بناء عالم أفضل

dap_20160526_induction_0013-xlالخنجر والرصاصة والقنبلة، لا يعرفون الأخلاق، غايتهم القتل وإنزال الضرر. ولكن من يملكون هذه الأسلحة، هم كائنات أخلاقية اختارت العنف. يستمدون هذا الاختيار من معتقداتهم، ومعتقداتهم مستمدة من القضايا او من الايديولوجيات التي اختاروها، او من الاثنين معاً.

إذا كان اختيارهم للعنف مستمد من التطرف الايديولوجي، ففي هذه الحالة هم يرون ان العالم منغلق وغير متسامح، بل ويجب ان يكون كذلك. فعليه، انه من الطبيعي بالنسبة لهم ان لا يبقون ولا يذرون كل من يقف في طريقهم لتحقيق غاياتهم. لذلك هم يتبنون مظهر القوة التي لا تقاوم.

ولكن، ماذا سيحدث عند تصادم القوة التي لا تقاوم بمجسم ثابت؟ في الواقع، لا يوجد شيء في الطبيعة لا يقاوم بشكل مطلق او ثابت بشكل مطلق. في واقع الصراعات على السلطة، الفعل وردة الفعل يحدثان بدرجات متفاوتة، وكلاهما يعكس الجانب الأسوأ من الآخر.

هل انا أصف داعش؟ قد اكون أصف نموذج كرومويل للجيش الانجليزي في فترة ما بعد ١٦٤٠ ميلادي. او قد اكون أصف الأنظمة الفاشية الأوروبية في الفترة ما بين ١٩٣٠ – ١٩٥٠ ميلادي. كلهم كانوا يعتقدون بأنهم بقوة لا تقاوم، ولكنهم كلهم قد هُزٍموا في نهاية المطاف. إرثهم الذي خلفوه كان ومازال هو العنف.

مقولة أفلاطون الشهرية، “وحدهم الأموات شهدوا نهاية الحرب”.

العنف يولد العنف، وأشقائه هم: العقاب والثأر والهجوم المضاد. الحكومات، بل وحتى الأفراد، يتبنون هؤلاء الأشقاء ويطلقونهم كيفما شاءوا وقتما شاءوا. ولكي نكسر دائرة العنف، يجب علينا ان نقاوم قوى العنف والانتقام من جذورها.

كل الحروب والصراعات تنتهي، وذلك يكون عن طريق إنهاك الأطراف المتنازعة او استسلامها او التدخل الخارجي او العملية الدبلوماسية. ولكن نهاية الصراع نادراً ما يكون بداية السلام المستدام، غالباً ما يكون توقف القتال مجرد انطباع بالسلام، وفي حين انه مجرد هدنة مستقبلها غير واضح.

لسنوات عديدة، لَبٍسَت امريكا وبريطانيا وحلفاؤهم عباءة الأخلاق التدخلية بالشؤون العالمية. وقد رأى الكثيرون ان هذه السياسة جاءت متأخرة جداً او على الأسوأ انها كارثة لكل من يعنيهم الأمر. ولأول مرة في التاريخ المعاصر، نتيجة للبس عباءة الأخلاق الغير صادقة في جوهرها، قد جلبت السياسة التدخلية العديد من ضحاياها الى شواطئ وشوارع الدول المتبنية لهذه السياسة. معاناة الصدمة واليأس والجوع والجرح الجسدي والنفسي لهؤلاء الضحايا تمثل خسارة للغرب، بقدر الخسارة التي يمثلها قتلى وجرحى جنود الغرب وحلفاؤه في الحروب الأخيرة.

وهناك رد فعل عنيف جديد يتجسد في عودة القوى السياسية الرجعية الشعبوية في امريكا واوروبا واماكن اخرى. الشعارات الشعبوية التي ينادون بها تنبذ ما يسمى بالقيم الليبرالية والديموقراطية التي هيمنت على الخطاب الدولي منذ عام ١٩٨٩ ميلادي. هذه القوى الجديد غير متحيزة الى، او تعارض، فكرة الأخلاق الدولية. وسيستخدمون العنف (الخطابي والفعلي) لتأمين حدود بلادهم، وسيولدون عقلية الحصار الوطني، وسيمارسون العزلة عن التدخل في الشأن العالمي، بدلاً من محاولة القيام بالتدخل بشكل أفضل.

