SUDAN WATCH: Fighting the Global War on Radical Islam?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Fighting the Global War on Radical Islam?

Filed here for future reference: a copy of one of the 18 comments posted to Younghusband's blog entry at 9 Aug 2006 re Reader Question: Fighting the Global War on Radical Islam?
Comment by Kirk H Sowell, Arab World Analysis:

Two comments, one general and one in response:

1) We should remember that while the phenomenon is Islamic terrorism, the enemy is neither Islam nor terrorism - it is radical Islam. I stress this point because sometimes the purely military terrorist groups like al-Qaeda are viewed as the greatest threats, but in the long run they don't have staying power - in fact they don't have a lot even now. But those radical Islamic organizations with political and social wings like Hamas and Hizballah are the greatest long-term threats. They can survive when others cannot. This is not the place to prescribe a remedy, and I explain below why I think this one would not work, but I think this distinction is important to bear in mind. Hizb al-Tahrir has no military wing, but seeks to establish the Caliphate and then declare war on the West. That is a greater threat than al-Qaeda.

2) This plan would not work because it would be be portrayed as a "war against Islam" and the modifier "radical" would drop out. I don't follow all areas of the Muslim world so closely, but in the Arab media this is how just about everything comes through. If the Taliban kills 1,000 Shia Muslims in a weekend killing spree, as they did to the Hararas when they were in power, it isn't worth noting. But if an American missile goes astray and kills 10 Afghans, the America is waging war on Islam. If Israel kills a Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative who directed a suicide bombing that killed 25 Israeli civilians in a market, he is a martyr, and Israel is waging war on Islam. Syria can assassinate as many Lebanese opposition figures as it wants, and this barely causes a ripple in Arab societies outside Lebanon itself. If Israel kills the same number accidentally fighting Hizballah, Israel is waging a war on Islam. When Britons of Pakistani origin try and blow up buses or airplanes, then Al-Jazeera talks about how bad it is for Muslims in Britain. I'm serious. This is exactly what they did after 9/11 and 7/7.

You get the point - there isn't the slightest chance that any message like this would get through without the greatest amount of distortion. Some Muslims would certainly agree with it, but none of them will have supported radical Islam anyway.


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