Women and Terrorism … A Gender Reading

ISIS

Dubai – Every now and then the stories of female members of the ISIS terrorist group and of other extremist organizations emerge.

The latest of these stories is that of a 16-year old German ISIS member, who was persuaded to join the group by another member through the internet. She traveled to Turkey and later to Syria where she met with her new husband, “Abou Mohammed,” whom she had never met before. He was killed on the battlefield however soon after she married him,. The German ISIS member now finds herself on trial in Iraq.

Another example is the so-called “White Widow,” former British rapper Sally Jones, who joined ISIS and was killed in a US drone strike on the Syrian-Iraqi border in June. There are several other stories of women, who have joined extremist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda and Ansar al-Sharia.

These stories, and many others, prompted Tunisians Dr. Amal Qourami and Monia al-Arfawi to write a book, “Women and Terrorism: A Gender Study.” Published by the Masciliana publishing house in Tunisia, the seven-chapter, over 500-page book covers a range of issues, such as terrorism and gender, jihad and gender, the role of women and girls in terrorist groups, the role of families in terrorism and terrorism and identity.

In explaining her reason for writing the book, Qourami explained that there are few studies that address the role of women in terrorist and extremist groups. The fact is that the participation of women and girls in such organizations is a truth that cannot be denied. Has this issue been avoided because people have been in denial? Or is it due to male-dominated societies?

This masculine perspective and blindness to gender roles was a motivation to dedicate a study on the relationship between girls and women with terrorism, she explained.

The book particularly focuses on Moroccan and Tunisian female members of terrorist groups.

Qourami believes that female members of terror groups has not yet become a phenomenon despite the large number of such recruits and the likelihood that it will rise.

The authors asked what pushes girls and women from all over the world to join extremist groups, especially ISIS. They wondered how they are willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of jihad that contradicts, according to modern concepts, with women’s rights, seeing as organizations like ISIS advocate the establishment of patriarchal states that do not believe in equality and liberties.

Are they attracted by the idea of ISIS being able to accomplish all that it promised in establishing an Islamic “caliphate”?

The authors pose questions on why women would want to take part in terrorist activities that throughout history have been dominated by men. To answer this, they had to examine the rhetoric the terrorists used to lure the women. They also had to examine what role these women seek to play in these organizations.

Women and the dream of a male society

One of the ironies the book reveals is how Tunisian women are leading the list of female terrorists in Syria at a time when they rank the best among Arab women when it comes to enjoying their rights in Tunisia. This “mystery” has aroused anger, disappointment and condemnation, and yet it has also sparked curiosity.

Categories of women in the terrorist organization

Arfawi said that women in the Ansar al-Sharia group are divided into three categories:

The first are wives who have been forced to submit to their husbands, who are leaders of the organization.

The second are those who have voluntarily joined the group because they believe in its ideology.

The third are sympathizers of the organization and its ideology.

The majority of the Ansar al-Sharia female members sampled by Qourami and Arfawi were between the age of 16 and 35. They noted that 90 percent of them either sympathized with the terrorists or were blackmailed into joining them. Arfawi noted that many of them were also victims of the wave of religious fervor that pervaded Tunisia in 2011 and 2012. Many women who were suffering from an identity crisis or who were initially not very religious fell victim to this wave.

Furthermore, she said that the poor and illiterates did not make up the majority of the female terrorists, but many of them were educated and came from a range of economic classes. Most of the terrorist operations were carried out by educated women.

ISIS female members vs. Qaeda counterparts

The position a female occupies in ISIS differs than the one she may occupy in al-Qaeda. Hundreds of women have joined ISIS and they formed female brigades. International reports estimate their members at 1,000, most of them foreign. They gave the likes of al-Khansa brigade, one of the fiercest ISIS units, said Arfawi. She also gave the example of the “Umm Mohammed” brigade that was led by Pakistani Aqsa Mohammed, the “Umm Moqdad” group that was led by a Saudi Arabian woman and the “Umm al-Rayyan” brigade led by a Tunisian. The majority of these female leaders married ISIS military commanders.

ISIS has proven to be a bigger draw to women than al-Qaeda because it promises them with the establishment of stability and the virtuous city. Al-Qaeda on the other hand did not focus on the idea of the establishment of the state.

ISIS, ‘Hezbollah’ Deal Reveals Hidden Agendas

ISIS

Dubai – Recent developments have seen opposing extremist groups, both Sunni and Shi’ite, set aside their differences in order to achieve their interests. Survival instincts and Machiavellian schemes run deeper than ideological victories that only the people kill themselves for.

