'The Insanity of Blaming Islam'
Mark Ambinder, who is editor-at-large at The Week and a contributing editor at GQ and The Atlantic, posted an opinion piece in April which has been picked up by numerous webmags including Politico, The World Muslim Congress and Islamicity. It is titled, “The Insanity of Blaming Islam.” It is a strangely conflicted piece in which he on the one hand claims that Islam has nothing to do with the radicalization of Muslims and on the other subscribes to the position that ideology is a prime motivator for terrorist acts committed by Muslims.
He writes that he finds “the quick and easy conversation” blaming Islam for Muslims being radicalized in America “to be so illogical and laced with bigotry.”
On the other hand he writes:
Of course, there is a global violent jihadist movement, loosely organized, that wants to recruit young men to influence policies at home and abroad and perhaps usher in the global caliphate. That ideology motivates some Muslims to kill innocent people.
By way of example he cites Peter King, the Republican chair of the Homeland Security committee, who, tasked with the issue of what is radicalizing Americans, “goes right to the religion; somehow, he slides very quickly past the possibility that something about America is radicalizing people of all sorts.”
Mr. Ambinder fails to explain in any detail just what it is about America that drives people to radical acts of terrorism like the Boston bombers he cites. He merely trots out the usual suspects: America’s gun culture, “gaps in the mental health system” and of course, “the way that Americans are uncomfortable with people who are different. He then avers that if Islamic doctrine is to blame there would be many more such acts of terrorism. Would it not rather be the case that if America’s gun culture is to blame along with gaps in the mental health system together with American xenophobia that violent acts of terrorism would be more common? Only ~.6% of Americans are Muslims.
We then come to the charge that those who implicate Islamic doctrine/ethos as being a factor in the terrorist equation are guilty of sin. It is not just wrong to think that Islamic doctrine/ethos is a factor. It is sinful. The sin?
Essentialism -- claiming that it is part of the essential nature of an entity that it has the properties/behavior it does as opposed to claiming that it is accidental external forces that determine its properties/behavior.
It's a horrible habit: A Korean-American shoots fellow students at Virginia Tech, and suddenly, we're forced to pretend that it's OK to blame Korean-American family structure and culture for putting him over the edge, ignoring the millions of Korean-Americans who have never considered taking up arms.
The murderer Andrew Cunanan was, in Tom Brokaw's famous words, a "homicidal homosexual." See? The gay made him do it.
Yet, Mr. Ambinder goes on, “when a white kid murders dozens of children, we don't ask whether the predominant Christian religion in America somehow radicalized him.”
There is the rub. We blame Islam (the essential nature of Islam) when a Muslim commits an act of terror yet we don’t blame Christianity when a Christian commits an act of terror.
Well, maybe, Mr. Ambinder, Timothy McVeigh didn’t shout “Jesushu Akbar.” Nor did Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza or Manson’s zombies. I’m trying to imagine Bill Ayers shouting “Jesushu Akbar.” The Boston bombers, by contrast, readily proclaim that they are motivated by Islamic doctrine. The Fort Hood shooter shouted, “Allahu Akbar” before cutting lose with his weapon. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. Terrorist the world over proclaim their acts in the name of Allah. If a Christian commits an act of terror in the name of Christ (bombing an abortion clinic) then I’m sure Mr. Ambinder would be quick to take his word and endorse the position that it is (the essential nature) of Christian fundamentalism that is more of a danger to civic life in America than fundamentalist Islam.
Here is a CNN (that right-wing pesthole) report regarding terrorist acts in just the year 2011:
The report says that in 2011, a total of 10,283 terrorism attacks across the world killed 12,533 people. Terrorism also is blamed for 25,903 injuries and 5,554 kidnappings.
According to NCTC, of the 12,533 terrorism-related deaths worldwide, 8,886 were perpetrated by “Sunni extremists,” 1,926 by “secular/political/anarchist” groups, 1,519 by “unknown” factions, 170 by a category described as “other”, and 77 by “Neo-Nazi/Fascist/White Supremacist” groups.
But individual acts of terror are hardly the main point. Islamic fundamentalist movements and Mullahs across the Ummah readily proclaim their wrath against West and state their determination to destroy Western civilization. The individual acts of terrorism are part of the worldwide jihadist movement. It is their Islamic duty to destroy corrupt, filthy Western civilization which translates into destroying corrupt, filthy Westerners.
As Mr. Ambinder states, the jihadist acts are “ideologically driven.” Correct, Mr. Ambinder. Ideologically driven and the ideology is driven by Islamic doctrine. Can there be a clearer example than ISIS which continues to slaughter and butcher Yazidi men, women, and children even after President Obama declared a successful halt to their self-proclaimed Islamization of captured territory?
No, Mr. Ambinder. The question is not what is it about America that radicalizes Muslims but what is it about Islam that makes it a Petri dish for Islamists. The “insanity” Mr. Ambinder? The insanity is not to blame Islam.