Dialogue - universal cure for extremism

Dialogue - universal cure for extremism

By President of Civilizations Interaction Foundation (CIF) Rakhamim Emanuilov especially for Trend.

In the present globalizing world of the early 21st century - where people of different confessions and cultures constantly interact with each other - the correlation of religion with politics and violence could be important as never before. Majority of the recent resounding terrorist attacks were characterized by direct or indirect religious emphasis. And this arouses the gravest concern ever.

In the last decades of previous century and early in this century, religious terrorism has become one of the most important challenges to global security. The state whereby political violence merges with religious beliefs, is utterly dangerous. "Religious" terrorists (exactly in quotation marks!) consider violence to be their duty, which is justified by the Holy Scriptures (be that the Bible, Qur'an or other holy writings). Legitimized by religion, violence becomes self-sustaining as violent acts, per se, are considered to be "licensed" by God. Moreover, religion-motivated terrorist groups exhibit enhanced viability, compared to terrorist structures that have something else as their underlying motivation (extreme left- and right-wing ideologies, nationalism, etc.).

The mass media and popular thinking hold onto a stereotype, that attributes "religious" terrorism almost entirely to radical Islam. Although there is quite a few extremist groups acting under the auspices of Islam, religious motivation is equally able to prompt followers of other religious confessions unto violence.

Can the extremists determine the face of either religion by spreading hate and death, regardless of the high and sacred ideals they are moved by? The answer is clearly no.

Nevertheless, we are faced with the following problem: to what extend this or that religion must be held responsible for the actions of people that are ready to commit violence in the name of their faith? Admittedly, almost all global religions essentially propagate the ideas of peace and love. Though this is definitely true, we are not to discard the fact that "religious extremists" use certain grounds to base their ideological inferences upon as they confidently appeal to religious traditions, sacred religious scriptures and writings by distinguished theologians.

Another question is to what extent the extremists distort the spirit and letter of religion, i.e. to what extent they represent the views of respective confessional environments. This line of thinking makes one disagree with the opinions of those, who tend to base extremism and terrorism upon the essence of religion. Whereas world religions have existed for many centuries, the history of "religious" terrorism emerged right in front of our eyes.

The concept of blaming the actions of terrorists and extremists upon ethnic or religious communities is both essentially erroneous, faulty and extremely dangerous. Moreover, should one discard extremists and terrorists' outward attributes and specific religious content, their theory and practice will hardly reveal the specific constituent resulting from religious definition. On the contrary, the spirit of intolerance and hate toward "others" is capable of uniting extremists of many various "colors," including both secular and strictly pious ones.

In order to resolve problems related to religious extremism and terrorism, governments should uncover terrorist groups in action, execute justice and discover the underlying cause of emerging terrorism within various communities. Paradoxical as it might be, in order to efficiently resist the danger of terrorism, emanated by religious extremism, efforts should be made to hear their truth amid antagonistic and hateful rhetoric. It is quite apparent that potential followers of extremist trends and propaganda are not attracted by groundless causes. Amongst conditions, contributing to the spread of terrorism, are conflicts, poverty, poor development, violation of fundamental human rights and lack of the rule of law. Short-term, simplistic, demagogic and repressive solutions provide the growth of extremism and terrorism with a nourishing environment, and as such are not only useless, but also dangerous.

The ideologists of extremism deftly take advantage of real problems faced by people; the problems are skillfully emphasized, at times, exaggerated and often distorted. We might be talking about corrupted regimes maintained in some countries, cruel political repressions executed against dissidents, the all-embracing concept of western policy implemented in the third world countries, madly imposed westernization including all of its advantages and defects. Manipulated, these subjects often result at least in an empathetic attention towards extremist rhetoric on the part of many believers.

In this case, it is extremely important to consider another fact: ideologies of religious extremism should be confronted by real ideals, morality and ideas which can serve as alternatives for people. Ideological and moral emptiness and/or attempts to replace it by artificially created and imposed ideological schemes fail to prevent extremists from hiring new "recruits" and, instead, urge the youth to join their ranks.

Radicalism, extremism and terrorism with religious motivation are complicated multifaceted phenomena which cannot be substantiated by simple explanations. Its origins are linked to a whole set of reasons and sources. Indeed, for this reason, the roots of contemporary terrorist movement cannot be cut by simple tools. It is not enough to make only military and social efforts. It is necessary to conduct a serious intellectual and religious soul-searching. The efforts must be made to subvert the intellectual foundation of extremist movement, regardless of auspices that they are active under and to do everything possible to hold the influx of new terrorists. In this respect, of course, representatives of those religious confessions on whose behalf extremists act by spreading death, hate and discrimination, must voice out their position.