We saw this when al-Qaeda members involved in the September 11, 2001 attacks sought refuge in Iran where they were eventually trained at the hands of “Hezbollah” and its late commander Imad Moghnieh, as proven in a report on the attacks.

It is strange that ISIS, with its Zarqawi creed, would come together with “Hezbollah,” its historic enemy, most prominent arm of Iran’s Wilayat al-Faqih and most important backer of the survival of the Syrian regime. Through the latter’s sponsorship, we witnessed in late August an agreement – or deal – between “Hezbollah” and ISIS.

Such a deal is not strange when one notices the history that binds al-Qaeda and Iran together. Zarqawi himself had fled Afghanistan’s Herat to Iran, where he resided for two years. Ousama bin Laden had in his last years and for various reasons called against targeting Iran. Among these reasons is its role as a safe haven for dozens of Qaeda fugitives as proven in documents obtained from his Abbottabad residence.

The possibility of ISIS and Iranian groups coming together is always possible when interests demand it. This was seen in “Hezbollah’s” agreement with ISIS through Syrian regime chief Bashar Assad’s blessing. ISIS is in a position of weakness after its defeats in Syria and Iraq, but Assad chose to leave the Tabaqa military base open for the taking by the terror group as he did various cities and weapons caches. He did this with total disregard of the danger ISIS poses to neighboring countries.

After liberating Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003, the Syrian borders became a main passage for extremists from all over the world heading to Iraq, prompting many Shi’ite cities to call for the overthrow of terrorism and the Syrian regime that supports it.

Dangerous deal and angry reactions

Several questions were raised and uncertainties were voiced after the August 26 “Hezbollah”-ISIS agreement that saw two opposing fundamentalist groups come together. The deal caught the attention of the allies of either group, especially “Hezbollah”, which is the more powerful side of the equation.

“Hezbollah” and its media announced on August 27 that an ISIS convoy will depart the Lebanese-Syrian border to Syria’s Albou Kamal city in Deir al-Zour. Some sides questioned the silence of the Najaf authority over the deal and its failure to condemn it even though it would see ISIS members return close to the Iraqi border, which would undermine the recent victories achieved by the US-led international coalition and Iraqi army in Nineveh, Talafar and other areas. The Najaf authority appears to be aware of the Iranian goal, which serves the interests of Assad, and it appears to have disregarded Iraqi interest.

Iraqi officials have however voiced their condemnation of the agreement. Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi and various political blocs rejected the Syrian regime-sponsored “Hezbollah”-ISIS deal. Parliament Speaker Salim al-Jabbouri expressed his rejection of any agreement that would restore ISIS to Iraq or bring it close to its borders. He added that Iraq will not pay the price of deals that harm its stability and security, calling on the government to take all necessary measures to counter the repercussions of this agreement.

The return of ISIS to Deir al-Zour will allow the terrorist organization to regroup in a strategic area that would allow it to carry out attacks against Iraq from Syrian territory, especially since it is only about a 100 kilometers away from Iraq.

Contradictory stances

“Hezbollah” leader Hassan Nasrallah’s approval of the deal with ISIS stands in stark contrast to his rejection of the Iraqi forces’ operation to liberate Mosul. He feared at the time that ISIS members would flee Mosul and seek refuge in Syria’s eastern regions. At the time of the announcement of the operation in October 2016, Nasrallah addressed the Iraqi people, urging them to reject what he called the “American deal” to expel ISIS into Syria, which would harm Iraqis and Syrians alike.

He declared that the “real Iraqi victory against ISIS lies in arresting its leaders and fighters, jailing them, and later putting on a fair trial. This victory does not lie in opening a route for them in Syria, because their presence there will pose a major danger to Iraq above anything else.”

It appears that these warning evaporated when it came to the “Hezbollah”-ISIS deal because it ensured that its interests and those of Assad were achieved.

In justifying his warning, Nasrallah claimed that ISIS’ return close to the Iraqi border would lead Iraqi forces into Syria to expel them He also claimed that in returning to Syria, ISIS will pave the way to its return to Iraq where the Anbar, Salaheddine, Nineveh and Mosul areas were under government control. So how did ISIS originally enter them? They entered from Syria’s Raqqa and Deir al-Zour, alleged Nasrallah.

