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COMMENTS & OPINIONS  

Why Islamic Fundamentalism Wouldn't Nourish in Sierra Leone Islamophobia and Religious Tolerance under the Microscope
By Captain Saio S. Marrah (Rtd) Expert in International Relations and Security Studies
Feb 15, 2013, 17:00
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What I find intriguing in today's world is that people are more concerned about the effects of incidents and or issues than the very causes that precipitated the effects. Such shallow-mindedness has the potential to skew our analysis rendering our historical documents biased, subjective, stereotypical and overly misleading. For instance, in as much as "every Sierra Leonean" knows the effects of the 6th January 1999 incident in Freetown, but only a tiny number (if any) really knows the fundamental reasons that led to such heinous incident. The September 11th 2001 Attacks in the United States of America by terrorists can be analogously espoused. 

 

Terrorism is one of the threats threatening Global Peace in the contemporary era. Sierra Leone being a member of the Global Society implies that we must start rethinking our safety when it comes to terrorism hence their activities are borderless. But the profound questions are, will Islamic fundamentalists have a toe hold in Sierra Leone? If they do will they have the wherewithal to radicalise our brothers and sisters? Will suicide bombing be a norm and if so who will be their targets? These are critical and complicated questions worth pondering over.

 

At the beginning of this piece, I articulated about two phenomena; Cause and Effect of issues. I engaged these issues because terrorist activities and war in general are mostly tied to these two phenomena when assessing the actual facts pertaining them.


Captain Saio S. Marrah (Rtd)

Having studied terrorism from the historical to the contemporary and all the intricacies involved in the present Global War on Terrorism, it is apparent that analysts are more enthused about the effects of terrorism than the fundamental reasons triggering such acts.

 

Based on this hindsight and perception, we (Sierra Leoneans) can effectively work and rework, build and rebuild, construct and reconstruct on our natural gift called Religious Tolerance so as to defeat the enemy even before the battle. This according to the 6th Century B.C. Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu is the real acme of skill.  But what is this enemy? This enemy is called Islamophobia. Islamophobia is one of the main escalating factors in the current radicalisation and terrorist activities in the world. But first, what is Islamophobia?

 

Islamophobia is the fear or hatred of Islam and therefore, [the] fear and dislike of all Muslims.Islamophobia refers to the practice of discriminating against Muslims by excluding them from the economic, social, and public life of a nation (whether directly or indirectly). The concept also encompasses the opinions that Islam has no values in common with other cultures and is inferior to the West and is a violent political ideology rather than a religion.

 

Such segregational ideology aimed at demonising Islam and Muslims and effectively denigrating their religion and status actually frustrates Muhammadans.In a way, Radical Muslims saw Islamophobia as an opportunity to radicalise and brainwash moderate Muslims by firmly referring to the hate ideology of Islamophobia. Before the world could realise the satanic nature of Islamophobia, thousands of moderate Muslims were already in Fundamentalist's net. 

 

To this end, the United Nations condemned Islamophobia in the strongest terms and was further recognized as a form of intolerance alongside xenophobia and anti-Semitism. Nevertheless, a perceived trend of increasing Islamophobia and Islamophobic incidents and tendencies during the 2000s has been attributed by commentators to the September 11th 2001 attacks in the USA.

 

The blessing trickling on Sierra Leone is Religious Tolerance. If we embrace this phenomenon and maintain constant inter-religious meetings and dialogues, obnoxious ideologies such as Islamophobia will never, never come closer to Sierra Leone. In fact, I will opine that we introduce religious Tolerance as subject or module in our schools and colleges - so that the concept can be cemented in us.

 

"As Islamophobia is quintessentially an archetypical form of religious intolerance, Sierra Leones's religious tolerance on the contrary will therefore fend-off Islamophobia. So if we tolerate and respect each other's religious view points, then it will be very difficult if not virtually impossible for any fundamentalist to gain a single disciple in Sierra Leone".


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