Islamists and Secularists… Think It Through!

By Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Wed 5 October / Oct 2016. 12:00 AM - آخر تعديل في Wed 5 October / Oct 2016. 12:02 AM
  • Fahed Khitan

Briefly, the report issued two days ago by the Jordanian Media Credibility Monitor (Akeed) points to the dangerous social and political transformations domestically, leading to the recent, unprecedented flood of hate that has swept through Jordanians over the past three months.

The report says, “political tendencies have transformed via open debate on social media platforms to cultural identities. And today, concepts like Liberalist, Secularist, and Leftist have shifted from valid political labels and highlights indicating positive diversification, to identities in conflict morally, socially, and culturally.”

A sequence of unfortunate events and developments over the recent duration has triggered the burst of hate speech dominating vast areas of our virtual and real spaces.

The Monitor, Akeed, mark the passing of young Shadi Abu Jaber as the spark that lit the wildfire. Following, evens sort of cascaded, and occasions; from curriculum reforms, to the arrest of cleric Amjad Qorsha, through the arrest of prominent activist and columnist Nahed Hattar, all the way to his assassination.

The election fencing in the Amman 3rd circuit was another occasion that struck a line in the ground to set apart proponents of the civil state from opponents; it did not start debate, but hate, and ideological and political trenching.

However, this trenching, debate; all of it, crossed a totally different line when Nahed Hattar was assassinated in broad daylight and on the staircase of the Courthouse by one of the extremists. This crime was a product of religious aggregation and mobilisation involving official and private parties, unaware of the massive consequences at hand.

The moment the crime took place, and the following flood, outlined a peaking hate in society polarising around this kind of happening for the very first time.

The vaster majority of the people, as well as state institutions, had found themselves totally incapacitated to facing this wave of hate, but had contrarily fallen captive to minority dialect on both sides.

This was a considerable and dangerous exposure, unexpected too, of the political and social institutions, forces, and elites.

The developments outlined in Akeed’s report may have incited the wave, but culminating enablers had been piling for a while, prime among which is current division on the Syrian crisis between social and political powers, causing excommunication and directed vilification of politicised Islam as well as leftist and pan-nationalist currents. Prefacing that; the major disparity on “Arab Spring” revolutions, particularly in Egypt.

Division has vast affected Jordanian society, and polarisation has become clear in almost all spheres of social life. Social Media platforms were merely a scene for these struggles, forcedly pushing people into either one of the trenches.

I haven’t a clue whether or not we today realise the threats and perils of continued agitation of the civil peace in Jordan. I would suppose that what has happened would be enough for us to deduct our lessons and find our way out of the brewing whirl to find tranquillity and forego the tension and hate speech.

I find no reason why we should stand by and give into the mercy of Facebook haters dragging a massive majority unaware of the outcomes of their recklessness.

Political and social influencers on both sides need to convey peace to their audiences, and relieve this boiling concern of the future. And here I must ask; what stops leaders of the Islamic Action Front, for example, from meeting up to debate with representatives of civil, leftist, nationalist, and liberalist currents, on all levels; party, parliamentary, and youth?

Just a few days back, statements by the “Islamic Action” leader Zaki Bin Irsheid, confirm his in more than ever inclined towards the civil state. Is not time then now for Bani Irsheid and MP Khaled Ramadan to shake hands?