It isn’t actually difficult to appreciate how radicalisation occurs. Last night I had the misfortune of deciding to watch the previous evening’s edition of Newsnight on the web and was thus bombarded with the disgusting images emerging from Abu Ghraib I had so far managed to avoid. In my case I found that the sense of frustration and powerlessness in the face of such inhumanity heightened my emotions so that in my mind I began to mull over how we should respond. Some of those ideas surprised me.
When my wife asked me to supplicate to our Lord after Isha on behalf of the victims, I was lost for words. I didn’t know what to pray. My wife told me that prayer is the weapon of believers, but the sense of despair blanked my mind. And I suppose this must be quite a common complaint amongst those of us who lack real knowledge. Against a backdrop of that sense of futility and despair, an action normally considered extreme might start to settle in the mind as the only viable alternative to doing nothing.
I believe I live a fairly sheltered existence given my deliberate abstention from television. I know the power of the moving image well as it grips you, etching itself on the mind. Having seen those images last night and checked my own reaction, it is not difficult to imagine the likely affect on a young man in a Muslim country constantly exposed to the drip-drip of brutality represented on his own TV channels. As for those who experience it first hand, I wonder how they could not react in the manner we all condemn; only those with the greatest faith could surely withstand the abuse perpetuated against them and their people.
Isn’t that sad; the voice said to exude sanity in a world of depravity has turned a corner. We really should fear where this new world order is leading us.