Counter-Terrorism: Countering Radicalisation by Teaching Secularism?



Counter-radicalisation is a Holistic Measure implemented ahead of time before violent ideology takes root. This measure is the preferred one by some religious people, community organisers and some politicians. But how effective can it be? Let's start the debate and see. 

An article titled “Taking Jihad to School – French Programs Emphasize Secularism”, by Abigail R. Esman, explains how France – since the recent terrorist attacks in Paris – is focused on countering the radicalisation of the Muslim youth through the teaching of secularism:

'Since 2012, for instance, the Catholic University of Lyon has offered classes on secularism for imams and other Muslims working in the civic sphere. In the wake of the January attacks, according to recent reports by Elisabeth Bryant, France plans to make such education mandatory across the country, enrolling "hundreds of imams," along with "chaplains working in prisons or the military." Prisons are known to be hotbeds for radical Islam and recruiting for jihad; Coulibaly converted to radical Islam while serving time in Fleury-Mérogis Prison, as did Cherif Kouachi, one of the two brothers who carried out the Jan. 7 Charlie Hebdo attacks.

Even more significant, France now is taking its war against radical Islam and racism to the schools, from teacher training to the addition of courses in secularism and ethics to the standard school curriculum. It is an initiative the rest of Europe – and the United States – would be well-advised to consider as well.”'

This French endeavour presents a serious problem: it may be in contempt of Islam. This belief system states that secularism is Kufr (unbelief):

“Secularism is based on separating religion from all the affairs of this life and hence, it rules by law and regulations other than Allah's laws. Hence, secularism rejects Allah's rules with no exception and prefers regulations other than Allah's and His Messenger's. In fact, many secularists claim that Allah's laws might have been suitable for the time they were revealed but are now outdated. As a result, most of the laws governing the daily affairs of life in the countries ruled by secular systems contradict Islam.” (source)

What was/is the French Catholic University, in Lyon, trying to do; encourage French Imams to revolutionise Islam from without (i.e. in the diaspora)? In this case, counter-radicalisation can be equated to some sort of coercion: if you want to live in peace in our midst, you have to change Islam or change the way Islam is practised in the West. A priori, it sounds like a good plan; but even this poses a severe problem, especially when Muslims pray facing Mecca, in Saudi Arabia – the Supreme Minaret – a country that professes the “purest” form of Islam. But even though the French Imams are willing to participate in the secularism classes, what guarantees do we have that they have the authority to practise a different kind of Islam? What message are they sending Saudi Arabia? Furthermore, what kind of precedents does this holistic measure open?

France, with its holistic act, may be stirring a hornet's nest – the Catholic University has been lecturing Imams, and community organisers, on secularism and ethics since 2012 (overlooking, thus, a stark difference between Christianity and Islam [secularism does not hold the first in contempt] and suggesting there's no ethics in Islam). How many Islamic terrorist attacks has France suffered since that year? 14 (6 in 2012; 2 in 2013; 2 in 2014; 4 in 2015) plus 5 foiled attacks since the Charlie Hebdo and Cacher Supermarket tragedies. In light of these facts, it can be said that the Catholic endeavour failed (particularly when we look at the evidence that Islamic terror is becoming more lethal, in Europe). Therefore, what will be repercussions of forcing Muslim students to have classes on secularism and ethics in state schools? European countries and the US should think twice before following the French example. 
Time is running thin, threats are increasing and holistic measures don't seem to be improving the situation. Why is that? Because they are constructed under the Western perspective; they are built on our version of democratic values and our standards of morals; they shy away from the obvious problem; and, thus, they can't possibly bear any wholesome fruits. 

Before we ask the military to go easy on their operations, we should all take lessons on Islam and on the Middle East (the source of the mindset). We need to learn concepts such as collective religious identity (which the secular West knows nothing about), we need to understand that the Islamic community has been trying to change and adapt to us for centuries with no success, because the Islamic tradition comes always first. Trying to ignore that, trying to impose our perspective of life on Islam renders any endeavour, as well-intentioned as it may be, null and void; because it will always face resistance and resentment. 

So, does counter-radicalisation work? Not in the present framework, not as long as we continue to look at the issue from our arrogant, condescending and delusional perspective. More importantly, it will never work as long as the other side is unwilling to listen, to compromise and to change by itself, for itself. 

