United to defeat extremism

Source: Times of Malta

By Laiq Ahmed Atif

President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat Malta

The recent barbaric terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut and Nigeria, just to name a few, have shook the entire world. The world has once again united in taking firm measures to combat the influence of extremism and terrorism, which has spread deeply and widely. Isis have claimed to be behind these attacks and they have threatened for more similar attacks.

These attacks were condemned by world leaders, both political and religious.

The worldwide head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community called these attacks “brutal and inhumane” and “completely against the true teachings of Islam”. The French President has vowed to wage a concerted and a “merciless” fight against terrorism, and described the attacks as an “act of war” by Isis. US President Barack Obama called the massacre “an attack on all of humanity and the universal values”.

In the recent months Isis have gained huge strength and training, which was highly evident from their well coordinated attacks in Paris. However, in its early days, we may have overlooked its sturdiness and renewed determination. The devastating Paris attacks have revealed that the world leaders were off the mark all along in underestimating the brutality and reach of Isis.

Leading terror experts are now warning that Isis will stop at nothing. Even al-Qaeda considers them too fundamentalist.

The worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community head warned long ago about this threat and said: “The West has now started to realise and acknowledge that this is a war that is actually directly affecting it as well. However, this too is underestimation – the truth is that this is a war against the entire world.”

The Parisian police has reacted swiftly after the attacks and in next few days the alleged mastermind these attacks was also killed. The question arises that: Is that enough? Are the condemnations, lighting candles, placing flowers for the victims and demonstrations, enough response to these brutalities? What is the way forward to combat this grave threat? How is extremism to be defeated? These are some of the questions we all are asking and discussing.

I think, it is time for the entire world, irrespective of faith, colour, creed or nationality, to unite together against such atrocities. It is crucial time to take concrete measures and bold steps collectively – with collective wisdom and efforts – both short-term and long-term, to fight back the curse of terrorism. Together we can win this war against humanity.

The Muslims living in the West should offer full support to their nations in the fight against extremism

I think the focus should not be on aggressive response and merciless attacks, which may result in killing thousands of civilians, but there should be coordinated, intelligence-based and targeted attacks on the militants.

The funding of these groups is a major problem because it is through these funds that they are able to prey on vulnerable groups or individuals. Therefore, something has to be done urgently to stop the funding.

Irony is that, without having any arsenal factories, these terrorists are armed with most sophisticated and automatic artilleries. Thus, provision and selling of weaponry and arsenal to these extremist groups must stop, and there should be an international banning on selling arms to extremists.

The means of black market trading, and in relation to Isis, the selling and purchase of oil from black market should also stop.

With these immediate measures, their strength will be converted to weakness and they will have to bow their heads to peace and reconciliation.

Extremism and terrorism cannot be uprooted completely without resolve and determination against this evil. To defeat this threat in the long-run we must understand and address its root causes. The European governments recognise the importance of bridging the gap between the Muslim communities and the rest of the nation.

Plans for an effective integration should be chalked out. More inclusive approaches should be encouraged; unemployed, marginalised and isolated segments of society should be made part of the society at large. Justice, equality, and fairness should become the order of the day.

Muslim governments should also cooperate, play their role, and take firm measures to combat the influence of extremist clerics in their countries, and against those who misinterpret ‘Jihad’ and spread hatred and violence.

Religious clerics should not be permitted to use the name of religion to exploit people for their political agendas.

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