Islamism is a political ideology concealed in religious doctrine. Whilst it would be negligent to deny any link between Islam and Islamism, it is equally irresponsible to absolutely conflate the two and doing so will continue to hinder the fight against the latter. If we continue to lend the credibility of religious doctrine to the Islamist agenda, we will never win the war on terror; every effort to defeat the ideology and conduct counter-terrorist operations will be overshadowed by the implication of religious discrimination.
It is not only the United States that protects Islamism; Europeans and Canadians face the same problems. On Thursday, the Canadian parliament passed a motion denouncing islamophobia and calling for increased efforts to combat ‘religious discrimination’ (read discrimination against Muslims). This is a motion – a statement of intent, if you will – rather than a law, but a number of liberal western governments are moving in the direction of further silencing all anti-Islam sentiment.
The answer – and the only answer – is very simple: Completely sever Islamism from Islam. Though the link exists, it must be denied, in order to delegitimize Islamism in the eyes of both Muslim and non-Muslim. Defeating the Islamic State (ISIS) and al Qaeda on the battlefield is crucial, but is, literally, only half the battle.
As long as we accept the idea that the extremists are acting according to the teachings of Islam, our own laws will afford them a degree of protection. The First Amendment itself ensures the survival of religious extremism. We are fighting savage, faithless killers but their cloak of religion shields them from what we could be doing to root them out.
The progressive left – a movement that largely claims to be areligious and atheistic – pours scorn upon Christianity but frequently exhibits support for radical Islam. One of the more recent examples of this was reported by the Daily Caller; Linda Sarsour, who helped organize the women’s protest march in Washington, D.C. in January. Sarsour has close ties to Hamas and has raised funds for the terror group, according to both the Israeli government and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Since progressives are not motivated by religious belief, it is clear that political ideology is what binds them to Islamism.
The left peddles the idea that any criticism of Islam; any attempt to monitor extremist activity; any moves to shut down radical mosques or deny entry to the U.S. from certain unstable countries are all nothing more than rabid ‘islamophobia’.
At the federal level of the United States government, islamophobia laws cannot be passed because they would run contrary to the First Amendment establishment clause and President Trump would hardly sign any such bills. The establishment clause, however, guarantees religious freedom and so it shields Islamists, who claim religious motivation.
It is certainly possible that some left-leaning states or local jurisdictions could advance legislation that criminalize what they deem ‘Islamophobic’ speech or actions. Congress could prevent such laws being passed by introducing legislation that prevents killers from claiming religious motivation.
No legitimate religion condones the killing of innocent people; the holy books of Judaism, Christianity and Islam all tacitly accept the waging of war in defense of the faith, but none of them call explicitly for the murder of those who do not share that faith. The Qur’an calls on Muslims to wage war against the ‘unbelievers’ but an objective study of this text reveals, clearly, that pagans, idol-worshippers and polytheists are the unbelievers – not Jews or Christians. ‘Islam’ is as much a concept – a way of life – as it is a religion. The word itself means ‘submission’ – to God’s will – and the Qur’an is clear in the assertion that anyone who recognizes the one, true God and lives according to the scriptures – even if they call themselves Jew or Christian – is submitting to the will of God as is, therefore, a follower of Islam.
Such a concept is alien to most westerners and the majority – particularly Christians – would reject it outright. Islamists also reject it, for accepting it would undermine their entire ideology and calls for holy war, or jihad, against Jews and Christians.
So, we must establish the principle that – other than in true self-defense – one cannot commit acts of violence and claim religious legitimacy. In doing so, we would sweep away the bedrock of religious extremism and deny the Islamists and their sympathizers the right to claim ‘islamophobia’. Put simply; if an individual or group is committing – or conspiring to commit – acts of violence, the law classifies them as acting outside of any religious teachings; such actions are un-Islamic and, consequently, any measures taken against them cannot be labelled ‘Islamophobic’.
In order to eradicate this backward, savage psychopathy known as Islamism, we must deny the extremists the protection of religious freedom. It is a hard pill to swallow for many in the western world who willingly see the entire Islamic faith as an existential threat. By continuing to assert that Islamism is a legitimate – albeit offensive – religious doctrine, we are sowing the seeds of our own defeat.