UI – Part 358 – The Radicalization of Moderate Muslims
With over 1.5 Billion Muslims in the world, and the vast majority considered moderate, what might happen if they become more political, more fundamental, more strident in the ideology and religion of Islam?
Examining the make up of Muslims worldwide we can look to the most populated Muslim areas. Indonesia is the largest with 209 million. Except for Egypt (80 million) there are no Arab Muslim Countries in the top 10. The Arab Muslim Countries are in the Middle East and along the coast of North Africa. In the Middle East (Syria south to Yemen and Oman) there are 124 Million. North Africa [Morocco east to Libya, to include Egypt and Sudan (7 countries)] there are 195 million Muslims. Egypt is Arab, but not tribal. Only 15-16% of the word’s Muslim population is Arab.
A person who grows up in any of these countries becomes more a part of the environment, the foods, the attitudes and the habits than Islam. Before they would say they are Muslim they would refer to themselves as Indonesian or Malaysian, or an Afghani, Turkish or Egyptian, Iranian or Moroccan. Most Muslims are not devout in their individual religious practices (Fardu Ain). They tend to see Allah as an overseer to which those who are faithful will be rewarded. What they know they learned from oral sources. There are mosques and schools (madrasas) where an Islamic education is possible, but most attend public schools with a goal to have a skill, an education, that can provide a job. Few are intent on becoming a scholar of Islam. After the fall of the Ottoman empire what was taught was patterned more after western education as people who sought education wanted to find work. Religious education was obtained after school.
“Education is one of the most important aspects in human development and perhaps the most influential social institution in any societies.” (Islamic Religious Curriculum in Muslim Countries: The Experiences of Indonesia and Malaysia, by Che Noraini Hashim* & Hasan Langgulung. From: Bulletin of Education & Research June 2008, Vol. 30, No. 1, pp. 1-19) The statement is counter to the facts. 6 of 10 Muslims are illiterate, the numbers higher for females and slightly lower for males. Indonesia is among the highest whose population receives a secondary education – 70%. In Pakistan 36% of people receive no formal education, which would be elementary or high school level education. In Saudi Arabia educating men and women is high (99%), while in Iran it is 84%. In the paper from which the quote was taken there was a discussion about a required framework of Islam around all curriculums. As a religious curriculum it would focus on the Quran, the spread of Islam (proselytizing), the Hadiths, Sharia Law and foreign languages. Western education remains a strong component as families want their children, those they send to school, to be more prepared to deal with the world as a whole. This is an evolving process in Muslim areas.
When residents of any of these Muslim countries emigrate they retain more the culture of their homeland than a foundation in Islam. Historically they have a desire to adjust to their new home and become educated, learn the language, find gainful employment, and fit in. Recently the immigration to Europe has faced a new reality. Those coming to the EU are refuges seeking an escape from the civil wars in their regions. They are young and ignorant of western standards regarding women’s rights, human rights, and the role of a male in society. They are not necessarily seeking a new world. They reflect the standard of education in their homeland, mostly Syria. They are not devout Muslims and most are not radical. But, some may be infiltrators seeking to disrupt the western ideals embraced in the Countries where they end up.
As the immigrants age and marry and have children they continue with their lives until the kids come home with attitudes less to the liking of the parent. The parents blame their new environment, a freer society from that which they emigrated, with tempting evils readily available from sex to drugs to music, rap and rock & roll, to dress and desires foreign to them. They were able to avoid the temptations, maintaining their homeland hereditary customs, but not the kids. They became more French, or German, or Swiss or American. Many parents then sought to have the children educated in their faith, Islam, feeling ill-equipped to teach at home the basics such as the codes (wajib = obligations, Haram = forbidden), the principles, and the guidance. Those who took to their new learning and became stronger in the practices and requirements of Islam distinguished themselves from their parents. They showed little attachment for the homeland of their folks and a greater association with the ideology of Islam. They became Islamized. Also referred to as Radicalized.
