By Trevor Law
Looking back there was a time when I would have been considered a Muslim apologist, the person that says Islam is a religion of peace and is being perverted for someones own use. However, the truth is that there is something rotten within Islam. A brand of Islam called Wahhabism is at the root of that sickness. It is a desire to create a pure version of Islam and so much of Islamic extremism is spawned from this that it is impossible to ignore.
In mosques all over the world, but largely based in Saudi Arabia, generations of young men and women are being taught their is only one Islam and all others are not true Islam but perversions. I don’t want to go into the specifics but if you want to know more PBS Frontline has an excellent piece on the dangers of it.
Really what I want to talk about is whose responsibility it is. I mean after all how many times have we heard that the Islamic world has a responsibility to stop these kinds of acts? I myself have said that Daish(ISIS) can’t be stopped by the west but by regional actors. So lets do a thought experiment. What if the United States was at the heart of a global system of terrorism, in the same way Saudi Arabia is? I mean think about it? A government that funds the ideological foundations of a global movement that causes death and mayhem at home and aboard. It would be perfectly fair for the global community to demand a fix to this problem.
Now to be fair, if we are going to turn this on its head, it wouldn’t be terror groups based in the United States, but say…oh I don’t know, Mexico, and that international terrorists based in Mexico were using U.S. money to cause a reign of terror thought the Muslim world. You would expect Mexico to get its act together and stop such criminals, and the U.S. to stop funding them right? You would distrust American and Mexican citizens and you would even think about closing your borders. Heck many people in Latin America are infuriated and blame the U.S. for the war on drugs and blame them for crippling whole nations. Frankly it is more than fair for those nations to demand the U.S. stem the demand for drugs through new policies, but due to internal U.S. politics that has proven next to impossible.
There it is, an issue of grave international importance, that is killing our own citizens and could be fixed if the U.S. had the will to pursue changes to it, but the consequences of our actions are less important than any one of a number of issues. However terrorists attacks are grand and while they are months or even years apart they linger. Unless you were there no one remembers the over dose down the street, or think about the chaos the drug war has spawned in Mexico.
Everything nations do affect other nations but unless those acts strike an emotional cord and/or hurt our own self interest rarely do we care. The Democratic Republic of Congo was(and is) a huge haven for civil war, sex trafficking, and regional terrorism but few in the U.S. even knew such an awful civil war was taking place. Likewise it wasn’t until Daish invaded Iraq that the American public started caring about Daish or the threat it posed and only after the terror attacks in Pairs did a majority of Americans want to send troops in. Never mind how effective that would be or how we would even begin to withdraw once Daish was wiped out.
My point is that no matter how much this issue effects you personally, it won’t be solved by someone in Washington, or Paris, or Russia. It will be solved by someone in Riyadh, or Abu Dhabi, or Damascus. That while the west can do things to protect itself, we won’t be fixing this. I mean we have done full scale invasions of two Islamic nations, how many more do we have to invade before we realize this won’t be solved by military force. We should not ignore the realities, and we should protect ourselves, but invading states to root out terrorism is like invading the United States to curb the global demand for drugs. What in the world would that actually change and would it be worth the cost?
The responsibility for fixing this falls squarely on the Islamic world, and frankly it is perfectly fair to say that, and to demand action, of which there is plenty. There are over 150,000 causalities in the war in Syria, and it is nowhere near being over. The Islamic world IS at war with Islamic fundamentalism and their is a drive from groups like Daish to goad the United States and France into a full scale war so they can claim to be protecting the people from the evil western imperialists. Terrorism is one of the most unique strategies because its effectiveness is determined entirely by the people who are victims of it.
If the West wants to win the war on terrorism it won’t be done by ANYONE in the West but by the West helping the few states that are tying to fight them. States like Tunisia, which is forming a working democracy as we speak but their tourism industry was (literally) killed by a terrorist attack, or like Lebanon, which has taken in hundreds of thousands of refugees and is still struggling to overcome its own civil war. If you want to win the war on Daish, then support those who can win, and defend yourself. Everything else is just throwing money and bodies on a fire and hoping that smothers it.