Counter terrorism should move away from militaristic approaches and base itself on people-oriented solutions, that is on gender-sensitive sustainable interventions.
This is what has been claimed by Pakistani scholar Maleeha Aslam, during the presentation, organized in Islamabad by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) , of his latest book “Gender Based Explosions: The Nexus Between Muslim Masculinities, Jihadist Islamism and Terrorism”, in which the doctor tries to find the connection between the glorification of Muslim masculinity, Jihadist Islamism and terrorism.
Member of Wolfson College, Cambridge and Fellow of Cambridge Commonwealth Society, Dr. Aslam wants to emphasize how gender dimension has been underestimated in searches for a solution to terrorism.
“In Muslim societies, socio-economic and political oppression coupled with culturally idealised gender constructs, lead men towards militant Islamism and terrorism.” She underlined that anti-terrorism policies which involve surveillance and racial profiling provoke Muslim men, because they are an attack on their honour and on the way they behave in society. In her study she also states that religious affiliation has nothing to do with offering oneself for Jihad. In fact, the majority of practising Muslims is against suicide bombings.
The doctor then continued his speech by saying that Jihadist Islamism will continue to grow tremendously if we do not change the point of view in the matter, if we do not understand that terrorism can be fought only by peaceful means, sensitive to gender differences.
“It’s a man’s desire to prove himself that draws him to violence.” Not the affiliation to a particular religion, but the men’s egocentric behaviour.
Therefore, no military program or solution that still makes use of violence would help Governments to fight against terrorism, according to Dr. Aslam point of view. Moreover, also the use of tools for surveillance, such as eavesdropping devices or GPS locators, would be ineffectual These devices, used for the monitoring of suspects, would only hurt Muslim men’s ego, bringing them to follow extremist ideas, maybe otherwise never joined.
Militarism, then, is cross-national and cross-religious. It is not about religion but the individual itself. So it is important to shift the focus from religious ideologies to gender-based behaviours that would be the same in different parts of the world and not only in Muslim areas. In fact, the researcher points out that despite U.S. society is sensitive to gender issues, we have witnessed a cruel behaviour of American soldiers toward Iraqi prisoners.