Since Sept. 11, 2001, our nation has been engaged in what has been described as a war on terror.
The reality is that our security is not threatened by the tactic of terrorism, but rather by those individuals who are driven by the political ideology that feeds the mind-set of radical Islamism.
Islamists seek to put into place Islamic states and the associated system of laws best described as governmental Shariah. Islamism, political Islam, is to this global conflict of the 21st century what communism was to the Cold War and Naziism was to World War II.
The only effective counter-terrorism is one that attacks the fuel of the Islamist terrorists - political Islam and dreams of an Islamic state.
America is a land of dreams. The source of all of our laws is the U.S. Constitution.
Islamists have other dreams - a dream of a theocracy where the Quran is the constitution and laws are made and approved by clerics.
The militant Islamists are simply more extreme, violent and intolerant than the non-militant Islamists. Thus, moderation among Muslims today is not gauged by their willingness to denounce wanton violence and the targeting of noncombatants, but rather by a Muslim's willingness to take on the ideology of political Islam in all of its forms from within the Muslim community.
Silence against political Islam and its incompatibility with our constitutional liberal democracy based in reason and natural law is the greatest gauge of which Muslims understand the clear and present danger and which are either in denial or actually part of the transnational Islamist political movement.
It is time to expose and deal with the political ideology that fuels terrorism-political Islam and the Islamist perception of the supremacy of the Islamist state. Thus, Muslims who are nonviolent but believe in the merits of political Islam actually provide fuel for the terrorists which is the religious legitimacy of the Islamic state.
The only effective counter-terrorism is defeating the religious legitimacy of the Islamic state and proving within the Muslim consciousness that secular liberal Western democracies are superior systems for humanity, liberty and freedom.
This is the clear and present danger of Islamism. It is a radical ideology, concocted by hijacking and twisting the peaceful and spiritual faith of Islam for purposes purely of political hegemony.
The following principles need to lead interfaith discussions with Muslim thought leaders:
- The rejection of Islamism as a political ideology and rejection of the Islamic state. Simply being "anti-terror" does not make a Muslim necessarily moderate in the American context.
- A rejection of the dream of imposing governmental Shariah (Islamic jurisprudence)
- Identification of radical Islamist organizations by name as enemies of the United States.
- The acceptance that the root cause of terrorism is political Islam.
- To articulate the toxic role that Wahhabism (a radical Saudi Arabian interpretation of Islam) has had upon the radicalization of some members of the Muslim community. We must acknowledge the reality that 15 of the 19 terrorists who perpetrated the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were indoctrinated in the Wahhabite ideology of Jihad and its global goals.
- To unequivocally recognize the state of Israel and its right to exist.
- Separate faith and nationalism.
- Advocate for individual freedom and liberty. Moderate Muslims stand firmly for gender equality, free speech and against Islamist laws concerning blasphemy and apostasy both within the Muslim community and outside the Muslim community.
- Advocate for the rights of dissidents and liberty-minded Muslims in Muslim majority nations against the dictatorships and monarchies that oppress them.
- Moderate Muslims refuse to accept victimization as the focus of Muslim activism in the U.S. They accept the fact that Muslims should be leading counter-terrorism against militant Islamists in the U.S. and around the world.