As a study conducted at the University of Vienna in 2017 confirmed, media coverage that does not explicitly distinguish between Muslims and Islamist terrorists fuels hostile attitudes toward the general Muslim population. With growing awareness of the impact of this kind of reporting, some media outlets like CNN have tried to distinguish between “moderate Islam” and “radical Islam”, “Islam” and “Islamic extremism”.
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On the ground, no one knows how large-scale reconstruction will eventually happen or even when it will start. With no clear economic or political view of the future, refugees might not be tempted to return home. Reconstruction has already become so political, even before the war has ended, that a solution to the issue might take years to be found.
Today there are various Salafi movements across the world which have been inspired by Ibn Taymiyyah’s writing. In addition to purists and activist Salafis, Salafi jihadis have been referring to Ibn Taymiyyah for inspiration. For example, IS in many ways championed ideas and practices which were advocated by Ibn Taymiyyah. Many centuries after his death, his ideas, which were once considered unacceptable by many scholars of his time, have been translated into political action.
Besides those repercussions, taking into account that the attack took place in an overwhelmingly Shiite-majority province, IS’s success to attract and recruit the attackers, who seem to have converted to Wahhabism, is not only a sign of security breach but an indicator of how the Iranian society can become more vulnerable. Besides its efforts aimed at internal and external damage control and face-saving, the Islamic republic is facing a challenging threat: IS is infiltrating its territories, not only through the porous borders but also by winning its angry youth.
There’s a simple explanation for how the American far-right became curiously infatuated with the Arab totalitarian leader: Their hearts were won over by the Assad family’s years-old propaganda campaign at home in Syria. Assad’s authoritarianism uses the same buzzwords as the far-right to describe the society he’s trying to build in his own country — a pure, monolithic society of devotees to his own power. American neo-Nazis see Assad as a hero.
Aside from this smear campaign, the White Helmets have also been the victims of more direct action. This has included the bombing of several of their hospitals and, most unambiguously, a midnight raid on one of their safe houses in August 2017 in which seven of the volunteers were executed by assassins still unknown.
Thus, almost 35 years after the start of the conflict, south-east Turkey and northern Iraq, remain war zones. And the blood of soldiers, guerrillas and civilians will continue to flow. To end the bloodshed, a political deal will have to be made. Currently, no one in Turkey is even willing to consider a political deal with the PKK: they are terrorists and have to be destroyed.
Other inhabitants are more ambivalent about the LNA. In a policy brief for the European University Institute, researcher Al-Zubayr Salem wrote that since besieging Derna, the LNA has compounded the crisis by failing to make a distinction between the DMSC and civilians. Worse still, civilians who support the LNA said that Haftar’s forces have shown little regard for human life.
Yarmouk’s former residents do not seem to be a priority in Syria, where many questions regarding reconstruction and resolutions remain unanswered. In the meantime, refugees have been forced to leave the country or stay in Idlib, which is still controlled by the jihadist alliance Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham. The fate of Palestinian refugees in Syria continues to be unclear as the regime pursues its objective of regaining control of the entire country.