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Theoretical and Operative Framework of the Vicious Cycle of Muslim Radicalisation PDF Print E-mail
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.




26th IPRA Conference in Sierra Leone Ends on a High Note

The International Peace Research Association (IPRA) successfully held its 26th General Conference on ‘Agenda for Peace and Development: Conflict Prevention, Post-Conflict Transformation, and the Conflict, Disaster Risk and Sustainable Development Debate’ in collaboration with the 10TH Dealing With Disasters Series, Northumbria University (UK)and Sakarya University (Turkey) and  the University of  Sierra Leone at the Bintumani Conference Centre in Freetown, Sierra Leone from November 27 to 1st December 2016.


Business News


The Parliament of Sierra Leone on Monday 04th December 2017 debated and ratified two additional agreements aimed at improving and expanding Ports facilities in Sierra Leone to be at par with international best practices.

Presenting both Agreements prior to ratification, the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Balogun Koroma said that the additional Agreements are geared towards addressing some of the concerns raised by MPs, in respect of expanding our Ports facilities to accommodate larger vessels, and the issuance of license with the view of combating money laundering, contra-band goods, and attracting more funds for Government.

Hon. Dr. Bernadette Lahai, Minority Leader of the House, also supported the ratification of the two Agreements, saying if our Ports are not developed, we would not be able to attract huge vessels; thus the need for the continuous improvement of our Ports facilities.


Media News

"President Koroma is a big disappointment to press freedom" - SLAJ

Secretary General of the Sierra Leone Association of Journalists (SLAJ), Ahmed Sahid Nasralla, has said that President Ernest Bai Koroma has disappointed the media on press freedom in the country. 

“Successive governments have given us false hopes on the repeal of the criminal libel law. The politicians have lied to us. They have taken us to be big fools. President Koroma is our biggest disappointment. We had high hopes in him but he failed us woefully. So we will not trust any politician again, because when they get into office they forget about their promises,” said Nasralla.
Nasralla was speaking last Friday while formally launching a report on criminal defamation laws in Africa by PEN Sierra Leone at the SLAJ Harry Yansaneh Memorial Hall, Campbell Street, Freetown. 
He recalled that before he was first elected President of the Republic in 2007, President Koroma was a staunch campaigner against criminal libel law in Sierra Leone, but when he became President he suddenly had a different view.


Reasons why Sierra Leoneans Must Think beyond Tribal and Regional Lines Before Casting their Ballots This Time

As the national or general elections loom in Sierra Leone and, as a true citizen, I solemnly pray and hope with all hopes that Sierra Leoneans of the voting age will consider carefully who they would vote for, come March 2018. The divisive and immature nature of politics as it exists in Sierra Leone has, to a greater extent, contributed to the country lagging behind nearly all other countries in terms of progressive development. My readers should be mindful of the fact that certain countries in Africa would rather develop retrogressively than progressively, a situation wherein governments embark on ego-boosting programs that aren’t beneficial to the average citizen.

A government which expends its energy for the benefit of the people is a progressive government and that is what Sierra Leoneans want at this time after being in the doldrums for ages. It is therefore absolutely necessary for fellow citizens to refrain from casting their valued votes in favor of candidates because of tribal or regional affiliations but on how genuine and capable that candidate is, otherwise stagnation in progress is bound to follow.


View Point

Youth Unemployment Is A Killer Virus In Sierra Leone

“I studied Sociology at NjalaUniversity and graduated in 2015 but still unemployed despite several interviews being attended. I am currently awaiting my MSc at Njala University which is to be awarded early next year,” said 29 year old MabintyKamara.

“I graduated in 2012 with Honours from the Department of Accounting, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone. I have sent several job applications; the only long job I got was with the International Medical Corps during the deadly Ebola virus and since then no job. I was also a volunteer teacher but the Minister of Education, Science and Technology did not approve me and others after almost a year of voluntary service so I quit,” said 31 year old Mohamed LaminKanneh.

In Sierra Leone, despite the numerous promises made by President Ernest BaiKoroma to figuratively ‘lay his life for the youth,’ unemployment among youth is one of the highest with no end in sight to reduce the spate of this social menace. According to the United Nations Development Program, approximately 70% of youth are underemployed or unemployed and an estimated 800,000 youth today are actively searching for employment.