لقد تضائل النفوذ الغربي في بلاد الشام، بل وينظر اليه كأمر غير مرغوب فيه. وفي الوقت حينه، قد ملئت قوى إقليمية أخرى الفراغ، ولكن هذه القوى تملك أجندة تاريخية وايديولوجية معادية للغرب. وفي الوقت نفسه، يشهد الغرب افلاسا اقتصاديا؛ فإن منظمة الأمم المتحدة تواجه نقص في الدعم المالي وفي حالة من التحفظ على مجلس الأمن للأمم المتحدة، والنظام الأمريكي الجديد عديم الخبرة ويفتقر الى المصداقية، واوروبا تتفكك كمشروع سياسي. يبدو انه قد تم حصر التدخل الغربي الى جانبين: ضربات عسكرية مستهدفة في بلاد الشام ومن جانب أخر الى القلق بشأن الاتفاقات التجارية في مناطق أخرى. يبدو ان الغرب يعاني من الجمود او التعطيل الأخلاقي.

إذاً من أين ستنشأ طاقة جديدة للتوفيق والتقارب العالمي؟ هل من روسيا او الصين او تركيا او الهند؟ هل نحن في فصل الشتاء الدبلوماسي؟

(لا خير في كثير من نجواهم إلا من أمر بصدقة أو معروف أو إصلاح بين الناس ومن يفعل ذلك ابتغاء مرضات الله فسوف نؤتيه أجرا عظيما) – الآية ١١٤ سورة النساء.

(طوبى لصانعي السلام) – انجيل متى ٩:٥

اذا كان الأجر العظيم لمن يصلحون بين الناس فنحن نحتاج ثورة من صانعي السلام وجيش من المصلحين. (اراميا فاونديشن؟ نكست سينتوري فاونديشن؟ انيشيتف اوف شينج؟) نحتاج تحالف بين الذين يعملون بلا كلل ولا ملل ويضحون من أجل السلام؛ مطالبين بتجديد السياسات الخارجية القائمة على الأخلاق، وتجديد النزعة الدولية، ومد اليد الى الأعداء ووهب شيئا من النور الى أظلم الاماكن.

كشخص متديّن، انا اتفهم نقاط ضعف التديّن، ولكن في الوقت ذاته اعرف قدرة الدين على الإلهام وتغيير حياة الكثيرين وإضفاء الرؤية الطموحة والأمل للبشرية في أيام الظلام.

يجب ان يلعب الايمان والتدين دورا هاما في سوريا والعراق في مرحلة ما بعد الصراع. ستحتاج سوريا والعراق الى كل النوايا الحسنة التي يمكن حشدها، والى مشروع اقتصادي واجتماعي غير مسبوق مثل مشروع مارشال. هذه تكلفة ذنوب الغرب وعناد الشرق وعدم ترابط الشرق الاوسط.

في إطار اي خطط مستقبلية للمناطق التي مزقتها الحرب في بلاد الشام، يجب ان تحظى القدس على مكانها في هذه الخطط، تلك المدينة في أعلى التل، التي تمثل نقطة يتجه اليها الكثير من البشر الذين يتوقون للرب.

نتمنى ان نجد الأمل والرؤية والعزم لبناء مستقبل حيث يرى الأحياء فيه نهاية الحرب.

 

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Regarding Barcelona

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The latest atrocity visited upon innocent civilians on a summer’s day in Spain follows a now, sadly, familiar pattern of events. The callous running down of anyone in the way of a death dealing vehicle is followed by frantic attempts by the authorities to contain the perpetrators and end their murderous intent by all means possible, often by lethal force.  ISIS (Daesh) are anxious to claim such incidents as their own –  though a direct link may be unproven – they are without doubt  the bitter fruit of their pernicious and doomed ideology. After each such outrage certain questions linger and their solution seems as elusive as ever. Why do young men (and sometimes women) from similar backgrounds enrol themselves in the destructive and blood thirsty claims and actions of ISIS (Daesh)? What do they hope to gain from such atrocities which in further their cause or beliefs?  As the perpetrators are often killed or kill themselves during such terrorist acts what is their personal belief of their future beyond death?  It may give some comfort to imagine these acts of terrorism are also acts of desperation as the adherents of extremist forms of Jihadism see their illusion of an earthly Caliphate, formed in their own image, receding with every military defeat in Iraq and Syria.

If these are acts of desperation then the source of that desperation is not only political and ideological, it is also spiritual. To have ones dreams, beliefs and aspirations for the dawning of a new age of certainty and authoritarianism based upon Islamic principles (however distorted), with ISIS at the vanguard,  widely discredited  and disowned among your co-religionists and see the vanguard systematically defeated is a bitter, and for some, unbearable experience of downfall.  Towards the end of World War Two a number of SS officers committed suicide rather than surrender and the Kamikaze pilots off the Japanese Imperial Army were similarly intent upon death rather than dishonour. If your ideology is one where honour rather than shame and guilt is a core element of your culture then what are your options when facing the defeat and humiliation of your dreams?

