Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan admits moderate Muslims are complicit in the success of ISIS, and calls on moderate Muslims to speak up and fight for the image of Islam before it is destroyed by violent extremists.
In a blunt and hard-hitting speech at this year’s Abu Dhabi Media Summit Queen Rania spoke out against Islamic violent extremism, arguing the moderate majority of Arab Muslims must not stand by and remain silent, warning:
They say, a story is told as much by silence as by speech. Well, our silence speaks volumes. We are complicit in their success.
About the horrific images of rape, torture and beheadings broadcast by ISIS, Queen Rania said:
These images don’t represent me anymore than they represent you. They’re alien and abhorrent to the vast majority of Arabs – Muslims and Christians. And they should make every Arab across this region seethe. Because they’re an attack on our values as a people. And on our collective story.
For the sake of each one of us… for Islam and the Arab world… for the future of our young people, we must create a new narrative and broadcast it to the world. Because if we don’t decide what our identity is and what our legacy will be, the extremists will do it for us.
If we don’t author our story, theirs will endure.
Education is the key, she claimed, saying:
Our strategy must be long-term. And that starts by investing in quality education for all…And let me emphasise one point. When I said, ‘quality education for all’, I meant girls as well as boys. Because educated girls strengthen their nations’ economies… they prioritise the health and education of their own children… and they help to build stable societies more resilient to radicalisation. Why else would Boko Haram, the Taliban and ISIS be so afraid of girls with books?
Education reform doesn’t come cheap. But the price of ignorance is far, far greater.
Queen Rania’s blunt and frank remarks concerning competing versions of Islam are a welcome addition to the current discussion about the dangers posed by the type of Islamic extremism represented by ISIS. Too often the Islam of ISIS is dismissed as not being “true Islam,” thus silencing any productive discussion about the real and present danger inherent in radical Islam.
Before any progress can be made in such a discussion, we must first admit that there are multiple, competing versions of Islam, and that there is not one “true” version of Islam.