The Egyptian president has called on al-Azhar repeatedly to reform its religious discourse, especially the fatwas it issues, in order for religion to meet the needs of modern times. He has urged Egyptian clerics to counter the rhetoric of religious extremists in general and the Islamic State (IS) in particular.
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The survival of IS’ media outlets will determine the capacity of the group to rebound from its losses in Iraq and Syria, rally its supporters and inspire continued allegiance. IS’ Amaq news agency remains active online, helping to spawn the lone wolf attacks that have plagued IS’ enemies from Australia to Brazil. These ardent followers represent a potent new global threat, one as difficult to calculate as it is to counter.
The loss of Islamic State’s jihadists to their territorial bases does not signal the end of the group, but their warped ideology has not been vanquished. The group will continue to propagate its hateful ideas online. Its fighters will probably continue to wage an insurgent campaign. And they may now be additionally motivated to take the fight to the “enemy”, meaning a possible future rise in attacks on European soil.’
Many of the comedians producing anti-IS comedy say they have a political mission to combat the group’s message by pointing out the inconsistencies in its ideology and making adherents look ridiculous. Certainly some of the comedy pieces poking fun at IS have found commercial success in the Middle East, but it is unclear what impact they are having on the group’s recruitment efforts.
Nadia Ramdan, a Libyan market researcher, added, “Our security and economy are simply deteriorating. We cannot continue with this civil war, which only brings chaos to the daily lives of ordinary Libyans. Unless there is a political agreement, the situation will continue to get worse. If a political solution is not found and we continue to have a civil war in Libya, there is no reason why the Islamic State won’t resurface.”