June 4, 2019 Special Dispatch No. 8103

Kurdish Writer: To Fully Eradicate ISIS And Its Influence, We Must Purge Minds And Curricula Of Extremist Ideas

June 4, 2019
Iraq | Special Dispatch No. 8103

In an article on the Saudi liberal website Elaph, Kurdish Iraqi author and political analyst Kifah Mahmoud Karim, who was an advisor to former Kurdistan president Mas'oud Barzani, praised the Kurdish forces that recently managed to capture ISIS's last stronghold in Syria with the help of the U.S.-led coalition. He added, however, that defeating ISIS on the ground is not enough, because the ISIS myth "continues to live in the minds of hundreds of thousands of women, children and students" in the Arab and Muslim world, who were and continue to be inculcated with extremist ideologies that accuse others of heresy and permit their killing in the name of religion. In order to fully eradicate ISIS, he said, it is necessary to "purge minds of the germs of these ideas before they grow and spread," by examining the curricula in all educational institutions and by separating religion from politics.


Kifah Mahmoud Karim (image:

The following are excerpts from his article:[1]

"The Kurdish fighters, and others who joined the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces, have finally managed to crush ISIS and its false caliphate, whose establishment was announced in 2014 by a reckless ideologue and obsessive proponent of massacre-by-shari'a-methods called Abu Bakr Al-Baghadi. After [his] men tried to turn back time – while inventing a monstrous entity that throve on blood and forbidden income and inspired rape, robbery and looting in order to maintain its benighted and oppressive state – they are [now] doomed to eternal degradation and shame. The tough fighters of Kurdistan and its brave Peshmerga forces did it again when they shattered the Hulagu-like myth[2] that ISIS had cultivated by razing cities and villages in savage and barbaric ways [while honing its] art of murder and mutilation of bodies...

"The state of the deviant interpretation [of Islam] has collapsed, but its myth continues to live in the minds of hundreds of thousands of women, children and students. These [women, children and students] have been instilled with rotten ideologies and with an understanding of [their] religion or religious school that is extremist to the point of permitting to kill others and honing the ability to slaughter them and to take control of their property and their sons and daughters – [and all this] based on one of the most despicable ideological justifications for crime, [namely] in the guise of religion.

"The greatest concern is that many people who resemble ISIS in their conduct, and even some of its victims, will respond [to its defeat] in even more criminal ways. We have all witnessed the revenge taken on ISIS members who were captured by certain factions in Iraq and Syria. We are thus facing a vicious circle, or cycles of action and reaction in various societies and environments that are dominated by a tribal Bedouin mentality mixed with the primitive beliefs of semi-literate people who have appointed themselves agents of God or the prophets...

"The most important challenge facing the governments of the Arab and Muslim countries is to find a way to purge [people's] minds of the germs of these ideas and uproot them before they grow and spread, especially given that most of the religious curricula taught in their [education institutions], from primary schools to religious seminaries, still inculcate strict and extremist ideas that direct accusations of heresy at anyone who is different and permit to kill him unless he joins [the true believers], or else regard him as subhuman and as a second-class citizen...

"We will never eliminate the [ISIS] myth until we separate religion from politics, and [the mentality of] tribes and tribal customs and leaders from the state, the nation and the law."




[1], March 23, 2019.

[2] A reference to the Mongol ruler Hukagu Khan (1218-1265), who conquered Baghdad and destroyed it in 1258 while massacring hundreds of thousands of Muslims, including the Caliph, Al-Musta'sim, and thereby ended the 'Abbasid Caliphate.

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