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Talking about Terrorism and Islam

It’s not too shocking that the Islamists decide to impose their way, with or without elections. If the A.P. or CNN truly wanted to push back against Islamist violence, instead of censoring the Islamic part in the vain hope that their followers might not then identify the Muslim Brotherhood or the Islamic Jihad with Islam, they would challenge their premises by telling the truth about Islamism and Islam.

Instead the official dialogue sanction by the media and the government is to praise Islam and Islamic law while disavowing forcible attempts at imposing them on the unwilling through violence. And that’s a weak intellectual strategy.

If Islam really means peace, freedom and justice, as the Islamists and the talking heads both agree, then why not impose it by force? The left celebrates progressive terrorists like Angela Davis because it agrees with their ends, even if it occasionally quibbles over their means. If Bill Ayers was virtuous for wanting peace, freedom and justice, at the cost of a few million dead, names to be delivered later, why aren’t Osama and Morsi equally virtuous for wanting the same thing with an Arabic accent?

The left claimed that the Weather Underground were the new American revolutionaries. Islamists routinely tell American audiences that their terrorists are freedom fighters, just like George Washington. And if Islam really is the best way of life there is and if those living under it enjoy a superior standard of freedom and justice; then aren’t they?

The government-media consensus assumes that the best way to defeat Islamist terrorists is to praise their ends and condemn their means. This moral confusion led to the Arab Spring in which Islamist terrorists ran for office, disavowed violence, at least until after the election, and took over countries to begin a program of imposing Islamic rule. And the government-media complex is still struggling to figure out why all of that is wrong. It can’t find a way of articulating why Islamic rule is wrong without criticizing Islam. And without criticizing Islam, there is no reason to criticize Islamic rule.

Criticizing terror as a means while approving of its ends leads to absurdity. Condemn a bombing carried out by Islamists and their defenders point you to American drones, to Israeli planes, to Hiroshima and the American Revolution. A violent act cannot be critiqued in isolation. Ideology is the context for acts of violence. It is what distinguishes the Battle of Britain from the bombing of Dresden. It is what distinguished the American ICBMs from the Soviet ICBMs.

Condemn terrorists for being cowardly and up pops a Bill Maher to argue that the September 11 hijackers were actually courageous for committing suicide while killing thousands of people. We are the real cowards for bombing terrorists from thousands of feet in the air, he will tell you. Talk about terrorists killing innocent people, and a Glenn Greenwald will pop up to read you the, mostly, fictitious civilian casualty counts from drone strikes on terrorists.

All this can be argued ad naseum and the argument can eventually be won, but it misses the bigger story which is the ideological context of the violence. Arguing over tactics only takes you so far because the tactics express the ideology.

Suicide bombing is not strategically effective. It is bad strategy, but good terror. Suicide bombing sends a message that the killers transcend materialism and that they care nothing for their lives. Like the Japanese Kamikazes, this is largely a pose, a selectively manufactured propaganda effort, but it emerges out of a religious worldview that began with Mohammed’s original conquests and the notions of martyrdom that rewarded the raiders who would die before ever getting their hands on loot and women in the real world, with materially spiritual versions of those same pleasures in paradise.

The calculated murder of civilians similarly arises from how Islam views non-Muslims. The use of women and children as human shields must be seen in the Islamic context in which their lives are viewed as having less value than those of a Muslim man. And the entire conflict, in the Islamic context, is not over American foreign policy, a notion that is as alien to the Islamic worldview of an eternal conflict between the Dar-al-Islam and the Dar-al-Harb as chivalry, but a continuation of a divine mission to conquer and subjugate the world under the rule of Islam.

About the Author: Daniel Greenfield is an Israeli born blogger and columnist, and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. His work covers American, European and Israeli politics as well as the War on Terror. His writing can be found at http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/. The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of The Jewish Press.


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