“It found the Salafi-jihadist groups shared nearly identical ideologies and said challenging their interpretation of Islam was critical to defeating them.” I couldn’t agree more that their ideology has to be challenged. But challenging it on spurious grounds will prove futile. Pretending that they’re misunderstanding the Book of Peace and the peaceful teachings of Muhammad is just whistling in the dark. It is contrary to fact, and isn’t going to accomplish anything.
“Blair: ‘Perversion of Islam’ behind Middle East problems,” by Susannah Cullinane, CNN, October 6, 2015:
(CNN)The “perversion of Islam is the source of a lot of the problems in the Middle East,” and more than force is needed to tackle extremism, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Tuesday.
Blair spoke to CNN after Tuesday’s release of the report “Inside the Jihadi Mind.”
The Centre on Religion and Geopolitics — an initiative of Blair’s Tony Blair Faith Foundation — analyzed propaganda from ISIS, al Qaeda and al-Nusra Front over two years for the report.
It found the Salafi-jihadist groups shared nearly identical ideologies and said challenging their interpretation of Islam was critical to defeating them.
“There’s no point in just tackling the violence unless you tackle the ideology of extremism behind the violence,” Blair said.
“You’ve got these broad ideological strands that lie behind a lot of this extremism. If you take, for example, some of the organizations in the Middle East, some of those clerics that are putting out the most extreme stuff — they’ll have Twitter followings that go into millions of people.
“These people are saying things about Jewish people — about even those in their own religion who are different that we would regard as completely unacceptable — and it’s those waters of extremism in which the violent extremists can swim,” he said.
“The majority of people within Islam do not support either the violence or the ideology. What we are talking about, however, is a radical Islamist way of thinking that results in extremism by small numbers of people, but that thinking is shared by larger numbers of people, and you’ve got to attack both — the violence and the extremism, the thinking behind it,” Blair said.
He said countries where extremism had taken hold needed to overhaul their education systems.
“We’ve got to use our negotiating power and might with these countries to say, ‘You’re going to have to reform the education systems that are educating millions of young people day in and day out to a view of the world that’s narrow-minded, bigoted and hostile to those who are different.’ “…
The “Inside the Jihadi Mind” report authors said the propaganda of ISIS, al Qaeda and al-Nusra Front was built on shared “distorted religious principles” and produced “single-minded focus on violent jihad.”
“When they attack one another, it is not ideological differences that drives the conflict, but differing narratives: the ways in which they apply their ideology to reality,” the report said.
“The Salafi-jihadi movement will not be defeated by focusing on these narratives: it will only be defeated if we understand and engage the ideology.”
Ed Husain, the foundation’s senior adviser, said the groups “call for a caliphate of slavery, death and destruction.”
“They justify their evil by abusively citing Scripture and creating religious certainty in the minds of angry, eager and obedient recruits,” he said.
Ed Husain is thus pushing the idea that Islam is a religion of peace when its scripture is properly understood. This has never actually been established. Most of the touted Islamic refutations of the jihadi scriuptural case simply ignore the Qur’an passages that the jihadis actually use. Take, for example, Dr. Muhammad Tahir ul-Qadri’s much-ballyhooed and quite lengthy fatwa against terrorism: never once does it mention the Qur’an’s verses that exhort believers to kill unbelievers (2:191, 4:89, 9:5, etc.). Clearly it is meant to lull non-Muslims into complacency rather than to convince jihadis to lay down their arms.
…”Counter-narratives must embrace the power of popular culture as well as the authority of religious voices to succeed. Meanwhile, many disenfranchised returning fighters have an important role to play in debunking the legitimacy of this ideology.”
The center also recommended giving support to grass-roots Muslim responses and helping technology companies such as Twitter and YouTube promote “credible religious sharable material that rebuts the jihadi message.”…
Yes, after all these years we’re still waiting for that rebuttal.