Click here and search November 14, 2015 Spotlight/News analysis for audio. The discussion was very good and gives you a perspective on how to look at terrorism. So, don’t miss the audio.
The recent terror attacks in France shows that Islamic State (IS) has arisen in the global arena. IS has shown to the world that it has the capability to strike at any place in the world. Many terror outfits like Boko Haram in Nigeria, al-Shabaab in Somalia etc. have been shifting their allegiance from al-Qaeda to IS.
Why attack on France?
France has been pursuing a policy of aggressive secularism, in which it has banned wearing of scarf, cross and such other religious symbols in public places. This has angered many Islamic outfits. The freedom of expression in France is too liberal and it has resulted in the Charlie Hebdo attacks in the recent past. Also, France has huge expatriate population which hails from Maghrib region primarily of Arabic descent and they constitute almost 15% of France’s population. As a result, many terrorist outfits have been thriving for some time in France.
The latest terror attacks are said to be the revenge against France for its actions in Syria. France has adopted an aggressive foreign policy towards Syria. It has been in the forefront in derailing the President of Syria, Bashar al-Assad, without realising that such derailment and replacements often lead to chaos, as seen in Iraq and Libya. French assistance to the Opposition in Syria, which has close relations with al-Nusra (supported by al-Qaeda), has actually been flawed.
Did the global war on terror fail?
After the 9/11 attacks there was a feeling of global war being waged on terrorism – America invaded Afghanistan and Iraq. While the USA’s attack on Afghanistan to eliminate al-Qaeda and Taliban was a valid thing, their intervention into Iraq has enlarged the arena of conflict. The situation has given a greater opportunity for the al-Qaeda to expand into Iraq, Syria and the rest of the Middle East.
The Americans seems to have targeted the symptom rather than the cause. The western world has not really understood the theological aspects of Islam. Terrorism cannot be eliminated by aerial bombings. Most countries perceive terrorism as a problem of law and order. It cannot be won by battles and bullets; it has to be won by brains. That can happen only by a carefully calibrated de-radicalization programme.
One has to understand as to what is the attraction that these terror outfits hold for the youth. Most of the youth joining the terror outfits are from well educated background. Unless the governments understand the theological underpinnings behind the Islamic war that is attracting the youth from all corners of the world, it is not possible to win the war against terrorism. The two powerful de-radicalization tools are: Media and Education curriculum. The education curriculum should promote plurality. Similarly media should also bring out those aspects from Islam which talks about plurality and co-existence. There are many strands within Islam like Sufism which advocate peace, non-violence, harmony and which abhor violence. Such aspects should be highlighted, spread and educated.