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Actions, not words, needed to counter bloodshed

ISIS has become a small tsunami and to stop it from drowning humanity we need a total re-evaluation of our thought process

Khaled Almaeena

Published: Updated:

There are reports in the Saudi media about directives issued to mosque imams to pray against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other extremist organizations and portray them as “deviant groups.”

More needs to be done to counter such groups, who with a slew of tricks and misrepresentations have managed to draw a number of youth to their fold.

These groups by their acts of terror and bloodshed have nothing to do with Islam. The Sharurah incident in which several security personnel were killed this Ramadan by these “deviants” without any consideration for the inviolability of the Muslim blood and the sanctity of Ramadan was another eye-opener into the ideology and purpose of these organizations whose only aim is to cause bloodshed.

These groups have no intention of reform or creating an Islamic society as they profess. On the contrary they do a lot of disservice and damage to the Muslim community all over the world with their gross and bloody actions.

They have made clever use of the social media by focusing on many negative aspects of governance in the Muslim world, injustices and oppression, foreign interference and a host of other problems to reach the youth, ignorant and the uninitiated.

They exploit all and profess to come with solutions. They have thus attracted a substantial group of disaffected and disgruntled youth who have no knowledge of the real meaning of their religion.
We have come to a stage where all good men have to join forces to combat this evil.

Yes, we have to fight this cancerous ideology of hate and bloodshed.

Yes, we have to expose them in every forum.

Yes, we have to act now before it is too late as we see many ignorant people in the Muslim world beginning to follow them blindly.

But just using words against them is not enough. Strong actions are needed.

Hijacking our youth

We should engage our youth with versatility and verve. For a long time we have neglected them, and this has enabled the extremists to hijack them with lies and false ideologies. The only language they heard was from these preachers of hate.

And when writers and media people pointed out the dangers of allowing space to these insidious players they were quickly labeled as “liberals” “anti-Islamists” and called horrible names.

ISIS has become a small tsunami and to stop it from drowning humanity we need a total re-evaluation of our thought process

Khaled Almaeena

The authorities did not help. Rather some of these voices were snuffed. Frankenstein was the doctor not the monster. ISIS has been created by Arab societies who were totally oblivious to its dangers.

Teachers, preachers and imams were working for the past 30 years under the cloak of religion to nurture this evil philosophy. Intolerance and non-acceptance not only of non-Muslims but other sects within our own faith was encouraged and today we are reaping what was sowed.

The Grand Mosque Imam Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Sudais has at least begun the battle in the right direction. He has called for a global code of conduct for leaders, scholars and young people to halt a further slide into violence and “terror” in his Friday sermon in Makkah.

He said, “There was an urgent need to prepare a global code of conduct in which the leaders and scholars would deliver their messages and in which the youths would set their thoughts right and the path of the new media is set right.”

ISIS, however, has become a small tsunami and to stop it from drowning humanity we need a total re-evaluation of our thought process, weed out teachers and imams and false preachers.

We should teach our young philosophy, arts and foreign literature while inculcating in them a tolerance for others. For is not Islam a religion of tolerance and mercy?

We should encourage sports, arts, music, films and a love of life. God has put us on this earth to enjoy its beauty, work upon it and make it a better place. Not to kill, plunder or destroy.

This is what these people are doing. And we have to stop them. Why would a doctor blow up himself as Dr. Faisal al-Aanzi did?

And why did so many commend him on Twitter? There is a sickness and malaise in our society. I am glad the government is taking action — but I do hope it will be more than just praying against ISIS in mosque.

It should be fighting for the minds of our young by using modern methods and instilling in them humane values and a love of life.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Aug. 16, 2014.

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Khaled Almaeena is a veteran Saudi journalist, commentator, businessman and the editor-at-large of the Saudi Gazette. Almaeena has held a broad range of positions in Saudi media for over thirty years, including CEO of a PR firm, Saudi Television news anchor, talk show host, radio announcer, lecturer and journalist. As a journalist, Almaeena has represented Saudi media at Arab summits in Baghdad, Morocco and elsewhere. In 1990, he was one of four journalists to cover the historic resumption of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Russia. He also traveled to China as part of this diplomatic mission. Almaeena's political and social columns appear regularly in Gulf News, Asharq al-Aswat, al-Eqtisadiah, Arab News, Times of Oman, Asian Age and The China Post. He can be reached at kalmaeena@saudigazette.com.sa and followed on Twitter: @KhaledAlmaeena

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