(Image: Demon - Mihály Zichy)

Comments

  1. France is whistling in the dark. This is one exercise that they will regret even having tried.

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    1. Hi Rummy :D!

      Oh yes, it is (but what to expect from socialist idealists?).
      I agree with you.

      Rummy, thank you so much for your comment :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  2. One more useless measure. Yet they'll say "we have to try something!"

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    1. Hi Anonymous :D!

      Well, it can be indeed argued that we have to experiment theories in order to either prove them wrong or right. The problem is, in the process we may cause even more troubles (as it seems to be the case here). Having ideas is good but they need to be well thought through before being implemented.

      Anon, thank you so much for your comment :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  3. Well intended but counter-terrorism holistic measures do not work. And they will never work as long as they are designed under false issues and ideology. Moreover, this article speaks of something very important: the absolute lack of knowledge, disregard and disrespect for Islamic tradition and ethics; that will only foster more resentment. No, I'm afraid the solution to counter terrorism must be more "aggressively subtle".

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    1. Hi Cristina :D!

      What an honour to have you here with us *bowing*.
      Ideology can get in the way, true. True, that's why we suggest that the first step to be taken is to study Islam (not just Arabic) before designing such offensive measures.
      "Aggressively subtle", what do you mean by that?

      Cristina, thank you so much for your comment, girl :D. Always a pleasure.

      Cheers

      Delete
  4. I see many problems with this so called holistic measure, being one of them the precedent that it opens: today they are disrespecting Islam, tomorrow they will disrespect Judaism. Are Catholics going to teach us about Ethics too?
    Anyhow, this will bring problems cause Muslims know very well that secularism is not their thing, and what we are seeing with ISIL, Hamas, the Wahabbis in Saudi Arabia is exactly the battle against secularism and it's right at our door. So these politicians are all a bunch of idiots.

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    1. Hi Ana Raquel :D!

      There is a resistance to secularism going on right now, yes; and westerners don't seem to get it. They are under the illusion that our democratic and modern model is one size-fit-all, and it's not. But hey, it will be interesting to see how they will sort it out, won't it?
      One thing is certain, though: these holistic measures seem feeble.

      Raquel, thank you so much for your comment, girl :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  5. With Moslems there can be no disagreement on their sacred text, but passions, especially of radicals, spill over and there is disagreement on the interpretation of their text, and also on the form of theological and thus political power succession - thus the main flaming sword between Shia and Sunni. The intensity of belief in Moslems can be immense. So that when one faction of Islam disagrees with another there is war. The Sunnis and the Shia have fought such a war against each other for centuries. But when a common enemy arises such as a prosperous Infidel nation, such as America, then they do join forces and assist each other. As demonstrated by Wahhabist Sunni Al Qaeda and Shia Iran's cooperation leading to 9/11.

    The Roman Catholic Church has a doctrine of Infallibility and that has only been implemented twice so far. With penalty of excommunication. Rulings from the papal authority of Infallibility prevent any variance or evolution of ideas, any moderation of belief. Outside of that doctrine’s enforcement the Church, the people, can vary and moderate any excesses and meet modern needs. For Islam however, Infallibility applies across all of the text of the Koran. There is no room to officially modify or tone down any excessive instructions in the Koran. Sura 5:-101: “O you who believe! Ask not questions about things which, if made plain to you, may cause you trouble…” Thus all believers in Islam have no theological basis to fight against the Koran's instructions and make Islam whatever they want of it: to adapt it to modern times. The Koran is of its own ancient time and allows for a different life view in no other. The Koran stopped evolving long ago.

    The Koran’s chapters are not bound and issued in chronological order and are full of seeming contradictions such as commanding mercy and compassion but also a ruthless destruction of the Infidels who are their fellow humanity. The kinder passages come from earlier-written chapters, from a time when Islam had little military power in comparison to its neighbours and philosophy was all. Unfortunately the later chapters, written in a time of Islam's military conquest of those neighbours, are without mercy; and the ruling on Koran doctrine is that whenever there appears to be a variance, the later revealed instructions always override any earlier ones. There is no compatibility between the Koran and Secularism. There is no theological allowance in the Koran to accept any equality of another religion: Koran Sura 58:-5: "Those who resist Allah and his messenger will be humbled to dust." Most Moslems are very devout and would never question their faith. To question their faith or to try to change it in any way is a death penalty in Sharia nations, such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. Fear does assist in the dominance of others and all terrorists know and practice it. Thus the passivity of multitudes of Moslems in the face of terrorist Moslems with their cruel activities and their radical view.

