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Important in facing Daesh

May 17,2015 - Last updated at May 17,2015

I had the chance to read the speech the American ambassador to Jordan delivered at the World Affairs Council.

It is important to discuss the main topic of the lecture, “fighting terrorism and Daesh”, from a wider perspective that ought to cover radicalisation that led to violent extremism.

Many questions must be raised here, far from the utopian vision of diagnosis and solution that many analysts show each time they try to analyse the Daesh problem.

In my studies of conflict management I learned that there is no way to solve a conflict as long as it is latent; only when it comes out to the surface and is faced courageously can things start to change.

Repeating that Daesh members are outlaws, former Baathists, etc., only prevents one from touching the essence of the problem; in my case, it makes me somehow pessimistic about our capability to provide any concrete solution.

Daesh did not come out of nowhere. It is the outcome of a set of cultural policies, political oppression, economic hardships, failure to integrate, lack of enlightenment, close mindedness and, above all, political exploitation since the 1950s, internationally by the US itself and at the domestic level by regimes allied with the US in its cold war.

Today the revision should include all these elements; our battle with these terrorist movements should start from within, from our schools, neighbourhoods, streets and families.

What we need today is to build a mind structure based on progressive and enlightened thoughts, but this can never happen without a serious political will to effect this change.

Imposing new cultural elements is important when facing extremists’ ideas.

What we need today is a political ideology that frees minds of the historic taboos of our culture.

We need to realise that knowledge and critical thinking are tools needed to face the roots of those groups, and simply knowledge spreads by liberty.

What we need is a strategy based on a cultural movement, art, literature, poetry, sports, critical thinking, etc., not to stick to the inefficient idea that Daesh’s model of Islam can be faced merely by moderate Islam.

Experience proves that this is not true, as the terrorists we are witnessing today follow a model that was promoted at certain times as moderate.

The spiritual founder of Al Qaeda was a Muslim Brotherhood member, who used to teach in Jordanian universities.

The many years of political exploitation are the major reason for the appearance and spread of such groups.

The battle today should be for a pluralist society and for free thinking; above all, societies need to reach the point where people come to appreciate their existence and feel how precious their life is.

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