This is historically incorrect because ISIS had initially emerged in Iraq after a demonstration was suppressed by force by Nouri al-Maliki’s forces. The group then seized the weapons left behind by Maliki’s forces and headed to Syria. It appears however that Nasrallah has forgotten or claims to have forgotten his own statements. He instead fell back on old allegations of combating the “Great devil” or “American deception” to justify his actions.

The “Hezbollah”-ISIS agreement reveals that the interest of the Syrian regime in the Iranian agenda is more important that the Iraqi regime and people, who have made great sacrifices in recent months in their war against ISIS. The deal also reveals that Iran, a nation that harbors dozens of violent extremist groups and many “Hezbollahs” that defend its identity and role, will not hesitate in striking deals with ISIS and al-Qaeda and their ilk whenever its interest and need demand it.

Terrorism’s Ideological Crisis and Propagandists’ Wars

terrorism

Dubai – The identity of the enemy of terrorists has changed in recent decades in that it is no longer limited to the West and the United States, but has come to include fellow terrorists, who do not share the same ideology.

Infighting among extremists has become more frequent as their propagandists and representatives clash over how they view regional and global crises. This will not only shake up the core of these extremist groups, but also spell their end.

Extremist groups were initially united in their ideology, governance, writing and battles. They sought to “globalize jihad and violent extremism in the early years of the 1990s.” They were united in their war against systems of rule and shared a common enemy, dividing the world into believers and infidels.

These fundamentalists remained united under al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden. Under his leadership, they were able to repel criticism from within their own ranks and strike counterattacks, the most violent examples of which were the revisionist waves of 2008 and 2009 in Iraq and Libya.

All this began to change however with the eruption of Arab revolts, especially the one in Syria in 2011.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq saw in Syria an opportunity to overcome its own crisis that was sparked by its loss of the Anbar province in 2007 and in the Sons of Iraq (“Sahwat”) offensive that ended in 2009.

This paved the way for the emergence of the ISIS militant group in Iraq, led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Initially, bin Laden had insisted that al-Baghdadi’s term be temporary. Ayman al-Zawahari had also later urged him to “repent” in order to ease the bloodshed in Syria.

The extremist groups have been a major burden on the noble agenda of the civilian uprising in Syria. This has been well exploited by the regime that has used these groups to justify its war and its sectarian militias that have tarnished the image of the revolt.

But as the extremists have infiltrated the revolution, they too have been infiltrated by opportunists from their own ranks. This has been demonstrated by ISIS’ insistence to fight all who do not agree with them, whether they are westerners, civilians or fundamentalists alike.

Salafist Abu Basir al-Tartusi had waged a vocal attack against ISIS, insisting that jihad be waged in Syria. He also adopted a more lenient approach towards its various factions. These were views shared by Salafists Abu Qatada al-Filistini and Abu Mohammed al-Maqdisi.

ISIS retaliated by releasing various publications denouncing its critics, including al-Qaeda members. It held al-Zawahiri personally responsible for the clashes in Syria between ISIS and its rivals in other fundamentalist groups.

The differences over Syria will likely spell the end of these groups because they are now as divided as the country they have played a role in fragmenting. Their ever increasing intolerance and rejection of the other should be exploited to bring about their demise.

Terrorism and the Global Crisis of Modernity: From Islamophobia to Democratization

terrorism

Dubai – Terrorism does not result in direct repercussions alone, such as general fear among the public and the adoption of counter-terrorism measures, but it also produces indirect consequences that are no less dangerous.

It results in rhetoric that “stands against modernity, humanitarian values and the world’s march towards the future and progress.”

It instead takes us back to hatred and discrimination of days gone by. This has been demonstrated in the extreme far-right, separatist and ethnic speeches that are emerging in the East and West alike.

Another indirect and more obvious consequence of terrorism is Islamophobia, which is a natural result of the rise in terrorism. A spike in Islamophobia is noticed immediately after terrorist attacks and these numbers have increased dramatically in the past two years.

Some of the “unseen” repercussions of terror are the “decrease in political liberalism” and the rise in measures that counter it, such as the binding of people’s freedoms. It also affects peoples’ ties with each other and their freedom of mobility and immigration.

On the Islamic and Arab scenes, terrorism has led to a shift in priorities in that resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has taken a backseat to the war against terror.

The Arab world’s pursuit of modernity and development has been exhausted and hampered by extremist ideology in the past and in the present.