    From small inroads Sharia Law is slowly spreading, such as in Britain; once a precedent is set in Western law there is no going back, precedents holding a major authority in the rulings of Western courts. There are already no-go areas in France where a non-Moslem is not allowed to walk including infidel police or firemen. Europe is losing its battle to stem the incoming tide of change from passive Christianity to a dominant Islam. The European nations can choose to not fight and Islam will fight on with its contempt heightened; or Europe can fight back; either way Islam will fight, being so highly motivated to convert all and bury them into its folded, bloodstained cloak.

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    1. Hi Cheney :D!

      Exactly, there is no space for disagreements, so how can westerners even conceive to go against their sacred text by teaching secularism? This is bound to create even more problems.
      Well said: despite their differences, they do come together to fight the common enemy; the infidels. And now infidels are trying to lecture them? Humm.

      The Bible (both the OT and the NT) offer room for debate, for negotiation, with G-d; but not the Koran, as you so well explained "Thus all believers in Islam have no theological basis to fight against the Koran's instructions and make Islam whatever they want of it: to adapt it to modern times."

      "The kinder passages [of the Koran] come from earlier-written chapters, from a time when Islam had little military power in comparison to its neighbours and philosophy was all."

      Exactly.

      "Most Moslems are very devout and would never question their faith. To question their faith or to try to change it in any way is a death penalty in Sharia nations, such as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan."

      Of course. And that is why I am even more surprised at these silly "holistic measures" that will do nothing else but to increase the problem. I'm even more surprised that some people would recommend such a catastrophic move to America and the rest of Europe.
      Ignorance is dangerous.

      "The European nations can choose to not fight and Islam will fight on with its contempt heightened; or Europe can fight back; either way Islam will fight, being so highly motivated to convert all and bury them into its folded, bloodstained cloak."

      So so true. I hope Europe, in the end, chooses to fight.

      Cheney, outstanding comment, thank you ever so much :D. A valuable lesson to us all.

      Cheers

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  6. I suspect counter-radicalisation will have the exact opposite effect: By highlighting the points where secularist assert that they are superior to God, they will simply be putting a target onto themselves.

    But as I have said before, there are spiritual forces that are much greater. A good American Christian will often end his prayers with "God bless America!". A good American secularist prayer ends with "God damn America!". And a good radical muslim prayer ends with "Death to America!". I expect those sentiments to dominate the first level of alliances.

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    1. Hi Looney :D!

      I am inclined to agree with you, they incur the risk of placing a target onto themselves, yes.
      In sum, these holistic measures are a bust.

      Looney, thank you so much for your comment :D. Always a pleasure.

      Cheers

      Delete
  7. It seems appeasement is the order of the day with whether its the west or the east there seems to be the same order everywhere. It may be true that for a few, we should not paint everyone in the same brush but ironically those few only dominates the lives of the majority and pretend to take decisions on the common mans behalf. The Islamic view needs to evolve with time rather than staying in the ghettos of darkness under a superficial faith and social order.

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    1. Hi Kalyan :D!

      Appeasement will get us all killed, if the opportunity is given. It needs to be stopped.
      I agree that Islam needs to evolve from within, but how can that happen when Islam has no theological basis to do just that? It would require a total severance of dogma. When will they be ready to do that? It will take time, surely; but meanwhile we need to protect ourselves from the radical lot in an intelligent way, not in a delusional one.

      K, thank you so much for your comment :D.

      Cheers

      Delete
  8. Politicians are again poking the monster. A good and effective holistic measure is to ban the use of veils and thobes in public like Congo-Brazzaville did! That sends the proper message to these people, but Europeans and their false superiority are cowards and their cowardness will eventually have them all killed. Africa is teaching them lessons!

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    1. Hi Leila :D!

      Yes, they are.
      Congo-Brazzaville was quite sensible, wasn't it? I support its holistic measure to counter extremism/terrorism.
      True, Africa is starting to teach lessons to the world.

      Leila, thank you so much for your comment, girl :D

      Cheers

      Delete

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