The largest mine planted in the Arab culture is the mine of extremism which should have been removed from the beginning by solidifying the spirit of tolerance and societal co-existence and strengthening critical approaches within the education system. This mine remained latent and it finally exploded in 1967 following the defeat at the Six-Day War.
Historians believe that the date of defeat marks the beginning of reviving the spirit of extremism which was latent during the liberal phase in the first half of the past century. Extremism made its comeback with a new spirit that’s adopted few political theories and modern technologies which tools were more destructive. During that phase, terrorist organizations and political Islam and extremist groups prospered. When the nationalist project was defeated, these groups presented themselves as an appropriate alternative that provides a solution by going back to the past and going back to the Middle Ages and inquisition courts even if via suicide bombings and beheadings. The defeat was pictured as a godly punishment, and these groups presented themselves as the ones with the solutions to all problems of the world and the hereafter.
These terrorist organizations could not find a place in society as governments pursued them and imprisoned their commanders. They were thus fragmented so they had to gather in failed countries in areas where weak governments have no control, such as in Sudan, Yemen and Afghanistan. Extremist groups failed at defeating countries; however, they ideologically succeeded in spreading their teachings and extremist ideas among millions. For example, the Muslim Brotherhood controls educational systems in several Arab countries that are socially and ideologically distant from the groups’ culture and secret branches.
This mistake, which was intentional sometimes, happened. However, the entire culture was poisoned and there is plenty of evidence to that. The value of real education that’s based on experiments and proof declined. Liars were marketed as experts in “scientific miracles.” People thus became naïve while intellectuals stayed back. They made everyone suspicious about creative men such as authors, poets, artists and thinkers and replaced them with extremists and blood-lust figures and preachers who rather resembled clowns. The market of intolerance thus became open. Satellite television channels helped spread extremist ideas, especially in the absence of moderate and enlightening voices. Moderate figures were accused of infidelity and heresy and some of them were killed like Farag Fouda who was shot dead in front of his office.
For the first time in decades, we have a chance to remove these mines and alter their path for good.Mamdouh AlMuhaini