One of the key problems of the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS narratives is that they are one-dimensional, disconnected, reductive sketches of Islam’s history and that of the modern world. However, this is precisely why they appeal to existentially disenfranchised young Muslims. If our traditional religious authorities are unable to recognize that their grasp of Islam’s narrative in the minds of our youth is slipping, then it is for laymen and people of goodwill to take up the baton.
Today we need to think in terms of Islamic structures and institutions that are more responsive to people’s existential needs; and of how they can be of service to the people, rather than how the people can be of service to their visions of glory. We need religious leaders who show a concern for the well-being of each and every individual in their community. We need a religious leadership that thinks about the modern world, that understands political science and economics, that is well-read in the social sciences, that speaks multiple languages and that looks at young Muslims, Arab or not, as individuals to be educated and cared for, not as cannon fodder in an Islamist onslaught against modernity. -Omar Ghobash, Ambassador at UAE Embassy in Moscow