Time to take sides in the war within Islam

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls was right when he recently said that there is no good excuse for jihad. Rejecting the culture of excuses, said Valls, also meant resisting the temptation to dwell on explanations of the jihadi impulse.

And Valls was right again on April 4 when he warned against the danger of an ideological victory for Salafism, the doctrine underlying jihad, which views Europe (and, within Europe, France) as prime ground for proselytizing.

Successive French governments, over three decades, abdicated responsibility for engaging in this debate. But while passivity may have ensured social peace in the short term, it enabled values other than those of the republic to take root in wide swaths of French cities. And this was followed by willful blindness, as governments refused to recognize that militant Islamic fundamentalism was actually Islamo-fascism, the third global variant of totalitarianism that die-hard critics had been decrying for a quarter-century.

In any event, the result is plain: Appeasement of violent radicalism only encourages more of the same. As a consequence, we find ourselves in an undeclared state of intellectual emergency, one that, regrettably, has given rise to the states of emergency that our governments proclaim in the wake of terrorist attacks.

Dealing with this emergency requires, above all, saying and doing the opposite of what has most often been said and done. Specifically, we must call a spade a spade. An Islamist may be a lost Muslim or a Muslim gone astray, but he or she is a Muslim all the same. We must stop repeating ad nauseam that these aberrant Muslims have “nothing to do with Islam.”

In other words, we must acknowledge that two Islams are locked in a fight to the death, and that because the battlefield is the planet and the war threatens values that the West embraces, the fight is not solely the Muslims’ affair.

Full article: Time to take sides in the war within Islam (The Japan Times)

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