Sterilize the soil that breeds terrorist ideology

Updated: 2015-12-11 07:46

(China Daily)

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Sterilize the soil that breeds terrorist ideology

US President Barack Obama speaks about counter-terrorism and the United States fight against Islamic State during an address to the nation from the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, December 6, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

The Islamic State group is trying to extend its influence in other parts of the world after being pushed back in the Middle East by international efforts. Media reports say the terrorist group has intensified its recruitment campaign targeting disaffected Muslim youths. This highlights the urgency of curbing the spread of extremist ideology worldwide.

Since its rise in Iraq and Syria last June, the group has been using social media to disseminate its extremist ideology and lure young people into its deadly embrace.

The terrorist attacks in France and Kenya and the rampancy of terrorism in the Middle East testify to the IS group's ability to recruit online. It is estimated that some 40 percent of the IS extremists in the Middle East come from elsewhere, including Australia, France, Germany, Indonesia, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. And the possibility of these fighters returning to their countries has long been known to be a security threat.

The international community needs to do more to address the networks operated by the IS and other terrorist groups, and needs to do it in a concerted way.

The discontent of young Muslims in those countries at perceived social injustices, such as racial discrimination and lack of opportunities, has made them the recruitment targets for terrorist groups.

Also, the US and other Western countries should recognize that years of the anti-terrorism campaign, while inflicting heavy losses on the IS, has widened these divides and fueled antagonism, creating the very soil that breeds and spreads extremist and terrorist ideologies.

Under such circumstances, the world needs long-term strategies and comprehensive solutions to address both the symptoms and root causes of terrorism. Wiping out the IS and other extremists groups in the Middle East by force and eradicating poisonous ideologies worldwide need to be given equal importance.

In a rare televised address to the American people on Sunday, US President Barack Obama reached out to the country's Muslim community, calling it a partner in the fight against radical Islam. This is the right message but must be matched with deeds.

The US should set an example for others by addressing social injustice so that moderate and peace-loving Muslims in Western countries no longer feel marginalized or discriminated against. Uniting Muslims worldwide is crucial to the international fight against terrorists and their murderous ideologies.