‘Force is not the answer for extremist ideology’

Using gun powder to deal with extremism is like cutting the branches of a tree with the root still inside the ground. The problem is deeper than many people think” is how a new writer choses to approach the scourge of extremism plaguing various parts of the world. How then can the menace called extremism and all its violent manifestations all over the world be successfully dealt with since it has defied the use of force of arms?

This is the subject of T.J Nwakaeze, who uses his book, Overcoming the Challenges of Extremist Ideology in our Society (T.J Nwakaeze publications, 2016), to explore what may possibly be the cure for the ideology of violence being perpetuated by certain groups and currently plaguing many countries, Nigeria included.

The book calls it what it is: violence in the name of religion is inexcusable!

In the first chapter titled ‘Extremism,’ Nwakaeze gives an in-depth view of the subject. He describes it extensively, noting that it is usually “accompanied by illegal and violent actions”. He brings statistics to bear on the matter, saying that thousands have lost their lives due to actions of religious extremists. He laments, “There is hardly a day one will not hear of suicide bomber detonating bomb in the midst of people…” The statement rings true in light of the recent suicide bombing in Kano, which took eight lives. He once more restates the purpose of the book: providing a counter-ideology to extremism.

‘Fighting for God’ embodies the author’s opinion of extremists, who claim to be fighting for God. He also state that “God is not a blood-thirsty monster” and so cannot be the author or motivation for such bloodletting as perpetuators claim. ‘Projecting the Image of Your God’ is how Nwakaeze believes religion should be practised and spread, which is by non-violent means and not “putting guns to the heads of people and blowing up their brains”.

He then states how most people find themselves in certain religions in which they are born into. The chapter, ‘Accident of Birth’ cautions against violence caused by difference in religious ideologies. ‘Holy Books’ describes how the powerful messages in the Holy Books are twisted for personal preferences, in this case, extremism and violence. He appeals to religious leaders to eviscerate parts of the Holy Books that incite violence. In ‘The Wickedness of Man,’ the author assures readers that the wicked will never be able to avoid punishment, which he captures quite spectacularly in the line, “the hammer of the multi-dimensional spirit will fall on the wicked”.

‘What is the Name of Your God’ is the author’s tool to bringing readers to the awareness of the diversity of spirits with different names, all claiming to be the Supreme God. Summarily, Allah, God, Buddha and all others are not the same in the spiritual context. In the last chapter, ‘Bringing the Fear of God Into Society’, Nwakaeze condemns the use of violence in the settlement of disputes. He also cautions against violent protests and senseless vengeance. He closes the book with a heartfelt plea for all to imbibe the spirit of love for self and neighbours.

In the world’s current state, where extremists such as Boko Haram, ISIS, Shi’ites, Al Qaeda and others take pleasure to deprive the world of its peace in beastly manner, the postulations in this book might sow the seeds capable of providing elusive peace to a world ravaged by unwarranted violent and orgy of killings in the name of religion. Nwakaeze’s Overcoming the Challenges of Extremist Ideology in our Society is a clarion call to all extremists to stop violence.

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