As the attention of the western politicians and public is directed at 'the problem of Russia' - the real problem of ISIS and religious extremism continues to escalate...
For those people who had the misfortune to read various misleading articles in the western media yesterday on ‘the latest Russian ban --- yoga’ --- I’m sorry to disappoint you. No, Russia has not banned yoga. Nor has it banned singing, dancing or homosexuality for that matter. What these various publications --- including The Times and The Independent --- omitted to mention, was that the Nizhnevartovsk city administration mistakenly sent out letters to two hatha yoga clubs in the city banning them from future use of municipal facilities --- letters that were aimed at cult societies --- and which have since been retracted. It was a mistake. That was all. Finito.
On the subject of the targeting of cults, however, I think Russian authorities’ concerns are absolutely warranted. It is time for all nations to seriously tackle religious extremism as a whole. Instead of promoting this, the western media gets excited over another apparent sign of Russian totalitarianism in its eternal crusade to somehow prove the country is a dictatorship and more inaccurate reporting makes headline news in what are considered ‘respected’ publications.
The real question of how the west is going to tackle religious extremism in the wake of consecutive terrorist attacks, is, meanwhile, left hanging. How can it possibly be that a minor bureaucratic blip can make it on to the headlines of British national newspapers at a time when the world faces the overwhelming challenge of combatting global terrorism?
President Putin has persistently called on the international community to join together in defeating such religious extremism and yet, apart from limited cooperation with President Bush after the 9/11 attacks, his calls have gone largely unheard. Instead, the US remains obsessed with the Russian ‘threat’ and ISIS has been allowed to reign free over the Middle East, leaving destruction in its wake. When are western leaders finally going to wake up and acknowledge the real aggressor; how many more lives will be claimed by Islamic terrorists?
Putin’s recent call for all Middle Eastern states to join forces to combat ISIS was a timely one, and one which should have been immediately supported by western leaders. There needs to be more symbolic denouncement of ISIS within the Islamic world in in order to break the ideology which attracts so many followers -- the idea that Islamic state is a crusade of the Muslim world against the secular west. It needs to be recognised that western military intervention has been the root cause of such Islamic militancy in the Middle East and therefore intervention alone is not going to offer long-term solutions. And yet if the West does not overcome the ‘issues’ it has with Russia, and cooperate with Putin and Syria’s Assad, ISIS will continue its evil campaign of terror.
Distracted by an imaginary threat of Russian expansionism, western politicians are leading their populations down a road to hell (or at least WW3) while Islamic State literally laugh all the way to the bank. If ISIS can’t be stopped, no amount of yoga will save us.