Home GRASP GRASP/Japan Donald Trump & Radical Islam — Israel Palestinian Conflict a Test Case...

Donald Trump & Radical Islam — Israel Palestinian Conflict a Test Case of the New Administration

216
0
SHARE

NewsHubAfter a quarter-century of willful blindness, it was at least a start. We should note, moreover, that it’s a start we owe to the president-elect. Washington, meaning both parties, had erected such barriers to a rational public discussion of our enemies that breaking through took Trump’s outsized persona, in all its abrasive turns and its excesses. Comparative anonymities (looking down at my shoes, now) could try terrorism cases and fill shelves with books and pamphlets and columns on the ideology behind the jihad from now until the end of time. But no matter how many terrorist attacks Americans endured, the public examination of the enemy was not going to happen unless a credible candidate for the world’s most important job dramatically shifted the parameters of acceptable discourse.
What we Cassandras have really been trying to highlight is a simple fact, as patent as it was unremarkable from the time of Sun Tsu until the 1993 World Trade Center bombing: To defeat the enemy, you must know the enemy — who he is, what motivates him, what he is trying to achieve. Being willing to name the enemy is a start. But it is just a start — the beginning, not the end, of understanding.
In his major campaign speech on the subject, Trump asserted that the enemy is “radical Islamic terrorism.” Terrorism, surely, is the business end of the spear, but “radical Islamic terrorism” is an incomplete portrait. Dangerously incomplete? That depends on whether the term (a) is Trump’s shorthand for a threat he realizes is significantly broader than terrorism, or (b) reflects his actual — and thus insufficient — grasp of the challenge.
Trump intimated some understanding of this, too. He vowed to “speak out against the oppression of women, gays, and people of different faith [i.e., non-Muslims].” He promised, in addition, to work with “all moderate Muslim reformers in the Middle East.” The objects of radical Islamic oppression are targeted because of ideological tenets that call for dominion by sharia, Islam’s ancient totalitarian law. It is those tenets that reformers are trying to reform.
If ISIS and al-Qaeda disappeared tomorrow, other jihadist networks would take their places. It will be that way until sharia supremacism is discredited and marginalized.
That is a tall order, not to be underestimated. The audience in which the ideology must be discredited is not Western; it does not share our value system — our sense of what is credible and meritorious. Plus, the sharia that our enemies strive to implement (i.e., “jihad in Allah’s way”) is undeniably rooted in Islamic scripture. It will not be easy — it may not be possible — to discredit a literalist construction of Islam that has been backed by revered scholars for 14 centuries.
There is, furthermore, an on-the-ground reality of much greater moment than theological infighting: A large percentage of the world’s approximately 1.6 billion Muslims reject sharia supremacism. Many of them provide us with essential help in fighting the enemy. To condemn Islam, rather than those who seek to impose Islam’s ruling system on us, can only alienate our allies. They are allies we need in an ideological conflict.
The sensible strategy, therefore, calls for supporting the Islamic reformers President-elect Trump says he wants to befriend.

Continue reading...