Everywhere you turn, it seems like someone is doing something to distort the truth in the debate about Islamic terrorism.
“Radical Islam” Implies We’re at War with All Muslims
This is akin to saying that “illegal immigrant” is a slur, and it’s nonsense. If I call someone a “bad cook,” that doesn’t mean I’m saying they’re bad as a person; rather, they’re a person who’s bad at cooking. Similarly, “illegal immigrant” doesn’t mean an illegal person; it means person who migrated illegally.
Just so, regardless of what President Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton says, being opposed to or at war with “radical Islam” doesn’t mean saying that all Muslims are terrorists or vice versa; it means being opposed to any Muslim who would use violence to impose Islam on others. Trying to interpret the term as an anti-Muslim slur – or a declaration on Islam as a whole – essentially demonizes those using it as Islamophobes.
Anyone Who Commits Violence in the Name of Islam Isn’t Muslim
Making judgments about who is or isn’t a “true” religious adherent is always a dicey proposition. Are Shiites “true” Muslims? Is Reform Judaism (some of whose members eat bacon) “true” Judaism? Are Mormons really Christians? Heck, let’s go for it: what is the one true denomination of Christianity?
You can argue this forever. But, when it comes to religion, it’s certainly relevant to note what people think they are. Maybe Christianity doesn’t justify the Crusades, the Inquisition, or the violence of the European Wars of Religion, but the people involved in all that turmoil thought they were Christians. We wouldn’t label them “none of the above” on the census, would we?
Likewise, Islamic State terrorists believe they’re Muslims. That’s why we call what they do “Islamic terrorism” (see point No. 1 above).
Loretta Lynch Threatened to Prosecute People for Criticizing Islam
Attorney General Loretta Lynch recently warned against anti-Muslim rhetoric in the wake of the San Bernardino shootings, even going so far as to suggest prosecuting people.
This inspired talk show host Joe Walsh to go on a tirade criticizing Islam, which he ended by daring Lynch to arrest him. It was a bit melodramatic, given that Lynch never said she would prosecute any anti-Muslim rhetoric whatsoever, but only rhetoric that “edges towards violence” (which Walsh’s speech never did).
This is largely in keeping with one of the recognized exceptions to freedom of speech: rhetoric that incites imminent violence.
The Scripture of Islam is Worse Than Other Religions
A caller to the Rush Limbaugh show recently made a bizarre assertion, claiming that the violence committed by Israelites in the Old Testament – e.g., massacring the Canaanites: elderly, infants, goats and all – was alright because it was “a one-time thing.” Limbaugh added that the Israelites were “being liberated.”
So, genocide as a one-off – for the record, decades after the Israelites left slavery in Egypt – is morally acceptable? No, it isn’t. Nor is taking “32,000 women who had never slept with a man” as plunder.
The Koran, the Bible, and plenty of other religious scriptures have abhorrent passages in them. The wonderful thing about religious people is that they frequently ignore these passages in favor of doing the right thing. Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik didn’t ignore those passages, and that’s why they’re despicable people.
15-25 Percent of Muslims Are Radicalized
What percentage of the Muslim population is radical? I’m not looking for opinion polls about acceptance of Shariah Law and so forth, I mean radical in the sense of being ready and willing to pick up a gun and shoot non-Muslims, like Farook and Malik did.
Let’s guesstimate: the United States has about 3 million Muslims. If just 1 percent are radical, that makes 30,000 terrorists. That’s enough for one terrorist to attack each day for the next 80 years. And yet, we don’t even suffer one attack per month (or per year, on average).
So it’s actually a very small part of the Muslim community that’s radical. Granted, it’s larger than in any other makpr religious community today. But if it were really 15-25 percent, there would be far more terrorist attacks than what we actually face.
We should ask the question: why do so many Muslims (and perhaps, American Muslims in particular) reject terrorism? The answer might point to ways for us to defeat the Islamic State and its followers.
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