The U.S seems to have a foreign policy that believes in calling an international conflict by names that satisfy our interests or that are congruent with out values and beliefs. By doing this we think we can change the reality of that conflict.
For example, after the World Trade Center was bombed, we went to war against “El Qaida” and “Islamic extremism.”
We are loosing this war. There are probably hundreds of “Ben Laden’s” around the world. And “Islamic extremism” is even more determined and pervasive – as shown in the recent arrest of a young kid who committed himself to the jihadist movement and tried to blow up a building on Wall Street. These spontaneous religious believers are damaging the U.S. and the western world along with their evangelization of Islam.
Our definition of the conflict with Islam isn’t even true! We aren’t fighting “El Qaida” or “Muslim extremism.” We are fighting an historical and thoroughly reasonable interpretation of the Koran.
The Koran commands its followers to convert the world to Islam, and if necessary by force.
This commandment is similar to way the New Testament commands the followers of Jesus to convert the world. As St. Francis suggests: “Preach the gospel always. If necessary, use words.”
The only difference between the two approaches to evangelization is that the Koran encourages hate and murder and the New Testament commands love and charity. Christian evangelists sing, “They will know we are Christians by our love.”
As an anti-thesis to this interpretation of the conflict, moral and cultural relativists argue that no one can really tell the difference between love and hate.
But the war against Islam isn’t a religious war; it isn’t a war of Islam versus Christianity or Islam versus Judaism. It’s really a war of Islam versus humanist secularism. It’s a war between the Koran and the progress that the world has made since the 7th century towards creating more civilized societies.
Here are some of the real enemies of funtamentalist Islam:
- religious freedom
- religious toleration
- woman’s liberation
- free speech
- free press
- universal education
- freedom of the arts; and
The fight for the above ideas and cultural practices took thousands of years to evolve, with much “red of tooth and claw.”
The fight against the believers in an anti-civilization interpretation of the Koran may go on hundreds of years longer.
Military warfare and nation building may not be the best strategy to fight against these enemies of civilization.
It may be better to first see the problem as it is and then work on rational and creative ways to resolve it.