Monday, August 20, 2007

From dawa to jihad - the various threats from radical Islam to the democratic legal order

There are serious political debates on countering the threats that may derive from radical Islam. The underlying phenomena, such as the rise of radical Islam and international terrorism, had manifested themselves in various parts of the world for several decades prior to 9/11 attacks in 2001. Avid, a think-tank from Netherlands has published a paper and has identified two main types of radical Islam, both militant and non-violent. The paper also provides countermeasures in combating its expansion to radicalize more Muslim youth in the West: (Read the Full text here)

This paper starts from the premise that radical Islam is a multiform phenomenon. Radical Islam consists of many movements and groups that, although related (in particular concerning faith and anti-Western sentiments), may harbour very different views on aims and means. This means that various kinds of threats can emanate from radical Islam, one of which is terrorism. In addition to radical Islamic organisations and networks which concentrate on the Jihad (in the sense of armed combat) against the West, there are other groups, which principally focus on 'Dawa' (the propagation of the radical-Islamic ideology), while some groups and networks combine both.
The Dawa-oriented forms of radical Islam are not necessarily violent by nature, but nevertheless they generate important security risks. Dawa is usually interpreted as 're-Islamisation' of Muslim minorities in the West. These minorities are seen as 'oppressed brothers' who should be liberated from the 'yoke of Western brainwashing'. The groups focusing on Dawa follow a long-term strategy of continuous influencing based on extreme puritanical, intolerant and anti-Western ideas. They want Muslims in the West to reject Western values and standards, propagating extreme isolation from Western society and often intolerance towards other groups in society. They also encourage these Muslims to (covertly) develop parallel structures in society and to take the law into their own hands. What they mean is that Muslims the West should turn their backs on the non-Islamic government and instead set up their own autonomous power structures based on specific interpretation of the Sharia.

One thing is for certain. In Iran as elsewhere most of this push for radicalization is for wealth, maintaining and expanding power (in case of both Saudi Arabia and Iran's mullahs) and precious natural resources. The religious discourse is mainly used for the masses. That is not to say that there are some brainwashed true believers among them.

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