Last year, Islamic State (IS) and various other radical groups were discussed almost non-stop in the international media and it seems like similar developments will take place in 2016 as well.
In January this year, the Obama administration gathered the top officials of the White House, national security experts and senior executives of the top technology companies for a meeting. The goal of this meeting was to launch “a project for an advanced technological struggle” to thwart radicalism.
Establishing a task force and a centre that will respond to the discourses of radical organisations was one of the primary measures that have been decided upon. As a matter of course, this centre will work to “...respond to disinformation from extremist groups by highlighting their misdeeds and creating positive images of the West”. 1
All of these might seem to be easy on the ear at first, yet when carefully considered, these goals are certainly far from giving the desired results. Let us first discuss the efforts aiming to create “positive images of the West”.
As a matter of fact, image-building efforts might give results for Corps. However, getting clear results with a public relations effort in a world in which we come face to face with innocent children, civilians and refugees who are losing their lives under attacks and air bombardments every single day seems to be next to impossible for now.
Let us not forget that it is the wrong-headed policies of the Western world regarding the Middle East that caused this outburst of rage against it and that these policies have caused grave sufferings that are quite difficult to remedy.
If the Western nations really want to create a positive image of the West, they should urgently change their strategies and put an end to this incessant armed struggle.
They should place emphasis on values such as freedom, equality, brotherhood, justice and co-operation - which they firmly advocate in their own countries - and create beneficial solutions with their sturdy economic and technological means.
Another comprehensive goal adopted by the American government for getting results was to enlighten people by “highlighting the misdeeds of the radical groups” and thus to prevent new recruits to IS. It should be emphasised here that this is not an effective strategy either.
IS and similar radical groups do not carry out those violent and horrific acts as misdeeds but to serve for “a holy goal and an exalted ideal”, at least in their own distorted thinking.
The members of IS are not mostly ignorant, naive people; IS does not consist of people with personality disorders either and not many of them have financial problems.
Albeit being wrong, they follow an ideology leaving their worldly possessions, their careers and all their worldly goals behind because they imagine that they are right and that this is the right path for them to follow.
Ultimately, since they do not regard what they are doing as “misdeeds”, “highlighting their misdeeds” would never be an effective propaganda method.
The belief system that they subscribe to is the reason why IS resorts to violent and bloody acts. Superstitions, fabricated hadiths and bigoted beliefs that have no place in the true Islam constitute the foundation of this belief system.
So long as these fallacies are presented as the real source of Islam, there is no sense in being surprised about the violence they carry out.
Contrary to this bigoted belief system that originates from hatred, the Qur’an commands us to love others and to protect inoffensive people.
When the verses of the Qur’an are studied with sincerity, free from these bigoted prejudices, it will be clearly seen that assuming a loving, respectful and inclusive attitude is what God wants from us.
The bigoted and radical belief system adhered to by IS and similar groups can only be rectified with the Qur’an. Consequently, IS and other radical organisations can only be put right with the Qur’an - and only with the Qur’an - not with weapons, bombs or mere propaganda.
Returning to the moral values of the Qur’an that have been abandoned for ages is the only way out if we want a spirit based on love, kindness, pluralism, understanding and compassion to prevail in the Islamic world.
Adnan Oktar's piece in Gulf Times: