Sunday, August 5, 2007

Islamism is not a religion

Published by Real Clear Politics - August 3, 2007

Lost amidst the heated rhetoric of our current debates over whether or not the Koran contains an inordinate amount of violence, or whether Islam is indeed a violent religion is a simple but often neglected truth -- Islamism is not a religion.

Islam is a religion. Islamism, like all of those other familiar isms -- communism, socialism, fascism, etc. -- is an aggressive political movement. Like all aggressive political movements its goal is to attain political power -- in this case, nothing less than world-wide hegemony. Islamism is a political ideology grounded in religious doctrine. It is a revolutionary political movement which seeks to destroy our Western democratic societies and replace them with a totalitarian theocracy.

One of the most serious mistakes which we in the West have made in attempting to deal with the rising threat of Political Islam is in allowing it to usurp that sacrosanct "hands-off" space reserved in our democratic systems for legitimate religions.

Whereas the Islamists make no such separation between mosque and state, we pride ourselves on this particular constitutional distinction. The Islamists thoroughly understand this democratic weakness and cynically exploit it to their advantage.

So long as Political Islam cleverly hides itself beneath the veil of religion it remains virtually immune to that Western tradition of rational investigation and objective debate to which all of those other isms are subjected.

Until we rectify this situation and extricate Islamism from that rarefied realm of culture and religion and place it squarely where it belongs -- on the rough and tumble battlefield of politics -- we will continue fighting this momentous battle with one arm tied behind our back.