Monday, October 22, 2012

The De-Radicalization of Maajid Nawaz

Hey, that man on the far left looks like
my old friend Ben Sommer!

In "Maajid Nawaz: The Repentant Radical" (Newsweek, Oct 15, 2012), an article on former Islamist jihadi Maajid Nawaz, Christopher Dickey believes that he's located the Achilles heel of Islamism:
Nawaz's long path through the shadows of Islamic radicalism suggests that many others may yet be persuaded to abandon their belief in violent jihad. It is not a matter of faith. At the heart of the process is reason. Many of the brightest and most dangerous jihadis are perfectly rational. De-radicalization begins by understanding the logic they think is unassailable, then breaking it down until they have to start rethinking what they are fighting for and why. But that's hard to do when there is so much righteous intolerance to be had on every side of the debate.
Aside from the final sentence, which I find debatable -- given that much of what gets called "Islamophobia" is nothing other than a critical evaluation of Islam(ism) -- Dickey's suggestion is rather intriguing, but perhaps only for application to the Westernized jihadi, who will already have a commitment to rationality that an anti-jihadi can appeal to, and even then, the rethinking might come only if spurred by fellow Muslims who happen to be more moderate, which is the role the Nawaz's think tank, Quilliam, purports to play.

And even if that works, what is yet to be done with all those madrassa-indoctrinated fanatics who have no prior commitment to reason?

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