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Terrorism in the Homeland: Islam begets the radicalism of terrorism

By Eric Harrison     3/17/11 7:00pm

Since Those who abhor the burden of taking a clear stance on issues of importance are often fond of the "agnostic's fallacy." The fallacy goes like this: Two options are both technically possible; therefore, they are equally probable and no distinction can be made between them. So we get the agnostic, who thinks the existence and nonexistence of the supernatural are equally probable despite the absence of evidence for the former.

That same line of non-thinking inevitably appears whenever the topic of "profiling" is in any way broached. Can any reasonable distinction be made by airport security between a 21-year-old Saudi male traveling on a student visa and a 95-year-old Belgian woman on a tourist visa? Oh, certainly not - who knows, she could be carrying a bomb for some reason.

Neither, it seems, can there be any distinction between Islam and any other religion as a source of organized sadists and murderers. After all, non-Muslims can definitely do the same kinds of violent things too, and every once in a great while, actually try.

Very well: grandma could be carrying a bomb, just as the followers of other religions could engage in the same wanton cruelty. But the more salient consideration is how likely these things are to be true. To treat these possibilities as if they were equally probable is something even the slowest of people should recognize as nonsense.

Those who caution against the use of one's critical faculties claim that criticism will alienate Muslims and drive them into the clutches of "extremists." Well, in the first place, this really is little more than a threat (Don't criticize what I think or I'll kill you), and in the second place, it rests upon the tremendously condescending premise that Muslims are so innately explosive that any criticism may set them off. (Try to remember the last time you were called upon to tiptoe around the "Christian community" in this way.)

And what do these people propose instead? "Engagement" with the "Muslim community" through programs coordinated with mosques - in other words, reinforcing the idea that people are first and foremost Muslims and sending them back to the religious in supplication (precisely the conditions under which these same people tell us that "radicalization" will occur). This is lunacy.

Criticism and suspicion of Islam do not beget violence; Islam's many wicked and backward doctrines beget violence. The wonderful thing about the Quran is that even when it doesn't directly enjoin the faithful to acts of barbarism, it does at least remind them that god despises all non-Muslims and will in due course crush them like the miserable little vermin they are. (Tolerance, indeed!) To deny the danger and savagery of such things, let alone their existence, can only give the tyrannically superstitious the cover they need to operate.

In response to this, one is constantly reminded that most Muslims do not engage in violence. This says much about them as human beings but nothing about Islam itself. Indeed, it at least implies that most of the faithful know instinctively that the behaviors to which they are supposedly directed by God are vile and immoral. To suppress this instinct with the euphemisms of those who treat Islam as if it were a race is to suppress progress, and in so doing to deny those raised as Muslims the chance for enlightenment.

Nuts to that. Let the confrontation with Islamic backwardness go on, and let those who - in pallid imitation of real struggles against maltreatment - regard criticism of Islam as if it were a form of racism whine if they will. Progress does not stop for those who don't want to be made to think.

Eric Harrison is a Wiess College alumnus.

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