Barack Obama’s denial of reality with anything connected to radical Islam (see my previous post for example) was demonstrated vividly with his utterly absurd (and later frantically back-pedalled) downplaying of Muslim terror attacks against Jews in Europe as attacks on “random folks”, not to mention his accusing the West of “overplaying” reporting of terrorism in the media. It is therefore refreshing and heartening to see that even some Muslims do indeed understand the threat even if the ostensible leader of the Western world does not.
In a Daily Telegraph article, no lesser a personage than HRH Crown Prince Salman of Bahrain writes: To defeat our foe we must first define him:
The weekend’s attacks in Copenhagen are a further reminder that if we’re meaningfully to address this spiralling global threat, we need to widen our understanding and define our foe, in order to refocus our efforts accordingly. Terrorism is not an ideology; we are not merely fighting terrorists, we are fighting theocrats. I use the term “theocrats” as the current war is not against Islam any more than it could be against Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, or any religion. It is against those who commandeer religion for their own ends and, in the process, sully the name of great traditions and beliefs that many of us hold divine.
Ultimately, we face a new-world foe, one that while demonstrating many of the practices of the 17th century also pursues a strategy of the 21st. We will not be able to address them through old world solutions alone, but through a newly thought series of interventions, both modern and traditional. It is only through a concerted, collective and fundamental review of the nature of our threat that we will help refine the focus of our challenge and thereby bring us closer to achieving our shared goal. We can then strategically use our combined resources to hold accountable these criminal ideologues who place themselves above other ordinary human beings and claim divine authority for misrule.
While in all probability we will sadly be fighting them for a long time to come, barbaric and primitive though they are, it is naming and understanding of the ideology itself that should next be our target. These individuals and groups will of course ebb and flow, but it is the ideology that must be combated and defeated. In the process, we can replace the term “war on terror” and focus on the real threat, which is the rise of these evil fascist theocracies.
Prince Salman doesn’t go far enough for my liking. He talks about theocrats rather than Islamic extremists which could be interpreted as theocrats of any religion rather than the one particular one motivating terrorist groups such as ISIS, Hamas, Hezbollah and Al Qaeda, namely: Islam.
However this article is an important step forward and ought to be sent forthwith to Obama and his unfortunate spokeswoman Jen Psaki for them to do some very urgent homework.
Calling the phenomenon what it is – Islamic extremism – is of the utmost importance. Here is an interview on CNN with Maajid Nawaz, a former extremist turned anti-extremism campaigner and British politician, on the importance of naming the Islamic ideology. Click on the arrow to view the interview:
Andrew McCarthy in National Review Online takes Obama to task for his denial, saying It doesn’t matter what Obama thinks true Islam is:
In Egypt, the president is Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, a pious Muslim. Having grown up in the world’s center of sharia scholarship and closely studied the subject, he has courageously proclaimed that Islam desperately needs a “religious revolution.” In the United States, the president is Barack Obama, a non-Muslim. His childhood experience of Islam, which ended when he was just ten, occurred in Indonesia — the world’s most populous Muslim country, but a non-Arabic one where the teaching and practice of Islam is very different from what it is in the Middle East. While Sisi sees a dangerous flaw in Islam, Obama believes America needs to be “fundamentally transformed” but Islam is fine as is. You see the problem, no?
Said problem was very much on display this week at the president’s “summit” on “countering violent extremism,” the administration’s euphemism for confronting violent jihad. The latter phrase is verboten because Obama will not concede the close nexus between Islam and modern terrorism. In reality, the summit had so little to do with confronting terrorism that the president did not invite the FBI director — you know, the head of the agency to which federal law assigns primary responsibility for terrorism investigations.
To the extent the summit dealt with Islam, it was to play the counterproductive game of defining the “true” Islam in order to discredit the Islamic State and al-Qaeda as purveyors of a “false” or “perverted” Islam. To try to pull this off, Obama relied on the bag of tricks toted by his “moderate Islamist” allies (who also turn out to be reliable progressives)
Which leads us to Obama’s other rhetorical chicanery. When he speaks of Islam, Obama not only takes scripture out of context; he also renders it as if there were a universal understanding of words like “innocent.” Yet when we read the above two verses together, and put them in the broader context of Islamic doctrine, we see that Islam can convey a notion of who is an “innocent” that is very different from the one we Westerners are likely to have. To be “innocent,” in this context, one must accept Islam and submit to its law.
The same is true of “injustice,” another word the president often invokes when discussing Islam. The true Islam, we are to believe, is just like progressivism: a tireless quest for “justice.” But just as the Left’s idea of justice differs from the average person’s, so does Islam’s. For the Islamist, justice equals sharia, and injustice is the absence or transgression of sharia. So, while this could well have been inadvertent, Obama’s claim that injustice drives young Muslims to join terrorist groups is exactly what the terrorists themselves would say — for the imperative to impose sharia is their rationale for committing terrorism.
We can sincerely hope that President Sisi and other reformers bring about a long-overdue Islamic Reformation. We can sincerely hope that they discredit and marginalize the sharia supremacism of ISIS and al-Qaeda. But whether the Islam of the jihadists is “true” or “false” is irrelevant to us. What matters about sharia supremacism is that many millions of Muslims believe in it. It is a mainstream interpretation of Islam that has undeniable scriptural roots and inevitably breeds violent jihadists. We must protect the United States regardless of whether they are right and regardless of how Islam’s internal strife is resolved – if it ever is.
Once again, in our upside-down world, it is the leaders of Muslim countries who have the courage to both define and denounce the Islamic ideology which is threatening their own countries as well as Western civilization as a whole. At the same time the leader of the Western world is not only in denial, but his very denial is actively encouraging and emboldening the extremist.