|The so-called 'Jihadi' John. image courtesy telegraph.co.uk|
As long as the narrative of Muslim victimization by the West will prevail among the Muslim youth , cases like that of Jihadi John and of absconding would-be-Jihadi-brides will keep on happening.
It is easy for organisations like CAGE to blame the security agencies for exploiting Emwazi and others like him for some vague, half-baked undercover operations. But this stance only reinforces the view that many bright, young Muslim men and women are being viewed as the enemy without any justification. I for one cannot believe this narrative.
We can see a thriving and diverse, young, Muslim subculture in all major cities of the country. Teenagers, university students, graduate workers and young skilled migrants from all over are thrown together in Islamic societies, mosque study circles, sheesha lounges, snooker clubs etc.
Some of these gatherings are either run by or are frequented by politically motivated Islamists. Add to this mix the poisonous Salafist/Wahabi preaching and you get a generation of cultural narcissists who have lost their minds to the myth of a global Islamist state.
IS may be condemned in these circles, but there will be some who will marvel at its successes. Israeli atrocities, the massacre of the Rohingya people, the Chinese suppression of the Uyghurs and the drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and Afghanistan are also hot topics in such gatherings.
Young girls wishing to be empowered look to break free from a South Asian/Middle Eastern patriarchy only to fall prey to the promises of an even more misogynistic radical cult.
We did not lose these teenagers after the intervention by MI5. In fact, a majority of these gap-year Jihadis have surfaced in Syria to the shock and horror of their families as well as to their respective governments.
We had lost them between their mosques and University campuses.
MI5 picked on only the most rotten ones. I do not say that the over-zealous security agencies are not to blame for pushing a few psychopaths over the edge; but that they are also guilty of entrapping some dimwit fantasists and in doing so, providing the media with an all-you-can-eat buffet of potential Islamophobic headlines.
Parents, Imams and charismatic preachers are the main culprits. If your faith does not offer you reconciliation between your spiritual needs and the world you live in, and pitches you against the very society you inhabit, that faith needs to be discarded. These young people have been fed this dogmatic faith at home, at their mosques and in their university's Islamic society.
Regardless of what the 'moderates' among the Sunni and Shia clerics say to condemn ISIS and the wayward youth who go and join them, the real problem still remains.
Why is that hundreds of Islamic Organisations in the UK have failed to gain consensus on the most basic of issues. i.e., freedom of conscience. Those who have spoken against the issues of apostasy and blasphemy have been sidelined. The mainstream is pretending its best to reform, but there is no evidence of actual reform taking place. If over 20% of Muslims feel some kind of sympathy for the Charlie Hebdo murderers, many would have only condemned it conditionally.
I say this because the 'Preacher Circuit' of Muslim clerics around the UK is overwhelmingly represented by political Islamists. People who can produce moderate views for the consumption of the others, but for their own congregations they speak about the Utopian 'Islamic state' where punishments for apostasy, blasphemy and adultery/homosexuality would be carried out. Such preachers are routinely barred from university campuses but their notoriety only helps their impact online.
As long as we have such preachers who are deluding their audiences about the ideal Islamic state we cannot feel safe. We need to challenge these people publicly, in their congregations, on their TV channels and websites and twitter-feeds. A robust and aggressive theological debate which should be led by reasonable Muslims themselves is the best way forward. When they are defeated ideologically at home, we will be able to defeat them overseas as well.
|Guardian's Blogging the Quran: One of the most effective ways of bringing the debate within Islam to the public.|
Our Media can help by allowing the reformists to have their say against such hate preachers and by hosting and publishing such debates for all to make up their own minds about Islam and Islamism.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, One of the leading reform movements in Islam is based in the UK. The current head of the movement, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih, Mirza Masroor Ahmad has called for greater scrutiny of the content of what is being said by the clerics. Also, he has advised that law enforcement agencies should be armed and ready for any attacks on the targets at home. In his speech at a major peace symposium last year, his Holiness also pointed out to the fact that ISIS has a continuous and robust supply line of arms and other resources.
|Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V|
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V will be speaking again at a similar event on 14th of March this year.