The age of extremism

One only needs to take a look at any international news bulletin to see the scale of this new trend that is taking across the globe. Whole nations are drifting further to the right, going deeper into their selves, and closing their minds in the face of the others.

Yesterday I was watching news from Russia about the murder of one a football fan by migrants from the Caucuses in gang violence.  The incident triggered anti migrant demonstrations in the capital Moscow. “Russia for Russians” protestors chanted, a slogan that is echoed in many countries with the only difference being the country name and demonym.

“Germany for Germans”, “Britain for Brits”, “New Zealand for Kiwis”, “Israel for Jews”, “France for French”, “Kuwait for Kuwaitis”, all the way to the new “Tea Party” phenomenon in the US political scene, makes you think that everyone is choosing to close into himself in this age. The existence and influence of this trend is difficult to deny or to ignore. What is important at this moment is to understand the reason for this new global-nationalistic sentiment, the effects of this sentiment on the future of relations between nations, as well as any possible solution for it.

English Defence League protestors

In my opinion a combination of three factors is causing this nationalistic trend to grow bigger and more influential nowadays. These are globalization, political exploitation, and the lack of universal unifying worldview.

Nations that were almost pure-blooded and closed to themselves for centuries suddenly found themselves flooded with migrant workers from other cultures. Societies that were developing their own civilization suddenly found themselves exposed to an overwhelming stream of foreign media, actively reshaping the minds of its young generation, and threatening to alter the course of this nation’s advancement, and in some extreme cases, its existence as a nation.

While many people felt uncomfortable in these new conditions, along came profiteers, who learned how to ride this wave, and further fuel these fears, for their own political gain. This all came in a time of failure by many governments to adopt appropriate approaches to include migrants into the fabric of society (similar to what German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently admitted), or to extend the influence of their media, their culture, and their worldview beyond their borders, or even to limit the influence of mega civilizations in the formation of their society’s worldview. Add that to the lack of any form of unifying ideology that is capable of allowing nations to interact with each other, while maintaining their identity, and be tolerant to the different other and you will get pretty much what we have now.

Protest against Roma deportation in France

Unfortunately, the so called “Western civilization”, being the dominant civilization in this era, failed to be inclusive, and in some places, even to be tolerant. Though secular on the outside, Europe is closing to itself, and is defining itself more and more as white-Christian civilization, where migrants (or member states) from other ethnicities or religions are not welcomed. Of course we shouldn’t forget the influence of Islamic extremism in helping exploitative politicians create and inflate Islamophobia, which in turn contributed to this thin horizon of European worldview.

In the Russian case, this antipathy to migrants was not apparent during the times of the Soviet Union. That is because the soviet model gave people an inclusive umbrella, where people from all Soviet republics, and even from beyond the borders, where equal. After the collapse of that model, and the division of the SSSR to independent states, nations awakened to a reality where they are no longer unified by the party’s ideals. They had to figure out the definition of ‘we’, and that’s when national worldview started to play bigger role in post-soviet Russia.

Now the Russians are no longer unified by an idea, to which anyone from any ethnicity, any religion, or any language can belong. They now belong to a race, and this race is no longer an open club for others to join.

The same example applies to all other nations where there is not a valid, universal, unifying idea. Nation and race becomes the definition of ‘we’, and among this worldwide panic to define and preserve the ‘we’, combined with the lack of any inclusive world model, globalization is shattering humanity into smaller and smaller self-enclosed societies.

The long-term implication of this trend could render internal peace-keeping in multinational countries the biggest challenge states will face in this century. That is not to mention all the possible cross border conflicts that these internal clashes could trigger. Allowing this kind of worldview to exist, grow, and widen its influence base posses a real threat to world peace. Global efforts must take place to prevent this from happening.

Islamophobia

There are only few examples in history where a model was able to include various ethnicities, religious groups, and languages to live in equality and harmony. The Islamic civilization in Andalusia (Iberia) was the most clear and vibrant example of such model.

In my opinion Islam, as an inclusive civilization is the only model that can serve that purpose in this age. Of course in order to do that ‘Muslim world’ need to realize that role, and to adopt the rules of Islam in order to provide a successful example of this tolerant worldview to the rest of the world. An important role of implementing this realization is denouncing and fighting extremism, along with promoting the true peaceful and tolerant nature of Islam to the world.

As to other nations, there is a pressing need for a true realization that Islam is not a threat to their way of life, nor it is necessary to become Muslims in order to live in peace with the Muslim world. The realization that it is not a compromise to their worldview if they find that Islam can offer something that they need, and take that one thing and use it without abandoning their cultural values, religious beliefs or converting to Islam.

In any case, nations of the world need to realize that fighting Islamophobia is not only a necessity imposed by the need to find a unifying model, but even in the alternative case, it is an extremely important step to show that their current model is capable of accepting members of other religions into their society, and be tolerant to their religious freedom.

Islamic Extremism fuels Islamophobia

Islamic extremism and Islamophobia are working as obstacles in the way of allowing the world to benefit from the tolerance that Islam can offer to humanity in the 21st century, and any effort for peace should start with eliminating these two obstacles.

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