.
.
.
.

The spread of fundamentalism in political-Islam sponsored academic institutes

Abdullah bin Bijad Al-Otaibi

Published: Updated:

In the past few decades, political Islam groups have managed to gather astronomical sums of money as stated by their own leaders and based on the studies conducted by research centers, governments, and independent researchers. A huge portion of those sums has been dedicated to building universities and academies that are entirely disconnected from reality and incapable of addressing the needs and challenges of the future.

Billions of dollars have been spent on institutions that masquerade as “academic,” with students graduating with very high grades in meaningless majors producing highly detailed doctoral and master's theses on topics that are laughably useless in many Arab and Muslim countries.

Muslim Brotherhood logo. (AFP)
Muslim Brotherhood logo. (AFP)

The priorities of these universities and ‘academic’ institutions were undoubtedly questionable. Some devoted themselves to reshaping and distorting Islam to match the vision of political Islam groups with the aim of serving their own nefarious partisan and political goals. They even sought to influence young people and change their mindsets to further ensure the success of their endeavors. These institutions have also encouraged extremism as a doctrine among students by urging them to address all matters with a rigid radical approach. This fundamentalist extremist approach gives these groups authority over society and allows them to stay in power which is their ultimate goal.

Due to the limitations of this approach, many have wasted years of their lives fruitlessly studying archaic resources and going in-depth in fields that have no real value. These pseudointellectual individuals have gone to become teachers and professors who obtained international diplomas for their theses, and in turn they also supervised hundreds of students and academic theses, gave lessons in mosques, and headed important councils even though they lack real knowledge in religious or heritage sciences.

These groups have managed to establish a whole system that can help them impose their control and influence over society including official and non-official institutions in all fields, in a collaborative effort to build a separate state within the official state and spread social disharmony. This disharmony allows them to be influential without being negatively affected by the consequences of their own meddling. For this reason, holding these individuals accountable for their ideas and rhetoric has become almost impossible. They made sure to vehemently attack all those who try to criticize them by building a front that gives their petty followers a chance to spew more nonsense, entirely unbothered by their absurdity and ignorance.

This systematic absurdity and brainwashing approach, which lasted for decades, resulted in producing uninformed mindless generations. This wasted potential also resulted in an unnecessary depletion of financial resources and disguised unemployment, putting a massive strain on the economy. Countries have taken varying approaches to remedy this deeply alarming issue, so they began introducing useful scientific specializations to these institutions and transforming some of their archaic majors into practical ones that can add benefit to studies related to judiciary, law, mosques, endowments and others.

Given how difficult it is to give examples on this matter due to their sometimes obscene or otherwise useless nature, I will leave you with this example of a dissertation titled: “Rulings on sounds produced by humans other than speech and verbal utterings.” What could a dissertation with such a title provide to the reader and to the community?

A boy who stands near the main entrance of the Muslim Brotherhood's office in Amman, after it was shut by police acting on orders of the Amman governor April 13, 2016. (Reuters)
A boy who stands near the main entrance of the Muslim Brotherhood's office in Amman, after it was shut by police acting on orders of the Amman governor April 13, 2016. (Reuters)

The best course of action would be to establish entirely new universities with useful and vital majors, and then transfer to those universities some of the old departments from the archaic universities in order to ensure creating a solid foundation of scientific and academic significance in an effort to overcome this dark era in Islamic history and prepare for a better and brighter future.

Finally, this does not mean that all of those university graduates are unworthy, in fact some of them are very intelligent, and have graduated to become distinguished jurists, and prominent judges. The issue here lies in the sheer size of the completely useless topics that were adopted and produced by those universities and their outputs. Our main concern at this point is to collectively think about the best ways to overcome this issue.

This article was originally published in, and translated from, Emirati publication al-Ittihad.

Read more:

The Iran nuclear deal and the rise of fundamentalism

Life without the Brotherhood

Muslim Brotherhood-influenced politicians and officials in the West

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.