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"A real solution to the rise of extremist Islamic movements can only come from within the Muslim world"

For Dr. Javier Gil (ICS, University of Navarra), "Western intervention should be accompanied by a long-term socio-economic and diplomatic plan"

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FOTO: Carlota Cortés
13/02/15 10:38 Carlota Cortés

"A real solution to the rise of extremist Islamic movements can only come from within the Muslim world." Javier Gil Guerrero, a research fellow within the Religion and Civil Society project of the Institute for Culture and Society (ICS) at the University of Navarra, delivered these remarks in connection with the defense of his thesis, "Opening Pandora's Box: Jimmy Carter, The Persian Gulf and the Rise of Militant Islam (1977-1981)."

In his thesis, Javier Gil studied American foreign policy during the Democratic administration of President Jimmy Carter, focusing especially on the Persian Gulf. In addition to analyzing Jimmy Carter's foreign policy in the Persian Gulf, who was the American Democratic president from 1977-1981, he also delved into the rise of "militant Islam."

"This region needs a certain degree of secularization, but it is important to be careful in the process so as not to incite the opposite reaction," Dr. Gil claimed. He further noted that Islam has not undergone a process like the Enlightenment in Christianity, which served to reduce religion to a more tolerant and private sphere: "Without betraying its faith, radical Islam should rethink new forms of coexistence and dialogue with it."

On the other hand, according to the ICS researcher, the West should give voice and support to the moderate, democratic, secular and liberal forces arising in the region: "Western intervention should not be a one-time military action, but rather should be accompanied by a long-term socio-economic and diplomatic plan." This involves, according to Gil, "the building of a society."

Radical movements: A common enemy of the United States and Iran

With respect to the period that he studied, Javier Gil noted that "in those years, there were several movements, as well as social unrest, and the common denominator in all of them came to be the role of religion as an engine of discontent and revolt against the status quo in those countries." This led to a diplomatic crisis between the US and Iran, which still remains: "American foreign policy is still aimed at containing Iran."

However, while the economic sanction and isolation of Iran continues, Gil stressed that a meeting point also exists: "The rise of Al Qaeda and Sunni radical movements, such as the Islamic State, have given the US and Iran, a mainly Shiite country, a common enemy. " 

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