Extreme Videos for Extreme Believers

The radicalisation of extremists (religious or otherwise) doesn’t just happen because the people concerned watch a few videos!

Reading ‘The Sun’ does not cause otherwise deep thinking people to adopt simplistic solutions for tricky problems. People who want simplistic solutions look to ‘The Sun’ to provide them.

The numbers of non-swimmers who decide (having watched a video entitled “Swim in a Day”) that they will go down to the sea, put on a cossie and swim across the Channel to buy some cheese, is few in number.

So it is with religious extremists. The extremists chose the videos they watch.

In Europe, in the British Isles, we know about ‘home-grown’ religious extremists. Our history is riddled with the power play of religious factions. We’re pretty good at religious wars and civil wars over ludicrous religious (and other) belief systems.

100 years ago, Britain was involved in a centuries long war in and for Ireland. A war fuelled by cultural, racial, tribal, and religious differences. Like most wars it was about who should exercise power for and over a people. In this, as in so many other wars, ‘God’ was on both sides, sharpening the swords, later filling the bullets with powder and later still the bottles with petrol.

Before the partition in 1922 it was Protestant terrorists who held the guns and threatened unholy hell if they were to be ruled by the Catholic majority. After the partition it switched around. And yet, neither side had ever seen a video!

The simple truth is that people are taught to fear, hate, despise and hold themselves aloof from the lesser beings who do not come from their background, race, religion, sect, class, caste …. This teaching starts in the home, continues in the community, the school, religious institution, general media etc.. long before the child finds a sub-cult to which they can belong and which produces the videos that build on the established core beliefs already inculcated.

The parents, priests, imams, teachers, politicians, and communities who try to hide behind the latest media (think printing-press, radio, tv) are simply passing the buck. Those children who chose to join ‘Islamic State’, and who are prepared to kill and be killed, are doing so because of the beliefs that they learnt long before they pressed the ‘video on’ button. Those parents etc. who blame the media are just as responsible as the parents whose children joined the crusades, or enlisted with the IRA/UDA.

Parents, whose otherwise sensible children have joined Islamic State, need to ask themselves about the things they taught their children.

Did they teach “The Lie of God”?

The belief that there is a ‘God’ and that they have a duty to do his bidding as expressed by the ‘Prophets’.

Did they teach “The Aloofness of Believers”?

That other belief systems can contaminate and are best avoided. That true believers need to be separated and then united by rituals and practices which are significantly different to those practised by other religions and especially by non-believers. These may take the form of; more frequent prayer; excessive fasting; visibly different dress; the wearing of emblems or symbols. Anything which makes them stand apart and together. Conformity in these things is designed to say “We are exclusive, better.” Think ‘Goth’ with bells on.

Did they teach “Exclusivity of The Afterlife”?

That there is a good afterlife that is available only to those who believe in their ‘God’ and who follow the same practices that they do. The rest of humanity being either doomed to die or live on and suffer a painful eternity.

Parents need to realise that these are extreme views.

Religious leaders have long known that it is through the indoctrination of the young that they secure the long term future of their belief system. Parents who teach these values have done the spade-work and planted the seed, online videos are simply extra manure.

Moslem young are often caught between two worlds. The constrained taught world, of home, community and mosque, and the more open ‘western’ world of daily ‘temptation’. So it is for many religious groups. The majority will find a way to exist in two worlds. But that does not deny the fact that they live in two worlds.

For some, who cannot or will not live in two worlds, the answer may lie in ending the confusion by choosing to opt out. Living in ghettos which they rarely leave, and there are plenty of these in our inner cities. Others may seek a sort of ‘final solution’. Those who refuse to kow-tow to ‘extremist’ beliefs are simply unacceptable and need to disappear.

Extremists may chose to watch extremist videos, but it doesn’t start with the videos!


So enough of ducking the issue and putting the blame on internet videos. If the land was not already well dug, and watered, how would the seeds grow so strong with just a little video manure?

For each radical who flies off, there are many, many more who feel the pull but reject it. The unknown factor is how many feel the pull,  chose not to go, but give tacit support. Like those young women who never wore a headscarf before 9/11 but did the day after.

Killing in the name of ‘God’, or anyone else, is obviously not the solution, videos are just as obviously not the cause.

The liberal problem! 

For liberals and Liberals there are questions to ask.

Can those who seek the freedom and right to follow their own beliefs or practise their own religion be genuinely liberal if they see others as somehow lesser beings because of their beliefs, race, gender etc.. Ever been told by a doorstep evangelist that they will live for ever whilst, if you persist in your non-believing ways, you will perish or worse. Not much love, compassion or equality in that!

Can a father who ‘arranges’ a marriage for his son or daughter be a liberal?

Indeed can the son or daughter who accepts this be a liberal?