According to John Brennan, head of the White House’s homeland security office, the war on terrorism is over. From now on, the administration will never use terms like “jihadists” and “global war” because doing so, as Mr. Brennan said, “risks giving these murderers the religious legitimacy they desperately seek but in no way deserve.” He insisted that the U.S. is at “war with al Qaeda” (“U.S. no longer at war with ‘terrorism’ ,” Page 1, Friday).
Could we be more blind? Acts of terror are rooted in the aspirations of Islamists to create an Islamic state and impose their version of Shariah law.
As a devout Muslim who, like many others across the world, is dedicated to fighting Islamism and its radical offshoots, I believe there is nothing more dangerous to our security in the long term than the leader of the free world remaining in categorical denial about the essence of this ever-so-real contest of ideas.
Al Qaeda had nothing to do with the string of radical Islamists arrested across the country — from North Carolina to New York, Oregon and New Jersey (to name but a few) — in the last year alone. The only thing these radicals have in common is their belief in a militant version of political Islam.
I certainly can understand the concern of making this a clash of religions, but that should not lead to outright misinformation. There is a civil war happening within the Muslim consciousness — between those who advocate for the Islamic state (Islamists) and those who believe in secular liberal democracies.
It certainly is not the role of any administration to determine who are “good” and “bad” jihadists. Not calling them exactly what they call themselves makes the White House the arbiter of who is and who is not a Muslim. This avoidance behavior allows American Islamists, like the Muslim Brotherhood’s front groups in Washington, to continue to deny their responsibility to lead the Islamic reform effort against Islamism and its role in radicalization — the real existential threat to the West.
The last administration used a term far too vague, labeling the tactic of terror as the enemy rather than the ideology of militant Islamism. Now we have swung the other way, targeting a single group that is but one manifestation of a global movement. The movement radicalizes Muslims and remains an ever-present danger to our citizenry and it should be identified as such.
M. ZUHDI JASSER
American Islamic Forum for Democracy