I say this as a liberal, and as a Muslim. In fact, I speak as a former Liberal Democrat candidate in the U.K.’s last general election and as someone who became a political prisoner in Egypt due to my former belief in Islamism. I speak, therefore, from a place of concern and familiarity, not enmity and hostility to Islam and Muslims. In a televised discussion with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria on the issue, I have argued that of course ISIS is not Islam. Nor am I. Nor is anyone, really. Because Islam is what Muslims make it. But it is as disingenuous to argue that ISIS has “nothing to do with Islam” as it is to argue that “they are Islam.” ISIS has something to do with Islam. Not nothing, not everything, but something. If you’re going to talk to a jihadist—and believe me, I have spoken to many—you’re not going to find yourself discussing Hitler’s Mein Kampf. You’ll be discussing Islamic texts.
It is important to define here what I mean by Islamism: Islam is a religion, and like any other it is internally diverse. But Islamism is the desire to impose a very particular version of Islam on society. Hence, Islamism is Muslim theocracy. And where jihad is a traditional Islamic idea of struggle, jihadism is the use of force to spread Islamism. Defined in this way, it becomes easier to understand how this global jihadist insurgency seeks to recruit from Islamists, who in turn operate among Muslim communities.
The danger of not recognizing this relationship between the ideology of Islamism and the religion of Islam is twofold. Firstly, within the Muslim context, those liberal reformist Muslims, feminist Muslims, gay Muslims, dissenting Muslims, and minority sects—all these different minorities-within-the minority of the Muslim community—are immediately betrayed. By failing to name the ideology and isolate it from everyday Islam, we deprive these reforming voices of a lexicon, a language to deploy against those who are attempting to silence their progressive efforts within their own communities. We prevent a conversation around ending Islamism’s appeal while also reforming traditional Islam. If it has “nothing to do with Islam,” there is nothing to discuss within Islamic communities. In this way, we surrender the debate to the extremists, who meanwhile are discussing Islam with impunity.
The second danger is in the non-Muslim context. What happens if you don’t name the Islamist ideology and distinguish it from Islam? President Obama in his last UN speech referred to a “poisonous ideology,” yet failed to name it. Most people, who are understandably in need of some guidance on such topics, may well assume that the ideology they must challenge is Islam and all Muslims, ergo the rise of current populist xenophobic trends within Europe and America.
We should be able to distinguish Islamist extremism from Islam by clarifying that Islam is simply a religion and that Islamism is a theocratic desire to impose a version of that religion over society. And once we do that, we are then able to clearly identify the insurgent ideology that we must understand, isolate, undermine, refute, and provide alternatives to. It is precisely this distinction that I have spent the last few years advising Britain’s Prime Minister Cameron on, and I would like to think that is why Cameron corrected Obama on this very issue at the United Nations.
Societies have to think about how they’re going to approach the problem,” Noble said. “One is to say we want an armed citizenry; you can see the reason for that. Another is to say the enclaves are so secure that in order to get into the soft target you’re going to have to pass through extraordinary security.”
“Ask yourself: If that was Denver, Col., if that was Texas, would those guys have been able to spend hours, days, shooting people randomly?” Noble said, referring to states with pro-gun traditions. “What I’m saying is it makes police around the world question their views on gun control. It makes citizens question their views on gun control. You have to ask yourself, ‘Is an armed citizenry more necessary now than it was in the past with an evolving threat of terrorism?’ This is something that has to be discussed.”
“For me it’s a profound question,” he continued. “People are quick to say ‘gun control, people shouldn’t be armed,’ etc., etc. I think they have to ask themselves: ‘Where would you have wanted to be? In a city where there was gun control and no citizens armed if you’re in a Westgate mall, or in a place like Denver or Texas?'”
The Paris attacks are the culmination of a 200-year-long battle over how Islam should respond to the rise of Western power
The fundamentalist interpretation of Islam is not a common mode of thinking for most Muslims, especially in recent times. But it is clearly driving the political agenda in Muslim countries. Not all Muslim modernisers are willing to confront the anti-Western and anti-Semitic beliefs that feed the Islamist narrative. The Islamists are dominating the discourse within the Muslim world by murdering secularists and forcing many of them to leave their countries.
With over 1.4 billion Muslims around the globe, the swelling of the fundamentalist ranks poses serious problems. If only 1 per cent of the world’s Muslims accepts this uncompromising theology, and 10 per cent of that 1-per cent decide to commit themselves to a radical agenda, we are looking at a one million strong recruitment pool for groups such as al-Qaeda, IS and whatever comes next.
The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.
One of my other concerns regarding moderate Muslims is their response to Islamic terrorism. Whenever the issue of Islamic extremism arises, the first reaction of moderate Muslims is not to start an honest debate and reform in their religion but to defend Islam and Muslims. Moderate Muslims are obsessed with slogans like “the religion of peace” more than they care about facing the terrorists emerging from their own communities. Moderate Muslims rush to warn about Islamophobia and unjust western prejudice against Muslims. Almost in every single occasion that Islamic terrorism is mentioned, Muslims’ first action is to defend their faith. They assert over and over how peaceful and beautiful Islam is. They are obsessed with their religion and care about it more than they care about stopping murder in its name. It should be clear that this kind of obsession is just another form of fundamentalism. The time has come to talk about how unhelpful and unhealthy their constant obsession with Islam is. Those Muslims need to know that it is more important right now to direct their efforts inside their communities to battle extremism than to polish the image of a faith soaked in blood. Constantly using the rhetoric of Islamophobia and defending their faith as if it was under attack does not help us to promote peace but actually makes the job of terrorist recruiters easier.
