Latest articles & op-eds

Analyzing Daesh Statements after the Brussels Attacks

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Debates on the general media channels seem to take the religious motivation behind the recent attacks in Brussels for granted. Often the nuance is added that the perpetrators adhere to a specific extremist interpretation of Islam, which isn’t supported by the majority of Muslims. At the same time, however, op-eds and analyses also seem to start from the (often unexpressed) premise that something dangerous lurks deep within the tradition of Islam which forms the taproot of Daesh’s ideology.

Is the problem a literal reading of the Qur’an?

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It’s a much heard proposition that fundamentalist Islamic groups take their Qur’an literally. This would be the theological and scriptural backbone of their violent acts. Such an idea is voiced by critics of Islam and Muslims alike.

Such an idea arises from the presupposition that old, traditional forms of faith were, by definition, a matter of superstition and lack of (scientific) insight. Literal readings are seen as a consequence of ‘not knowing any better’ and more symbolic readings are considered to be a modern step forward toward a more correct understanding of holy books. This step is considered a prerequisite to leave behind the violence that is contained within those books.

Religious radicalisation is the consequence, not the cause of violence

Militarism

No matter how much adherents of Daesh (IS) make use of Islamic rhetoric, their violent reign and attacks can’t be disconnected from many other motives that are deeply linked to broader geopolitical realities. Yet again, the first witness reports of the recent attacks in Paris made this amply clear. Radio host Pierre Janaszak, for example, was present in the Bataclan and got away unharmed.

Two talismans

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Two mental talismans protect my life. These are two questions that keep me from making the wrong choices. They are two questions that offer a way out of existential dilemma's and spiritual impasses. For to know which questions you should ask can be worth a lot when you feel caught in the vagueness of life.

The first Talisman seems simple. When my searching soul finds itself in a dilemma, when I can't see the choices I should make, then the impasse is circumvented by asking myself the question: “What focuses most on God?”