There seems to be a political divide about what to call the kind of terrorism that has been occurring with ever increasing frequency.On the heels of an organized terrorist attack in Paris a few weeks ago, come 2 devout Muslims, Syed Rizwan Farook, and his wife, Tashfeen Malik. They entered a building in San Bernardino, California last Wednesday morning and proceeded to kill 14 innocent people.
I think we have to label these people what they are, Radical Islamists. Those on the more liberal side of the political aisle refuse to use the word Islam in any of its forms. They claim that that terrorist groups like Islamic State (IS) are not really Islam. They just that happen to be Muslim and have hijacked it. Islam is a religion of peace, they say, and true believers would never murder innocent people.
If that were really the case, I would agree. But the facts speak for themselves. These are not people who ‘happen’ to be Muslim. These are people whose theology tells them to murder innocent people; people who believe they are doing God’s work by spreading the ‘true religion’ – Islam – by any means necessary.
This should be obvious. In virtually all cases the terrorists scream ‘God is great!’ in Arabic just before they commit their terrorist acts. They are generally religious in their appearance, too. As was Tashfeen Malik who committed these acts last week with her husband. Pictures of her now surfacing show her wearing the type of clothing typically worn by the religious women of Islam who observe their extreme modesty laws. These two terrorists were devoutly religious in the ways of Islam.
Saying that these terrorists are only some nutcase religious fanatic Muslims blowing up innocent people might make sense if it was an individual here and – later discovered to have mental issues. Or criminals posing as religious fanatics. But there has been far too much evidence that this is all part of a violent strain of Islam.
You cannot say that the religion was high-jacked by terrorists. Not when there are clerics preaching this type of behavior in the Middle East and even in America in some isolated cases. Not when there are obviously devout mothers that praise their sons who blew themselves up in suicide attacks. Or pray that someday their sons will be. Not when the Arab Street on the West Bank celebrated the attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11. Or any other successful terrorist attack. Not when devout Muslims like Sayed Malik pledged her allegiance to Islamic State online shortly before she and her husband mass murdered innocent people last Friday. She believed what Islamic State believes and acted accordingly. There is not a doubt in my mind that this is a strain of Islam. Not a high-jacking of it.
That said, I realize that the vast majority of Muslims in the world are just as disgusted by all these terrorists as any sane civilized person would be. There is not a doubt in my mind about that their version if Islam does not advocate terrorism. I will go even further and say that most Muslims in America are no different than any other civilized religious human beings. They may view the conflict in Israel differently than I do. But in their everyday lives, they live pretty much the same way I do – practicing their religion privately and leading otherwise normal lives. There are even some Muslims that are pro Israel.
Their spokesmen are the ones that after just about every Radical Islamist attack are quick to condemn it. I don’t think they are lying. But they always add that this is not Islam. What they should be saying is that this is not THEIR version of Islam. Even if they are the majority, they have to know and admit that Islamic State and other terrorist groups like them is a version of Islam.
So why does the ‘politically correct’ crowd refuse to us the term ‘radical Islam’? isn’t it just as obvious to them as it is to me? I think it is. But they believe that attaching the word terror with the Islam insults vast majority of Muslims that disavow it. And they do not want to alienate the American Muslim community. So they might call them Jihadists instead of Radical Islam (…as if there were a such thing as Jewish Jihadists or Christian Jihadists. By definition, a Jihadist is a Muslim).
But there is little doubt that these Jihadists are Radical Islamists. A violent strain of Islam that is observed by Islamic State and other Radical Islamists. They are recruiting others into it. And now seems to be flourishing.
It does not do anyone any good – including the vast majority of peaceful Muslims – to ignore this fact. Repeating the lie that this isn’t Islam does not help matters. Someone once said that identifying the problem is half the solution. Before we can effectively deal with an enemy, the enemy must first be identified. And that enemy is Radical Islam, pure and simple.
What about extremists among our own people that perpetrate crimes in the name of Judaism. Yes, there have been some violent acts perpetrated by some extremist Jews. Like the recent torching of a Muslim home on the West bank while a Palestinian family was sleeping in it. A truly despicable act. But there is no joy in the streets of Jerusalem when that happens. No rabbi ever told them to do that.
Even extremists like the late Rabbi Meir Kahane who coined the slogan ‘Every Jew, a 22’ meant that only as a means of defense. Rabbi Kahane never ordered or would have ever condoned any kind of suicide attack. So that when an extremist Jew commits a heinous act in the name of God, they are indeed rogue and are not practicing a version of Judaism.
There is not a rabbinic leader in the world, today or yesterday that has ever advocated committing heinous acts. Unfortunately there are some misguided Jews that do believe they serve God with violence against Arab innocents. But Judaism it isn’t. In any of its strains.
I have no issue with Islam per se. Only with that strain that uses terrorism to spread their beliefs. Peaceful Muslims must also come on board and admit that this is indeed a version of Islam that is preached by many Muslim clerics. Denying that will only serve to impede any possible solution.
The civilized world should unite in recognizing that Radical Islam is a strain of Islam. And all versions of Islam that reject terror should acknowledge it as one. Even as they reject it.