest this to what is happening in the social media. Where they are showing their pull him down (PhD) syndrome. By castigating their compatriots unnecessarily. Some of them just because of jealousy and envious evil spirit they possess. They prefer to promote foreigners than their own brothers and sisters both in and out of the country.

Day in day out they are insulting each other.They are using all sorts of vulgar languages against each other. And even their own highly respected president in the world, President Ernest Bai Koroma they are insulting him openly. Therefore, it is an open secret that many Sierra Leoneans are not well cultured.

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News - Press Release

Regent village head calls on LAB to tackle domestic violence

The village head for Regent, Ms. Jokomie Browne has called on the Legal Aid Board to help curb the increase in incidence of domestic violence in the Regent Community in the outskirts of the capital Freetown.

Ms. Browne wants the Board to hold outreach events in the village to educate the people on issues of law relating to domestic violence, gender, women’s rights, redress mechanisms and support services for victims.

‘We want to benefit from the Legal Aid Board’s Legal Empowerment Programme because there is an urgent need for one in the community,’ Ms. Browne told the Executive Director of the Board, Ms. Fatmata Claire Carlton-Hanciles on the phone. ‘The situation is desperate. I am afraid if you do not come in now the situation could spiral out of control.’

The call follows series of referral of victims of domestic violence to the Legal Aid Board office in Freetown. The latest victim sent to the Board is one Baindu who was battered by her boyfriend Borbor Abu in the presence of their one year old son.

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Society -Local News

250 LAB trains staff on Alternative Dispute Resolution

A hundred and twenty-five staff and volunteers of the Sierra Leone Legal Aid Board including lawyers and paralegals have benefited from a four-day training on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) at the Stadium Hostels in Freetown from the 24 to the 27 July 2017.

Other beneficiaries include the WAN POT Comedians, members of the National Youth Coalition and six senior officers of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF). The latter includes the highest ranking female military officer, Brigadier Kestoria Kabia and the Director of Gender and Equal Opportunities at the Ministry of Defence Col. Tucker.

The training is aimed at equipping staff and partners with the requisite skills and techniques required for effective and efficient ADR. Moreover, the trainees should be able to use ADR as an alternative to litigation and using effective skill of arbitration, mediation, negotiation and active listening. 

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Development

30 Staff of the Ministry of Finance & Economic Development will go China for Seminar on Economic Planning

Thirty (30) staff of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development will depart the shore of Freetown to China on 14th August 2017. The purpose of their trip is to attend a seminar on Medium and Long-Term Economic planning for Sierra Leone. The National Development and Reform Commission of China will organize the seminar from 16th August to 7th September 2017 in the capital city of Beijing, People’s Republic of China.

The Economic and Commercial Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Freetown, Mr. Shen Xiaokai met with the 30 participants at the Conference Room of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MOFED) on 2rd August 2017. In his remarks he told the participants that in December 2016, His Excellency the President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma and the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Mr. Momodu Kargbo visited China, where they had high level bilateral meetings with Chinese Government Officials. 

He said this seminar is as a result of those meetings. “When China makes a commitment, China will fulfil it” he reiterated. He said The Ministry of Finance is one of the most important ministries in this country, therefore this seminar was designed specifically to meet the needs of the ministry.

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Politics

News from China, June 28th: Youth Affairs Minister addresses 2017 Ministerial Workshop on International Cooperation in Capacity Development in Beijing, China
Sierra Leone’s Minister of Youth Affairs has said, the 2017 Ministerial Workshop on International Cooperation in Capacity Development hosted by the Chinese government should help enhance the ties of friendship and foster the wheels of bilateral cooperation between the two nations and particularly strengthen cooperation in the field of human resource development.
 
Hon. Bai Mamoud Bangura spoke on Wednesday, 28th June, 2017, at the start of the week long Ministerial Workshop on International Cooperation, which has brought together participants from various countries, including eight (8) from Sierra Leone.
 
According to minister Bangura, in line with the spirit of friendship and cooperation, the event could serve as an opportunity to jointly define new strategic directions in Sierra Leone’s ties with China and in opening up another episode of friendship and cooperation between the two.
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