“Close-minded” thought in the Arab world dates back to the era of the Islamic reform school of thought under Jamaluddine al-Afghani, Mohammed Abdo and others in the late 1880s and early 1900s. The school confronted modernity on the reform, civil and national levels and transformed into popular groups that emerged after the fall of the Ottoman caliphate in 1924.

It was embodied in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, whose founder declared his mission to eliminate partisanship and diversity. Other more radical parties soon emerged from under the Brotherhood’s umbrella and they even turned against the original party, accusing it of treason.

The “closed-minded” parties soon found themselves in a fierce confrontation with Egyptian President Jamal Abdul Nasser and nationalist and Baathist organizations in the region. The confrontation with the latter organizations only justified their priority for the liberation of Palestine. Such a declaration “killed the democratic experience before it was even born.”

The parties managed to find middle ground between religion and nationalism and also between the religious and political authorities. This went on for a while, until extremist groups assassinated Egyptian President Anwar al-Sadat and became involved in the fighting in Afghanistan, which later yielded the fundamentalist al-Qaeda group and then ISIS. The latter has become an active and dangerous player on the regional and international scenes.

This is how groups that advocated the Islamic caliphate and political Islam thwarted reform in the late 20th century. They deemed all attempts for intellectual, political and social reform as treason, which veered states away from looking towards the future and back to conflicts of the past, which is where they remain.

These authoritarian currents denied diversity in favor of their slogan that “no voice can rise above the sound of the battle” against the occupying enemy, “Israel in particular.” With the rise of terrorism however, the priorities of these currents shifted towards combating the global phenomenon, which has started to pose a threat to the Arab identity itself.

Voices that have called for democracy during this time have been confronted with voices of rejection that see combating terrorism as a priority. The democratic demands of the Arab Spring of 2011 have been silenced and replaced by some voices that “reminisce” over the time that preceded the uprisings when the situation was more stable.

In the West, modernity and enlightened thought first came to the world in the 16th century. It did not predict that, in the 21st century, it would be facing a threat to its values, such as the one terrorism poses.

Some anomalies in the path towards modernity, such as Nazism, have not affected this pursuit. They were in fact quickly defeated. The pursuit now faces an alien threat that can undermine its security and the identity of its people, especially immigrants and the Muslim diaspora.

This threat is embodied in lone wolf attacks, which have been met with US President Donald Trump’s statements against Islam, issued prior to his election, a rise in Islamophobia and a spike in hate crimes against Muslims in the US and in Europe.

The Deep Crisis Facing Extremist Organizations

Turkey

Dubai – A report issued by the Bureau of Counter-terrorism in December showed that individuals who are religiously educated among ISIS’s members (among 4000 members involved in the report) were only 17.6%, which emphasizes a weak relation between these terrorist organizations and the deep religious education.

Other reports published over the past months confirmed that around 25% of ISIS’s foreign militantswere new to Islam and didn’t have the opportunity to learn closely and deeply about this religion. For instance, such violent extremist movements do not need religious education, as they feed on blind commitment, lack of historical knowledge and religious intellect. However, they always seek to create their own symbols and to present their representatives and scholars with religious titles, as extremism has always been a major conflict in religious sciences.

Extremism promotes science and religious heritage, but it doesn’t use them as a base; extremism is a continuous state of anger seeking a justification that suits its goals, while the religious science is a state of understanding based on restricted regulations. Different extremist movements emerged as crisis speeches, which react and interact religiously with other crises. The following five phases serve as examples:

1. After the fall of the Ottoman Caliphate, the political Islam, like the Muslims Brotherhood was founded in 1928 by Hassan al-Bana (died in 1949).

2. Radical movements in Egypt and the region emerged as a result of the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, and the anger after the accord which was inked between Israel and Egypt in 1978.

3. Al-Qaeda appeared following Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait in 1990, after it received a great momentum from the Afghani Jihad aiming to confront the communism of the Soviet Union in the eighties.

4. Al-Qaeda branches strongly appeared following the 11 September attacks in 2001, after the 2003 war in Iraq, the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, and the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

5. Extremist movements have reached their ISIS-like phase after the Arab intifadas in 2011, mainly the Syrian revolution.

Extremism: Case of Division, Fragmentation

ISIS

Dubai – The call for “unity” and “union” seems constant and efficient among different religious and ideological movements, each based on their views. However, their call has never been an encouraging unity factor, infact, they were factors of division, fragmentation, and weakness for the nation.

