TEL AVIV – A renowned Saudi journalist said that extremist Islam is like Nazism and the only way to eliminate it is to combat its ideology, MEMRI reported. According to the journalist, imams, media personalities, and educators are more dangerous than terror leaders like Osama bin Laden.
Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, an esteemed journalist from Saudi Arabia who was editor of the London-based daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat and former director of Al-Arabiya TV, wrote an article on November 22 for Al-Arabiya entitled, “Terrorism is not about leaders or their motives, but about ideology and those who spread it.”
In the article, Al-Rashed claims that terrorism will never be eliminated by the targeted killing of its leaders, because new ones will always take their place. Nor will it be eliminated by withdrawing from crisis territories, like the American withdrawal from Iraq. Instead, the world should adopt the same methods used following World War II, when the spread of Nazi ideology was prohibited. Al-Rashed notes that extremist Islam is akin to Nazism in that it is based on a fascist hatred of the other.
“Terrorism was neither about leaders or their motives, but about an ideology motivated by preachers, media personalities, teachers, and strong believers in extremism, who are more dangerous than Bin Laden and Zarqawi. These people are capable of producing alternative leaderships and organizations, under different slogans and in different areas,” writes Al-Rashed, who goes on to say that Al-Qaeda has been replaced by ISIS and Bin Laden has been replaced by ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The new battlefield, states Al-Rashed, is Twitter, Facebook, and WhatsApp. Social media has become a more dangerous tool than the videos released by former terror leaders. As a result, today’s terror organizations are far more powerful than their predecessors, able to commit acts of terror all over the world, including the downing of a Russian plane over Sinai, the Paris attacks, and the Mali hotel operation, all in under a month.
According to Al-Rashed, the problem stems from the initial diagnosis of the issue by those hoping to combat terrorism. “Terrorism was neither about leaders or their motives,” states the journalist, and “believing that a terrorist organization collapses with the murder of its leaders” is a mistake. But the most critical mistake, asserts Al-Rashed, “is taking a lenient approach to extremist ideologies, which is a major problem and the source of the power of terrorism.”
Al-Rashed recounts how following the death of Adolf Hitler, it wasn’t enough for the Allied powers to raise a flag of victory over Berlin. First they had to root out Nazi ideology completely. Al-Rashed claims that this is the way fanatical Islam must be treated, because it has the same values as Nazism. He also notes that society’s strongest pillar is its youth, and that both Nazism and radical Islam were acutely aware of this fact.
“Today’s extremist Islam is also fascist, and it resembles Nazism, which is based on the concepts of discrimination and elimination. Like Nazism, extremist Islam is based on absolute loyalty to an ideology and to hatred and hostility against others, whether Muslims or not. If you want to eliminate al-Qaeda, ISIS, and al-Nusra Front, you have to go after the ideology. Without doing so, we can expect the next century to be filled with anarchy and terrorism.”