For those committing these atrocities lines have been crossed: from idealism to nihilism, from belief in a paradisiacal earthly future to a death fixation and from utopia to dystopia. History recounts the crossing of these lines leads to a narrowing of options for the ‘believer’; death or glory. But it is a glorification of the self rather than the cause. Such terrorists are engaging in a monumental act of self-centred narcissistic nihilism which is neither martyrdom nor sacrifice as they are not directly persecuted and no one benefits from their death. By choosing to die after murdering the maximum number of innocent people they are reinforcing the dysfunctional and doomed nature of their cause.

Does this analysis give us any cause for comfort? No. Such extremes of individualism have their roots in the Western discourse which for 300 years sought to delineate the needs of the individual over the anonymity of the whole and the authority of the state; faith – at best – providing a moderating influence on both. But where is faith now? Whither the institutions which endeavour to mediate the divine will to the masses while conscious of their own shortcomings? Alongside the narcissistic nihilism of the current cohort of terrorists is a spiritual emptiness at the heart of many nations and peoples, an emptiness being filled by a range of quasi religio-politico causes bearing little or no resemblance to the God of Love and Mercy many millions still worship in one form or another.

 Fr Larry Wright, Religious Affairs Advisory Group, London,

August 2017.

London

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The following statement, which we have paraphrased slightly but which we endorse, was issued by Seyed Sadreddin Safavi of the International Peace Studies Centre in condemnation of the terrorist attacks in Manchester and London (to view the original statement in full click here):

The recent barbaric terrorist attacks in London and Manchester are the work of inhumane individuals. These acts of terror by individuals masquerading as Muslims, are against the very letter and spirit of the Qur’an and Islamic law. In Islamic law neither in peace nor war, is it permissible to kill civilians, or cause terror and chaos in society. Their crime is a crime against humanity.

We are filled with sorrow and grief for the victims of these heinous crimes, and honor the men and women in uniform who risk their lives in combating these heinous acts of terror, and admire the cohesion and spirit of unity in British society who do not give in to terror, and answer the terrorist call for division, chaos and hate, with unity, order and love.

The Muslim community in Britain and across Europe must rise up against the savagery perpetuated by those who claim to be Muslim but their actions reveal their evil nature.

  1. First, Peace loving Muslim communities must vocally condemn these acts, and vocally and in action oppose those who support the cancer of terror that has spread across the globe by Wahabbism.
  2. Second, Muslim communities must take back the mosques in their local area from the preachers of hate who poison the mind of our youth.
  3. Third, as a community we must use social media to combat the campaign of hate and terror of Daesh (ISIS) and like minded groups.

Our social media campaign must work on two general fronts:

First to promote the true Islam, which is the Islam of peace and dialogue, the Islam of stability and respect for differences of opinion, and teach our youth that the savage ideology of Daesh and all those who support it or hold the same world view is opposed to Islam and condemned by Islamic law and the majority of Muslims. To do this the works of Muslim thinkers in the West such as Professor Seyyed Hossein Nasr is of great use and benefit.

Second, Daesh and its followers aim to divide our communities across Britain, they aim to cause an atmosphere of Islamophobia and hate, we must confront this in our social media campaign and inform our fellow citizens in Europe that we stand side by side in opposing these barbaric terrorist movements and acts.

We will stand united in the face of terror, we will say no to hate, and we will defeat the ideology of hate which has taken the lives of thousands of individuals from all walks of life and all faiths across the globe.

by Seyed Sadreddin Safavi

Tareena Shakil conviction: just reward or just futile?

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On 1st February 2016, Tareena Shakil, a British woman who took her toddler to join ISIS, was jailed for six years for terrorism offences after returning from Syria. In a broader political context, the way members of society are dealt with when they encourage acts of terror and break the law is to imprison them as punishment and deterrence. From this perspective Shakil got her just reward. However, from a more personal, ethical standpoint, was this just? Shakil claims to have realised she made a mistake and returned of her own accord, but it is unlikely she actually went purely of her own accord. This is due to one factor: indoctrination. One of the primary methods of ISIS recruitment is to radicalise individuals by convincing them they are not welcome in their ‘host’ society – in this case British society – that they must therefore join the caliphate and wage war against the West. If it is true that Shakil was radicalised in this way, is the right ‘punishment’ really to forcibly remove her from the society she fled, yet willingly returned to? It is true she broke the law, but just as we have the operation ‘Prevent,’ surely there are more effective means of dealing with failure to ‘prevent.’ Here enters the notion of restorative justice. In sum, this involves reintegrating Shakil into British society. Failing to do so just furthers ISIS’ cause by, for example, inciting resentment towards the British government on the part of Shakil and her family and friends, since the government is essentially equating Shakil with criminals of all kinds. It can also increase Islamophobia by emphasising the criminality of people who might actually just be victims of indoctrination. And what about her son? She could have stayed in Syria and exposed him to indoctrination and a highly dangerous life, as the judge accused her of almost doing. Yet now the criminal justice system is condemning the child to some of his most formative years without his mother, and the breakdown of his family anyway. Furthermore, if the radicalised are rehabilitated, later offenders could meet these reformed people who can explain to them the harm of what they could have done. However, it seems, Shakil won’t receive this chance.