Often, division appears between religious extremist parties more than they appear towards their opponents, like with the fighting groups in Syria, which were recently called for unity by a Jordanian Islamist theorist.

In fact, extremism has originally emerged from dispersion and division; extremist entities reject containment and blow up wills of separations and calls of division.

This is how ISIS was born from the heart of al-Qaeda, which also came out from the heart of many previous radical groups.

Moderation has always been the one and only way to achieve unity, because it has the capacity to manage differences and contain them, yet, the right-winged intellects in East and West represent a sort on isolation and simply cannot accept the other. In case these extremist intellects tried to accept others, and if happened it ends with the emergence of divisions in the structure of the one identity and the one entity.

Through history, all extremist groups have failed in achieving unity among different movements, they also failed in unifying the territories they control like what happened among Taliban and the other Afghan militias and among ISIS and the other radical groups. No extremist group, whether an ideological or religious group, has ever succeeded in establishing a strong and unified state; all the Arabian ideological and right-winged experiences in the 50s collapsed swiftly after they lost against the first challenge; only few groups and entities persisted because they depended on different tools like law, history, and politics.

Cases of unity between two extremist groups were rare and those which united were temporary and aimed to fulfill a determined and limited goal, like the union of the “Egyptian Jihad Group” with Mohammad Abdul Salam Faraj in 1979 to assassinate President Anwar Sadat.

Leaders of Afghan Mujahideen also united after the evacuation of the Soviet Union troops in 1989, however, they didn’t wait long before they resumed their fights on authority and influence. In 2004, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi sought to unify radical groups in Iraq in a Shura council, aiming to secure coordination among them, yet he failed after the split of these groups.

On 29 December, the extremist Jordanian Theorist Abu Muhammad al-Maqdesi released a paper calling the fighting groups in Syria to unite and merge. Through this paper, Maqdesi tried to spread his call, which provoked many of Qaeda leaders, who considered that he is seeking to approach ISIS.

Apparently, Maqdesi has used this call to resume his symbolic position among the fighting groups in Syria after the gradual shifts in his speech concerning ISIS. In spite that ISIS launched a vicious verbal war against Maqdesi after it burned the Jordanian Pilot Muath Al-Kasasbeh, the theorist sought to improve his popularity among its members by justifying their acts and denouncing his old statements on the organization and its practices.

Most importantly that Maqdesi’s document emphasized a deep confusion as he called to overcome conflicts among the different groups after he criticized and offended ISIS, the biggest extremist group in this decade.

The unity of extremists has remained a difficult goal, and calls for these unities will also remain weak and limited, especially that they end up with division and fragmentation.

Terrorism Unifies World from Aleppo to Berlin

Dubai- As the world celebrated Christmas and the New Year, terrorism addressed its message to the whole world, from Turkey, France, Germany to Asia and the Americas…

ISIS has threatened all continents, and despite the crisis it is facing in Iraq and Syria, the terrorist organization aims at convincing the world, through its attacks that nothing can eradicate it.

Every year, with the Christmas and New Year holidays, security bodies in the East and the West take all the necessary precautionary procedures against possible terrorist attacks; however, the real battles and crises have targeted Middle Eastern countries except for Iran. Over the past decade, the Arab World has witnessed 78% of terrorist attacks. Western countries, however, witnessed only 21% of these operations since 2000.

Some of the national voices in the Arab World praised and applauded the Arab Spring in 2011; however, despite their rejection of the crimes committed by Bashar Assad, they have deprived the Syrian people from their right in change and reform and gave Assad the impunity of resistance.

These national voices have overlooked the regime’s efforts in nurturing sectarian environments, and its use for fundamentalist support from Iran and its militias in all the battles. This regime has also launched a vicious rhetoric, which sought to blame the United States, the Arab World, the GCC countries, and Turkey for targeting Assad. This speech has not only ignored the political solution and its references, but also neglected Syria’s suffering and pain over the five past years.

After the fall of Aleppo, statements of Iranian officials came to emphasize the Iranian expansion in the region; IRGC Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri told the media that Iran’s interference in Syria goes beyond Aleppo and will expand to other regions.

Hussein Salami, deputy commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard re-accused the U.S. of dividing Syria to fulfil its ambitions in the Middle East; however, he considered that Washington has failed in its conflict with Iran.

