News Release: Global Radical Ideologies Require Global Responses

Foundation Update

News Release: Global Radical Ideologies Require Global Responses

16 Dec 2014

At 10 am local time, a group of militants scaled the walls of an army-run school in the Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 120 people (most of them students) are dead.

It is believed a suicide bombing caused most casualties. The school has an estimated 500 students, the Pakistani military has successfully evacuated most of the other students. Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also known as the Pakistani Taliban, has claimed the attack.

For more information please see the Religion & Geopolitics Pakistan country profile and backgrounder on the Pakistani Taliban.

This abhorrent attack is not an isolated incident. While motivated by local contexts and grievances, this tragedy fits into a pattern of escalating jihadi violence against symbols of institutions and ideologies Jihadi-Islamists believe counter to their own literalist, hard line of Islam.

The rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has inspired a wave of jihadi terrorist attacks elsewhere in the world, including the recent attacks in Canada and Australia.

The spill over from the atrocities and insecurity in the countries has caused turmoil, confusion, and violence in neighbouring countries including Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, in addition to the situations in Syria and Iraq.

At the end of August Boko Haram stated that territory it had seized in the northeast of Nigeria was an Islamic state. More recently, there was a horrific bombing at the Kano state Central Mosque, which killed over 100 people.

Across the globe, Muslims have been the majority victims of Jihadi terrorism — a clear illustration of the flawed claim that jihadis represent Islam or defend Muslims.

Charlotte Keenan, CEO of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation said:

"Our deepest condolences are with the Pakistani people today. Their loss is our loss. The turmoil and violence globally has also given rise to misconceptions, persecution, and suspicion. However, such reactions will only escalate the problems. As President Barack Obama quoted from Sheikh bin Bayyah, "we must declare war on war, so the outcome will be peace upon peace". Such sentiments must be encouraged. There is an urgent need for better understanding the role of religious interpretations in justifying violent action and religions' roles in countering extremism.

"Multinational efforts to counter radicalisation such as the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund must be nurtured and expanded. Initiatives such as the Abu Dhabi summit last week, and other Muslim voices against pre-violent extremism need our support. When violence occurs it is simply too late.

"This is a global challenge facing us all and we must stand together to counter it".