It is commonly thought that extremism in Islam comes from lack of education and political-economic opportunities. This narrative has been peddled so many times, that this is the default template one finds in media when they try to explain Islamic extremism/terrorism. This is the reason behind the sob stories of Kashmiri terrorists, who supposedly became terrorists due to lack of jobs or education.
The reality is a bit different. One only has to see at Osama Bin Laden, a billionaire and heir to a powerful family name to discard this notion. Nearer home, the perpetrators of 2019 Sri Lanka Easter bombings were wealthy and powerful businessmen. Now a UK Islamic preacher in London has justified killing of ex-Muslims.
Muslims immigrating to developed countries in the western world are expected to be more ‘progressive’ or at least integrate into the host society upon arrival. However the number of people joining ISIS from Britain and western Europe is quite high. Even young girls of 15-16 immigrated to ISIS territory to become wives of these ISIS fighters. Clearly, the level of indoctrination and extremism is quite high in the immigrant Muslim communities. A recent shocking video by a popular Islamic YouTuber based in United Kingdom exemplifies not only the extremism in Islamic communities, but also the failure of liberalism.
The video and its creator
Relevant part of the video can be seen in the tweet above where a certain person who runs an Islamic YouTube Channel by the name “Ali Dawah” says that ex-Muslims are “little weaklings” and then he justifies killing of ex-Muslims
This video is a small part of the larger video on YouTube, where he criticizes ex-Muslims. The comments of “Ali Dawah” are also endorsed by many other British Muslims. They have written approving comments below the video. In the last 3 days, the video has got one lakh seventy five thousand views and about 9 thousand likes. All of these by apparently English-speaking Muslims.
Who is Ali Dawah?
The video was uploaded at the channel “Ali Dawah” which has more than 4.5 lakh subscribers. “Ali Dawah” is run by one Erdi, who was apparently born in Turkey, is of Kurdish descent, and immigrated to UK. He is about 31-32 years old and the channel he runs propagates Islamic religion. It must be noted that “dawah” means bringing non-Muslims to Islam by proselytism.
The clash of Liberalism and Islam
The current video is sure to feature in the debate regarding liberalism, multiculturalism and their conflict with Islamic principles. Liberalism that focuses on individual freedoms is directly challenged by such Islamic fundamentalism, which prioritizes community over person to an extreme. This is openly accepted by the current video on YouTube too. Similarly, multiculturalism is something that has largely bypassed Islamic societies and countries. The clash of Islam with modern liberal values and individual freedom is a leading reason for violent conflicts within the Western world.
In western societies, another issue is whether Muslims coming from outside will be able to change themselves according to the culture of the country. So what happens when Islamic values conflict with liberal values? As N N Taleb said in his influential essay, “The Most Intolerant Wins: The Dictatorship of the Small Minority“, an intolerant minority imposes its values upon a more tolerant society.
Liberalism itself is tolerant to Islam, but the same is not reciprocated. So we see an increasingly Islamist tilt in liberal ideology. Liberalism, to accommodate Islam has actually abandoned its own values! This can be seen across countries in USA, in UK and in Bharat.
As mentioned in the video by “Ali Dawah”, the books of Christianity and Judaism also support capital punishment for apostasy. After Europe was racked by religious wars among warring Christian sects in middle ages, a new era of ‘enlightenment’ dawned as thinkers turned towards pre-Christian Greek philosophers and knowledge systems from Asia like Hindu scriptures. This later gave rise to the concept of secularism, to limit influence of Christian Church (both Catholic and Protestant) in matters of state. The subsequent rise of liberalism ensured that extremist commandments of scripture were overlooked within Christian nations – although it is another matter that this new found liberalism was never applied to the colonies which European nations looted and ravaged post their ‘Enlightenment’.
But the Islamic world never went through this modernization and internal enlightenment phase. It has never questioned its holy scriptures and materially they may live in the modern world, but intellectually they continue to live in the medieval ages where the light of humanism has not yet reached their minds. Unless a reform from inside Islam happens, we might be looking at a clash of civilizations starting at the “bloody borders” of Islam.
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