CHARLOTTE, NC, March 23, 2017 – Elliott Friedland, in an article written for “The Clarion Project”, says: “there are many different ways to challenge radical Islam.” Friedland then continues to list four “top suggestions.” Unfortunately, only half of the ideas are correct.
Unfortunately, only half of the ideas are correct.
The first line of defense has long been the single most important method of preparing to deal with Islamic jihad and that is to “get educated.”
All too often Americans travel outside the United States and discover how monolingual we are in this country. The comment is always something to the effect of “He speaks four languages fluently” or “I wish I could speak two or three languages.”
First-time visitors frequently return home with “resolutions” to learn another tongue, but after realizing that there is, for the most part, no need to be multilingual in the United States, they give up and forget about their newfound linguistic passion until the next time they leave the country.
The same is true with Islam.
Whenever there is an attack anywhere in the world by Islamic extremists, Americans vow they will learn more about this terrible enemy. But before long complacency sets in and the terrorists triumph once more.
We continue to separate Islam and “radical Islam” as if there is a difference. There isn’t. Islam is by definition radical. Once that basic idea is understood, the rest becomes easier.
As “The Clarion Project” points out,
“Islam is a totalitarian ideology based on a theological interpretation of Islam that sees the faith as political. It seeks to impose the religion onto others and to establish sharia governance as a system of laws for states.”
But there is more to it than that. Islam is a “way of life” where there is no separation of church and state. That alone leaves a massive gap in any potential for negotiations between the West and Islamic beliefs.
Like other religions, Islam has various sects and divisions, but it must be understood that Sunni Muslims do not regard Shia Muslims as true followers and, if a Muslim can be considered as an infidel because of a difference in beliefs, then how can a Jew or a Christian possibly be considered as anything other than a non-believer?
Step two, according to Friedland, is to support the work of Muslim reformers and human rights activists. Yes, there are many such people scattered throughout the world, but sadly their voices go largely unheard thanks to a media that is more interested in writing about blood, horror, and terror than reform.
Unlike Christianity, Islam has yet to experience an “Enlightenment.” The word(s) of the Prophet Muhammad are set in stone and nothing has altered that for 14 centuries. Though Muhammad is not considered divine in Islam as Christ is in Christianity, he is regarded as the final prophet and, by extension, the last authority on dealing with Allah.
Muhammad was God’s conduit through man and, therefore, he was perfect in the eyes of Muslims.
Until human rights advocates in Islam begin to gain the appropriate recognition and until they are able to change the basic tenets of the faith, their ideas and ideals will continue to be overshadowed. That is why Islam must be considered “extreme” because there is no room in the faith, as it currently exists, for compromise.
Third on Friedland’s list is to stand up against anti-Muslim bigotry. Here again, Friedland takes a naive approach to a complex problem. Cries of “Islamophobia” immediately erupt after every terrorist incident. But if there is truly a bias against Islam that is founded in fact and in the writings of Muhammad, then “Islamophobia” is not the force to be reckoned with that it is made out to be.
It is impossible to explain how Islam grew to such massive proportions over the centuries in just a page or two, but suffice it to say that countless millions of Muslims, while not terrorists, are not “true” Muslims either.
They have been indoctrinated into the religion over centuries of coercion and many so-called moderate Muslims have no clue as to what they are saying when they pray or what they are reciting when they read the Koran.
To use the argument in reverse, most Christians and Jews are peaceful as well, with no animosity toward Muslims. Most Christians and Jews would happily take a “live and let live” approach to religion, provided Islam would allow it.
Unfortunately, Islam refuses to assimilate and so long as that chasm exists there will continue to be “bigotry” or “Islamophobia” or whatever you want to make it.
Finally, Friedland asks that people speak out against “radical Islam.” All well and good, however, such a statement is contrary to the third point he makes about “bigotry.”
Many people already speak out against radical Islam on a daily basis, and, more often than not, they are called “Islamophobes.”
The great St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame pitcher, Dizzy Dean, used to say “Braggin’ ain’t braggin’ if you can do it.” The same is true with Islamic bigotry. If the “shoe fits, wear it” or if something is true then it cannot be bigotry.
First and foremost, we must get our definitions correct. Islam IS radical. Until we accept that and until we allow those who would reform the religion from the inside to do so, prepare to see more attacks throughout the West including the United States
Bob Taylor has been traveling the world for more than 30 years as a writer and award winning television producer focusing on international events, people and cultures around the globe.
Taylor is founder of The Magellan Travel Club (www.MagellanTravelClub.com)
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