Writing in Asharq Alawsat, Hussein Shobokshi takes Muslims to task for letting religious extremists establish themselves into positions of power. By not reacting to and rejecting extremism, they have forced outsiders to deal with a mess they might have stopped before it started. Mali, he says, is just the latest manifestation of this, but it won’t be the last.
Extremism is currently in a very good state; it is experiencing a golden age and is expanding geographically. It has emerged from the tunnels and the caves and has become a part of public life, even acquainting itself with media outlets. It has established parties, nominated candidates, and entered parliament chanting slogans of freedom, justice, and dignity. Yet despite these manifestations of civility, some extremists continue to label others as infidels, disbelievers and atheists, provoke divisions within society, and spark sedition by adopting radical views that are typified by intellectual distortions and narrow-mindedness. As a result, the “armed” extremist current continues to emerge under vague names, but carrying the same ominous ideology.
Extremism has reared its head in North Africa—in Tunisia, Algeria, Libya and Mali—and still enjoys a strong presence in Yemen, Somalia, and other hotspots.
The extremist ideology and its adherent organizations have served as a magnet attracting foreign intervention into the Islamic world’s affairs. This in turn has resulted in the systematic and ongoing killings of hundreds of innocent Muslims. Yet one is still amazed by the schemes and tricks of these extremist groups that continue to justify the great evil they are committing.
Here, the responsibility must be placed primarily on the Muslims themselves to confront this ideology and those groups, for this is not the role of states such as the US, France or Britain.