It is time to treat violent extremism for what it is: the action of small groups that represent neither Islam nor Muslims, but deviant political postures:
The ‘celebration’ of Bin Laden’s execution raises a number of questions any thinking person is justified in asking. Far from any rejoicing, they represent the uncertainties that continue to trouble Muslim — and numerous western — minds.
Reactions during the first week after the announcement of Osama Bin Laden's death have been really revealing. While the symbolic impact of the news touched off a media frenzy in the West, coverage was far more restrained in majority Muslim societies. It was as though we were witnessing, in real time, two distinct perspectives on the world.
The rhetoric of violent extremist groups, be they Al Qaida or others, never gained traction among the world's Muslims. With the exception of tiny groups functioning autonomously, we can conclude that terrorism has been a marginal phenomenon since September 11, 2001. In fact, terrorists have killed more Muslims than Americans or Europeans, from Bali to Amman and from Morocco to Iraq, by way of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The ‘celebration' of Bin Laden's execution raises a number of questions any thinking person is justified in asking. Far from any rejoicing, they represent the uncertainties that continue to trouble Muslim — and numerous western — minds.
How can Bin Laden have avoided detection in a place so close to Islamabad for more than five years? What precisely is the relationship between Pakistani and American intelligence? Why was there no attempt to arrest him? How are we to explain the absence of photographs, the disposal of his corpse into the sea (in pointed disregard for the Muslim rite his executioners publicly claimed to respect)?
Aside from such questions, and the legitimate doubts they express, the death of Bin Laden, as an icon and symbol of terrorism, is all but a non-event for the world's Muslims. His vision and actions were neither widely emulated nor respected, as numerous surveys by western governments and anti-terrorism experts have confirmed.
We are dealing, above all, with a primarily American, and more broadly European event.
US President Barack Obama, who has in the past been sharply criticised for his apparent lack of strength and determination on national security issues as well as on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, has scored a powerful symbolic success that will have a strong impact on public opinion.
Not only did he keep up pursuit of Bin Laden, but in total secrecy commanded a sensitive and ultimately successful operation that seems sure to strengthen his image as a decisive president able to take action in the critical fields of national security, defence and patriotic pride.
We must go well beyond the flurry of exuberance that saw people celebrating in the streets of New York. What lies ahead for the Middle East, as it contemplates two contradictory realities: on the one hand, the massively popular peaceful revolutions taking place in the Arab world, and on the other, the death of the symbol of violent extremism, of a leader of tiny marginal and marginalised groups?
There may well be terrorist reprisals; they must be anticipated and met with all necessary firmness. But the task will be to combat and to neutralise isolated acts of provocation that under no circumstances can be used to justify a philosophy of political action, the course adopted by the previous American government.
It is time to treat violent extremism for what it is: the action of small groups that represent neither Islam nor Muslims, but deviant political postures that have no credibility in majority Muslim societies.
Relations with West
The elements of a new political philosophy defining the West's relationship with Islam and with the Muslims can only emerge from the crucible of the broad-based movement for justice, freedom, democracy and dignity.
The American and European presence in Afghanistan and Iraq, coupled with the absence of a firm commitment to resolving the Israel-Palestine conflict, is an obstacle to any positive development. To this list must be added the existence of Guantanamo and the use of torture: practices that amplify mistrust of the US and its allies.
The Muslim majority societies have a substantial responsibility for managing their own future. It cannot be stated strongly enough that the sirens of violence and extremism have never seduced the overwhelming majority of their peoples.
More than ever, it is essential that civil society (including intellectuals and political parties) remain mobilised and alert; that it expose corruption and the absence of the rule of law and of justice; that it develop a genuine strategy to create free and democratic societies, and that, in the end, it create the conditions for new political and economic relations with the West.
For the old couple made up of Islam and the West is no longer young; the presence of new players from the Far East, starting with China, is even now resetting the parameters of the world economic order.
It may well be that the Arab Spring is, in reality, the autumn of the Arab world's relations with the West, and a new path to another, broader spring, bounded this time by East and Orient. Against this emerging geo-economic landscape, the announcement of Bin Laden's death has all the force of a fading wind, of a random event.
By Tariq Ramadan, a professor of contemporary Islamic studies at Oxford University.The Guardian Published May 12, 2011
More >>> Bin Laden's Legacy: Options for Muslims: Bin Laden and the
leadership had one thing common; the misguided belief that; ‘End justifies the means’. But if we want to preserve our humanity, it nerve does. The Muslims may respond to the present crisis in two ways; either to follow the clear, unambiguous teachings and guidance from Qur’an and Sunnah to be successful in this and next world by attaining peace with dignity and honour or blindly follow the path leading to destruction by adhering to the concocted irrational pseudo ideologies of extremists satisfying their ambitions and desires. Option A: is rational, Option B is Irrational, emotional response ….Read full … US