Where Does Radical Islam Come From?
One of the dilemmas for U.S. foreign policy is coming to grips with where, or from where, Islamic radicalism arises. The President is stuck with the real world truth that there are a lot of Muslims in the world, and a lot of countries that are predominantly Muslim if not ruled by an Islamist government.There isn’t much doubt on any government or military level that Islamic radicalism, extremists, Jihadists, etc. are at war with us. When I say “us” I mean the United States and the secular West, as well as any government in nations where Islam holds popular control but is ruled by a government sympathetic or cooperative with the West. The rhetoric of war is tricky. The Islamic radicals can use extreme language, and this language is powerful, incendiary, and very religious. The West has to be very careful how it uses language so as not to insult or alienate the great Muslim multitude and those Muslim nations which we seek to use as a buffer against radicalism. This careful use of language is politically calibrated to protect the interests of the West, but at the same time it fails to arouse the military fervor of its own people, and it leads to a certain ambiguity about who or what is trying to kill us. It is almost as if we are fighting a committee that keeps coming up with recruits, arms, and money, but we don’t want to use religion to explain it. This of course is often the problem with Islam, and with Muslims, and the attempts of the West and of Christianity as well to engage it in honest dialogue. Islamic communities will only allow discussion of their religion as long as there is no direct critique, no attack against their prophet or their book. It doesn’t matter what the laws of their country may say, the community is religiously Muslim and considers certain subjects to be off limits. It enforces this barrier through physical intimidation, force and violence. Even the rumour of criticism or disrespect can result in community turmoil and violent attacks in which the perpetrators feel justified to maim and slaughter even children. The result is a muted conversation, side stepping the truth, and a growing acquiescence to the domination of Islam. I make a distinction of course between Christianity and the secular West because they are distinct. Neither Christianity nor the secular West are at war with Muslims, both Muslims and Christians have a critique of secular materialism and its attendant immoralities, and both Christianity, Christians, the secular West, and moderate Muslims are being attacked by radical Islamists. Christianity is of course opposed to Islam, and sees it as false religion with a false prophet and a false claim to divine revelation. Christianity is not at war with Muslims, though certain so called Christian entities (even the Roman Catholic Church) have in the past called for Crusades and Holy War. Biblical Christianity knows no such thing as Holy War as part of its religion, at least not in any material sense. The answer as to where radical Islamists come from is frighteningly easy, they come from moderate Muslims, even lethargic or unengaged Muslims, who become radicalized. What radicalizes them? Islam does, from its Koran and from its Imams, as it has always done and as it always will. As long as Islam is a weak religion, and that it is weak intellectually is proved because it cannot survive strong critique against the claims of its prophet or its book, nor especially of its practices, without the protection of the loud shouting down of its opponents or else killing them. All of the rhetoric of those seeking to assuage the Muslim masses by attempting to redefine Islam as a religion of peace just cause confusion and make the West look weak. I can understand verbal restraint, being politic in how we define and explain circumstance, attempting not to offend or inflame situations. I cannot excuse those who purposefully try to poke a stick in the eye of the Islamic world with videos and Koran burnings. I can understand the anger and frustration considering the war we are in and which we have been fighting a long time but we need clear thinking and determined action, not drama. Radical Islam has conquered nations such as Iran, and the Iranians are a government determined to cause trouble. Through them they help finance the Muslim brotherhood where and when it helps them, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, the Syrian government, and the radical Shiite elements of the Iraqi government. This is the Islamic mob hysteria to stone a blasphemer morphed into a government attempting to develop nuclear weapons. This is the religious fervor of not only dying for a religion, which is the real definition of martyr, but killing for it which has become the radical Islamic definition of the term. Both Sunni and Shiite fervency is flooding Gaza with weapons and rockets, in spite of Israel’s blockade. It is easy to sympathize with the people in Gaza, 1.7 million of them trapped in a urban twilight zone, but Hamas will only succeed in the death of the people of Gaza, not in the destruction of Israel. Hamas knows Israel will remain unintimidated and so it has its apologists attempting to create the idea that Israel is America’s creation and America’s puppet and that the U.S. can end Israel’s response and Israel’s blockade. Hamas, like radical Islam, is intransigent, and believes that violence and force will either intimidate its opponents or destroy them. So the question remains as to when the West will stop muting its own criticism of Islam, which it does freely against its own historic foundation of the Bible and Christian faith, and demand that Islam give up its ignorant and primitive use of violence as a means to give legitimacy to a religion that can’t seem to stand up to a free and open discussion of its origins and ideas. At the very least sooner or later those governments that are driven by radical Islam will have to be held accountable (read fought, conquered, destroyed) by Western democracies for being the instigators and merchants of war. I don’t think we have any other evidence except that Islam will continue to be the wellspring of hatred, violence, and war. Even if it conquered the world it would consume itself with its competitive radicalism.