Jordan: Urgent need to fill the vacuum


One big question emerges from last week’s terrorist attack in Baqaa, where five intelligence staff officers were killed by Jordanian Mahmoud Masharfeh who used to live in the adjacent refugee camp: Who pushed a 22-year-old man to join Daesh, and betray his family and country?

The answer is the intellectual vacuum prevalent in his Jabarat District among refugees in Baqaa, where no youth centre exists to keep the younger generation away from Daesh’s traps.

Millions of dinars have been given to government officials in charge of refugees to help alleviate the sufferings of Palestinians living there.

Had there been a youth centre, it would have attracted the younger generation, preventing it from performing criminal acts.

Had there been enough social clubs in the refugee camp, we would not have lost many other Masharfehs to the enemy, since their affiliation to the country would be stronger than all Daesh temptations.

The blame should be laid on the shoulders of his secondary school teachers who made us lose many young people by not inculcating in their minds the truth about the radical salafist takfiri movements as part of their school curriculum.

Fingers of blame should be pointed as well to the mosque preachers in Baqaa; Masharfeh was a strict observant of mosque prayers.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs is the richest in the country, even richer than the Ministry of Finance. Had there been enough educational programmes, lecture tours and awareness seminars in the camp, we would not have lost hundreds of young people to the other side.

The dark caves of bigotry, backwardness and ignorance need the strong flashlights of educational contact and dialogue of which hundreds of youth in Maan, Zarqa and Baqaa were deprived.

There is need for a television station dedicated to the youth, that covers their needs, addresses their issues and tackles in subliminal messages the root causes of Islamic radicalism.

Prior to September 1970, Baqaa Refugee Camp used to be a buzzing hub for tens of political parties, ideological movements, cultural organisations and all shades of opinions and cults.

But a short-sighted strategist opted to wean out the new generations of all cultural and political influences, and the ministry of youth failed to fill in the resulting cultural vacuum.

Following the heinous Baqaa attack, it is mandatory to force the mosque preachers, the school curricula and the media to project a coordinated message against Daesh.

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