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In the Name of God بسم الله
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What makes a Muslim youth leave his life in Marseille, London, New York or Kosovo behind and join a group like IS/Daesh? What does Daesh promise, socio-politically speaking, that the materialist liberal West can't offer? It offers the same utopia that the zionist state PR firms advertise to jewish youth from Brooklyn, North London and Krakow. The attractiveness of being able to BE the 'ideal' Muslim, living in the 'ideal' islamic state, ruled by a descendant of the Prophet, is no different to the effective propaganda of ideal jewish life in occupied Palestine. Muslim youth living in the West no longer have to put up with islamophobic oppressive intrusive and humiliating governments. they can fly Syria or Iraq, look and behave they way they like, and become the 'TRUE' representation of what it means to be Muslim. the added bonus is that Daesh is in a state of war with anybody who refuses to join this utopia, and the reward in the end are 72 pure virgins etc.. A simple life and death, without the headache of juggling multiple identities, switching one off and turning the other on depending on the situation. Being a muslim youth does not mean anything to the liberal materialist westerner. he doesn't care about your religion or your God. he's got problems up to his nose, and instead wants someone to propose solutions AS A HUMAN BEING, or at least as a Brit, or American. Keep your faith at home and tell me how to resolve the rising homelessness, alcoholism, drug abuse, crowded jails, broken families, abused children, millions on food stamps,.... Multiple factors have reduced Muslims in the West to the insignificant entities they are. A major one, in my opinion, are the establishment scholars who push the individualistic, tribal behaviours and passive worldviews. Instead of a collective and united socio-political force, providing perfect examples on the ground on how to resolve issues i mentioned above, we have a pakistani mosque, an arab mosque, a turkish mosque, a wahabi mosque, an ahmadi mosque, a shirazi circus and no socio-political representation with power to influence discourse and policy. Daesh on the other hand, has done just that. It has given YOU the Muslim youth yearning for social impact, and true representation, to live your socio-political utopia in the caliphate and reach your perfection.
Some thoughts on political identities of Muslims living in the West...write-up will follow. Is there a political identity that's relevant to British/American Muslims? Can we shape our own internal political identity, addressing local needs and issues, whilst standing firm on our principles (proactive approach)? Do we have a political identity shaped by external influences, i.e. wilayatul faqih, Najaf school, etc (passive approach)? Are we forced to accept an identity shaped by internal marginalisation and discrimination (reactive approach)? Do we have to settle for a political identity, or can we contribute to society through proposing a socio-political paradigm with a goal to establish social justice? What is the relationship between ideology and identity? Does religious identity surpass ethnic identity in terms of importance? What is the empirical evidence for that (if any)?
People used to look to identity as a unifying force around a particular political project, or social endeavour, in order to protect the interest of a group. However, some view identity to be the biggest hindrance to progress (anywhere), and the most negative heritage that would lead a people to conflicts with no end or solution in sight. In fact, it is a drain of resources (human and natural), and it has taken us Arabs/Muslims (in the Middle East) in the opposite direction to the movement of history. I'm in the process of proposing a new Political Theory, the basis of which will be an effort to unite around a common future goal, best suited for the progress of our (Middle Eastern) society (or any society struggling for justice), to enable us to compete amongst the most advanced nations of the world. The conflicts in the Middle East, especially the one initiated by what became known as the 'Arab Spring', are conflicts that pit one identity against the other, with policies purposely absent, so that foreign policies take advantage of the situation and are forced upon us. As a result, instead of different factions debating political theories and social projects, we have a never-ending struggle of religious and ideological identities. These religions and ideologies, have been emptied of their socio-political essences and revolutionary progressive ideas, so it should come as no surprise that their opinions matter very little to the rest of the world (if they ever show opinions on things that matter!). Throughout religious history, we have examples of socio-political struggle between progressive revolutionaries and the establishment. When Jesus (as) came to revolt against the status-quo of his time, he didn't do so by attaching himself to an existing identity. The Christian identity was established once people started following the teachings of Jesus Christ (as). The same applied to the early Muslims of the Arabian Peninsula, who became Muslim not to be part of an existing identity, but to destroy the status-quo. The Islamic movement came as a social project to 'islamize' the people, and not for it to be carried as an identity. The current conflicts in the region (and many other parts of the world) revolve around identities, with total absence of their original Islamic or Christian essence, i.e. a lack of understanding of the deep and rich meanings that sit at the root of these labels. As a result, they lack understanding of what these ideologies offer in terms of socio-political change. The majority of people in our region have inherited an identity, it is but a few who are truly religious. What I hope to achieve with this new Political Theory is to return to 'Traditional Humanism', which is no different to the True Islam (in the general prophetic evolutionary sense), to propose a fresh and enlightening socio-political project that would benefit everyone. Any reformist project must look back at history, revolt against any negative inheritance that has been accumulated over the years, and learn from the experiences of our ancestors. We are not responsible for our ancestor's deeds, but we can build on them and work towards more perfect policies and social behaviours, setting an examples to the rest of the world. This cannot be achieved whilst hiding behind an inherited identity. Those who hide behind religious identities, have forgotten or misunderstood the true meaning and message of their faith, and instead are behaving more like infighting tribes. Religious and sectarian infighting is the beginning of the end of religion (as was the case in the European wars of religion in the 16th century, that lead to the enlightenment and Europe's eventual secularism). This project is a revolt against inherited religions, because all that remains today are inherited religious identities, filled with fanaticism, and devoid of any sacred, social, political, or economical essence and intelligence.
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