One of the most powerful points about Islamists, and against their non-Muslim defenders and apologists, that can be offered is that liberals and leftists are trying to explain extremist actions in rational terms. For example,
i) as a response to poverty
ii) or a response to a lack of political power
iii) or as a response to Islamophobia
iv) or to people celebrating Christmas too loudly
v) or for not banning Rushdie’s novel
vi) or for not making comprehensive schools provide halal meat
vii) or for not letting female Muslims wear the burkha while swimming
viii) or for not teaching non-Muslim students any Arabic or anything about the Koran
ix) or for allowing non-Muslim women to wear short skirts in Muslim areas…
Islam must be a very combustible and volatile religion if Muslims are that easily turned into terrorists or extremists.
Perhaps ‘the root causes’ of Islamic extremism are Islam and the Koran. After all, Islamic terrorists are Islamic terrorists. They are Muslims who have read the Koran. Of course ‘not every Muslim is a terrorist or an extremist’. That may just amount to the mundane fact that not every Muslim is politically active. It is also true about socialists and conservatives. Not every supporter of the Conservative Party goes to local party meetings or the annual conference. But he or she may still be bone fide Conservative. One can even be a believer in - or supporter of - revolutionary socialism and not give out leaflets or sell papers, let alone arrange mass demonstrations and the like. So a Muslim may believe in terrorism and Islamic extremism even though he spends most of his time running his corner shop and watching ITV. More pertinently, he may accept the Jihadist sentiments in the Koran, along with the anti-Semitism, etc., without volunteering to do Jihad-work in Afghanistan or to bomb the local synagogue. He may not do these things simply because he is some kind of coward and does not want to die in Afghanistan , or blow himself up at the local synagogue, or even risk long-term imprisonment in a UK prison. Nevertheless, he is still an extremist-of-the mind, if not in action. All extreme groups, religious and ideological, have many supporters and members who, basically, don’t lift a finger for the cause. So a Muslim can be an Islamist-of-the-mind even if he does not train in military camps or even spout ‘Jihad!’ at his local mosque. In addition, I know many deeply political people who, basically, don’t actually do anything political other than read newspapers, etc. The same goes for deeply religious people.
On another point. Politicos, or political nerds, are bound to analyse things in strictly, or crudely, political terms. Thus to a Marxist or SWP member, it’s all about poverty or political impotency. To a racist, it is all about the fact that most Islamists have brown or black skin. To a Green, perhaps it’s because Osama Bin Laden didn’t have a holistic relationship with Mother Earth.
Instead, Islamists blow people up because they are infidels, or Jews, or colonialists, or Sunni rather than Shia, or Shia rather than Sunni. These are irrational acts. Perhaps they are carried out by people who are fundamentally irrational, at least at a political and religious level. Isn’t that at least possible? Considering the fact that millions believe in UFOs, or that Elvis is still alive, or that Clint Eastwood shot Kennedy, why can’t the Islamist/Trot belief that the Jews run the world also be utterly irrational? Why can’t their terrorist outrages also be, purely and simply, irrational?
Of course the Islamist, or SWP machine-head, will now respond:
Irrational to you, may be, but not irrational to them.
But that is another issue, as well as a neat sidestepping of the points that have been made so far.