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Articles
YASSIN ATTIA - RESEARCHER

MANIFESTATIONS OF VIOLENCE AND TERRORISM IN OUR VIRTUAL COMMUNITIES AND ASSOCIATED DANGERS TO HUMAN REALITY

For a great many years, the Arab and Muslim world has ballooned into hotbeds of damning indictment of telling reality rife and riddled with characteristically inherent violation of rights, destruction, manifestations of violence, exclusion, ostracism, intolerance and bigotry. Against such a backdrop of violence and terrorism, its cultural and historical reputation has been besmirched and stained, making the whole world zero in on only the dark silhouetted side sustained by the Arab and Muslim communities, imparting a defining notoriety formed by others about civilization, which has triggered subtly nuanced ambience of global narrow-mindedness that has in turn fueled racism against our human identity of Arab, Maghrebi, Amazigh and Muslim origins, while brushing aside bonds of love, humanity and fraternity empowered by the characteristics of heated rivalry, which can enhance the entire world and humanity to make much progress across the different degrees of peaceful coexistence, while steering clear of conflict of religions and civilizations.

Given the open borders in geography, the well-established truth is that violence and terrorism have no homeland. Again, as the world has technically become a small village, terrorism and violence have no religion either, as long as the ideologies propelled by a ripple effect across the virtual world infiltrate into countries albeit not given the green-light or the go-ahead. Ubiquitous as such, ideologies cloaked in secrecy creep into cafés, streets and public places, and your house is no exception to this reality as such ideologies sneak into the internet and lurk there awaiting your family members while browsing different webpages to slip and plunge into the abyss of labyrinthine content just by a click of a button, flipping into graphic scenes charged with negativity rather than positivity. With these uncertainties factored into the dynamics of life, the entire world becomes a contributor to these negative values that drum up for physical and symbolic violence, intolerance, exclusion, ostracism, stigmatization and racism, while arousing the feelings to eradicate the other ideologically and physically. Simply put, these manifestations make up wholly integrated terrorism formed of many different elements, whereby individuals become a springboard while groups serve as a starting point at other times; it passes through the family, the media, and social media, where the digital society has come to control and direct behaviors and actions emphasized by realities while cannot be tackled and addressed by schools as educational institutions remain helpless to act accordingly. Regrettably enough, given the enormous amount of knowledge made available to build up generations as a number-one priority, such educational institutions do not attach a special attention to address such persistent problems that gnaw away at the current sensitive conditions that are part and parcel of each and every community. Unless otherwise addressed and tackled to perfection, these wild conditions will remain deeply ingrained into communities permanently, which are always fueled into snowballing into fatal conflicts and bloodshed-driven actions in public places, while ballooning into graphic scenes through the virtual world provoked by infuriating comments posted on webpages, calling upon the people engaged to recruit their fans in something that abhors and detests humanity as seen going into reverse in such way that contradicts their hardline values, so religion often falls a victim to their actions and becomes a wasteland of justification for these manifestations of violence and hate.

Not long ago, mosques, writers, religious clubs along with affiliates are not any more springboards for spreading extremist ideologies and drumming up for terrorism, or they have become more censored with their roles downplayed, simply because such interaction has shifted smoothly and flexibly to the virtual world, where audio recordings and religious programs which are left uncensored and the knowledge that they provide is unreliable and shallow have become a breeding ground for mines and time bombs couched in secrecy that can go off anywhere and at any time. Any extremist ideologue can create a webpage and drum up for its content, drawing on rhetoric and juggling with persuasive arguments, and publish an apparent violent language overtly or covertly. Such webpages loaded with a violent cacophony of extremist ideologies may happen to involve and pair up with webpages that provide unadulterated information for peace of mind. To make things worse, the violent rhetorical harangue changing many webpages equally targets both educated and uneducated people. It stands to reason that countering terrorism and violence along with associated manifestations is not merely a question of the volume of knowledge and science gained; rather, it is simply a matter of awareness, education, ethics and fundamental changes across the trajectory and hierarchy of values espoused and cherished by the human world, reflecting the accusations hurled and leveled at the Muslim, Arab, and Maghreb communities that may be counterattacked by offences and insults spearheaded by new virtual assaults, loaded with religious and historical catchphrases that may legitimize violent speech to trigger exclusion, intolerance, ostracism and stigmatization of the other. In a nutshell, they are time bombs awaiting the terrorist framework to go off here and there; perhaps the children, women and men recruited by ISIS in the name of jihad, bear telling evidence of the foregoing.

On the brighter side of the world, exchange of expertise has come into play in a free framework in which identity, religion and language do not impede any progress. It is the stage of transcendence when one reaches peaceful coexistence with different identities and openly declared religions, in such a manner free from problems associated coexistence with benign ideologies, religions, languages, or faiths; coexistence is a condition to make a headway in intellectualization and rivalry, to stave off blurring identities and reactionary tribalism adopted by some yellow media webpage supervisors on the internet, and some of the coexisting dualities and even more in our Arab, Maghreb and Muslim countries in particular are compelling examples.

Admittedly, some countries have taken the initiative to clamp down on manifestations of new violence and terrorism, either by exposing and dismantling associated activities on the internet, or by culling electronic evidence and requesting such sensitive information across borders within the framework of cooperation between the police forces as called for by Interpol, or by tracking down the financing of terrorist groups by establishing Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs), as well as cracking down on luring and enticing children and decoying youth, so to speak, to these groups through various technical means of communication. However, we cannot still speak of an urgent reform of these negative values drumming up for violence in our communities. Generations are torrentially yet uncontrollably flocking together, filled with actions, behaviors and manifestations that sneak and slip into our daily lives albeit unpermitted. Glaringly, we are uncomfortably observing how social networking websites and satellite-powered and electronic channels arouse negative manifestations of violence, racism, warfare, inequality, tribalism, offences, irrational and loose permissibility, riot, torture, exclusion, ostracism, intolerance, stigmatization, violations of human rights and principles, threats pervasive in cyberspace, fraud and kidnapping and hijacking, which are fed to our generations while we remain helpless to take any preventive or defensive actions. These manifestations make the mandate with which educational, social, legal and scientific institutions are entrusted and tasked in our countries more formidably challenging; such institutions do not catch up with the global development, nor do they find a valuable balance for the members of respective communities, nor do they maintain their religions against any indictment. To add insult to injury, the manifestations of poverty, unemployment, illiteracy, underdevelopment, backwardness and the deterioration of political, economic and social conditions that make matters worse reverse the course of reform trends. In sum, the negative behaviors fueled by negative ideologies carve out their niches in everyday realities both naturally and consciously, and often unconsciously.

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