For Prager University, expatriate Egyptian Christian Raymond Ibrahim (author of the essential Al-Qaeda Reader) explains why Islamism –radical Islam, is the heir to fascism and communism as the most dangerous ideology facing the world today:
My quibble here is over the term “Islamism.” This implies that the activities of jihadists, those waging war in Islam’s name against us in order to create a new caliphate and impose totalitarian Sharia law, are somehow “not quite Islam.”
This isn’t true. Wrong on so much else, the Ayatollah Khomeini was right when he said:
Whatever good there is exists thanks to the sword and in the shadow of the sword! People cannot be made obedient except with the sword! The sword is the key to Paradise, which can be opened only for the Holy Warriors! There are hundreds of other [Qur’anic] psalms and Hadiths [sayings of the Prophet] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all this mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim.
In other words, “Islam is Islam. Period.” No need for special terms. Islam itself is radical, with its imperative to wage war on the non-Muslim world and impose total control over its adherents via a form of totalitarianism antithetical to everything we stand for:
Islam, in its classical interpretation, is a comprehensive sociopolitical system with its own legal code. Yes, it has some strictly theological tenets (e.g., the oneness of Allah, the conceit that Mohammed is the final prophet). These, however, comprise but a small percentage of Islamic belief, which covers the full extent of political, economic, and social life — from warfare to hygiene, in exacting rules resistant to change. That is why in virtually every Islamic society — i.e., wherever sharia is incorporated into law — the separation of spiritual and political life is rejected; it is why we find misogyny, anti-Semitism, homophobia, ruthless discrimination against religious minorities, hostility to freedom, suspicion of reason, and backwardness in economics and education.
And millions upon millions of devout Muslims around the world believe this is the way things should be, and a significant portion of those are willing to act on it and fight to impose it on the rest of us, having become radicalized in service to a radical ideology.
The most dangerous one in the world, today.
PS: And yet I’m sympathetic to the wish for a term to separate truly peaceful Muslims who have no desire to impose Sharia on the rest of us from the maniacs who see our corpses as their steppingstones to Paradise. Perhaps “Islamism” is the best compromise, describing the movement of those willing to act on Islam’s aggressive urges. Regardless, we need to be honest about Islam, the religion and the ideology.