TEL AVIV – London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat published a column earlier this month calling for the Arab and Muslim world to purge itself of extremist elements in much the same way Germany uprooted Nazism after World War II – “with an iron fist.”
In his July 5 oped entitled “Uprooting Extremism,” translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Hussein Shobokshi asserts that following the horrors of World War II, Germany embarked on a comprehensive campaign to extirpate Nazi influence in all aspects of life, from the country’s political sphere to its heritage and culture.
“They dug through the ideas of Goethe, Nietzsche, and Kant, sifting through their writings with a fine-toothed comb, for fear that they had played a part in influencing others and paving a clear path to extremism and, later, to Nazism,” Shobokshi writes.
Shobokshi notes that the country even went as far as to ban musical performances by controversial German composer Richard Wagner, of whom Adolf Hitler was famously a fan, out of fear that his music was “a factor influencing people’s ideology and encouraging extremism.” (The Wagner festival in Bayreuth was temporarily suspended but resumed in 1951. Wagner is now played regularly throughout Germany.)
The writer continues by asserting that the same crisis is facing the Muslim world today. Extremist ideologies are “hidden” in all aspects of life – including being covertly and overtly espoused by other writers – and are consequently adopted by extremists in order to “legitimize” their crimes.
The terror attacks and murders perpetrated by “organizations of blood and death,” including Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, and the Islamic State, are, in Shobokshi’s opinion, based on “fatwas and bizarre opinions.”
Shobokshi denounces the treatment of extremist elements by the Muslim world as being conducted with “kid gloves.” He says that Muslims must not uproot fanatical influences to please the West, but in order to protect the religion and Islamic societies, since ultimately, they suffer the most and have the highest number of victims.
“Ramadan has passed; the terrorist organizations’ attacks have not ceased; and blood is running in the streets in almost every Islamic country. It is our duty to purge and purify the sources of extremism – and if we do not, there will, sadly, be no end to the ordeal of blood[shed],” he writes.
“The eyes tear up at the sights of murder and blood,” Shobokshi concludes.