Taking Islam out of Radicalism

In response to the Chicago Tribune article: “Why the rise of radical Islam?”

I am disappointed that the Chicago-Tribune chose to print Victor Hanson’s “Why the Rise of Radical Islam?” Hanson’s commentary is characterized by selective slicing of history and simplistic suggestions for solutions to the problem of a global rise in extremism.

Hanson offers a gross reduction of current events in order to support his views of “the rise of radical Islam.” He selectively cites events of violence, genocide, terror, and oppression as acts united by the factor of “radical Islam.” Such complex global crises are real and serious. Issues of such import should not be so expediently categorized or diagnosed.

To use the word Islam to qualify the problem of radicalism is highly problematic. Such reductive terminology asserts that anti-civilization radicals are inspired by Islam; standing in flagrant opposition to the vast majority of peaceful Muslims who reject that Islam informs such activity.

Hanson’s argument gives credibility to marginalized groups hijacking Islam and empowers their intended projection as a legitimate and growing force.

Terrorists by definition are marginalized elements of society—sub national, clandestine and difficult to locate or identify. Terrorists are not united, and certainly not by any credible ideology.

Islam-i-cist, radical Islam, Islam-o-facism—or whatever the popularized quantifier of the moment may be—is not the problem.

“The data show that, [what] nearly all suicide terrorist attacks have in common is a specific secular and strategic goal: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from territory that the terrorists consider to be their homeland,” and have little to do with “Islamic fundamentalism or any one of the world’s religions,” states terrorism expert, Robert A. Pape, Associate Professor at the University of Chicago.

The terror tactics of radicals are to Islam what adultery is to marriage: antithetical to its moral foundations; reprehensible.