Over the last few years, the phrases “Islamic extremism” and “Muslim terrorist” have become victims of the political left’s war on words. Previous casualties in the conflict include “illegal” immigrant (now “undocumented”), global warming (now “climate change”) affirmative action (now “diversity”), and so on.
This name game isn’t just done by the left of course. “Enhanced interrogation” and other phrases come to mind from the right. However, this latest attempt spearheaded by President Obama and his administration to label Islamic terrorism as “violent extremism” is particularly bad, and very stupid.
What does the phrase even mean? You are an extremist committing violent acts? Does this apply to serial killers too? Muggers maybe? If you are an “extreme” person and “violent”, you fit the literal bill.
Islamic extremism, at this current juncture in our history, is a more unique threat than most forms of violence. Not necessarily because of the body counts, as over 15,000 Americans are murdered domestically every year, and very few if any of them are killed as the result of radical Islam. Rather, the true threat comes from the jihadists’ end goals.
These are people who would, if they could, detonate a nuclear device in a Western city, use chemical weapons, bioweapons, and long range missiles, as well as many other forms of powerful weapons to destroy their enemies and kill endless numbers of innocents. The average mugger isn’t looking to exterminate most of the human race.
That is why groups like ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, and others need to be labeled for what they are. We need to understand their motives in order to defeat them, and keep them contained so they remain a minor physical threat to the West. It is not “Islamophobic” of us to point out that they are Muslims, and that a certain interpretation of Islam is the source of their worldview. In fact, it is crucial to do so, just as an understanding of communist ideology was not irrelevant to fighting the Cold War.
Furthermore, the statement “we were at war with Germany during the World Wars” does not imply our goal was to wipe out all Germans, or that ethnic Germans needed to be killed off entirely. So the statement “we are at war with radical Islam” should not be a controversial thing to say. It does not imply we are at war with “Islam”. The qualifiers “radical” or “extreme” or “terrorist” that couple the words “Islam” and “Muslim” make that obvious.
In addition to the refusal to call a spade a spade, members of President Obama’s administration have been claiming that a ‘lack of opportunity/jobs’ is the root cause of “violent extremism.” Right, because Osama Bin Laden wasn’t born into a wealthy family. We aren’t having a problem with Muslims who grew up in the first world fleeing their countries to join ISIS or carrying out attacks at home. The Tsarnaev brothers didn’t go to a strong high school in Cambridge, and certainly never had a chance at college. And the wealthy Sunnis who fund Sunni extremism, along with the Iranian Ayatollahs who fund Hamas and Hezbollah, are all very deprived of “opportunity”.
Let’s make something clear – violence CAN be the result of desperation. But such violence is most often on a small scale. For example, stealing food when hungry. No one who is desperate or poor just happens to join marauding death cults because they think it will improve their standing. I’m sure the rank and file in groups like ISIS don’t have a terrific standard of living or “opportunities” to do things they couldn’t do before, aside from slaughtering innocents of course.
They join these groups because they’ve been convinced to think a certain way, or to have a certain ideology. That ideology is a more raw form of literal Islamic interpretation, void of any true morals. Claiming that a lack of opportunity caused this problem makes groups like ISIS out to be the victims, not the victimizers. Unfortunately for the world, we can’t fight this war with a jobs program. It needs to be fought with bombs and bullets.