America Should Invest in Education Rather Than in Arms
For a long time now there have been two different views regarding America’s policies toward Islam and the Middle East. In contrast to the Democrats’ moderate policies, or one that tries to rather keep its distance from the Middle East, many so-called conservatives have adopted a more-or-less openly destructive policy of violence toward the Middle East and are trying to influence the government in that regard. One can also see that these destructive policies are raised from time to time and, as in Syria, implemented in a covert manner. However, this is a mistaken endeavor that has been experimented with in practice since the Iraq War, and has thus far produced no results other than increasing the violence of radicalism in the Middle East and that escalating violence will, in turn, wreak destruction on the whole world.
Just like a food source, violence always strengthens those who are nourished by violence. Fanaticism always draws its strength from violence. People who see blood want blood; those who see weapons want weapons. It is no surprise that the current climate of turmoil in Iraq and Syria should feed the fanatics, and that new names and groups with a radical mindset should constantly appear and even start fighting one another. Climates of conflict are food and drink for a fanatic. Those who imagine they can rein in fanaticism through force of arms alone are therefore making the gravest of errors. Indeed, when America entered Iraq, it believed that savagery could only be resolved by bombs. The result today is plain to see; violence has engulfed vast swathes of the Middle East. However, there are still far too many who believe that war is a viable solution.
The more America clings to the idea of force, the worse the situation will become. As things stand now, the situation will not improve even if America says, “We are no longer interested whatsoever in the Middle East.” If America seeks a solution, the only effective solution lies in education.
The origin of fanaticism lies in a false conception of religion, and the origin of that lies in false hadiths. Extremism, be it of the religious or political variety, is a disease; the important thing to effect successful treatment is to find the source of the disease. In looking for a solution to fanaticism we must not forget one important advantage in our possession: we are aware of the source of the disease. We know we can achieve a solution once the false conception of religion - from which the disease of extremism originates - is targeted. Bombs, rhetorical attacks and heated words of condemnation turn fanaticism into a more aggressive form of cancer, but once the invalidity of false hadiths and the false conception of religion that makes fanaticism what it is are revealed, the source of fanaticism is neutralized.
The invalidity of false hadiths can only be proved when the true provisions in the Qur’an are revealed. It must not be forgotten that the fanatics currently wreaking terror throughout the Middle East have memorized the false hadiths in question, yet many of them are almost totally ignorant of the Qur’an. We therefore have an opportunity to teach them from the Qur’an and remove the hold that these false hadiths have over the mind.
With such an education program, America would easily find it within its power to entirely change the Middle East. Books and CDs, to be distributed free of charge, and an alliance with moderate Muslims of the Qur’an are therefore needed. People educated by way of these books and CDs will soon begin to question the validity of the false belief system to which they adhere; the fanatical system will inevitably decay and vanish of its own accord. The justifications for violence will cease to exist and a new perspective will prevail; masses of people will be won over. This one and only effective method, one that America has seemingly rejected for 50 years, must be implemented as a matter of urgency.
America spent three trillion dollars on the Iraq War, an essentially needless conflict that is perhaps most directly responsible for radicalism spreading so widely. Had America spent that on a rational education program, the Middle East would long since have been freed from the scourge of radicalism. If America continues to resort to violence it is entirely foreseeable that the spreading radicalism will ultimately enter its own geographical territory. Every group that has a grievance and that regards itself as “oppressed” will draw strength from this. The effects of the current state of the world on America must not be ignored; negative economic and social developments are instrumental in making the American people uneasy. Yet it is important in many regards for America to remain a sound bastion and a superpower. The entire world genuinely needs American freedom, democracy and its ideas of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.
An American commentator once wrote, “It’s a mistake to blame Islam, a religion 14 centuries old, for the evil that should be ascribed to militant Islam, a totalitarian ideology less than a century old. Militant Islam is the problem, but moderate Islam is the solution”. These are wise words and the diagnosis is entirely correct. That’s why this education program must be adopted at once. I suggest that people of goodwill across the American political spectrum must now follow and act on a new and effective method. Education is the best way forward. As Nelson Mandela put it, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”.