According to a new report published on Islamist extremism and terrorism it has come to light that the toll on human life worldwide due to Islamist terrorism alone is nearly 84,000 in 2017 alone. Out of the 84,000 people who lost their lives in incidents related to Islamist terrorism nearly 22,000 of them were civilians who were based in 66 countries. The report named Global Extremist Monitor was produced by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s non-profit organisation. The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, which used hundreds of English language news sources from around the world to arrive at the 84,000 number of victims of violent Islamist extremism in 2017. Tony Blair himself presented the report at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC, on Thursday where he said that Islamist extremism was far from over and was “global and growing.” Blair went on to add, “It didn’t begin with al Qaeda; nor will it end with the defeat of ISIS.”
The Global Extremist Monitor report recorded a total of 7,841 attacks which took place in the year 2017 alone. It means that on an average there 21 attacks done by Islamist extremist which took place in 48 countries around the world on any given day. War torn Syria topped the list of countries which were the most affected by violence from Islamist extremist groups while other Muslims were the most frequent victims of deadly attacks done by the extremists. The report from Tony Blair’s non-profit organisation also pointed out that there are a total of 121 groups which have Islamist extremism as their core ideology and which are actively operating worldwide. Out of this 29 groups which share a common ideology are active in Syria and neighbouring countries alone. This resulted in half of all the civilian fatalities reported globally.
ISIS remains the most significant threat amongst the Islamist extremist forces operating in the world even though its grip on Iraq and Syria has drastically been reduced. Tony Blair was the Prime Minister when Britain had joined ranks with the United States of American soldiers in Iraq war. The reports from his non-profit organisation highlight the urgent need to begin a worldwide war on Islamist extremism which has been going on around the world through various organisations which claim to be champions of the Islamist cause. Tony Blair’s sentiments were echoed by insurgency and counter terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman who went on to add that security, countermeasures and kinetics have to play an important role while it was also important “to actually break the cycle of recruitment and regeneration that is sustaining these groups, you have to target…education, countering the falsehoods, and, of course, building local leadership.”
The problems of increased recruitment by ISIS and other similar Islamist extremist groups was also addressed by fellow panellist Farah Pandith who said that both young men and women were at risk from ISIS and similar groups which had started targeting them from a very young age. Tony Blair made a very important statement regarding the cure for Islamist extremism in which he said, “The essential thing, in my view, is to deal with the ideology, and not just the violence.” India and other countries which are facing the threat of Islamist extremism should take notice of these reports and should take precautionary measures to counter the plot of extremists. Measures should also be taken to stop young men and women from falling into the trap of extremists so that the future of the coming generations can be secured and peaceful.