There, was that so hard?
Many in this country (from President Obama to the mainstream media to liberal/left-wing/Democratic pundits) refuse to acknowledge the presence of radical Islam. In fact, in his address to the nation back in September, President Obama made it very clear that ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq in Syria)—also known as ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) was not Islamic. The question is, why does our president (I pick on him since he is the leader of the free world and the most-widely heard voice in our country, but he is by no means alone in this) refuse to recognize that there is such a thing as radical Islam?
There are clearly two (if not more) groups of people who claim to be Muslims. There are “radicals” or “extremists,” also known as jihadists. Or terrorists. Or the scourge of the earth. Then there are “moderates,” or “peaceful” Muslims. We are told over and over again that Islam is a religion of peace, that the majority of Muslims are not terrorists, and that these “radicals” aren’t truly Muslims in that they don’t adhere (mentally assent to or practically follow) the core beliefs of the religion. That may all be true. But those same radicals claim they are the true Muslims and that the “moderates” are weak-kneed cowards who will have no place in Paradise. And both of them quote the Quran in defense of their position. The problem is, I don’t know which of them is right. And frankly, I don’t care. Group A—“radicals”—want to kill me. Group B—“moderates”—don’t. I don’t mind, although I disagree on many points, with group B. I want Group A dead or in Gitmo as fast as possible lest they kill me or the ones I love.
I’ve studied Islam a little bit. I am by no means an expert. I cannot say with confidence whether radical Muslims or moderate Muslims more closely adhere to the intent of Muhammad when he penned the Quran. I can pull snippets of text from the Quran that would clearly indicate that Islam is not a religion of peace, just as Muslims can point to passages that would plainly affirm the exact opposite. But it wouldn’t be fair for me, unschooled as I am in their religion, to try to interpret the Quran, any more than it would be fair for an atheist to tell me what the Bible says and why I don’t believe my religion accurately. But I don’t think it matters for the point of this discussion.
Let’s look at a similar situation. There is a group in Kansas called the Westboro Baptist Church, most well-known for hating homosexuals and protesting funerals of veterans. The Westboro Baptist Church is part of the “Christian” religion. But they do not believe what I believe. Nor do they believe what the majority of “Christians” believe, and the term Christian is used to describe a broad group of people and beliefs. By all accounts, the members of Westboro Baptist Church are extremists. A hate group. “Radicals,” even. But they are still considered by pretty much everyone (the mainstream media, pundits on both sides of the aisle—and even by myself, if using the term as defined above) to be part of the “Christian” religion. Isn’t it only fair then, that we apply the same standard to Islam?
Again, I don’t know the true “heart” of Islam. If the moderates are correct, then the radicals do not truly belong to the religion. But they use the name Islam. They carry out their murderous acts in the name of Islam. They oppose those who aren’t part of Islam. To not call them “radical Muslims” would be intellectually dishonest. (That’s a fancy of saying stupid.)
So why won’t President Obama et al. refer to them as such? Why can’t we seem to drag the words “radical Islam” from his mouth? Is he afraid of what radical Muslims might do if he applies the well-fitting shoe? Does he sympathize with the religion and not want to tarnish it by admitting that it has bad apples in the barrel? Has he just not applied standards of logic to his thoughts? I don’t know. Only he could tell us that. Same is true of the mainstream media, pundits, etcetera. But the question begs to be asked.
Why does it matter? What difference does it make what name we give this group? “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” and dung by any other name would . . . well, you get the idea.
Why does it matter? It matters because ideology dictates action. It matters because knowing your enemy is essential in war, and make no mistake, this is a war and they are the enemy. It matters because this isn’t a few troublemakers or a “JV team,” but an organized, determined army that wants us dead. It matters because the world (including Muslims, both radical and moderate) is watching us, looking for our leadership and watching for our weakness. And it matters because accuracy and truth matter. That, in and of itself, should be enough for the President of the United States of America. Sadly, it is not.