There Is No Religion Called “Radical Islam”
But try telling that to Lamar Smith (R-TX). He spent about two minutes trying as hard as he could to force AG Eric Holder to say that “radical Islam” is what motivated the last three terrorist attacks in the United States (presumably he was including the Fort Hood shootings, because he said “one of which was successful”). Holder clearly was unwilling to demonize an entire religion that way, but Rep. Smith kept insisting that he say it was “radical Islam” that motivated these men.
I found this clip via Andy McCarthy at The Corner, who also finds it painful to watch, but, unsurprisingly, for the opposite reason (emphasis is mine):
This YouTube clip from the attorney general’s testimony today will be the most painful two minutes of video you will ever watch. Mr. Holder would obviously rather get a root-canal than utter the words “radical Islam” (despite the fact that his description of the American people as “a nation of cowards” on race and of Bush officials as war criminals seemed to roll of the tongue without much difficulty).
You’ll be pleased to discover, via the AG, that there is an infinite variety of reasons why Muslims commit terrorist attacks. Those reasons, of course, have nothing to do with Islamic doctrine, which is why, even as we speak, agents are struggling to understand what might possibly have driven Faisal Shahzad to try to blow up Times Square. (I guess Mayor Bloomberg will be pleased to know that opposition to the healthcare bill hasn’t necessarily been ruled out yet.)
McCarthy, at least, is more honest than Smith (albeit unwittingly, I have no doubt), when he writes sarcastically that “Those reasons … have nothing to do with Islamic doctrine.” Smith smoothly assured AG Holder that he was not referring to the religion of Islam; he was only referring to “radical Islam.” McCarthy knows — at least on some level — that when you say terrorism is motivated by “radical Islam” you are saying that terrorism is motivated by Islam — that Islam is an inherently terrorism-enabling religion.
If you don’t believe that, just think about what happens when “radical Christians” are blamed for domestic terrorist attacks such as the murder of Dr. George Tiller, and the literally hundreds of acts of terrorist violence against abortion clinics, abortion providers, and women who seek abortions. Those acts, we are told, are committed by individuals who are using Christian doctrine to do evil things. How can you tar an entire religion by saying Scott Roeder was a “radical Christian”? It doesn’t at all serve to mollify these concerns by saying that this is not the Christian religion we’re talking about; it’s just a tiny subset of radical Christians who are following a twisted version of Christianity.
In truth, the anti-abortion extremists who murder abortion providers and bomb clinics are not Christians at all, no matter what they call themselves. No one can legitimately call himself or herself a Christian who departs so completely from the teachings in Christianity’s sacred texts.
I feel the same way about the ultra-Orthodox Jewish settlers who grab land that does not belong to them, who harass, intimidate, and even terrorize Palestinians on their (the Palestinians’) own land, and who speak of Palestinians in terms that would make my grandmother who died in Sobibor weep if she could hear it. Yes, they are Jewish, but they are certainly not followers of Judaism or of Jewish values or Jewish ethics or Jewish traditions as those are taught in thousands of years of oral and written precepts.
Yet, how do you suppose many American Jews would react to an assertion that Jewish settlers are motivated by “radical Judaism”?
There is no such thing as “radical” Judaism, Christianity, Islam, or any other religious faith tradition. Radical religiosity is its own religion; it’s in a class by itself. Muslim terrorists have far more in common with Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church than they have with Islam or with Christianity.