How can the Vicious Circle of Radicalism and Terror Be Broken?
As stated in earlier sections, one concrete fact stands after 13 years of military operations, from Afghanistan to Libya and from Nigeria to Iraq; radical terrorist groups have not ceased to exist through military force, violence and oppression, and to the contrary, they’ve grown even stronger.
What is more, all kinds of military operations, including air strikes and ground operations just lead to more civilian deaths, damage cities and destroy infrastructure, resulting in mounting fury in the countries concerned and that fury mostly benefits radical organisations. Spending billions of dollars on producing people opposing it, and thus providing human resources for terror organisations, is a most undesirable state of affairs.
Although killing off the leaders of terror organisations is presented as an effective technique by some military analysts, looked at from a wider perspective, no results are actually obtained from it at all. The killing of Osama bin Laden obviously did not spell the end of al-Qaeda.
Besides, terror organisations are capable of skilfully turning even these armed attacks against them into propaganda. They have the skills to portray the attacks against them as evidence of the righteous nature of their cause. For that reason, organisations either grow stronger or continue their activities underground and that makes the military struggle against them ineffective.
In order to break the spiral of terror, socioeconomic improvements need to be made and policies such as ensuring the implementation of democratic processes clearly need to be brought to the fore in regions where there are intense terrorist activities. In order for all these things to happen, however, it is essential to remove the ignorance that lie at the roots of all the errors of a radical mindset. The way to do that is through educational and cultural activities. Correct education with accurate ideas needs to be implemented, this would be far more economical than spending trillions of dollars on weaponry and later spending billions more on humanitarian aid, and is a method that will produce infinitely better results.
A. Military Budgets Billion $ US Dollars
The world states pour money into fighting extremism with armed force; yet this menace keeps growing. An educational mobilisation against terrorist organisations is what it will take to prevent the outrageous terror all over the world.
It is possible to stop these militants before they turn into killers through precautions taken against the intellectual foundations of these organisations. Moreover, it would then be possible to prevent new recruitment to those organisations. No terror organisation could ever resist such an intellectual struggle via television and radio and the internet. A movement that loses its intellectual basis cannot survive. The states should either take over this task or support non-governmental organisations that make themselves available for this task.
An educational mobilisation against all terrorist organisations, no matter what their ideological roots are, is what it will take to prevent the outrageous terror we encounter all over the world.
NATO keeps pouring money into fighting extremism with armed force; yet why does this menace keep growing? The answer is in the direction the finances are being directed. Trying to fight an extremist ideology solely with physical force will do little but increase the number of the supporters of that ideology. As the military campaign in the region costs more innocent human lives, the relatives and the close circle of those who died in those attacks will be motivated to join the extremists due to their resentments toward the West.
Such dangerous movements must be brought to an end and their ideological basis should be annihilated all over the world. As a matter of fact, this is something that can only be done by the Middle Eastern nations with the help of their Western allies. In that regard, in order to eradicate radicalism and its effects globally, and to uphold the positive ideals of humanity such as democracy, pluralism and human rights, education is the most important step. To prevent the proliferation of radicalism – a major threat against global security – world leaders should realize the urgent need for an intellectual campaign and seek ways to correct ignorance with intellectual efforts.
THE TRUE COST OF MILITARY EQUIPMENT SPENDING
The U.S. military budget increased by 104% over 11 consecutive years. Expenditure of $354 billion in 2001 rose to $721 billion by 2011.
The money spent on the military could be invested in health and education instead, and employment opportunities could be employed for thousands of people.
These two pages show some examples of how military spending could have been employed in other fields.
The Charlie Hebdo Attack:
An Example that Shows the Importance of Intellectually Countering Terrorism
One of the most horrid acts of radical terrorism that we have been describing in this book is no doubt the murder of 12 staff of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. After this attack, synagogues, mosques, Islamic organisations, kosher stores and graveyards have also been under threat. The attack on a meeting held in Denmark to commemorate the Charlie Hebdo staff highlighted the severity of the situation one more time.
