Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Extremism, Heritage, and Religious Institutions | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Media ID: 55364210

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.