The threat posed by religious terrorism for humankind is not confined to numerous fatalities it brings. The climate of mutual suspicion and death sown by terrorist activities between - and within - various confessions is no lesser threat and calamity. This violence entrenches ethnic and religious misunderstandings, and, most dangerous of all, it lays a time bomb for decades and centuries to come. 

We have to do everything in our powers to ensure rapprochement of different communities, to persuade people that diversity of social models and cultures is amongst the most valuable achievements of the civilization and thus enriches us all. Therefore, development of inter-confessional and intercultural dialogue is of utmost importance. And such dialogue shall go deeper than a thin layer of political, religious, economic and intellectual elites to become a truly mass global phenomenon. The youth must feature prominently in such dialogue. A dialogue of religions, cultures and peoples is powerful vaccine to developing strong immunity to terrorism and extremism. Of course, we must realize that the dialogue alone can not exterminate these malignant tumors, but fighting an ideology of hate and violence without a dialogue is simply impossible. Russia as a multi-ethnic and multi-confessional state can not and shall not remain outside of these processes.

Religious communities should develop common approaches to key challenges facing the humankind. We must seek ways for achieving peaceful and just world order, ways for defusing current threats and enlivening inter-confessional dialogue. It is important to understand: cultural identities must be preserved in the globalizing world. Evidently, all cultures and civilizations must have access to decision-making affecting their fate and the fate of the world. Often, colonial heritage leads to a disbalance of interests of various cultures in the modern world. But this existing disbalance should not be a source of frustration leading to extremism. There is a need to understand that some humility may be more beneficial in the long run. Variations in human development can be very unexpected, and as the Bible says, the last may become the first...

