These are indeed interesting times for the world when it comes to religious fanaticism. As an American citizen, I have witnessed terrorist events since the age of eight when the World Trade Center was demolished on September 11, 2001. For the majority of my life I believed that the United States was the only victim of terrorism, but I recently learned about the strife in Western Europe, Africa, Asia, and particularly in the Middle East. As Wahhabism spreads like wildfire, understanding that terrorism is a global problem means that it requires worldwide collaboration to delude its power.
I had the opportunity to read Islamic State: The Changing Face of Modern Jihadism by the Quilliam Foundation. The piece was a fascinating read and it had some very crucial points in my opinion. ISIS is certainly a Frankenstein’s monster with a dangerous ability to manipulate minds around the world into joining its legions. However, the report mentioned that ISIS can be defeated through tracing its internet resources and by a short term ground assault from Sunni-majority countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. The last point was a very important one one that and might translate to an ultimate demise for the core features of Wahhabism’s ideology.
The key to defeating ISIS and other extremist groups will not be from external forces but internally. Internal forces in this case are Sunni Muslims, who oppose the harsher elements which give rise to terrorism. Zemo said once that “An empire toppled by its enemies can rise again but one which crumbles from within? That’s dead forever.” Similar examples of internal collapse have occurred throughout history, such as when a Catholic monk named Martin Luther helped to bring about a reformation of European Christendom.
I believe that this can also happen for Islam, especially after listening to Maajid Nawaz say that there is no declaration for a dawla within the Quran, meaning that ISIS narratives can be rejected by scholars. The battle, both psychological and physical, will not be an easy or rapid one. The clash of Western civilization and Islamic civilization will often appear as a problem to some on multiple fronts. The reality is that Islam is the fastest growing religion and while the vast majority of its followers, including myself, are peaceful Muslims, ISIS and other terrorist groups, and their narratives, are a very dangerous virus. They can inflict significant damage in very small numbers in a moment’s notice almost anywhere in the world. If they can be stopped, the world will be free of Wahhabi terrorism and able to enjoy peace and prosperity in many previously war torn parts of the globe.
Dylan Black is a Quilliam Circle Member.