The teaching of the children occurs primarily in mosques. Mosques, and I am not the first to say this, are controlled mostly by extremists. That label may be simply due to the fact the Imams are well versed in the Quran and the tenants of Islam. When in mosques outside Muslim controlled countries the Imams are primarily imported. They may or may not be radical. They find also the freedoms in the west abhorrent to Islam as the goal of Islam is to build a virtual wall around temptations. The reason, look what the presence of women did to a mob of Muslim male immigrants who grabbed and groped and violated them recently in Cologne, Germany. If restrictions had been placed on these females, such as the Burka or hijab, or just kept indoors, then these atrocious acts would not have taken place (according to the Imams). In the west the fault is on the male perpetrator. From where these young men came, the fault is on the women. The recent immigration numbers in Germany exceeded one million, the vast majority Muslim. Out of the largesse of its oil fields and their heart for Allah, Saudi Arabia has offered to build 200 mosques in Germany the focus of which will be Wahhabism. Wahhabism is an interpretation of the Quran, the Hadiths and the Sunnah (sayings of Muhammad) that return a fundamentalist to the practices employed in the 7th Century in Medinah and the region where Muhammad’s ideology first spread.
If the now Islamized youth go on to higher education and begin to associate with others who have reached the same level of religious Islamic education, and then are courted by Islamist organizations with a radical orientation as the Muslim Brotherhood, or the Muslim Student Associations, or the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, they can become organized. Will they remain moderate? Will they see Islam in a different light, possibly object to the reality of this barbaric ideology and find a new path, even convert? Or will they become radicalized?
As a radicalized Islamist they accept the practices of the Prophet and the hatred towards non-Muslims, the infidels, even seeing other Muslims not of the same mindset as to ‘true Islam’ as heretics. The politics of Islam become a focus and their (the radicalized, the Islamist) goal one of helping to establish new territories for Allah. Spreading Islam at all costs becomes the objective having been taught that any who resist are the aggressors. Such resistance can take just about any form, verbal or physically violent. Those that simply question the ideology or even a person approaching with a Bible may engender verbal or violent reactions. Those that resist are said to be persecuting the radical Islamist and are the aggressors to which the Islamist must respond; thus they justify their actions as defensive. The presence of a Christian or Jew may be enough by itself to stir the ire of the radical. It is a societal ill, as they see it. A free country where paganism (atheism) runs rampant with insufficient moral curbs in place (to their liking or that of their moral guide – the Imam) permits violent actions, justified as Allah’s Will, bringing attention to the fact Islam is coming and the land of the free is open for Holy War. That is Jihad.
Beware of the progression for radicalization of those Muslims, identifying more with the ideology of Islam and finding less of a connection with the homeland of their parents and ancestors. Those so radicalized are referred to specifically as “Islamists” by Daniel Pipes, President of the Middle East Forum. His definition, “By Islamists (as opposed to moderates), I mean those approximately 10-15 percent of Muslims who seek to apply Islamic Law (the Shari’a) in its entirety. Islamists, not all Muslims, are the modern barbarians….” Which aspect of the ideology do they accept? If it is of the Salafi or Wahhabists schools they may be fodder for the likes of ISIS or Al Qaeda or the Taliban, attaching themselves to their thinking and the actions they take to grow their Caliphate. These are young men and women which today comprise as much as 60% of the population in Muslim controlled areas. They are mostly unemployed and when idle turn to avenues that can provide them money and something to do. If displaced from their own countries, such as the Syrian refugees, without a purposeful activity to occupy their time and minds, they may be subject to the overtures being made by those seeking the apocalypse.
For those who have lived or been born in the West, over time they too may wrongly take up the sword of Muhammad to extirpate the world of Christians and Jews, other infidels and heretics, making it a place All for Allah.
All for Allah
All for Allah does not mean peace; it is obvious, even today, that the many facets of Islam are as a piano that is badly in need of tuning. The spread of Islam and adopting some or all of Islamic Law into a new arena, even tightening up the jurisprudence of Sharia in a given locale, eventually leads to a police state. It leads to a theocracy where private guards, special forces, are trained to protect the autocrats and quiet any dissent. Think Iran or Saudi Arabia. A undermining current of revolution becomes ever present and the future is never stable. The Imams teach and promote the most fundamental, disciplined, obligations of Islam, be they Sunni or Shiite or some other interpretation. It can never be paradise as even those at the top will sin, they are weak, and provide less than a perfect example of the Wajib of Islam. They will continue to live in Haram, a world of forbidden fruits, but hidden in a lie as if Allah is the god to whom they are an example and fully obedient. They will be but as Muhammad, a standard bearer for his monotheistic Being, but mortal and subject to personal whims, even to the extent he made exceptions for himself to be more self-indulgent that his followers. Neither Allah nor Muhammad can lead their companions to salvation. What they do will not earn them a place in eternity.
Grace and Peace