Islam and its Denial – Part III
We are reforming two countries by changing their governments. We have decimated the ranks of one terrorist organization. One Arab dictator has revealed his nuclear program and ended it. Crowds in several Arab countries are demanding democratic rights. These are all signs of progress and hope for many living under Islamic oppression or fascist rule.
The problem, however, are a minority of jihadists whose aim is the destruction of the West. Do the above achievements have any bearing on this movement? We can certainly say that what we’ve done is disheartening for the jihadists and the rounding-up of Al Qaeda members is a great setback for one particular jihadist organization. The movement, however, is ideological. The actions taken so far do not address the reasons this movement exists and continue to attrack new members.
This is hard for many people to understand particularly Americans. Our culture is stridently anti-ideological. This is true across the political spectrum. The left looks for material causes (ex. poverty, military intervention, economic trade, etc.). Ideas, philosophy, ideology and religion are dismissed as epiphenomena – side effects of the “root causes.” The right believes that ideology leads to “isms” like communism. Instead they favor traditional sentiment embodied in century-old practices and proven institutions. Today, Republicans believe if you change the institutions, like government, you will remove the cause of terrorism.
Neither of these approaches deals with the reality. The 9/11 terrorists came from well-to-do families and studied in the democratic West. It is in the UK, USA, and Germany that many terrorists are learning their hate philosophy. Neither wealth nor liberty stopped these terrorists from learning jihadist hate or planning attacks like 9/11 and Madrid. In Holland the hope was that tolerance would win Muslims over to the ethos of Europe’s most open and accepting society. It hasn’t worked. The Europeans have tried this approach and it has failed miserably. Jihadist movements are on the rise in some of the most democratic and materially prosperous countries in history.
Thus, while I cheer the gains that are made, we still aren’t addressing the real problem.