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Definitions on radicalizations can’t have psychological generalization: Dr. Javed Iqbal

“Fingerprints of two persons don’t match. Irises of two persons don’t match. Similarly, psyches of different people do not match. Every individual has his/her own different psyche. If this is the case how can we have ‘one’ psychological definition of radicalization,” commented Dr. Javed Iqbal, who talked on ‘Defining the Radicalization in Pakistani context’ on October 30, 2008 at PIPS premises. Dr. Iqbal is a psychologist by profess and professor at the Department of Psychology, International Islamic University, Islamabad (IIUI).

The honorable speaker said that there are four levels to know the reality:

  1. Sensory information
  2. Common sense
  3. Passive reasoning
  4. Active reasoning

He asserted he believed that “the creators of abstract ideas are western scholars and think-tanks. We (the easterners) are at the second level, i.e. utilization of experiences and ideas.” He further elaborated his point by observing that “the definitions of radicalization are also given by them (western scholars).” After having gone through a huge number of research works, particularly ones available on the internet, “I have seen that whatever definitions or concepts come from the westerners, we accept them as if it would be the last word. We have given no definition of radicalization reflecting our own perspective.”

Mr. Iqbal also spoke on the causes of radicalization. Before elaborating the causes he mentioned that he searched a lot but nowhere found the true causes mentioned. He enumerated four types of major causes of radicalization.

  1. Sociopolitical
  2. Oppression: The more oppression there is, the more people will become radicalized.
  3. Lack of justice: Human rights violations and injustices all lead to radicalization among the masses.
  4. Economic deprivation

When the gap between haves and haves-not increases, the people become radicals.

  1. Religious: A religious person, who has following attributes, will also be a radical.
  2. Language expert: who is a language expert (qadirul kalaam) and knows the real meanings and spirit of the words, is multilingual and has a visionary thought
  3. High Comprehension level: who has a very high level of comprehension and understands the things in their true contexts, and
  4. Iman: who is a true believer.
  5. Psychological

Three types of ‘genocide’ also cause radicalization:

  1. Genocide of someone’s belief system
  2. Genocide of someone’s lifestyle
  3. Genocide of someone’s values and ideolog

The address was very lively. The speaker made very pertinent and sharp Quranic references while elaborating his points related to human nature, psychology, attitudes and behaviors. The address was followed by question-answer session. Since, the Professor’s PhD class also accompanied him; his students very eagerly put their questions forward alongside making some additional points.