Religious tolerance is the new old treatment against hate and the only means for sects to co-exist and cooperate within the same country instead of tearing it apart by fighting. Despite this simple truth and the plenty of demands urging preachers and clerics to adopt a religious rhetoric that’s more moderate and harmonious with modern life and reality, the final outcome has mostly been disappointing.
Calls to strengthen the spirit and values of tolerance did not achieve any positive results. On the contrary, extremists’ rhetoric worsened in the past few decades and moderates ended up flattering them in order not to anger them. As calls for moderation increased, extremists’ behavior further brutalized. Takfirist fatwas were immediately followed by bloodier ones. I think there are logical explanations to all these opposite results.
It’s pointless to ask figures who adopt a strict religious rhetoric to be moderate because even if they issue moderate fatwas they will immediately go back to their original rhetoric. For example, a preacher would issue a fatwa saying music is permissible and later he would wish to stone liberals if he could! In this case, the only one who benefits is the extremist preacher himself as he made a self-evident fatwa, which he will take back later, without harming the basis of extremist rhetoric that continues to revive and expand.
Extremist rhetoric has not changed at all despite all calls due to social and economic reasons. If this rhetoric dominates in Arab societies, it will gain supporters with a high social status who will provide donations and help fund its programs. This perhaps explains the large number of extremists that continues to increase as they quickly become popular figures whom people love and respect. They therefore become rich celebrities. These figures are innately intelligent and seek to serve their own interests first and foremost. This is why they give people what they want and do not produce anything that promotes moderation, reform and tolerance.
All calls for moderation failed and the situation only further deteriorated as more people were killed in terror attacks and ISIS took violence one step further with its practices of burning people alive and drowning them in cages.
Asking the wrong people to reform
Destroying hate speech and intolerance is a huge and noble task that only historical and exceptional figures are capable of.Mamdouh AlMuhaini