Thoughts on Islamic Terrorism

From recent News reports:

  • September 25, 2014, Moore, OK – a Sharia Law activist beheads a woman.
  • October 23, 2014, New York City – Zaim Farouq Abdul-Malik attacked four policemen in the subway with a hatchet.
  • May 3, 2015, Garland, TX – Two gunmen attacked the Curtis Culwell Center.
  • July 16, 2015, Chattanooga, TN – A Muslim extremist stages a suicide attack on a recruiting center at a strip mall and a naval center, leaving five dead.
  • November 13, 2015, Paris, France – A series of Islamic terrorist attacks kill 137 and wound 368.
  • December 2, 2015 – San Bernardino, CA – Two Muslim terrorists shoot up a Christmas party, leaving fourteen dead.

Around the world, there have been over 100 terrorist attacks by Islamic extremists in 2015. Many American liberals are calling for strict gun control to curb the violence. Many American conservatives have called for bans on travel to the U.S. for all Muslims. Politicians and media seem to be completely caught in the echo chambers of their political ideologies, and the United States is more divided than ever.

There are two key issues that seem to be lost in the arguing over what to do about Islamic terrorism. The first is that the militant Islamists have declared war on the United States. The second is that Islam is not a single, unified ideology.

We Are At War, Whether We Like It or Not

isis_flagThe United States is already in a war. ISIS and al-Qaeda are two of the leading Islamic groups that have declared jihad, or a “Holy War,” on Americans and their allies. They are tied to numerous attacks on the United States, including the 9/11 attacks, the Boston Marathon bombing, and the recent San Bernardino shootings. Yet, the President has been unwilling to acknowledge that war has been declared on the United States. We’ve sent a few token bombs into ISIS territory, killing a few leaders, only to have new leaders spring up immediately.   Until the American government comprehends that war has been declared, and starts to act like we’re at war, ISIS and their ilk will continue to gain strength and continue to attack the United States and their allies, creating more refugees in the process. There is no jihadist group in the Middle East that could stand a chance if the United States military went in with full force. ISIS would be gone within weeks. But, our Commander-in-Chief is determined that there will not be a war on his watch, so he continues to ignore the fact that we are already in a war, and does nothing of consequence. And ISIS continues to grow, continues to create more refugees, and continues to expand on American soil.

What Is Islam?

Some people say that Islam is a religion of peace; others say it is a radical political movement disguised as a religion seeking world domination.

Both are correct.

Muslim womanIn fact, Islam is not a single worldview. Islam encompasses a tremendous range of beliefs. There are “cultural Muslims” who call themselves Muslim for cultural reasons, but don’t actually believe or practice any of it. There are Muslims who reject the parts of the Qur’an that call for jihad, or interpret those passages so that they don’t apply to today’s society. There are also Muslims who take those same jihadist passages very literally, and have declared war on all non-Muslims. Anyone who states that “Muslims believe X,” or “Islam teaches Y,” doesn’t know what they’re talking about. There are only a handful of beliefs that are universally held by all Muslims, or at least nearly so.

Some conservatives have called for a “war on Islam.” That’s just plain ignorant. We need to wage war against terrorism and war on jihadists, but not on an entire range of people who identify themselves as “Muslim.” Could some “moderate” Muslims become “radicalized?” Sure, they could; some “moderate” non-Muslims have also been “radicalized.” Yes, we need to understand that jihadists base their ideology on a particular interpretation of the Qur’an; they are absolutely Islamic. But, we need to differentiate between jihadist terrorists and other Muslims, and recognize that not all terrorists are religious at all.

How should the United States Respond to Jihadist Terrorism?

Her are my current thoughts on how to effectively combat jihadism in the United States.

  1. Acknowledge that we are already in a war, and begin to act like it.
  2. Correctly identify the enemy. Political correctness and bigotry are both counter-productive and immoral. The enemy is Islamic jihadists, not all Muslims.
  3. Quit the political posturing and political exploitation of the crisis. It’s not about guns or global warming. It’s about jihadist ideology.
  4. Build alliances with other countries to create a coalition to defeat jihadists.
  5. Use the full might of the United States military to wipe out ISIS and al-Qaeda strongholds in Syria, Iraq, and wherever else they rear their ugly heads.
  6. Set up refugee camps in the Middle East, and work to reintegrate refugees into their own homelands as soon as the region is stable.
  7. Maintain a permanent military and humanitarian presence in the Middle East, much like we did at the end of World War II in Germany and Japan. Use these initially to prevent jihadists from reestablishing power in the region, to stabilize the region, then to build long-term alliances.
  8. Secure our borders. Temporarily stop the influx of people into the United States from the Middle East. Countries that are at war generally keep people from the regions they are at war with out. Deliberately bringing in immigrants from ISIS strongholds is a serious security risk. Create effective ways to properly vet immigrants and those on visas before reopening the United States to them.
  9. Use the full force of the CIA, FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and other agencies to root out domestic terrorists, bring charges, and through due process, lock up terrorists of all ideologies, both domestic and foreign, before they have a chance to strike. We already have laws in place – enforce them!
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