News - Press Release

Sierra Leone receives US$10 Million Supplemental Financing from World Bank as support to Landslide and Flooding

FREETOWN, December 13, 2017 —The World Bank Group has approved aSupplemental Financing (SF) in the amount of US$10 million to help the Government of Sierra Leone meet immediate needs associated with the landslide and flooding disaster that struck Freetown on August 14, 2017.The SF is a grant, provided as a supplemental budget support operation that will flow directly into the Government’s budget.

The funding, under the First Productivity and Transparency Support Credit (PTSC-I), will ensure that the reforms supported under thisoperation remain on track and are implemented without the risk of delays due to competing capacity or budgetary priorities arising from the post-disaster recovery. It will also help with the rebuilding of critical infrastructuredestroyed during the landslide and flooding.

Since the end of the Ebola epidemic, the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) has initiated substantive reforms to boost productivity, restore fiscal stability, and gradually rebuild buffers. The Government initiated substantive reforms, focusing on agriculture, fisheries and energy, supported by the First Productivity and Transparency Support Credit (PTSC-I), to boost productivity and start rebuilding the country's buffers.


Society -Local News

Fatmata Binta Jalloh Annie Walsh Memorial Secondary School has won this years’ Human Rights Commission of Sierra Leone Inter-Secondary School debate on the topic ‘respect for human rights as a pre-requisite for a politically tolerant and peaceful 2018 elections’.  
The debate which was held at the Sierra Leone Library Board with five Secondary Schools participating is part of series of activities undertaken by HRCSL in commemorating the International Human Rights Day Celebration on December 10th, 2017. Fatmata Binta Jalloh of the Annie Walsh Memorial School came first by defeating Amos Claudius Gordon from the Prince of Wales who came second, Abubakar Marrah from Saint Edwards Secondary School came third and Kelfala Kamara of the Government Model Secondary School came fourth and Evelyn T. Ahorney from the Saint Joseph’s Secondary School coming fifth.


World Bank Group Boosts Financing for West African Power Pool Regional Power Transmission Project

FREETOWN, December13, 2017 —The World Bank Group on November 17, 2017 approved Additional Financing in the amount of US$59.57 million to West African Power Pool (WAPP) - Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea (CLSG) PowerInterconnection Project, which aims to increase electricity supply in the four participating countries.

The project will interconnect the four participating countries into the 225 kV (kilo volt) regional energy market in West Africa, and will also enable the connection to the WAPP of the planned hydropower plants in Bumbuna Extension, Yiben and Bekongor in Sierra Leone and Mount Coffee in Liberia and other future generation projects.

The Project will provide residents of Greater Monrovia Area in Liberia; Bo, Kenema and the Western Areas in Sierra Leone; and the Forest Region of Guinea, with improvements in power supplies in the short-term. It also pursues a regional infrastructure developmental approach that will provide over the medium- to long-term adequate electricity to the people of the four countries in a more efficient and cost effective way, boosting economic and social development.



It will not be Business as Usual…Bio assures Diaspora

He was passionate, confident and assuring as he addressed hundreds of Sierra Leoneans at the prestigious Royal Regency Hall in London on Saturday 9th December 2017 with a very simple message that as the next President it will not be business as usual. For a man who has a solid track record as a disciplinarian, Rtd. Brigadier Julius Maada Bio continues to attract many voters who feel the country needs a strong and disciplined leadership.

Cataloguing the current state of the country, Bio spoke about a divided country, the poor drowning in poverty, rich swimming in affluence, poor governance, battered economy, high public debt, third hungriest country, high inflation among others . He also reminded his audience that many of the things which necessitated the war such as bad governance, mismanagement of the economy, injustice have been the features of the current APC Government.

However, Bio's message was not just about the doom and gloom but also making a case why he is the right choice that the country needs. He spoke about his track record, experience and how he has always put his country first. "Some have come with slogan, country first, but I served my country first at a very tender age. I did not go around the world to work and come back old to say country first. When I was young I gave my life to our country," a passionate Bio said.

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