Radical Islam is a threat to the Civilized World
Dear Senator Clinton and President Obama, “There is Radical Islam!”
Both senior elected officials refuse to use the term and they are dead wrong. To deny that such a concept is to fundamentally misunderstand the dangerous international environment America faces today.
Hillary Clinton recently explained why she refuses to use the term. She stated, “It sounds like we are declaring a war against a religion…” This is a fairly accurate statement but fundamentally irrelevant.
First, we are at war, not with the Islamic faith in general, but absolutely against a radicalized subset of that religion. The members of the so-called “Islamic State” are but one branch of extremist Muslims. Other self-proclaimed Islamic groups include sworn enemies of the United States like, the Taliban in Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda located throughout the Middle East and Boko Haram in Africa.
Furthermore, it is difficult not to collectively view these movements and what they represent, as Radical Islam. What else would you rationally call such a collection of ideologically aligned movements that wish to create regions governed by their version of Islamic Law? After all, “Sharia Law” is a “framework within which the public and some private aspects of life are regulated for those living in a legal system based on Islam.”
It is interesting that as a Christian, I am lumped in with any number of sects whose philosophies I do not adhere to. For example, I am loath to have my beliefs in any way, associated, with the actions of rabid hate groups like the Westboro Baptist Church, who protest military funerals because they believe those deaths are God’s punishment for America’s toleration of homosexuality. Yet, I am.
Ms. Clinton went on to say that using the term Radical Islam “helps to create a clash of civilizations…” I beg to differ, that clash of civilizations is already underway and has been for years.
It is not clear what “civilization” she represents, but the one those groups symbolize is antithetical to ours. It is not the civilization we fought for in two World Wars. It is not the one we safeguarded against Communist totalitarianism during the Cold War. And, it sure is not the one the one I swore to defend as a military officer.
The actions of the so-called “Islamic State” represent pure evil. I recently received a series of photos from a former military colleague that showed some of the most shocking, brutal, murderous actions I have ever seen. Such deeds are as horrifying as any undertake by the Nazis in the last century. There is little doubt that this group has embarked on a process of genocide in the name of their religious beliefs.
Senator Clinton did make one coherent statement. She said that some comments do not “do justice to the vast number of Muslims in our country and around the world who are peaceful people.” With this I agree.
I believe that every person ought to be judged by their character and actions, not by their race creed or color. However, sometimes silence says something to us.
I have not heard a wide-spread condemnation of the beliefs and actions of the Radical Islamists by the mainstream Muslim culture. In fact, there appears to be at least some latent sympathy if not support within the broader Muslim community.
Perhaps this is why there is a degree of distrust and xenophobia in our country. I believe that were the peaceful community of Muslims to stand up and collectively denounce the actions of the Radical Islamic extremists, there would be a greater sympathy and understanding of their position.
Sadly, I believe that a failure to do so will only deepen the divide that is creeping across the world and our country. The wider the chasm grows, the harder it will be to defeat the threat to Western democracy and reconcile our differences.
However, this threat is not only to the United States and the West but also the more secular Muslim nations Things are beginning to change. After the recent terrorist attack in Jordan, King Abdullah stated that “it is mainly our battle, us Muslims, against those who seek to hijack our societies and generations with intolerant ‘takfiri’ ideology,” which refers to the radical Islamic practice of declaring one’s enemies to be infidels worthy of death.
I have struggled long and hard over this issue. I am sympathetic to those moderate, peaceful Muslims caught up in this conflict. Much of the horror visited upon the world in the name of Radical Islam is perpetrated against their own.
I believe in order to be true to our core beliefs, we must be inclusive. We must be open to those who are fleeing religious and political persecution. We must be understanding of how economic hardship breeds desperation. We must walk a thin line between protecting our sovereignty and abandoning what we stand for.
In his farewell speech, Ronald Reagan summed it up beautifully, when he spoke about the “shining city on a hill.” He said, “in my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God-blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace; a city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls had doors and the doors were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That’s how I saw it, and see it still.”
In that respect, Donald Trump’s advocacy of a ban on Muslim immigrants is every bit as misguided as the President or Senator Clinton. This is exemplary of the small minded policy that Ronald Reagan warned against in that same speech when he stated that American greatness, “won’t count for much, and it won’t last unless it’s grounded in thoughtfulness and knowledge. Trump’s comments clearly are not and this ought to be a warning against such demagoguery. For if we really feel that way, it is an indication that “they” are winning because it erodes the very values that have always made America different.
But, we must also recognize that there is evil in the world, in this case dressed in the cloak of radicalized religious belief. Political correctness in our verbiage will not mitigate against such barbarism. Call it what it is, Radical Islam, and deal with it we must.