International Advisor to Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Akbar Vilayati said that Iran’s victory in Aleppo is the first of many coming victories in the region; he added that Tehran succeeded over the past years in marking its footprint and fulfilling its goals.

The chaotic and provocative Iranian logic represents the other face of the sectarian terrorism, but it seems that the world has only seen one face.

The terrorism that hit the Coptic Church in Cairo and expanded to hit many regions around the world like in Brussels and Nice should be confronted and eradicated.

However, after Aleppo’s fall, the Syrian regime’s allies announced that Assad’s persistence in the rule is a main condition for stability and terrorism eradication in Syria, despite all the crimes he has committed.

Yet, this huge victory promoted regionally and internationally by Assad and his allies was fake, as ISIS announced on the 11th of December that it recaptured Palmyra City around the same timing of the attack on the Coptic Church in Cairo and in Berlin 10 days later.

Extremism, Heritage, and Religious Institutions

Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri in 2014. SITE via Reuters TV

Dubai- The insistence on linking terrorism to religious institutions, whether Salafist or Azharist is a big mistake; and accusing the Islamic texts, the heritage, and the old scholars of incenting terrorism is even a bigger mistake. These mistakes turn the eradication of terrorism into a battle with heritage away from terrorism itself, which widely opens the door to linking terrorism to religious institutions.

Many of the so-called Egyptian Jihad’s theorists were never been Azhar graduates. Abdul Salam Faraj and Ayman al-Zawahiri have never visited Egypt and do not know anything about its Azhar or its history.

We cannot deny that many scholars in Azhar have chosen fanaticism and monopoly of the right and truth, yet it also has many others who practiced renovation, development, and translation. The Azhar and Salafist religious schools include a variety of renovators, reformists, and supporters of woman rights and advancement.

In the combat of terrorism, many organizations and individuals focus on outputs, operations, and developments and neglect the radical ISIS-related intellect. They consider that this phenomenon is linked to the Islamic heritage despite the remarkable differences and selectivity from the religious texts and explanations.

The problem with the phenomenon of violent extremism and fundamentalism attributed to Sunnis and Shi’ites has been a problem of approach and not of knowledge. The real problem behind Islam-linked terrorism is its attribution to historic and textual bases and not to approach and ideological will, before even reading religious text.

It seems that research on terrorism and its relation with the Islamic heritage or religious institutions has been futile because it strays from the real heritage of Islam to politicized Islam.

Extremists do not really care about the literature of Caliphate and the Imama concept. Sunni clerics have agreed on denouncing the concept adopted by extremists since the first century hegira and introduced their own concept of “discord rejection” after their sufferance caused by discords and Hussein’s tragedy. They insisted on protecting Islam from the violence intellect.

A simple review in the history of Persian influence in the Islamic literature by the end of Umayyad history will mark a profound influence on the literature of both Caliphate and Imama.

The system of the modern extremism, particularly its violent practices, seems separated from these literatures and fixed on selecting some texts for its own ideological usage.

The Fail of the ‘Fundamentalist Promise’ from ‘Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist’ to ISIS

Dubai – Before Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and his predecessor Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, Shukri Mustafa, head of Takfir wal-Hijra (executed in 1978) requested the Egyptian government to allow him and his group to migrate to Damascus aiming at establishing an “Islamic” state to wait for the “end-of-time battles” and the appearance of Imam Mahdi. Baghdadi was not the only one to prepare his supporters for the “end-of-time battles”, as the radical and extremist Shiite militants who support the Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist (Wilayat al-Fakih) also act based on similar slogans waiting for the “Battle of Harasta”.

An ideology can never survive without a promise, and if the ideology was religious, a prophecy is a must to embody this promise.

The ideological promise has been the core of the fundamentalist call and represents the origin and the goal of any fundamentalist path. However, such narrow-minded ideologies often drop these promises once they reach authority, whether they were religious or not; this drop proves the deep ideological failure like the experiences of Nazis in Germany, Baath in both Iraq and Syria (which ended with sectarian discord), Iran-Khomeini revolution in 1979, and Morsi rule in Egypt in 2013.

The one-year Morsi experience concluded through a popular rebellion and ISIS’s “Caliphate” dream retrograded and left people with the damages it caused since the announcement of its alleged ISIS in June 2014.

*Ideological basics and promises

Any ideological speech requires basics and promises:

1-Basics: Basics are related to the heritage of rationality, its sanctities, identity, and tragic reality, like the return of “Caliphate” or applying Shariaa and “Imama”, or the Guardianship (Wilayat al-Fakih), which all consider those who oppose them as non-believers or apostates and call for Jihad against them, after recruiting followers and acquiring legitimacy.

