Policy Recommendations

IAIS works to provide pragmatic advice based on sound knowledge regarding issues facing Islamic societies and governments. Here are excerpts of policy recommendations from research articles in our Journal Islam and Civilisational Renewal.

Policy Recommendations on Countering Extremism

by Tengku Ahmad Hazri

[The following policy recommendations are extracted from Mohammad Hashim Kamali, “Extremism comes in many guises”, New Straits Times, 9 March 2015; Mohammad Hashim Kamali, “Terrorism and cowardly murder”, New Straits Times, 10 March 2015; Elmira Akhmetova, “Islam, extremism and moderation”, New Straits Times, 26 February 2015; Abdul Karim Abdullah, “Effective way to fight radicalism”, New Straits Times, 11 February 2015, and from a Round Table Discussion on ‘Extremism, Terrorism and Islam: Towards a Better Understanding of Issues’, IAIS Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, 22 January 2015]

The ascendancy of extremists movements in the name of Islam call for urgent responses by the moderates. In addressing this problem, some salient points to be noted are that:

  • Extremism gained ground partly because of the weakness of moderates: whereas moderates reflect nuances and variety in their views, extremists are uncompromisingly certain that they are “right” while others “wrong”, thereby offering certainty and direction
  • Extremism is frequently but responses to injustices, whether inflicted directly on the would-be extremists or on others perceived to be affiliated to them, either through blood ties or kinship of faith
  • In some cases, extremism arose from the failure to integrate with the wider society, especially in the case of Muslim immigrants to non-Muslim lands

The following recommendations should be taken up in designing and devising effective counter-extremism strategies:

  • ADDRESS the root causes of extremism, namely poor governance, economic underdevelopment and lack of social justice, as well as global power structures contributing to grievances
  • EDUCATE children and society through educational institutions and the media to train Muslim youth to adopt more peaceful ways of life
  • APPRECIATE the varieties of extremism (theological, political and practical), the history of religious extremism, and that the actors of extremism can be both non-state as well as state actors to better craft tailor-made counter-strategies
  • RECLAIM narrative of injustices from extremists by presenting counter-narratives that mobilize struggle against injustice as a common concern of humanity rather than an insulated cult, whose own legitimacy is denied by their own co-religionists
  • PERSUADE governments through advice, diplomacy and negotiation to formulate foreign policies that would be less adverse to civilians especially in conflict-ridden states  
  • SPEAK UP against extremism so that moderates will occupy the higher moral ground
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