17 July 2014


In recent years, terrorism inspired by religious extremism as increased targeting the international community. Terrorism has become a virus, today no person, no country, no state is safe. China which was more secure than other states is now under the new wave of religious extremism. Those extremists are targeting innocent people, for them life of others is nothing.

Religion, which is supposed to give man relief and a sense of security, has become a set of mere habit, without spirit. With the growing over-emphasis on religious rights, misinterpretation of religious messages and formalism by the orthodox clergy; many youth, intellectuals and the educated are showing signs of silent indifference towards religion. We are facing the multiple challenges, in order to understand the problems of the modern era like growing trends of hostility, religious extremism, terrorism and radicalization in our societies which have broken the social fabric. Thus, leading the world nowhere but towards an ultimate uncertain and catastrophic future which has detrimental effects for our societies.

In this scenario, effected countries need a comprehensive strategy to defeat and de-radicalize those forces.

The Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) is a radicalized group which is operating from Xinjiang province of China. It is an Islamist and misinterpreted influenced religious terrorist organization that trains in the lawless boarder area between Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is part of loosely connected with global terror network. ETIM has planned and carried out many terrorist attacks in China it also links connection with other terrorist’s organizations of other states.

ETIM is using its all tactics to spread its radicalized form of Islam in the Uyghur autonomous region. Last week Chinese government released detailed evidence of how the ETIM is using the internet to incite terrorist activities in China. While, the recent findings show that many terrorists in China are ordinary people who have become religious radicalized by watched online terrorist materials calling for violent Jihad to ensure plane in heaven.

One terrorist namely Mirzat was caught after attacking people at a game room in Hotan, Xinjiang told that he was told that jihad would save me from judgment after death and ensure a place for him in heaven. This religious radicalization of common people may create more problem than regular trained militants because these radicalized people spend their daily life with common people and share and preach their ideas with other. So, it creates a chain of radicalized people who do not care about their life but to killed innocents for the sake of heaven.

In the wake of deadly terrorist attacks, Chinese leaders have assurance that the culprits will be severely punished and increase its security measures. No doubt that Chinese government has the capability and confidence to crack down on the radicalized terrorists. Authorities have arrested and punished many terrorists but only punishment and not enough for this radicalized mindset.

Chinese government should launch a de-radicalization movement in the Xinxiang province. Like other religious radicalized states are active to de-radicalize those elements which are creating problem for the society. Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and Pakistan are the states which are under this process with different means and methods.

De-radicalization programs for captured jihadi fighters have had mixed success in the different parts of the world. The de-radicalization program of Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan (Swat) and US effort in Iraq are good examples for effective de-radicalization program in China. The authorities should assess and enable program to better focus their resources on individuals who can be de-radicalized while screening out those who cannot be de-radicalized under current conditions. Once evaluated, segregation minimizes detainee networking, and further recruitment and radicalization.

In this process, rehabilitation may provide a detainee the proper resources and support necessary to allow reintegration into society.

By utilizing the knowledge of what characterizes an effective de-radicalization effort, Chinese authorities should additional means to combat radical Islam and prevent further acts of terror.

The chances of success are more just because of the unique geographic location of the Uygur region. The Xinjiang problem is at its low intensity and Chinese authorities have multiple policy options to apply, but a de-radicalization program is the need of the day.

The author is a PhD Candidate at Zhejiang University, China. iimran110@gmail.com

Mr. Imran Ali Sandano is an author of “Sufism and Peace: A Counter Strategy of Extremism” book. Currently, he is working as Research Fellow at Non-Traditional Security and Peaceful Development Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China. His areas of interest are non-traditional security issues, Sufism, terrorism, and conflict resolution. Mr. Imran is a regular writer of different newspapers and weekly magazines. He holds M.Phil degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from National Defence University Islamabad and doing PhD at Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China. The author can be reached at iimran110@gmail.com.

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