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Enough of this Radical Islam

Posted by Anthony on December 2, 2008

By Anthony J. Aschettino

The recent coordinated attacks by Islamic militants in India on November 27th were simply the latest in a long string of attacks, dating back decades now, which remind the world of the most dangerous current threat to global civilization: Radical Islam. Though there are many who would like to pretend that these attacks, and others in their vein, are politically motivated, or are perpetrated by those who are bereft of any other means of protestation, the reality exists that they are religiously motivated and that those who enact such terrorist acts do so with their intentions firmly couched in their religious faith.

Radical Islam is indeed a scourge on society today. It has made itself manifest on almost every continent and in countries too numerous to recount here. Unlike a large portion of Muslims in this world, those who subscribe to the virus of Radical Islam bring only death and misery wherever they go. If one wished to imagine a world run by these criminals, simply replace the image of Big Brother with a Caliph and conjure up the social situation evident in Orwell’s 1984 with (to paraphrase O’Brien) a sandal stomping on the face of humanity forever. Everywhere these people have come to power they have ruined the country, or are in the process of ruining it: in Afghanistan, the Sudan, Iran, and Saudi Arabia where they are (or were) in power, and in the other states such as Algeria, Egypt, Pakistan, India, Iraq, Somalia, and several of the former Central Asian Soviet Republics where they have fomented insurgencies, the end result has been the degrading of human rights and death in large numbers.

It is obvious that any form of negotiation with these groups is an exercise in folly: one cannot deal with an organization that is unwilling to compromise, and Radical Islamic groups seek only to implement Sharia law on a global level. Likewise, killing those who would seek to themselves kill innocents is also not the total answer: individuals who subscribe to such a belief system as makes up the cadres of militant Muslims do not particularly care if they are killed, and in most cases actually welcome it as a blessed event to be praised. “Fixing” the conditions that many argue lead young men and women down the road to Radical Islam, as is argued by many on the left, is only a partially viable option: it is true that a good deal could be done by, for example, working to ensure increased job availability in states where jihadists come from as well as trying to settle the rankling political issues that provide ample fodder for motivating them.

Yet for all this, Radical Islam shows its face in the very places where these problems do not exist: homegrown terrorists have struck or attempted to strike in London, Germany, Spain, France, and the United States. They are not driven to militancy by desperation, but rather by the sense that they are fighting a global battle for Islam against the forces of those who oppose its predominance. If this is the case, then, what can be done to stem the advancing tide of radicalism?

The answer must lie within the global Muslim community in general and local Muslim communities in specific. There is only so much the non-Muslim community can do in these cases, and none of the answers will provide for much in the long run. The threat of Communism was ended not on the battlefield; rather it ended when the people who lived in communist states finally rose up against it in numbers large enough to bring the entire system down. Radical Islam will only be defeated when enough Muslims decide that the carnage these villains are causing is intrinsically opposed to the tenets of their religion and act accordingly. Starting out at the youngest possible age, the youth of the Muslim world need to grow up being taught that killing in the name of their god is reprehensible. Local Muslim communities need to sniff out any possible conspiracies and report them to the local authorities. Terror plots will not succeed if the source of finance is cut off and if their community is not willing to tolerate the plots originating within their own proverbial backyards.

It is not too late to quell this anomaly in the otherwise tolerant history of Islam. These radicals claim that they want to return to the past, to a “pure” Islam: they would do well to learn their own history, when the tolerance of Muslim rulers fostered unparalleled economic growth and intellectual pursuit; when scholars from all over Europe flocked to Baghdad and Corduba to share and learn in a peaceful and inspiring environment. The road ahead to victory over those who seek to bring down civilization will by no means be short, nor the path painless, but the alternative is unconscionable for civilized human beings.

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