Tuesday 17 January 2017

Letters: Let's work harder to break down mistrust of Muslim world

Published 05/07/2014 | 02:30

A member loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) waves an ISIL flag in Raqqa. The offshoot of al Qaeda which has captured swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria has declared itself an Islamic
A member loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) waves an ISIL flag in Raqqa. The offshoot of al Qaeda which has captured swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria has declared itself an Islamic "Caliphate" and called on factions worldwide to pledge their allegiance, a statement posted on jihadist websites said on Sunday. The group, previously known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), also known as ISIS, has renamed itself "Islamic State" and proclaimed its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghadi as "Caliph" - the head of the state, the statement said. REUTERS/Stringer
A fighter of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) holds an ISIL flag and a weapon on a street in the city of Mosul. MALIKI/REUTERS/Stringer/Files
A Muslim boy with his

* Con Coughlin is right to allude to the insidious threat posed by the rise of radical groups in Iraq and Syria, bent on mayhem and destruction.

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However, Western governments have been complicit in the creation of such groups in the first place. At one time, it was the West with its clients in the gulf region who financed al-Qa'ida's terror network to fight the Russians at the height of the Cold War era. Even now, the UK intends to train a hundred thousand so-called moderate rebels to defeat Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria. This is bound to stoke the embers of hatred and enmity and perpetuate the suffering of the Syrian people. In the absence of a coherent opposition, the political, military and administrative vacuum will probably be filled by Isis and its affiliates.

The West needs to change its strategies. It is lamentable that the chasm of misunderstanding between the Muslim and Western worlds is widening at a time when both need each other in the battle against global threats ranging from antibiotics resistant superbugs, climate change, to the eradication of hunger, poverty and emerging threats such as the Ebola virus.

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