Growing danger: Neo-Radicalism - KEMAL ÖZTÜRK

Growing danger: Neo-Radicalism

A Daesh militant walking around with a spoon hanging from his neck was telling those around him that he is going to commit a suicide attack and become a martyr, that he is going to use the spoon around his neck to eat at Prophet Muhammad's (peace be upon him) table. When he died in the suicide attack he organized on the headquarters of another opposition group in Syria that also thought they would be martyrs if hit, the spoon was still around his neck. This idea was given to him by his teachers who were raised in madrasahs in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Jordan.

When these Daesh militants with spoons around their necks attacked some cities in Iraq, the Shiite scholars called all their followers to jihad. They showed them the places Hussein, Fatimah and the Ahl al-Bayt imams, or imams from the family of Prophet Muhammad, set foot and roamed in the spiritual world. They announced that those who die while protecting these lands will go to heaven alongside the Ahl al-Bayt. Some of these places were venues such as mausoleums, some were places of settlement, oil wells, power plants, gun factories. People were longing to die there. They did not have spoons around their necks, but they had bandanas wrapped around their forehead, with “Oh Hussein” written on them.

What is the Neo-Radicalism movement?

The Islamic world is socio-politically stuck between these two extreme organizations. For the time being, Shiism is drifting with the pressure of violence and ignorance produced by the Hashd al-Shaabi and Sunnism by that of the Daesh mentality.

These two organizations appear to be opposites, but they produced a new ideology that is same in essence and turned it into a religion. We are actually witnessing the birth of a new ideology called “Neo-Radicalism.”

Even though the ideology itself seems religious, it was later understood that its members had no religious infrastructure, no ideological integrity. Daesh's spokesperson “Texas John,” a Muslim convert who was a Christian only until a year ago, coming to the position of the organization's spokesperson, while he cannot even learn the supplications necessary to perform the prayers within this period of time, is the most important example of this.

An ideology based on emotions, not knowledge

Neo-Radicalism manifests itself through emotional reactance, not knowledge. Emotion is more effective than knowledge. People are influenced more when their emotions are addressed.

Hence, in Neo-Radicalism, the act of believing is closer to emotion than it is to the mind. Because in the battlefield, a believer is braver than a knowledgeable person. Also, nobody can convince a believing ignorant person to a contrary idea. Daesh militants, with their arms tattooed, who do not even know the elements of prayer, yet grow their hair and beards, wear black garments and associate themselves with the “Islamic state and caliphate,” can be explained with ignorance as well as identity crisis. Let us not forget that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the founder of Daesh in Iraq, was not accepted into al-Qaida by the leader for a long time because his body was covered in tattoos.

People who have no identity and no sense of belonging to a country pride themselves by becoming a member of an organization.

The human fields of Neo-Radicalism

Neo-Radicalism primarily breeds on ignorance, lack of identity and despair. Look at the young bases of organizations such as the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Daesh, the Hashd al-Shaabi and the Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), and you will see the same thing. These masses are the human fields of neo-radical organizations. They harvest there.

Certain educated people taking place in these organizations does not contradict the ignorance example. It simply means they have identity and psychological disorders.

Attributing Neo-Radicalism's turning into a storm – in fact, into a hurricane – mostly in the Muslim world, to “the West's games,” is choosing the easy way out. If there was no such foundation, no such potential here, nobody could have produced an organization like Daesh.

Academic studies should be initiated by the government

The causes and reasons of the surprising spread of “neo-radical attitudes” in the Muslim world, including Turkey, need to be found through more academic studies.

There are major unpublished studies conducted by Professor Hilmi Demir and his friends at HihHitit University for the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey (TEPAV). What makes the study valuable are the interviews with the detained members of radical organizations, even if little.

Professor Demir says that in the case this is initiated by the Prime Ministry, Interior Ministry or the Family and Social Policies Ministry, conducting more interviews with radical organization members, carrying out more field research will make it easier to understand Neo-Radicalism and find why youth are inclined to join them.

Hence, it might be possible to determine how to also socially fight these organizations, which are being fought criminally. This means the end of the human resources of radical organizations.

On another note, Neo-Radicalism is spreading very rapidly among Western communities as well – which is the subject of another article.


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