Recognizing the Reality of Radical Islam

by FRANK SALVATO March 6, 2009
Newsweek recently ran an article by Fareed Zakaria titled, Learning To Live with Radical Islam. In this article Mr. Zakaria contends that in our quest to prevail over the virulent factions within the fundamentalist Islamic culture we in the West must learn to discern the radical Islamist from the jihadi; the fundamentalist from the terrorist.
Although Mr. Zakaria touches on a few noteworthy points – specifically the West's need to engage in the war of ideas – his thesis that, “We can better pursue our values if we recognize the local and cultural context, and appreciate that people want to find their own balance between freedom and order, liberty and license,” ignores the fact that jihadis rule by force and that their “cultural context” and “license” is no less than totalitarian.
That the United States and the Western nations engaged in the violent struggle against radical Islamist aggression were delinquent in engaging in the war of ideas goes without saying. In reaction to the act of war perpetrated on the United States on September 11, 2001, our government reacted to secure the nation, to strike at the heart of the governments and terrorist organizations that executed the slaughter of 3,066 innocents at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in Shanksville, PA. This response was immediate for the simple fact that it was within our government's purview; it was something that could be executed with an order.
Additionally, it was easy for the West to engage violent jihadist organizations and the countries that abetted them both economically and diplomatically through the use of sanctions and diplomacy. In the weeks and months after September 11th, there was a great outpouring of cooperation from countries sympathetic to our plight and position. Through this cooperation was forged Operation Enduring Freedom in which fifty-one (51) countries contributed to the liberation of Afghanistan from the Taliban, the totalitarian figurehead government that provided safe haven to al Qaeda. This cooperation also gave birth to economic sanctions against terrorist organizations and the individuals and state sponsors that aided them. Financial institutions around the world froze bank accounts that provided the financial fuel for the violent jihad.
But the United States and the West were delinquent in understanding the war of ideas, the ideology behind aggressive Islamofascism. Almost immediately after the attacks of September 11th, President Bush took to the airwaves and decried that Islam was a “religion of peace.” Many understood this action to have emanated from a two-fold need:
▪ The need to circumvent any reactionary or vigilante aggression against the Islamic community here in the United States
▪ The need to keep from alienating Middle Eastern allies the West would certainly need to partner with in the upcoming battles to be waged
The repercussions of this declaration were many, with many of them being detrimental to the mission of defeating radical Islamist aggression here on the home front.
An honest examination and understanding of the Quran and the Hadith (understand that both must be read in context to one another to accurately understand the teachings of Muhammad) present some extremely disturbing revelations where violence, anti-Semitism and global conquest are concerned. These revelations, documented in a plethora of scholarly writing, lay waste to the notion that Islam, traditionally, is a religion of peace. Accurately depicted, fundamentalist Islam – exampled by Wahhabism, the prevalent form of Islam in Saudi Arabia – is an aggressive ideology that subjugates women, oppresses societal interaction, institutes the death sentence for apostasy and which has, over the centuries, been spread by the sword.
This declaration led to the widespread dissemination of propaganda at the hands of the American Fifth Column, who took the opportunity to exploit the naiveté of the American people. In the aftermath of the September 11th attacks so-called civil rights groups in the West launched a full-scale re-education campaign that completely disavowed the violent history of Islam.
Organizations such as CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, were courted to provide “sensitivity training” to government agencies and law enforcement. CAIR has since suffered the exposure of truth in its designation as an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial regarding the funding of the terror group Hamas. Its leadership has also been the target of myriad terror related prosecutions. And recently, the FBI cut off contacts with the CAIR “amid mounting concern about the Muslim advocacy group's roots in a Hamas-support network.”
This declaration also led to a rash of instances where school children in the United States and the West were subjected to curriculum designed to portray Islam as a “religion of peace.” In at least one instance, a California school had grade school children take on the task of being “Muslim for a day,” transgressing their own contrived institution of separation of church and State.
To say that the attacks perpetrated by fundamentalist Islamists – and by definition the nineteen (19) hijackers of September 11th, 2001, were fundamentalist Islamists – produced a contrecoup effect where the factual understanding of Islam is concerned would be an accurate assessment. This artificial understanding of Islam by the West, especially here in the United States, has been facilitated by an unengaged, apathetic and perhaps sympathetic Islamic community.
That Mr. Zakaria expresses his desire for the West to discern between the fundamentalists that literally call for our conquest and those who violently act upon that call is akin to asking a bleeding man stranded in the ocean to discern between the aggressiveness of a great white shark and a tiger shark; while one is more aggressive they will both eat you.
But perhaps the biggest flaw with Mr. Zakaria's contention stems from his lack of understanding of the philosophy that exists as the cornerstone of Western culture as well as the US Constitution: Natural Law.
From the philosophy of Natural Law was derived the following:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness...”
This defining tenet of Americanism is not unique to the American citizenry. It does not recognize geological borders. It applies to every man, woman and child who exists on the face of the earth. It has been the catalyst for war and charity. It has deposed dictators, tyrants and despots.. It has jailed the corrupt and freed the virtuous. It stands as the promise of hope; as the shining beacon of liberty that cuts through the darkness of totalitarianism. It stands steadfast in the face of atrocity seeking out avenues through which the innocent can be rescued and the tyrannical would be vanquished.
True Americans embrace this honor, this commitment to humanity, this responsibility. They have sacrificed blood and treasure and in many cases made the ultimate sacrifice to provide “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” to the oppressed, all in the quest for a more humane and equitable world.
That Mr. Zakaria would have us discern between two vicious ideological factions within the fundamentalist Islamic community, only to cavort with the lesser of two evils, flies in the face of Americanism's adherence to Natural Law. It cannot be, especially within the context of confronting the totalitarianism of fundamentalist Islam, that the end justifies the means. Contributing Editor Frank Salvato is the managing editor for The New Media Journal. He serves at the Executive Director of the Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(C)(3) research and education initiative. Feedback:

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