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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

Managing Director of Rokel Commercial Bank, speaks to The Worldfolio about the investment opportunities in Sierra Leone

John D. Okrafo-Smart, Managing Director of Rokel Commercial Bank, speaks to The Worldfolio about the investment opportunities in Sierra Leone and gives his insight into the banking landscape.

Excerpts shared by Sheriff Mahmud Ismail

The Government of Sierra Leone is placing great priority in improving the business climate, enhancing infrastructure and support to private sector development. In line with the government focus, the Central Bank is targeting price stability in support of economic recovery, enhancing monetary policy instruments and liquidity management and also limiting intervention in the foreign exchange market, which will be important to preserve foreign exchange reserves.

The above measures will help in the strengthening of the banking system to support financial intermediation. Commercial banks are thus poised to benefit and take advantage of the improved economic and business environment by offering better services to their customers, including loans and overdrafts and forex to import, thereby creating wealth and boosting government revenue.


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.




Dr. Tam Baryoh’s Only Crime!

Boris Johnson as a Journalist worked at The Times and Daily Telegraph newspapers. He edited The Spectator newspaper between 1999 and 2006. He was Member of Parliament for Henley from 2001 to 2008 and was also Mayor of London. He is a member of the Conservative Party and the current UK Foreign Secretary.

Nnamdi Azikiwe was to serve as the first president of independent Nigeria from 1963 to 1966. He opened and edited a number of newspapers in Ghana and Nigeria and later became an active politician. Obafemi Awolowo was a great Nigerian politician. He also was an active journalist and edited The Nigerian Worker, amongst other publications.

There is a clear link between politics and journalism though, there seems to be a very thin boundary, or perhaps, “a reflective door in the firewall, such that with time, politicians and journalists cross the line changing roles and moving from side to side,” argues Aminat Afolabi in a piece, titled ‘Politics and Journalism, the Interwoven Relationship between Them.”


View Point

The APC Convention: A political façade, if not a joke!

Thanks to AYV partnered by AFCOM, I was able to followthe live coverage of the APC and SLPP conventions on my mobile phone from my base in the UK.It was good that both conventions took place simultaneously last week end (October 15-16, 2017) because, at the very least, it provided the opportunity to those keenly following the two historic events to compare and contrast them, not least in terms of democratic processes and procedures. Let me start by talking about how I saw the APC convention held in Makeni, then compare,and contrast it with what I saw at the SLPP convention held in Freetown.


News - Press Release

EU Election Exploratory Mission meets Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation

(MFAIC Press Office, 18th October, 2017). The European Union Election Exploratory Mission to Sierra Leone led by Head of European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone, H.E. Tom Vens has paid a working visit to the Minister, Dr. Samura M.W. Kamara and Senior Management Staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, at the Ministry’s office in Tower Hill, Freetown.

Ambassador Tom Vens stated that the EU Election Exploratory Mission is in Sierra Leone following an invitation by the Government of Sierra Leone for EU Electoral assistance, and to further discuss the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in facilitating EU Observer Mission for the March 2018 elections in the country. The EU Election Exploratory Missionas part of its mandate is in the country to draft and finalise the MOU with the Government of Sierra Leone through the Foreign Ministry.


Society -Local News

Abdul Nahim-Koroma's Life Is In Danger

Members of the Sierra Leone Drug Addiction Council are seriously concern about the life of Abdul Nahim-Koroma who disappeared March this year and his where about is still unknown.

According to sources, Mr. Nahim-Koroma’s problem started since 2011 when he put up resistance and went further to stop his family not to initiate his two daughters Rabiatu and Aliyah Nahim-Koroma into the Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) locally called bondo society in Sierra Leone.

A family member told this medium that since 2011 to date Abdul Nahim-Koroma’s life as well as his family members are in constant threats.



U.S. Ambassador launches National Early Warning Systems Project, funded by USAID

On Wednesday, October 18, U.S. Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Maria E. Brewer, announced the official launch of the USAID West Africa-funded “Mitigating Election Violence through National Early Warning Systems” (NEWS) project and the inauguration of the National Elections Response Group in Sierra Leone.

Supported by $500,000 from USAID, NEWS is implemented by the West African Network for Peacebuilding (WANEP) in Sierra Leone. The focus is to monitor and identify potential electoral violence triggers and assist government and non-government organizations in Sierra Leone to better mitigate them.
The National Elections Response Group (NERG) is a partnership under the NEWS project, between WANEP, the Inter-Religious Council, the Campaign for Good Governance, government stakeholders, representatives from the National Electoral Commission, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Office of National Security (ONS) and a number of civil society organizations.

The primary objective of the National Elections Response Group (NERG) is to monitor the elections environment, develop, and recommend strategies and actions to relevant stakeholders with authority to implement necessary response actions to prevent escalation of tensions or incidence of violence for a peaceful 2018 election. Members of the NERG will work closely with WANEP, the Integrated Election Security Planning Committee under the ONS, Provincial and District Election Security Committees – PROSEC and DISEC with an extensive network of civil society organizations and with 60 community monitors across the country to identify potential risks of electoral violence.



PRESIDENT KOROMA SAYS… “I am very proud of Ansumana Usman Koroma”

President Dr Ernest BaiKoroma has informed Sierra Leoneans that, “I am very proud that we have people like Ansumana. We need many more Ansumana Usman Koromas that will go out there as Ambassadors of our country, showing and telling a good story about Sierra Leone.”

Whilst speaking at his Presidential office in Freetown, President Koroma affirmed that, “I am very proud of Ansumana and I am encouraging him to do more by helping his people.”

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