At some point, leaders in the West will have to recognize that they share very little in common with the worldview of Islamic terrorists. At some point, they will have to take seriously Islamic theology and the mindset of a radical Muslim. At some point, they will have to come to grips with the fact that they cannot combat Islamic terrorism with tolerance.
In his significant new book, The Islam in Islamic Terrorism: The Importance of Beliefs, Ideas and Ideology, Ibn Warraq writes, "There are many contemporary political commentators and intellectuals who do not accept what seems an obvious starting point in trying to explain the behavior of Islamic terrorists, namely their beliefs, their ideology as laid down in tract after tract, statement after statement, interview after interview and book after book—books that are the careful work of Muslim scholars of Islam, lavishly sprinkled with quotes from the Koran, which is the very word of Allah, the hadīth (the sayings and deeds of Muhammad and his Companions), the sira (life of the Prophet), all used to justify their heinous acts, even against civilians, including women, children and the old."
Because of this, Western leaders are always looking for other causes of Islamic terrorism. The problem is unemployment. Or poverty. Or lack of education. Or the history of Western colonialism in the Muslim world. Or something else. Anything but Islamic theology and beliefs.
Just last month, former Secretary of State John Kerry advised graduates of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government that the way to solve the terror problem in Middle East was to provide better educational and vocational opportunities for the youth. He said, "Surely we can begin to prevent tomorrow's extremism by offering young people the promise of modernity and good governance, not the destruction of strapping on a suicide vest and blowing yourself up and a whole bunch of innocent people." He said this in the aftermath of the Manchester suicide bombing.
The reality is that many terrorists come up from upper and middle-class families. Many are well educated, (including Ph.D.s and medical doctors. And many have all the opportunities a young person could ask for. Remember that Osama bin Laden was a friend of Saudi royalty and came from a rich, influential Saudi family.
It is Islamic theology that drives the terrorist, and jobs, educational opportunity and all the benefits of the West will not deter him. He is at war with the unbelievers, whether he finds them in London or Algeria. His sacred duty is holy war.
Speaking of the Charlie Hebdo slaughter in France, Ibn Warraq writes, "After the massacre White House press secretary Josh Earnest suggested that 'these are individuals who carried out an act of terrorism, and...later tried to justify that act of terrorism by invoking the religion of Islam and their own deviant view of it.'" This sounds as if the Charlie Hebdo terrorists set out to commit a random act of violence, and then, when they realized they needed some justification afterwards, plucked Islam out of the air by sheer chance."
This is what our enlightened leaders would have us believe. These attacks have nothing to do with Islam. If we can understand what is upsetting these people, then we can live together in peace.
Not so. What is upsetting them is their theology.
After the most recent terrorist attack in London, major security questions are being asked. How did these terrorists slip through the cracks? Some were already known to the police and national security. Yet they were able to operate freely enough to concoct and carry out their murderous plot.
One of the London terrorists previously appeared in a U.K. documentary called The Jihadis Next Door in which he was seen praying with an unfurled ISIS flag. Yet he was able to remain in the U.K. and, quite obviously, was not that closely monitored.
Do the British authorities want to stop terrorism? Of course they do, with all their hearts and souls. Do they care deeply about the well-being of their people? Without a doubt. I'm sure many would give their lives to save the lives of others. And I imagine their system is strained to the max as they try to stay one step ahead of the killers.
But that illustrates a large part of the problem. Any country that thinks it can tolerate the presence of thousands of jihadi Muslims is deceiving itself. Soon enough, blood will be shed—lots of it.
I just spent three days in Italy and Germany, and while in Italy, I spoke with a colleague who served as a policeman for years. He had dealt with high-level security cases in the past and explained to me why, so far, Italy has not had a rash of Islamic terror attacks. He is not boasting; rather, he is grateful.
One factor is that many Islamic immigrants pass from Africa into Italy on their way to other countries, so they are not as likely to launch an attack. They want Italy to be a safe haven for them.
Another is how the military police and local police are involved in their communities, constantly gathering and sharing information.
Yet another factor, only in Italy, is that in Sicily, where I was staying, the mafia controls the building industry, including access to explosives, and they are not going to sell explosives to terrorists.
Finally, there is Italy's intolerance of radical Muslims. My friend explained that the moment someone is caught going in this direction, acting like the jihadi next door, that person is arrested and deported. This is also widely reported in the media so as to send out a warning as well.
Because Italy is intolerant of this terrorist ideology, the government combats it more aggressively.
This does not guarantee the nation's safety, but it goes a long way to preserving it, since you cannot fight terrorism with tolerance. Quite the contrary. It is only a strategic, wide-ranging and uncompromising intolerance that can combat Islamic terrorism. That will never happen as long as Western leaders refuse to recognize the Islamic roots of Islamic terror.
Dr. Michael Brown (www.askdrbrown.org) is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. His latest book is Evangelicals at the Crossroads: Will We Pass the Trump Test? Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter, or YouTube.
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