A vicious circle of hatred seems to have formed and this cycle hurts the ordinary, innocent people the most. The radicals of every philosophy have the potential to make Europe uninhabitable for everyone and mostly for minorities like Muslims and Jews. Terrorism, anarchy and violence are therefore the biggest problems of this century. The Islamic world in particular is suffering the most from this affliction. However, we have to reiterate yet again that terrorism has no religion.
A vicious circle of hatred seems to have formed and this cycle hurts the ordinary, innocent people the most.
Terrorism and violence are the inevitable results of an education system that believes human beings are mere animals fighting for their lives in a cruel setting; this system teaches people cruelty, selfishness and mercilessness. In this system, altruism, cooperation, compassion and love are not valuable. A human becomes strong only if he is cruel and selfish. When a spiritually weak person is educated like this and especially if he doesn’t know how to use his conscience, he will be easily swayed by any ideology that sees “violence as a means to prove himself and to obtain his rights.” To sum it up, a person who is trained with such education can be convinced to adopt the ways of terrorists, sometimes through communist principles and sometimes through radical influences which pose as Islamic. For this reason, the first measure the world needs to take against terrorism is fixing this wrong education system.
It is true that content of Charlie Hebdo and other similar publications offend Muslims. This magazine published content that offended not only Muslims, but also Christians, Jews, Buddhists and many other people. However, what a Muslim should do in the face of such a situation is resorting to legal recourses, to ask that his values are not offended. Better yet, he can approach the offenders (or those with similar ideas) in a friendly manner and explain to them - kindly - that their attitude is not nice, that humour can be made in a more elegant style, and encourage them to adopt a more loving and compassionate attitude instead. They can write and talk about the fact that such wrong ideas should be fixed and let the whole world know about these facts. However, a Qur’an-abiding Muslim can never kill another person simply because the other person doesn’t follow Islam.
On the other hand, all around the world, murders are being committed and brutal acts are carried out in the name of Islam and the victims of these horrible acts are most typically Muslims. Scores of Muslims lose their lives everyday as a result of terrorist attacks carried out around the world.
It should be kept in mind that what these people live is not an Islam based on the Qur’an, but radicalism. The radicalism that emerged after the passing of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) has produced rules that are non-existent in religion and, using the name of God and the Prophet (pbuh), created a whole new religion. This system that developed based on fabricated hadiths has no room for love, compassion, friendship, respect for women, peace, beauty, art or science; in other words, for the things that bring joy to people. There is only room for oppression, coercion, cruelty and violence. The radical system virtually seeks to bury people alive and takes away everything beautiful using the name of Islam.
Therefore, it is of paramount importance that in the efforts to explain the fact that Islam is a religion of peace, their explanations must be based on the Qur’an. It is technically impossible for a person who defends a version of Islam that is full of the radicals’ superstitions, fabricated hadiths and accounts to talk about peace and love.
This truth provides guidance not only to Muslims but also to the Western world that wishes to stop terrorism: The way to stop the so-called Islamic terrorism is intellectually eradicating the ideas that feed it. As long as the radical state of mind persists, bombing the Muslim world with drones, sending troops, or killing terrorist leaders, retaliating to violence with more violence, will not end terrorism. On the contrary, it will fuel it and make it even a bigger monster. Anything that would exacerbate hatred and hostility should be carefully avoided and an environment of ideas rather than one of weapons should be built.
Let us reiterate: terror is unacceptable in any form. In particular, equating Islam, which regards the killing of one person as equivalent to the killing of all mankind, with terror is one of the most terrible tragedies of our century. However, terror will not disappear by holding protest marches on the streets, nor through condemnations by politicians, nor through simply repeating, “Islam is a religion of peace.” The fact that Islam is a religion of peace is in the Qur’an, and that fact needs to be proclaimed to the world, persistently and with full supporting evidence, through education. The Islamic world also needs to be purged of nonsense: Western support is of course important for that, but it is Muslims who need to do the job.