LAHORE: Radicalisation has more to do with social inequality than ideology, says Dr Tahir Abbas from the Leiden University, the Netherlands.

He explained how polarisation and social exclusion were at the root of radicalisation around the world.

‘Ideology is certainly a pull factor but the push factors are inequalities, and once they are addressed, radicalisation will come down,’ he explained while speaking at Afkar-i-Taza ThinkFest Conversations online with analyst Azeema Cheema.

Giving an example, Dr Abbas noted that a magazine of the so-called Islamic State was published in 26 languages and most of the topics covered in it were about how Muslim youth in the West felt disempowered—the central issue.

Dr Abbas explained that despite mounting evidence of factors other than ideology being more important, the state and the political elite were in denial.

“In fact, even the media, especially the West, wants to keep framing the issue as an ideological one for its own benefit. Capitalism needs an ‘other’ and so it is easy to frame it in ideological term,” Dr Abbas emphasized. He then gave the example of the Quilliam Institute, the UK, which was set up by ‘ex-radicals’ but had now floundered, since by simply creating ‘performers’ supposed to have been, ‘cured’, the state could not absolve itself of its responsibility of combating exclusion. “The Quilliam Institute was a wedge between the UK government and the people and it failed to address the real issues,” noted Abbas.

Asked by Azeema Cheema about what policy mechanisms needed to be built for inclusion, Dr Abbas said first “there cannot be a predetermined outcome of interventions. Secondly, we need to build societies from the bottom up and address issues of racism, equal opportunity and access. Thirdly, we need to treat people like human beings”.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2021

Opinion

Editorial

A grave tragedy
Updated 08 Feb, 2023

A grave tragedy

It is hoped that Pakistan continues to send as many personnel and relief goods as needed to Turkiye, Syria.
Pharma shutdown
08 Feb, 2023

Pharma shutdown

IN the midst of an economic and political maelstrom, a fresh crisis threatens the availability of drugs in the...
PSL season
Updated 08 Feb, 2023

PSL season

PSL has provided a launching pad for several of the team’s current stars, and for them, hitting top form will be key.
No pardon for rape
Updated 07 Feb, 2023

No pardon for rape

Cultural filters and biases can often lead to faulty applications of the law.
Health insurance
07 Feb, 2023

Health insurance

THE planning ministry is reported to have raised objections to Punjab’s flagship universal health coverage...
The people’s demands
07 Feb, 2023

The people’s demands

AS the people of KP are literally on the frontline of the battle against terrorism and violent extremism, they are...