The Demolition of Iraq’s Oldest Christian Monastery

Saint_Elijah's_Monastery_1Sadly Iraq’s oldest Christian monastery, St Elijah’s, built in the late 6th Century by Assyrian monks, has been pulverised by the so-called Islamic State, ISIS, or Da’esh, call them what you will. Though news only came out yesterday, the historic site was actually destroyed between August and September 2014, when ISIS took over the city of Mosul. The destruction became evident through satellite images. It remains unsafe for journalists and archaeologists to visit the ISIS-controlled area, and this particular act of wanton destruction has not featured in ISIS’ propaganda videos. However, similar acts of demolition have been key features of the Islamic State’s campaigns. The Islamic State subscribes to the notion that Islam is the only valid religion and that it must be subscribed to by all followers of other faiths, who are themselves stamped as kafirs. One way in which they emphasise this belief is through the destruction of artefacts that are not Islamic. However the history of St Elijah’s is not purely religious; in the 1970s it was used as a base for the Iraqi Republican Guard, and the US used it as a military base prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. There may, therefore, perhaps be other underlying reasons for ISIS to wish to destroy the monastery, not solely their extremist religious beliefs.

Lest we become the evil we deplore

The rapid rise of ISIS and its extremist activity within the Middle East have gained the attention of the world. The western mindset has been engrained with the idea that hard power is needed to combat such insurgency movements. The UK and France, currently under critical alert for extremist threat, have recently initiated air strikes in Syria in response to the Paris attacks and a fear of future threats.

Exerting western military power in Syria by bombing cities only serves to exacerbate the refugee crisis and marginalise Syrian youth. Young people are pushed to join the ISIS movement as the narrative of western ‘crusader’ is consolidated. Ensuring security for the Syrian population is impossible if we continue to launch air strikes on partially accurate locations. The international community must be able to address countries like Saudi Arabia and Turkey to stop them from assisting or enabling extremism. A united stance by other Muslim countries, like Indonesia, might help demonstrate that ISIS is not the only pathway for Muslim youth in Syria. Ultimately, adhering to a liberal perspective, rather than impulsively counter-attacking after attacks like those in Paris would dissipate any imminent threat. The UK bombing in Syria does not eradicate any threat to its own population. Security can, and should, come without the need to exercise power.

We must act in a way so as to not become the evil that we deplore, for otherwise we are no better than the apparent extremism growing in the Middle East.

Extremism does not defeat extremism

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The results of last weekend’s French regional elections have made clear that in times of confusion and fear, the electorate seems to be more prone to vote for extremist parties. Marine Le Pen and her far-right National Front (FN) have in fact triumphed in the first round of French local elections, something that, rather independently of the outcome of the second round (scheduled on 13 December), represents quite a change in the political landscape of France – and a warning for us all.

Specifically, the FN gained 28% of the vote, a remarkable result considering that the Republicans of Nicolas Sarkozy got 27%, the ruling Socialist Party of President Francois Hollande gained a mere 23.5% – and presidential elections are only 18 months away.

Marine Le Pen and her niece Marion – who is deemed even more conservative than her aunt  – are well known for their strong views, among which are those  attacking Muslim as well as gay people. A dangerous position that appears to be not that distant from the words of Donald Trump, one of the candidates running for US Presidential elections, who yesterday proposed a “total and complete halt” to all Muslims entering America.

Both Le Pen’s triumph at French regional elections and Trump’s apparent success among the Republicans in his run towards the White House may ultimately not translate into actual power. However, this represents a clear indicator that with many people feeling threatened and anxious about their future, resorting to extremist and nationalist political views seems to be the preferred solution. However, if it is ISIS and terrorism in general that are now the enemy for both our freedom and our democracy, we should stand together to fight against them, and we should do that not by relying upon other forms of extremism, but by opting instead for endorsing an ideology that is not based on hate.