Fr. Atta Barkindo, the Executive Director of the Kukah Centre represented the Centre at the International Conference on ‘‘Mobilizing Collective Intelligence to Combat and Prevent Violent Extremism and Terrorism in Africa.’’ This conference is being held in Maputo, Mozambique from September 27th to 29th, September 2023, at the Montebello Indy Congress Hotel.
The main objective of the conference is to provide a platform for various governmental and intergovernmental actors, civil society organizations, grassroots organizations, and the private sector in Africa to discuss emerging developments related to the threats of Violent Extremism in Africa. It is intended to design Africa driven solutions to these violent threats.
Fr. Barkindo’s presentation centered on the doctrinal and ideological foundations exploited by violent extremists and terrorists to threaten constitutional democracy, pluralism and corporate existence of different states in Africa.
Persons associated with violent religious extremism claim that since the absolute right and power to legislate belong to Allah (Haakimiyyah), any society that abandons the application of Allah’s law (Shari’ah) in all facets of life is a society of ignorance (Jaahiliyyah). Consequently, any country, both leaders and citizens, who apply man-made laws have committed an act of disbelief (Kufr). Accepting to live in such a society under a jaahili system is a crime. True believers must dissociate themselves from the infidels and apostates by loving those who remain true to Allah’s injunctions while hating those who apply man-made laws (Al-Walaa wa Al-Baraa). True believers are expected to leave the land of unbeliefe in which Shari’ah is not fully applied (Daar al-Kufr/al-Harb), migrate to the land of true belief where all laws are based on Shari’ah (Daar al-Islam), and prepare to fight a war (Jihaad) against the enemy to restore the caliphate (Khilaafah).
In practice, violent extremists and terrorists, to the rejection of true believers, seek to use religious authorities to support, defend and give legitimacy to all types of exclusionary narratives. Therefore, it has become important for religious leaders and scholars to stand up and condemn this primitive and nasty exploitation of religious narratives. Religious leaders have a duty and an obligation to provide alternative narratives that are genuine, based on love, tolerance and progress. They should commit time and resources to re-orient former associates. They should influence those who might be sympathetic towards the causes of violent extremism and terrorism and help to unite the silent majority against violence in the name of God. Emphasis must be based on solidarity, common humanity and shared values.