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article imageOp-Ed: Distinguishing Muslims from Islamists

By Johnny Simpson     May 19, 2010 in World
Two recent news reports involving AG Eric Holder and liberal pundit Allen Colmes show a reluctance on the part of many to call radical Islamists what they are. If we are ever to win the war against the extremists, we must face the truth and name names.
In a recent grilling before Congress that went viral on YouTube, Attorney General Eric Holder refused to admit that radical Islam could have played a part in the attempted Times Square bombing by Faisal Shahzad. This, despite all the damning evidence to the contrary, including training in a Pakistani terror camp before returning to America.
In point of fact, our own government is now going out of its way to avoid calling radical Islamist extremism by name. The Global War on Terror is now designated as an "overseas contingency operation." Terror attacks are now "man-caused disasters." As though the Islamist terror bombing of an Iraqi marketplace that kills 200 people and wounds hundreds more is no different from the BP Gulf oil spill disaster.
In addition, not one mention of radical Islam appeared in the Defense Department's 86-page report on the Fort Hood massacre perpetrated by Dr. Nidal Hasan, when in fact a mountain of evidence exists that Islamist extremism was the driving force behind Dr. Hasan's shooting spree that killed fourteen and wounded dozens more. That includes emails between Major Hasan and Al Qaeda recruiter Anwar al-Awlaki, who is now on the Obama administration's hit list. Yesterday, President Obama didn't once mention the Islamist motives behind KSM's butchering of Jewish-American reporter Daniel Pearl, even as he signed the Press Freedom Act dedicated in Pearl's name. Last night liberal pundit Allen Colmes, formerly of Hannity and Colmes, said to Megyn Kelly of FOX News that there is no such thing as radical Islam.
Not only does this PC-driven avoidance of designating the radical extremists of Islam as what they really are a disservice to moderate Muslims who are fighting and dying at the hands of those same extremists, it is a disservice to the American people and even a national security vulnerability. If we refuse to identify our Islamist enemies, how can we possibly fight them effectively? Did we not distinguish ordinary good Germans from their Nazi overlords? Did not benevolent German organizations like the White Rose risk and often lose all in confronting and protesting the Nazis on their foul ideology and sickening barbarity toward the Jews? Why can we not make the same distinctions between peaceful Muslims and Islamist terrorists?
I see the ordinary peaceful and moderate good Muslims, of whom I have come to know many as I have campaigned on behalf of Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi, fighting and resisting the Islamist extremists as the White Roses of today. Are not the Green protesters in Iran the bravest White Rose of our time, as they confront the Nazi-like Islamist extremist regime in Tehran that is crushing them en masse under their bloody iron boots? In point of fact, and despite all of the murder and mayhem Islamist extremist groups like Al Qaeda and Hizbullah have perpetrated against the West, it is innocent Muslims that are paying the greatest prices in blood, lives and tortured misery at the hands of the extremists of Islam.
Taliban extremists splashing acid in Afghan schoolgirls' faces is not a "man-caused disaster." It is Islamist extremist terrorism, nothing less. Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other Islamist terrorist groups like Hizbullah and Hamas are unmistakably Islamic. We must face that basic truth as self-evident, while distinguishing the vast majority of peaceful practitioners of Islam from the terrorists. The radical Islamists of those terror groups and their state sponsors have twisted and politicized Islam beyond all recognition into a megalomaniac ideology with the goals of a totalitarian world caliphate, Jewish genocide and an arbitrary and capricious rule of terror by the sword, the bomb and the gun. If we do not have the courage to even name the enemy we face today and define the ideological roots from which their terror springs, then we have already lost this world war against them even as we escalate it in Afghanistan.
We also do a great disservice to innocent peaceful Muslims if that distinction is whitewashed for politically correct reasons, because there will be the tendency to blame all Muslims for Islamist terror attacks when they happen. If none can be blamed, then all will be. That is basic human nature. So let us separate the Nazis of Islam from the good Muslims who are suffering untold pain, misery and death at the hands of the extremists. Let us also make that distinction here in America. If we continue to refuse to admit that radical Islam is at the root of worldwide terror and deny naming the enemy we face, we are only setting ourselves up for more Times Square, Fort Hood and even 9/11-scale attacks. We have been at war with Islamists for nearly a decade now. It is about time we named them, while distinguishing peaceful Muslims from fascist Islamists. One group represents true Islam. The other does not.
It is for all these reasons I also believe that the "Everybody Draw Mohammad Day" scheduled for tomorrow should be dropped from consideration. It is not that we don't have the right to draw offensive caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad. We do. We are a free society unbound by Islamic law. But I believe our efforts are best directed at the radical Islamist extremists themselves, rather than widespread en masse offense of the entire Muslim world. Would "Everybody Draw Mohammad Day" make moderate Muslims like us more and the extremists less? In my humble opinion based on the facts at hand, good Muslims are at the forefront of the war against radical Islamist extremism, be it in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran or Lebanon. We should be laser-targeting our outrage at the Islamist extremists, not offending all Muslims with ideological shotgun blasts that hurt the innocent as well as the guilty. It is not a matter of if we could. We can. It is a matter of whether we should. In the end I believe it will only hurt us all, and that only helps the extremists. Why hand them a prime ideological weapon?
IMPORTANT FOOTNOTE: Please read the response I just made to Digital Journalist Christopher Szabo regarding the term "Islamist." Any Muslims are welcome to correct me if I'm wrong in any of my definitions, but this all is to the best of my knowledge and research:
"Chris, as defined and is used colloquially, Islam is the religion itself. The proper adjective is Islamic. Islamism is the belief of Islam not only as a religion, but as a political ideology in which Islamic law overrides all secular political considerations, i.e. Islam is dominant in all phases of society and Sh'aria law rules supreme. Turkey is technically a secular democracy in which Islam is the dominant religion but not the dominant law, much as America is secular with Christianity as its dominant religion. On the other hand, Iran is an Islamist state ruled by the clergy and harsh legal codes like Lavat, which authorizes the executions of LGBTs.
"If you do a Google search, you will discover the colloquial usage. Radical extreme Muslim groups and states are commonly referred to as Islamist today, their practitioners Islamists. Islamic scholars themselves disagree on the usage and definition, but Islamist has now entered the language as the definition of the followers of radical Islam, like Sufism and Wahhabism. Al Qaeda is an offshoot of extreme Saudi Arabia-rooted Sunni Wahhabism, though Islamist also applies to radical Shiite regimes like the one ruling Iran today."
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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