Is Islam a Threat to the West?
Islamic Jihad Is a World War
By Christopher Holton
With the emergence over the past 18 months of the Islamic State, the West, led by the United States, now finds itself in a world war, whether we want to believe it or not.
The Islamic State is not simply an Iraqi problem or a Syrian problem; it has metastasized into a global organization with 31,000 recruits from around the world.
Meanwhile, other Islamic jihadi organizations — such as Al Qaeda, Boko Haram, Al Shabaab, HAMAS, Lashkar e Taiba, Hezbollah, and Abu Sayyef — are operating in more countries with more fighters than ever before.
This global Islamic jihad amounts to a world war. Nevertheless, policymakers in the United States continue to ignore or deny this reality.
Over the course of a generation, the West has allowed itself to be thoroughly infiltrated. This is evidenced by the global base of recruitment that the Islamic State has been able to take advantage of and the numerous public displays of Islamic State support in the West, in addition to recent acts of jihad in Oklahoma City, Queens, Ottawa, Sydney, and Paris.
Think about the implications of this for a moment: jihadis are actively promoting and recruiting for jihadi terrorist organizations that are sworn to conquer the West on the very streets of western republics.
Imagine for a moment that your church was being used to recruit for violence and that your pastor was encouraging young men to join violent groups. Seems impossible, doesn’t it? That is exactly what’s happening in mosques in India, Indonesia, Australia, across the Middle East, and parts of Europe. And past experience tells us that it is likely happening here in mosques in the United States as well.
Can there still be any doubt that Islamic jihad poses a serious threat to the safety of every American and to our national security?
Christopher Holton is director of education and outreach for ACT for America.
Extremists Bastardize Islam
By Zahra Sultani
EspañolWe could describe the “threat to western world” as endangering the values of democracy, individual liberty, and other things that we hold dear in the western world that enhance our quality of lives as free human beings. The question then becomes whether the existence of Islam and its ideologies is dangerous to liberty, peace, and prosperity.
Many colleagues seek my opinion as a Muslim on terrorist attacks taking place in different parts of the world: “is Islam against freedom of speech and other western values?” they ask. The easier answer would be “yes,” but I would be guilty of giving an overly simplified answer to a very complex issue.
Islam, like any other religion, has a set of rules, rights, and codes that Muslims practice in their communities. These codes — set by the god himself — are to be fully accepted by the community member, so a Muslim does not have the kind of liberty he would have in a non-Muslim community.
Muslims take part in an unwritten social contract where they must follow the Islamic rules, and it does not matter what those rules are, so long as participation in that community is voluntary.
What does that mean for Westerners? There are no verses in the Quran that give Muslims authority to rule non-Muslims, and if these non-Muslims are not part of the Muslim community then they are not obliged to follow Islamic rules.
This is where extremist groups conveniently choose to assume authority over non-Muslims and impose their own political agenda as the “correct interpretation” and the “pure” form of Islam.
Think about what would be left of Paris if all 1.6 billion Muslims around the world actually thought that they had a religious duty to respond to the offensive depiction of prophet Mohammad. The fact is there is only a tiny fraction of people associating themselves with Islam who endanger western values, and interestingly enough, those are the people who get all the weapons, resources, and publicity.
Why is it that the extremists are more successful at establishing their version of Islam as the main version? I think that is a more interesting question to consider.
Zahra Sultani, a native of Afghanistan, studies philosophy and political science at Wilfrid Laurier University in Ontario, Canada. Follow @zahrasultani.