We can all agree that prejudice against Muslims is indeed a form of unacceptable discrimination, but moderate Muslims should not try to stifle criticism of their religion by raising the racism card. Many Muslims are responsible for creating an environment of intimidation and social blackmail, using the alleged charges of Islamophobia to immediately dismiss any criticism. We should be clear and honest to our Muslim friends; Islam and its prophet are just other figures in the world of religious fascinations and they are not above criticism and ridiculing and this is nonnegotiable.
As I started to look at the data and read about climate science, I was surprised, then shocked. As I learned more, I changed my mind. I now think there probably is no climate crisis and that the focus on CO2 takes funding and attention from critical environmental problems. I’ll start by making ten short statements that should challenge your assumptions and then back them up with an essay.
There is no such thing as “carbon pollution.” Carbon dioxide is coming out of your nose right now; it is not a poisonous gas. CO2 concentrations in previous eras have been many times higher than they are today.
The research by Dr. Cullen and many other scientists has shown that despite the high levels of contamination in Japan, the levels across the Pacific are so low they are difficult to detect. Even in Japan, he says, the United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation have determined the doses of ionizing radiation “are low enough that there will be no discernible increased incidence of radiation-related illness in them or their descendants.”
Of course this does not fit the narrative of those who think the Fukushima accident has poisoned the Pacific and is responsible for a wave of cancer deaths across North America.
Dr. Cullen said he frequently hears from people that his science simply can’t be right because the Pacific Ocean is dying. It is adrift with tsunami debris and plastic waste and its stocks have been overfished, but it has not been killed by nuclear radiation.
Fawstin has faced numerous threats. He has risked his life. And despite being at the center of one of the biggest stories of the year, his award-winning cartoon of Mohammed was censored by the media. Pigman’s boldness, Duke’s boldness, Fawstin’s boldness are all here. And they deserve our support.
So, I’m driving to my office to turn in my weekly paperwork. A headlight is out. I see a Tucson Police Department squad vehicle turn around and follow me. I’m already preparing for the stop.
The lights go on and I pull over. The officer asks me how I’m doing, and then asks if I have any weapons.
“Yes, sir. I’m a concealed carry permit holder and my weapon is located on my right hip. My wallet is in my back-right pocket.”
The officer explains for his safety and mine, he needs to disarm me for the stop. I understand, and I unlock the vehicle. I explain that I’m running a 7TS ALS holster but from the angle, the second officer can’t unholster it. Lead officer asks me to step out, and I do so slowly. Officer relieves me of my Glock and compliments the X300U I’m running on it. He also sees my military ID and I tell him I’m with the National Guard.
Lead officer points out my registration card is out of date but he knows my registration is up to date. He goes back to run my license. I know he’s got me on at least two infractions. I’m thinking of how to pay them.
Officers return with my Glock in an evidence back, locked and cleared. “Because you were cool with us and didn’t give us grief, I’m just going to leave it at a verbal warning. Get that headlight fixed as soon as possible.”
I smile. “Thank you, sir.”
I’m a black man wearing a hoodie and strapped. According to certain social movements, I shouldn’t be alive right now because the police are allegedly out to kill minorities.
Maybe…just maybe…that notion is bunk.
Maybe if you treat police officers with respect, they will do the same to you.
Police officers are people, too. By far and large, most are good people and they’re not out to get you.
I’d like to thank those two officers and TPD in general for another professional contact.
We talk so much about the bad apples who shouldn’t be wearing a badge. I’d like to spread the word about an example of men who earned their badges and exemplify what that badge stands for.
The eloquent Ted Cruz takes on CNBC moderators during yesterday’s Republic debate:
“Let me say something at the outset, the questions asked in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media.“
“This is not a cage match. And you look at the questions — Donald Trump, are you a comic book villain? Ben Carson, can you do math? John Kasich, will you insult two people over here? Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign? Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen? How about talking about the substantive issues.”
[AUDIENCE APPLAUSE; MODERATOR SMIRKING]
“The contrast with the Democratic debate, where every thought and question from the media was, which of you is more handsome and why?”
“Let me be clear, the men and women on this stage have more ideas, more experience, more common sense, than ever participant in the Democratic debate. That debate reflected a debate between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks.”
“Nobody believes that the moderators have any intention of voting in a Republican primary […] The questions being asked shouldn’t be trying to get people to tear into each other, it should be what are your substantive solutions to people at home.”
On Thursday’s NBC Today, Meet the Press moderator Chuck Todd portrayed his fellow “journalists” as victims of a GOP trap: “Look, in many ways this was a premeditated attack. There had been some leaked ideas that, you know, beforehand, they were going to go after the moderators and say, ‘Hey, the Democrats didn’t get questions like this,’ and they determined this before the debate even started.”
Sadly his colleagues fell for the trap when they asked dumb questions of their own accord that were not asked of the Democrats.
Continued Todd: “But boy, Cruz captured the moment. And he actually came across as magnanimous. He’s the guy that supposedly everybody secretly doesn’t like, he was the guy that defended everybody on that stage.”