2- Ideological promises: no one can deny that ideological promises have been more influential than the ideological basics calling for change; promises always seduce the public by seducing them with dreams of victory and problems’ settlements; they always call for solutions and seek to export their revolution to the world through many slogans and goals to change the reality of the nation and the citizen, which however, ends with failure.

Ideological promises in religious fundamentalism usually go beyond solving problems, ending crises, and achieving wealth, change, and social justice like other ideologies; they also exaggerate with their promises trying to convince their supporters with thoughts like “the end of the world” and “the savior” and how to pave the world for his appearance.

*Iranians and “Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist” (Wilayat al-Fakih)

The Iranian newspapers released in the past few days reflect a clear state of clear criticism and despair among people from the promises of the regime and its government, which focuses on its exterior projects and cupidities in the region and neglect people’s needs and problems like corruption and crises.

On the Student Day and before President Hassan Rouhani, who attended celebrations in Tehran, many students accused the regime of corruption and restriction of liberties, according to an Emirati newspaper, a student accused Rouhani himself and his government of raising unemployment rate instead of reducing it as he promised in his electoral campaign.

An Iranian magazine also reported that Member in the Iranian Islamic Consultative Assembly Kamal ud-Din Shahryari loudly criticized the government performance saying it has failed and led the people toward despair.

In fact, many reports said that Iran suffers from many crises in its infrastructure, environments issues, and severe lack of water along with the retreat of economy and currencies to unprecedented levels.

Finally, narrow-minded ideologies have witnessed many failures along with the fall of all its private and public promises, which has proven that seclusion can never be an option for success.

Arab Modernism, the Rise of Fundamentalism

Dubai – Did the Arabic modernism fail, leading to the rise of religious fundamentalism?

People who discuss the failure of the Arabic modernism focus on the fake representations of it and not on its original thoughts. They don’t consider its representatives, proposals, and achievements that have changed the form of society and Arab state including education, establishment of universities, protection of women’s rights and labor, political reform, and setting constitutions…

All these achievements cannot be denied because they were major proposals among the representatives of renaissance or Arabic modernism.

First, we should set our understanding for the “Arabic modernism”, which we see as efforts and ways that overtake the cultural, intellectual, and political tradition before the 19th century, including many fields from politics to sociology, literature, journalism and media.

Modernism cannot shoulder the mistakes of military, right-winged, or rebellion regimes that chant the slogans of renaissance and unity while failing in fulfilling their promises and sticking to losing battles…which means that the failure hit those regimes and not “the modernism”.

The wrong dating of Islamic awakening

Many have written that the “Islamic Awakening” emerged from the feeling of Arab defeats particularly against the Israeli enemy in 1967, which was considered a failure of promises of Arab liberalism and unity.

In fact, many Islamic movements were restricted after June 1967 and were transformed into radical armed factions in the end of seventies. But, it can be said that these radical groups were tied to the success of the Islamic revolution in Iran and to the anger that emerged after the inking of peace accords with Israel.

However, the June’s defeat shook the Left-winged movements and its rising ideas in the region. Other parties chose the Islamic trend and collected the Arabic left and communist concepts to transform them into Islamic ones.

It is worth noting, that the Baath invasion of Kuwait in 1990 represented another heavy defeat that broke the national Arabic ideology and led to the emergence of extremist organizations like Al-Qaeda.

However, the ascension of Islamic intellect and its social and violent existence appeared long before the defeat of June; this ascension started with the establishment of the Muslims Brotherhood’s organization in 1927.

Moreover, many platforms defended the fundamental intellect since after the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1924, and confronted the modern ideas and mind.

Arabic modernism and wrong remarks

The Arabic modernism handled the failure of the revolutionary governments which ruled since the fifties of the past decades in Egypt, Damascus, and Iraq and sought to legitimize a communist identity to control the authority and focus of promises of liberation after the Second World War; these governments succeeded in achieving the nation’s independence, but failed in achieving the independence of their citizens. It is worth mentioning that in their first phase, these governments allied with the Muslim Brotherhood till their first confrontation in 1954.

Yet, accusing the failure of Arab modernism of contributing to the rise or fundamental intellect certainly neglects the intellectual base of fundamentalism and its opposition for the Westernization of Arab communities since their beginnings.