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Tuesday , August 20 2019

Radicalism, brain linked – Questions need answers

Neuropsychology has shown that there is a link between religious extremism and lesions in a brain area called the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, and how damage or destruction of certain areas of this cortex weakens the flexibility of cognition, openness, and acceptance of disagreement with the other, and becomes less or weak with those who have ability to creativity and curiosity. The ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) is a part of the prefrontal cortex in the brain.

The ventral medial prefrontal is located in the frontal lobe at the bottom of the cerebral hemispheres and is implicated in the processing of risk and fear. The research concludes that stable, established religious ideas are different from experimental ideas that change with time and development of research. Religious ideas are complete from the beginning and self-sufficient. As for the experimental, the new theory can easily change an old theory of the same person, and so on.

An article written by Dr Khalid Montasser, says a research team led by Jordan Grafman of Northwestern U n i v e r s i t y conducted a study on some veterans in V i e t n a m , where the team members discovered infection in areas of their brains, and was believed to be the cause of fundamentalism later. The researchers used computed tomography (CT or CAT scan) to examine 119 veterans with penetrating traumatic brain injury and 30 Vietnam veterans with no history of brain injury; most of the samples taken were Christians.

The comparisons were based on previous studies on prefrontal cortex that plays a role in the increase in religious fundamentalism by reducing cognitive flexibility. The findings also showed that prefrontal cortex plays a role in easing transition and flexibility of an idea to another and to allow the person to develop and change his ideas according to innovations and developments and the difference in time and place, etc, reflected on the accuracy of judgment on things.

In addition to the previous brain area, the research team, found two additional areas, also linked to religious and political fundamentalism. Dr Montasser continued saying: “The Western scientists are not to blame for their tremendous efforts to elucidate the links between the functioning of the brain and religious belief, and I believe that this is a very narrow window of vision. It is a window that is required to open, but it is just a point in the sea of interpretation, and it must not be taken as a justification to the crimes of these criminals and give them anatomical and medical justification for this cruelty, viciousness, this stupidity, stagnation and backwardness.”

“It is not a single corner and not a single reason, neither a single explanation, but a set of psychosocial factors socio-economic educational culture that formed this professional extremist terrorist”. We have to open all those closed doors, all of these tunnels until we understand the nature of this deviation and who are those criminal creatures that lead the world into the abyss of ruin”, end of the quote. There is no doubt that what is published by the science here and what Montasser mentioned deserves research, to think about and discuss, especially in our societies where there are so many fundamentalists.

We do not know the reason for anyone to be so extreme to the extent that he/she happily accepts to wear an explosives belt around his/her body and blow himself/herself up in the midst of a large congregation of worshipers, for example, and shreds the bodies of people without thinking or asking the reason why he/she was given the belt to wear in the belief he/she is on his/ her way Paradise. “How can we understand these second and third generations of European Muslims when one of them abandons money, home, wife and child to go to Syria, Afghanistan, or the jungles of Sahara in Northern Africa and other free zones of death for the sake of jihad?

How one can be convinced, without any discussion, of the ideas of ‘al-Qaeda’ and ‘DAESH’ and follow a group of naïve adventurers and ignorant leaders, asks colleague Khalil Ali Haider in one of his articles. There are difficult questions that need answers from one of our universities. Look at all the creative and innovative people in any science or art or skill whatever it is and you will not find among them one extremist… Why? Note: I was pleased that the eminent Dr Khalil Abdullah Al-Awadhi made a popular comment on my article last Thursday ‘Forces of Darkness … Sheikh Nasser’ and it seems he got things mixed up. I have never asked to prevent the ‘sale’ of books of others and allow our books.

It is about liberals and ‘backward forces’ who want Kuwait for all and Kuwait for themselves with their backward thinking respectively. Be safe doctor of the shock, if you read my article again, you will find that I have asked for a homeland for those who want it to prosper and progress and not to those who fight in secret and in public to hold it captive for themselves.

E-mail: habibi.enta1@gmail.com

By Ahmad Al Sarraf

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