Gargash: fight against DAESH is not just a struggle within Islam

Washington, 20th February, 2015 (WAM) — The UAE is a persistent proponent of a moderate agenda in the Middle East, opposing terrorism, violent extremsim and hateful propaganda, Dr. Anwar Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, told the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE), on Thursday in Washington DC.

Dr. Gargash emphasised that the UAE is againts the brand of DAESH and other extremists, by sponsoring and hosting such initiatives as the Council of Muslim Elders, the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, and the Hedayah Centre for Countering Violent Extremism.

In his insightful address to Session 3: Weakening the Legitimacy and Resonance of the Violent Extremism “Brand”: Effective Policies and Programs, Challenges, and Charting a Path for Progress, the UAE Minister outlined a five-point road map to counter and defeat DAESH terrorist organisation, weaken it brand and invalidate its pernicious messages.

The White House convened the summit on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) which brought together local, federal, and international leaders – including US President Obama and foreign ministers – to discuss concrete steps the international community can take to develop community-oriented approaches to counter hateful extremist ideologies that radicalize, recruit or incite to violence.

”Dismantling and disproving DAESH’s powerful brand and the hateful ideology that informs it needs to become one of our most urgent and important goals in the fight against violent extremism,” Dr. Gargash said, stressing the need of the international community to make a concerted effort to counter their ommunications.

”Violent Extremist groups everywhere have increasingly focused their resources on creating a powerful “brand” that they use in order to radicalize and recruit the most vulnerable members of our societies,” he said, adding that these groups have shrewdly exploited the freedoms provided by social media and the internet and have cynically hidden behind the protections we grant for the freedom of speech and expression.

Violent extremism, he said, is a phenomenon that has abused many different traditions and religions and speaks in many tongues.

”This is why our current fight against DAESH is not just a struggle within Islam, but a fight that concerns all of us that stand against extremism,” he stressed.

Following is the full text of Dr. Garagsh’s address to the Summit: Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Violent Extremist groups everywhere have increasingly focused their resources on creating a powerful “brand” that they use in order to radicalize and recruit the most vulnerable members of our societies.

To this end, these groups have shrewdly exploited the freedoms provided by social media and the internet and have cynically hidden behind the protections we grant for the freedom of speech and expression.

To those who think that violent extremism is an Islamic problem, let me say clearly: it is not. Violent extremism is a phenomenon that has abused many different traditions and religions and speaks in many tongues.

This is why our current fight against DAESH is not just a struggle within Islam, but a fight that concerns all of us that stand against extremism.

DAESH, unfortunately, has been a pioneer when it comes to using social media to further its sinister plans and has succeeded in creating a repulsive but potent brand that has gained global resonance.

DAESH’s hateful propaganda still attracts throngs of foreign fighters and continues to inspire lone-wolf terrorist attacks by misguided individuals.

DAESH’s evident success raises fears that such tactics will serve as a blueprint for current and future terrorist groups around the globe.

Dismantling and disproving DAESH’s powerful brand and the hateful ideology that informs it needs to become one of our most urgent and important goals in the fight against violent extremism.

In order to weaken DAESH’s brand and invalidate its pernicious messages, we need to make a concerted effort to counter their communications.

These efforts need to focus on a number of important core issues: First, we need to be very careful about labelling and terminology in order to not inaertently strengthen DAESH’s destructive brand. This means we need to state clearly and unequivocally that DAESH’s actions and ideology have nothing to do with the Muslim faith. Instead, DAESH’s hateful ideology is attempting to hijack Islam in order to serve the groups own sinister and totalitarian goals.

In order to underline this point, it is crucial that we stop referring to DAESH as the Islamic State – it is neither Islamic nor a State. In fact, we need to avoid using terms like “Islamic extremism”, which suggest that groups like DAESH are rooted in Islam. Nothing could be further from the truth: they are nothing more than a nihilistic terrorist cult. We agree with the suggestion of others to label them as “the terrorist group DAESH”.

Moreover, preventing Islam from being hijacked by these terrorists is not just an Arab concern or an Arab problem. Islam is a global religion that is ingrained in our societies – not only in Indonesia, the UAE, South Africa, Egypt or Morocco – but also in countries such as France and Germany. Defending the true, moderate Islam is therefore a common responsibility for us all.

Second, we need to highlight that DAESH’s fledging efforts to create its own state and impose its ideology on others are futile and failing. DAESH’s expansive brand is built on strength and success. We need to show its weakness and its persistent failure to achieve its wider goals.

Third, we need to display unwavering unity in our common fight against DAESH and not allow us to be divided by their sectarian agenda. For this, we need to safeguard the rights of minorities and ensure that those most affected are guaranteed fair representation in their respective societies.

Fourth, we need to find the right balance between protecting the values of free speech and expression and respecting the religious values and traditions of all members of our societies. This is important to undermine DAESH’s claim that it is acting as a “protector” of Islamic values.

Fifth and most vitally, we need to show that DAESH offers no answers to the crucial questions of our time and region. Despite its claims, DAESH is unable to provide the effective governance, economic opportunities or social services that people in the Arab World crave and deserve.

It is crucial that we communicate these messages clearly and persistently. However, this cannot be done through a secular discourse alone. More importantly, we need to use sensible religious discourses to counter and defeat DAESH’s misinterpretation of Islam.

For this, we need to support moderate Islamic scholars and religious authorities in order to provide them with greater visibility and a louder voice. We also need to be vigilant about hateful ideologies creeping into our communities and being preached from our mosques and pulpits.

The UAE, has been a persistent proponent of a moderate agenda in the Middle East that emphasizes these messages and opposes the brand of DAESH and other extremists, by sponsoring and hosting such initiatives as the Council of Muslim Elders, the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies, and the Hedayah Centre for Countering Violent Extremism.

Thank you for your attention.

WAMtfaham

SOURCE: Wam