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The industry of the Islamic State

August 13, 2014 at 9:28 am

Considering the bigger picture, we do not believe that the Islamic State is not being using to fragment the Arab world and legitimise Israel’s crimes, but we must also recognise the fact that our education system is an Islamic State hatchery factory, hatching Islamic State members ready to turn into walking killing machines.

More importantly, if we are courageous enough, we must face our inner Islamic State fighter, presented in our hearts and minds, because we are the product of a tyrannical upbringing and we reproduce this in our positions and relations. I am not referring to the Islamic State’s close-minded religious beliefs, but to all forms of thought that exclude all “others”, justifying these thoughts with the religious or secular sayings or driven by justified or unjustified sectarian or social class anxiety.

The Islamic State is the obvious monster in the magnitude of the brutality it commits without any attempts at beautification. This reflects a dark exclusionary upbringing that used religion in the ugliest forms in order for sultans to maintain their power over us and for us to remain submissive, calling for change but never dreaming of it. The regimes used religion as a tool to subject the people through the preachers in mosques and educational curriculums in order for the “flock” not to stray. In addition to this, with the help and sometimes even the funding of the US, the regimes used religion and organisations to fight opposing secular movements and contain them, especially the left-wing ones, in order to isolate them from the community and the street.

The religious institutions, especially the ones used as references, either failed or completely conspired with the ruling authorities to establish the rules of individuals and the tyrant security services. Enlightened thinking has and will always pose a threat to tyranny because it incites people to reject humiliation and injustice in the world, while conservative and dark thinking deludes the people into believing they cannot dream of a better life on earth and that they are promised heaven in the afterlife.

In our societies, the regimes have adopted religious approaches, and more importantly, they have adopted interpretations of scholars, preachers, teachers, and the teachings of the Awqaf ministries, in order to keep people and society under control and prevent them from getting involved in political work. During various years, the Muslim Brotherhood and even Salafists were encouraged by the regimes, but the tables turned and, ultimately, those who have nothing fear nothing on the ground and they turn to extremism.

In any society, destitution and marginalisation drive people to rebellion, so the regimes, even democratic ones, try to contain the anger in order to prevent a popular revolution. Therefore, it is no coincidence that drugs spread in poor neighbourhoods in America, under the watchful eyes of the security and police forces. In our societies, the governments try to contain anger through ignorance and intimidation, but its use of the religion has backfired on them, and on all of us.

The Muslim Brotherhood is partly responsible as it did not call for social or economic reform outside the context of religious conservatism. Even when addressing the Palestinian issue, it chose to use religious dialogue against the Jews instead of raising awareness against colonialism. However, holding the Muslim Brotherhood partially responsible does not excuse the governments that fight the movement from the sin of exclusion and from the crimes the regime in Egypt is committing against them such as inciting against them and justifying their killing, imprisonment, torture, and committing massacres in the name of fighting terrorism and obscurantism, because terrorism and obscurantism are not limited to those who are religiously conservative.

The Islamic State is a magnifying mirror of what has been produced by a backwards and tyrannical cultural system that existed in an atmosphere of oppression and authoritarian traditions of a patriarchal society, threatening us and killing our dreams of freedom. This has driven many to resort to regimes that are part of the problem and do not try to beautify their brutality out of fear of savagery.

However, the Islamic State may be the ugliest representation of extremism in the name of religion, but let’s be clear with ourselves; the factory hatching out Islamic State members does not only produce members using religion as a cover alone, but also members using progress and secularism as a cover, supporting the psychological and physical elimination of all those who oppose them. This means the disaster is even larger and wider than sectarian exclusion and ethnic cleansing.

Let us ask ourselves: Did we support the Arab revolutions because we wanted to and because we want freedom and justice, or are we hostages and pawns of tyrannical values? We cannot lead the transition process to a citizen state and lay the foundations of social justice without eliminating our inner Islamic State fighters.

Translated from Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, 12 August, 2014

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.