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Causes and Way Forward...

Terrorism has been and will remain present in one or the other form in this world. Not because someone like it, but because our policies want it to be there. Nonetheless, the phenomenon has taken most of the Muslims in its fold than any other religion after September the 11th attacks. Placement of right psychological themes at right places at the most opportune times was the hallmark of the western strategy to malign Islam, and of course they are harvesting at the right time. Whereas, Muslim world happily provided those vulnerabilities for their optimum exploitation to the western world. Almost 5-6 years following the 9/11 attacks, Muslim countries could not understand what was going around them, why it was happening and what it will take? The situation engulfed almost the whole of Middle East in the meantime. By the time they started to understand what was going on and wanted to take counter measures, countries of North Africa and the Middle East starting from west began to witness so called Arab Spring. Which didn’t allow most of them to get stable and fight the menace in a way it should have been. The time had passed, which was wasted in strengthening either kingships or dictatorial regimes and no heed was paid to develop or transform societies.

Muslim world remained in deep slumber when there was need to develop their societies and direct their huge human resource towards productive engagements. Some of them even chose to continue to sleep in-spite of being bullied by the foreign powers and their vested interests. Instead of realizing that they are confronting hell, they still indulged in blame game, proxies and were happy to turn face from a stark reality. Many of them are still interested in widening their sectarian differences and not paying attention to build their societies. They are nervous to allow democracies to flourish and develop their democratic institutions. Some of Muslim countries still have huge ungoverned spaces which are breading grounds for terrorists. In-spite of caution from leading western think tanks, they are not ready to plug in such gaps. Some rulers in the Middle East are not yet ready to embrace change; they are rather forgering alliances to fight against each other. This offers opportunity to those who want to utilize these uneducated and deprived masses of Muslim societies for their nefarious designs.

Of late some countries have been seen making efforts to counter terrorism and trying to eliminate it from their lands. Various strategies by different states are being used, but interestingly the evil is spreading instead of diminishing. Terrorism cannot finish by simply ousting few terrorists from one soil to the other. Since, psychologically human beings are very reactive, therefore solely use of force is becoming counterproductive, hence inviting retaliation from extremist elements in the form of terrorism. Most of the people who go astray, are those, who were economically and socially deprived, used by their leaders due to their lack of education and right knowledge about their religion and left unattended. Addressing these issues in poor and deprived societies are interestingly, the responsibilities of state. So, it is sheer negligence on the part of the government along-with some responsibility of the society to identify and raise voice for the uplift and well-being of these strata of society.

In this backdrop, there has been a dire need to evolve and implant a comprehensive counter strategy. Counter strategy, for many countries and governments has been only launching military operations and using law enforcement tools for the eradication of terrorism. None of them, including the most affected nations, ever brain stormed what actually counter strategy means? It is here, where these countries are failing; they might have resolve to actually fight terrorism and make their countries really peaceful. But unfortunately, the whole research, data and analysis of those segments of societies who are being used for terrorism is lying with their wire pullers. Salute to the impressive strategy, which did not allow time and space to those countries who wanted to take counter measures, and exploited those whose leadership wants these strategic assets for their proxies.

Whenever you want to divert or modify behavior of desired audience, you need to provide them with good workable alternative, and ideology in the case of terrorism. Until these people are provided with equally good alternative or ideology and incentive why they would change their minds? People, who are misguided or mislead, if they wanted to come back, where they should fall back? They are not being offered with an option to resume normal life. This is that critical space where leadership of the Muslim world has actually failed. It is a generations process; things that got worse due to decades of negligence, cannot be put right over night with use of force only. Governments and societies will have to work hand in glove 24/7 for a foreseeable future to mitigate the effects of terrorism, put broken fiber of their societies in order and transform them.

Some multidimensional strategies would be needed for the rehabilitation of such individuals. Any person caught involved in any act of terrorism or on suspicion or facilitation of terrorism related activities alongwith those who are involved in supporting, promoting or subscribing to extremist ideas about any religion would be required to be kept under watch. They should be thoroughly screened over a reasonable period of time and extremist or terrorist mentality individuals be segregated. This pains taking and time consuming process is so crucial that it can become corner stone of a country’s segregation and rehabilitation efforts and will go a long way in eradicating this evil.

For the segregated people, there is then need to chalk out a comprehensive plan of rehabilitation; whereby, they could be assisted to lead a normal life through psychological, social and economic rehabilitation measures. Terrorism struck nations perhaps, need to develop such centers rather than constructing prisons and detention facilities. If any such country calculates the cost of transformation and rehabilitation of broken strata of their society, astonishingly it would cost less than what they are spending and still losing by not addressing the evil in a proper manner. Surprise that the enemy has achieved under the umbrella of terrorism and a lack of strategy have caught the Muslim world from their neck.

Therefore, there is a need to unite above sectarian divide and put own house in order. Modern education system involving extensive research would be required. Government's scrutiny of religious and hate material alongwith national debate for developing moderate societies is necessary. Role of media is of paramount importance in highlighting right from wrong. Political leadership of the Muslim world needs to devise and implement Nation Building centric policies instead of promoting religious cum sectarian proxies. There is a need for transformation in a peaceful manner; transformation will otherwise take place, but it will take even more toil and blood than they have seen until now.

My Question is: How much Muslim world would like to be exploited and degraded due to their own folies and negligence…..!

By: Saeed Muhammad

28 Jan 2016

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