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Georgia’s domestic supply of natural gas slightly decreases
Georgia’s domestic supply of natural gas slightly decreases
Turkey’s fuel exports to Georgia plummet
Turkey’s fuel exports to Georgia plummet
Georgia’s electricity exports triple
Georgia’s electricity exports triple
Loading Bars
Latest
Azerbaijan releases 122 prisoners from correctional institution within amnesty act (PHOTO)
Australia calls on Azerbaijan, Armenia to delimit and demarcate state borders
Azerbaijan sees growth of trading via Baku Stock Exchange
Azerbaijan to release 65 female prisoners within act of amnesty
Georgia’s domestic supply of natural gas slightly decreases
Azerbaijan clears almost half of "Araz Valley Economic Zone" Industrial Park of mines - minister
Azerbaijan releases seven prisoners within act of amnesty (PHOTO)
Azernews newspaper selected as media partner of ECO from Azerbaijan (PHOTO)
bp is first company to use flexible approach in management of energy resources during pandemic
Turkey’s fuel exports to Georgia plummet
EU firms in infrastructure sector spent higher share of their investment on energy efficiency
Azerbaijan to strengthen control over allocation of subsidies
Share of EU firms investing in improving energy efficiency falls
Partnered with Azerbaijani banks, VISA actively developing technologies for issuing digital cards
Azerbaijan expands list of goods not covered by VAT refund
Georgia’s electricity exports triple
Azerbaijan’s justice ministry talks number of people released under amnesty act (PHOTO)
Further strengthening of Azerbaijan's army is one of important tasks – PM
Azerbaijan discloses expenses on COVID-19 vaccination
Opening of Zangazur corridor is one of most important issues – PM
Azerbaijani Parliament adopts amendments to Tax Code
Over half of EU firms affected by physical climate change risks
Russia records over 32,900 COVID-19 cases in last 24 hours
Head of Azerbaijan’s State Border Service visits servicemen injured in recent helicopter crash
Average salary in Israel rises 2.9%
EDB may help Uzbekistan to solve problems related to water, energy shortages
Turkey shares cargo traffic data for local Aliaga port in 10M2021
Azerbaijani parliament approves subsistence minimum size for 2022
Azerbaijan’s parliament adopts amount of need criterion for 2022
Azerbaijani Parliament adopts budget of State Social Protection Fund for 2022
Azerbaijan’s justice ministry talks number of people released under amnesty act from correctional institution No. 1 (PHOTO)
Kazakhstan reports increase in bilateral trade with Germany
New U.S. COVID-19 international travel testing rules take effect Monday
Azerbaijan’s justice ministry reveals number of people released under amnesty act (PHOTO)
Value of Azerbaijan's export to Italy grows in 10M2021
Azerbaijan’s parliament adopts state budget for 2022
Georgia shares data on consumer price index, inflation rate
Turkmen Health Ministry opens tender for purchase of medical equipment
Uzbekistan to consider five main directions of development of co-op with EAEU
Azerbaijan’s parliament honors memory of servicemen who died in helicopter crash
Nobel Oil Announces Major Rebrand
Warrant officer of Azerbaijan Army dies in accident
Kazakhstan's monthly food price indicators rising
Georgia releases COVID-19 data for December 3
Snam finalizes acquisition of stake in East Mediterranean Gas Company
Azerbaijani oil prices decrease
Azerbaijan allows 'UK Anglo Asian Mining' to develop Vezhnali deposit in Zangilan district
Kazakh national atomic company's subsidiary opens tender to buy pipes
SOFAZ significantly increases volume of currency sold at auctions
World community should support efforts to normalize Armenia-Azerbaijan relations – FM
Turkey discloses volume of cargo shipments via local ports from Algeria for 10M2021
Flight recorders to help reveal cause of helicopter crash in Azerbaijan – security expert
Natural gas prices may face headwinds from Omicron variant
OPEC+ decision adds substantial downside risk to oil prices
FLNG solutions could become more common in regions with large reserves of untapped natural gas
Azerbaijani, Turkish online portals sign memorandum of understanding
Belarus ready to participate in restoration of Azerbaijan’s liberated territories – FM
Georgia becomes member of UN World Tourism Organization Executive Board
Kazakh Ulba Metallurgical Plant opens tender for cargo insurance
Uzbekistan shares domestic COVID-19 data for December 2
Central Bank of Azerbaijan reveals amount of foreign currency sold via auction
Azerbaijani currency rates for December 3
Oil rises on OPEC+ plan to meet if Omicron hits fuel demand
Azerbaijan increases electricity imports from Iran, Russia, Georgia
Action plan underway within 'Peace4Culture' initiative - Azerbaijani minister
FMs of Azerbaijan, Greece talk current state of bilateral relations (PHOTO)
Icelandic companies ready to co-op with Azerbaijan in renewable energy field
SOCAR employee goes missing in Caspian Sea
France's Macron nears UAE Rafale fighter jet deal
Poland plans to cover all gas demand by supplies other than from Eastern direction in 2022 – ministry (Exclusive)
SpaceX delivers 50 satellites into orbit
724 new COVID-19 cases reported in Kazakhstan
U.S. to restart Trump-era border program forcing asylum seekers to wait in Mexico
Coronavirus cases in South Africa nearly triple in three days
Apple reveals 2021 App Store Award winners
Ronaldo passes 800-goal mark with double in win over Arsenal
Germany to introduce stricter COVID-19 restrictions for unvaccinated people
France, in letter to Boris Johnson, rejects idea of joint border patrol in Channel
Turkey's foreign trade turnover grows in October 2021
Egyptian Foreign Ministry expresses condolences to Azerbaijan in connection with helicopter crash (PHOTO)
Kazakhstan ratifies agreements on military-technical assistance with Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan
European Peace Facility allocates €12.75 mln to Georgian Defence Forces
Turkey won't prioritize high interest rates: New Finance Minister
Iran intends to actively participate in negotiations in Vienna
Armenia did not provide Azerbaijan with all maps of minefields - FM
Azerbaijan to increase its transit potential within One Belt - One Road project - expert
Azerbaijan's oil production quota within OPEC + to increase in Jan. 2022
Armenia does not fulfill all obligations within trilateral statement - Azerbaijani FM
Karabakh conflict, which lasted for almost 30 years, is over – Azerbaijani FM
President Ilham Aliyev receives President of US-based Foundation for Ethnic Understanding (VIDEO)
Azerbaijan proposed measures for post-war co-op to OSCE and still awaiting response – FM
Meeting of leaders of Azerbaijan, Russia, Armenia in Sochi is huge step forward – FM
Azerbaijani FM meets with US Secretary of State (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan may increase funding for science and education sectors
Azerbaijani, Estonian FMs meet within 28th OSCE Ministerial Council in Stockholm
President Ilham Aliyev receives world-renowned scientist Aziz Sancar (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Azerbaijani investment company discloses projected net profit for 2021
Uzbekstan to acquire additional shares in IBRD and IFC
US Secretary of State welcomes resumption of direct dialogue between gov'ts of Azerbaijan, Armenia
Azerbaijan's Azerpost revises tariffs for some financial services
All news