I am scared to write this because for the last 2 years I’ve been delving more into development research and education policy consultancies…in addition to lots of other messy craps demonstrated in the #DiariesOfKyeku. So, I’m not very much sure if I can say much on International Politics or IR in our attempt to understand the bloody ISIS. However, in recapping the literature review chapter of my Politics and IR PhD Thesis on Religion and International Affairs, I’m reminded of one phrase by Scott Appleby and other political scientists who study religion in international affairs. The phrase is:
“Religion as a double-edged sword”
To clarify – the phrase means that religion has a positive side and a negative side.
While thinking about this last night, I coincidentally came across a paragraph written by the famous Vicar of Baghdad, Pastor Andrew White (my favorite pastor on earth, who, if I ever get married- I will ask him to officiate my wedding and baptize my kids on the shores of River Jordan…lol- ooh how influential are the #DiariesoOfKyeku…Lol). The paragraph which is written in Pastor White’s book, Father, Forgive goes like:
“The sad fact is, religion is very much tied up with violence. As Archbishop William Temple said during the Second World War , “When religion goes wrong it goes very wrong.” The apostle John, recording the words of Jesus in his Gospel, wrote, “the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me” (John 16:2-3). This is what we have witnessed in our time.”
So what’s my point here? The point is that…in our attempt to understand and counter #ISIS we should not try to be political correct and leave away the analysis of religious element in their operations. Understandably, Religion is a very sensitive issue because it involves faith and identity. However, sidelining it has cost the world peace fortunes and hence it is time to rigorously include it in our journalistic (media) presentations and scholarly analyses. The likes of ISIS use religion to legitimize their craziness and they have been, for the lack of appropriate word, “successful” in their barbaric acts as well as in marshaling support (financial and moral) and in recruiting fighters. Even in twitter, you can tell how “successful” they have been by seeing tweets from “sane” guys who buy their narrative of blaming the USA foreign policy. Yes, the Western foreign policy has lots of faults due to their national interests, but it is not the producers of terrorists…objective academic analysis has not led into that conclusion…the ISIS and the likes are apportioning the blame into the USA foreign policy for their inhuman acts such as beheading people and worse still you see sane people in twitter siding with this same rhetoric blame game that terrorists play
Well, let me jump into a recommendation…personally I think because ISIS and other “new” terrorists tarnish Islam more than any other religious faith, the faithful Umma community needs to be at the forefront of countering and fighting guys such as ISIS, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab etc. Just like the way the Umma has, generally, been effective in raising awareness on the Palestinian cause, they need to show the same spirit in denouncing ISIS and other bloody cursed terrorists who use distorted version of their religion to destroy peace and humanity. We should stop blaming USA while at the same time expecting them and only them to fight ISIS…if we do that we will continue to polarize the world…something that we have to avoid at all costs…
So, I conclude by a sentence borrowed from my very last paragraph of my PhD Thesis …
“We must use the positive side of religion to fight its negative side”.