With the recent brutal killing of Muslim worshippers in two mosques in New Zealand on Friday the 15th of March 2019, the world has come to realize that it faces extremism and terrorism of a different kind. One that is different from what the world has been tackling during the past three years, one which extremists and terrorists alike tried to associate it with religion, Islam in particular.
We, at KAICIID, affirmed since the launch of the initiative of interreligious and intercultural dialogue the importance of religion as being part of the solution and not the cause of the problem. This appeal has encountered great challenges in convincing international organizations and policymakers in official institutions in the West to approach religion from such a perspective.
Over the past four years, especially after the rise of ISIS, numerous western official institutions and international organizations sought to address extremism through religious interventions in cooperation with individuals, leaders and religious institutions to find urgent and successful solutions to the afflictions of extremism and terrorism.
Western policymakers, in an attempt to combat extremism and terrorism, have been floundering with desperate attempts in the hope of finding solutions that fit with the principle of the separation of church and state, and with the notion of mistrusting religion as being part of the solution. Consequently, this has led to failing results no less dangerous than those of military attempts to counter terrorism.
In the course of such approaches and initiatives coinciding with extremist media and political escalation against Islam and Muslims and other religious and ethnic minorities, western societies witnessed a surge of popular movements and of extreme right-wing parties’ popularity, which found in Islamophobia and xenophobia and fear of immigrants fertile ground for popular support and assuming political positions.
Racist rhetoric and political, cultural, and social hatred programs now receive assistance and support enabling some extremists to assume public responsibilities, and direct social and community orientations to institute unprecedented extremism and terrorism. It is such a type of terrorism that feeds heavily on an extreme racist nationalistic ideology, employs social media and is directed against certain religious groups, in particular Muslims and Jews.
Therefore, the terrorist crimes against Muslims in several locations, most recently in New Zealand, or against Jews as was the case in the American city of Pittsburgh, only confirms that we are experiencing the most dangerous types of extremism and terrorism fueled by numerous elected political figures, directed and controlled by right-wing political parties and extremist leaders, who support extremism and terrorism, and promote both in their official capacities and through official channels exploiting and benefiting from the various freedoms that govern western democracies.
Therefore, we must be prepared for confrontation with the most dangerous stages of extremism and terrorism. If such elements are successful and continue to hold positions of public responsibility in various parts of the world, we will likely soon witness mass genocide of people because of their religion or color. The ultimate danger would be when nuclear decisions are under the umbrella of extreme right-wing parties and leaders. We are witnessing such an imminent scenario taking place with a rapid and dangerous pattern in some countries around the world.
At KAICIID and through its founding countries, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Republic of Austria, the Kingdom of Spain and the Holy See, in its political capacity, and through the Board of Directors comprised of Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu individuals and an Advisory Forum formed of forty-one members from fifteen religions and faiths, we are steadfast in our continuous efforts to warn against the danger of extremism and terrorism.
The cold blooded murder of Muslim worshipers in New Zealand is only an indication of the emergence of a larger phenomenon we at KAICIID have always been aware of and have continuously warned of. Such a phenomenon will only cease to exit through the concerted efforts of individuals and organizations to promote the values of dialogue and tolerance and, most importantly, the political will to enact laws that criminalize hostility against Muslims and other followers of other religions, as is the case with Anti-Semitism.
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