Ignorance is the Road of Extremism

Dr. Taha Farea Al-Senawi

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Ignorance means not knowing about something. It is normal if a person knows that he is ignorant of something.  It is also natural for a person who knows his ignorance about something to search for it in order to know it, Rather, the disaster that can happen is when an ignorant searches for someone who limits him in knowledge and falls into the hands of another ignorant who claims knowledge and knowing who offers him a fatwa according to his whim and according to what he sees and imagines, far from reason and logic.


There is no doubt that ignorance is a major determinant of the spread of many problems, epidemics and diseases, and it is a major cause of backwardness and conflict. The ignorant people are the fuel for any extremism.

There are many types of ignorance, such as medical ignorance, psychological ignorance, social ignorance ... etc., and what we are interested in here is the ideological ignorance adopted by some politicians, religious scholars and educators who publish speeches hostile to an idea, religion or sect, as is the case today of linking the name of the Islamic religion in the post-2001 world with terrorism.

The problem is that such generalized judgments do not come from educated minds, but rather from superficial minds that are ignorant of the truth of religions and their contents as they are. It is with great sorry I acknowledge that our world includes people with superficial and small minds more than others which has led to the spread of extremist groups and organizations hostile to Islam or those “afraid from it”.

The owners of these superficial minds are the most naive and influenced by any ideology whatsoever. They are minds that go with the current in complete surrender to its influences without any resistance, and these people can be classified within the circle of those who do not know and do not know that they do not know; Rather, they believe that they are aware of everything, which is the same paradox that Einstein talked about, confirming the existence of an inverse relationship between knowledge and vanity.


The hearts and minds of those people–are unfortunately blinded by their epistemic vanity– or in other words their ignorance. They are those who belong to extremist groups that believe in the superiority of their races over others, groups that derive their enthusiasm from the authority of the group or the authority of the mass. 


The number of those belonging to this group is increasing day by day, which generates a sense of their authority in them, and generates extremism embodied in closeness and moving away from moderation methodology, as well as adherence to intellectual adoptions, and an emphasis on believing in them even with the belief that it is necessary to be changed.

Extremism allows individuals to produce violence individually or collectively, taking intellectual, social or religious forms, and the latter is one of the most dangerous manifestations of extremism due to its association with religious beliefs, and it is a red line that cannot be departed, which clearly appeared on the world arena after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the socialist system with the emergence of extremist Takfirist groups.


Technological development has allowed the phenomenon of extremism and violence to spread with great effectiveness, and has succeeded in implementing many operations, spreading intimidation and fear, and using electronic or network terrorism.

The question now remains: How can we get out of the dilemma of extremism that led to conflict between societies, and even between members of the same community?  To answer this, we can say that the following must be done:

First: The incorporation of education;  as education– first and foremost – is what guarantees the state that its members will not be swept away or surrender to social media that portray the extremist as a project of a hero and give him some temporary self-satisfaction, when in reality he is nothing but a hero on paper, An extremist criminal who fell victim to his ignorance;  If knowledge spread in our world and ignorance died, Ibn Rushd’s equation which says “Ignorance leads to fear, fear leads to hatred, and hatred leads to violence" would be reversed. So the equation becomes “Knowledge leads to tranquility, and tranquility leads to love, and love leads to peace and coexistence”.

Second: Awareness-raising;  Building a homogeneous homeland requires solving the human crisis and creating a balanced citizen above all, and this construction also stems from the first lessons that the individual receives in school in his first grades, such as morals, national values ​​and citizenship.

Third: Observing and supervising the means of education and bringing up with putting them into conscious hands away from the militants, in order to avoid extremism. Ignorance is the basis and source of extremism. Studies and research have proven, and indeed reality as well, that ignorance leads to extremism, and there is no way out of extremism except by eliminating ignorance.

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