A few months ago the BBC published an article about the Middle Eastern Press wishing to redefine the modern perception of Islam. It argued that they were tired of their peaceful religion being used as an excuse to rape and massacre men, women and children; a point to make if you ask me. Today a new magazine called Haqiqah ‘The Reality’ was launched to act as a counter argument to radicalism. It was designed to educate young people about the reality of extremist movements and hopefully put an end to this worldwide recruitment process.
It’s absolutely true that the youth are susceptible to the infectious influence of ISIS. This week Melbourne teenager Jake Bilardi carried out a suicide attack on behalf of ISIS in Iraq. After losing his mother to cancer Bilardi disappeared. A police investigation found chemicals in his family home, which when combined could produce an explosive device. Baladi’s personal blog ‘From Melbourne to Ramadi’ was also uncovered, revealing his journey from an atheist school student to a soldier, willing to sacrifice his life for Islam. The blog also described his intentions to attack areas around Melbourne, specifically targeting foreign consulates and political targets.
Baladi is just one example of a rising trend amongst the youth – what leads them there may vary, but the outcome is usually the same. Haqiqah is an incredible opportunity to both end a vicious cycle and realign misconceptions surrounding about the Islamic Faith. Editor Qari Asim states that it is their duty to “reclaim that territory from ISIS.”
Religion in any form is not something that has ever nourished my life personally: to me it has become a symbol of mass contention and a catalyst of war. But this should not be the case. I’m not saying I’ll be attending church today or any time soon, but religion does have its place. It’s designed to enrich the lives of those suffering, not ruin them and guide them to sacrificial suicide. Finally now there is a voice than provide a counter-narrative to the contagious rhetoric of ISIS and explain clearly the verses of the Koran that have been used to recruit the youth.
So I would just like to say to the creators of Haqiqah, thank God, Allah & Shiva you’re here.