ZUMWALT: Separating violent Islam from its peaceful twin won’t be easy

Britain’s urging of moderation is hampered by ideology common to both

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Britain seeks to conduct an interesting surgical procedure. Extremely difficult to perform, it is the equivalent of separating Siamese twins.

Success or failure rests on where the twins are connected. Britain is the surgeon; the patient is a major religion. While the proposed surgical approach seeks to eliminate one twin suffering from an affliction of violence, the surgeon seems unaware the surviving twin suffers from the same affliction.

In May 2013, British soldier Lee Rigby was brutally attacked and slain in public view by two Islamic extremists on a London street during daylight hours.

Armed with knives, a cleaver and gun, they nearly decapitated Rigby, informing bystanders the killing was vengeance for Muslims killed in Iraq and Afghanistan by British soldiers.

Born in Britain, the killers were of Nigerian descent, raised as Christians but later converting to Islam as a result of radicalization by domestic anti-West Muslim clerics.

In the attack’s aftermath, British Prime Minister David Cameron created an antiterrorism task force to make recommendations on how to stop such radicalization of Britons by Muslim “hate preachers.”

Mr. Cameron told the House of Commons that lessons must be learned from the Rigby attack, adding, “When young men born and bred in this country are radicalized and turned into killers, we have to ask some tough questions about what is happening.

It is as if that for some young people there is a conveyor belt to radicalization that has poisoned their minds with sick and perverted ideas. We need to dismantle this process at every stage — in schools, colleges, universities, on the Internet, in our prisons, wherever it is taking place.”

One task force recommendation, while encouraging, provides only a partial solution to a religion suffering from a diagnosis of violence toward all nonbelievers.

The task force advises, and Mr. Cameron agrees, that Islam basically needs to be separated into “Islam, the ideology” and “Islam, the religion.” He reports it is the ideology that gives rise to “Islamist extremism.”

Mr. Cameron suggests that recognizing the dichotomy is important so as to create separation between the religion’s nonviolent and violent extremist sides — the latter to be criminalized and no longer allowed to disguise itself as a religion.

If the recommendation is implemented, it will give the government more authority to stop Islamic hate preachers, ban groups encouraging violence and disrupt Islamic extremist recruiting efforts. The approach mirrors one Britain used in 1998 to effectively disrupt antisocial behavior by hooligans and youth gangs.

While the hooligans’ commitment to antisocial behavior was a passing fancy, making dissuasion easier, the Islamic extremists’ commitment is a lifelong religious commitment not lending itself to the same.

Britain thinks its 2.7 million strong Muslim community to be mostly moderates — but these moderates will take the policy as a crusade against them.

A Jan. 8 opinion article in The Washington Times documents how deeply entrenched Islam already is within British society: Muslim gangs known as “Muslim London Patrols” can be seen abusing non-Muslim pedestrians entering a Muslim area shouting, “This is a Muslim area Islam is here, whether you like it or not . What we need is Shariah.”

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