Like the Baathist ideology in its time, IS’s takfirist discourse, excommunicating Muslims on the basis of their supposed apostasy and promoted by Jordanian jihadist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his Iraqi followers, is inseparable from the cycles of civil conflict that have plagued Iraq. It may re-erupt as IS has not been entirely defeated on the ground.
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It appears their preliminary success has not been lost on Israel’s educational establishment. In 2016, Israel’s Ministry of Education mandated Arabic language classes, beginning in first grade, in public schools where Hebrew is the language of instruction. This move generated opposition and has not yet led to fully bilingual education.
As the number of out-of-school children looms both inside Syria and in host countries, these invisible wounds won’t be healed unless large humanitarian groups and U.N. agencies team up with local and grassroots organizations inside Syria and out. They need to address the mental health and public health challenges in parallel with educational programming.
Assad will happily take more freebies from the EU. For the regime, reconstruction is to serve, first and foremost, its own consolidation as well as ensure the permanenceof social and demographic shifts and strengthen the loyalty of its citizens. A view espoused by the Assad regime and echoed in international aid meetings warns that Europe will lose out to Moscow and Tehran unless European nations help in the reconstruction of Syria.
The size of the European Muslim population is increasing as a result of immigration and relatively high (but declining) fertility rates. According to Pew Research, the Muslim population in Northern, Western and Southern Europe is set to increase with around 50% from 2010 to 2030, from around 25 million to 37 million.
If the jihadi radicalization problem in Europe does indeed get worse, it may be worth considering radical new approaches, both of the soft and the hard kind. Perhaps Europe needs to spend significantly more to improve education in immigrant-heavy areas such as imposing longer prison sentences for terrorism offences