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Friday, May 31, 2013

Insularity ingrains, breeds “otherness,” paranoia, extremism, war ─ we are responsible

Dr. Hasan’s thoughts seem to complement my own:
No Land an Island No People Apart reflecting a progressive, broadmindedly liberal, nonpartisan philosophy of care, community, internationalism, unprejudiced acceptance, and nonviolence
Excerpt, minor editing, brief comment by 
Carolyn Bennett

Stop “state warmongering.” Stop “militant religious fundamentalism.… Concentrate on preemptive peacemaking.”   Dr. Usama Hasan’s lessons                                                                             

Think tank
Challenging extremism is the duty of all responsible members of society ─ not least because cultural insularity and extremism are products of the failures of wider society to foster a shared sense of belonging and to advance liberal democratic values. London, England-based Quilliam Foundation

Usama HasanVoice of Reason
War on Terror
Generations of grievance-filled victims
Quilliam Foundation Senior Researcher Usama Hasan wrote last week in the Guardian: whether extremism rises “from Islamist fascists or right-wing fascists,” it is “democracy” that “must be strengthened” in order to unveil and defeat extremist thinking.

“… It should be clear that the war on terror has been very short-sighted and in many cases a failure,” Dr. Hansan wrote: “while al-Qaida has been defeated in Afghanistan, it has established other strongholds in parts of Mali, Yemen, Somalia and Syria.

There is no military solution, as exemplified by the drone strikes that kill civilians as well as terrorists and breed more generations of grievance-filled victims.

“There is a responsibility for all of us to learn lessons:

…for Muslims to take ownership of the fight against extremist ideology;

…for all of us to expand the opportunities for democratic participation, and

…for the United States to rethink its counter-productive war on terror

We need to stop state warmongering as well as militant religious fundamentalism; instead, concentrate on preemptive peacemaking.

U.S. War on Terror
These were Hasan’s “Lessons of Woolwich”

Fix relations among human beings  
Instead of fixing blame

ritish society (including its Muslim communities), he said, “needs to move beyond the routine condemnation of terrorist attacks and plots – there have been dozens since September 11, 2001.
U.S. War on Terror
“We need instead to address the extreme Islamist ideology that al-Qaida and its sympathizers promote to incite attacks against soldiers and civilians worldwide ─ in war-torn and in peaceful countries. Muslim leaders need to take ownership of the specifically religious aspects of the problem, that is to say, the twisted theology that easily brainwashes vulnerable people, some of whom are intelligent university students and graduates.”

Insularity, Irrationality, War

Key planks of this extremist ideology, Dr. Hasan says, are:

U.S. War on Terror
…that the west is at war with Islam and Muslims;

…that Muslims cannot ultimately live in peace with non-Muslims or in ‘non-Muslim’ societies and

U.S. War on Terror
…that Muslims must live in an ‘Islamic state’ that enforces the narrowest and harshest interpretations of sharia law.

“All of these arguments,” Hasan concludes, “are utterly simplistic and are destroyed by any in-depth study of religious texts, history, or Islamic jurisprudence.…”

We are responsible but will we act responsibly? The time has long past for seating progressive leadership at the helm of nuclear-powered nations and to end perpetual war. 

Sources and notes

“The lessons of Woolwich ─ Condemnation isn't enough. Muslims must take ownership of the problem in their midst, and the war on terror must be rethought” (Usama Hasan, guardian.co.uk), Thursday May 23, 2013 12.12 EDT, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/23/lessons-of-woolwich

Agenda at Deutsche Welle: May 28 the edition of Agenda: examining HOMEGROWN TERROR in Britain, multinationals and their tax avoidance strategies and software maker SAP to recruit hundreds of autistics.… “Homegrown Terror - How to Fight Radicalization” ─ Guest: Usama Hasan, Senior Researcher, Quilliam Foundation, http://www.dw.de/agenda-talk-show-2013-05-28/e-16800399-9798

Quilliam Foundation

Quilliam Foundation “is the world’s first counter-extremism think tank set up to address the unique challenges of citizenship, identity, and belonging in a globalized world. Quilliam stands for religious freedom, equality, human rights and democracy.

Challenging extremism is the duty of all responsible members of society ─ not least because cultural insularity and extremism are products of the failures of wider society to foster a shared sense of belonging and to advance liberal democratic values.

“With Islamist extremism in particular, we believe a more self-critical approach must be adopted by Muslims. Westophobic ideological influences and social insularity needs to be challenged within Muslim communities by Muslims themselves whilst simultaneously, an active drive towards creating an inclusive civic identity must be pursued by all members of society.

“Quilliam seeks to challenge what we think and the way we think. It aims to generate creative, informed and inclusive discussions to counter the ideological underpinnings of terrorism, whilst simultaneously providing evidence-based recommendations to governments for related policy measures” (Quilliam Foundation: PO Box 60380, London, WC1A 9AZ, UK), http://www.quilliamfoundation.org/about/

Usama Hasan

Dr Usama Hasan is Senior Researcher at Quilliam and in 2008 was a founding advisor to the organization.  As Quilliam Senior Researcher, Dr Hasan engages in ongoing reform, outreach and media work. He aims to address key questions on gender rights, minority rights, personal freedoms, penal codes; seeking to harmonize tradition and reason, faith and science, and developing the Sharia in keeping with the original Prophetic spirit of mercy, and away from rigid ritualism. He is regularly in a variety of international news media. Before joining Quilliam, Dr Usama was a Senior Lecturer in Engineering at Middlesex University (2003-2012).

He is credentialed in Physics and Artificial Intelligence (Ph.D., MSc and MA, Universities of Cambridge and London) and is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. Fluent in English, Urdu and Arabic, Dr Hasan completed memorizing the entire Qur’an by the age of 11; and has served as a part-time imam since his teens and is a certified transmitter of the Qur’an and Hadith scriptures; he has translated a number of Islamic texts into English, including The Islamic Foundation’s “Way of the Prophet” (2009).

As a teenager Usama Hasan became a radical salafi activist and,whilst still a Cambridge undergraduate he briefly took part (1990-1991) in the ‘Jihad’ against Communist forces in Afghanistan. However, following the July 7 bombings in London (The July 7, 2005, London bombings, often referred to as 7/7, were a series of coordinated suicide attacks in London which targeted civilians using the public transport system during the morning rush hour), Hasan took it upon himself to start campaigning against extremism and for religious reform within Muslim circles. http://www.quilliamfoundation.org/about/staff/usama-hasan-senior-researcher/


May 22, 2013, in Woolwich ─ a district in South East London, England, located in the Royal Borough of Greenwich ─ two British men armed with machetes and meat cleavers killed soldier Lee Rigby close to his base at the Royal Artillery Barracks. The attackers asked bystanders to take pictures of them and made efforts to justify their actions to the crowd, making no effort to escape.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woolwich

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