Last week the United Kingdom was the site of a terror attack with at least 30 injured. This followed the terror attack where innocent Spaniards were killed in Barcelona.
Terrorism is here, an ugly feature of modern life. Some apologists contend that the precipitating impulse is Western foreign policy or colonialism, but militant Muslims cannot be appeased whatever action the West considers and whatever rationalization is offered.
For Islam, the world is divided between Dar al-Islam and Dar al-Harb — the home of Islam and the home of War. It is a religious obligation to control forever what is in the Islamic sphere and create a Caliphate as its end point. Hence terrorism will continue as long as these are the tenets of the religion and as long as there is opposition to Islam.
As an example, Spain is considered occupied land part of a Muslim empire that lasted 700 years. This land of al Andalus is territory to be liberated. Hence militant Islamists are captives of history and the West that occupies land once controlled by Muslims is to blame for regional injustice. They still live with the arbitrary colonial decisions of Sykes Picot that fan the flames of anger as if 1916 was yesterday.
Radicalized networks of extremist Muslims reinforce the worst elements of victimhood. They operate on the Internet, universities and prisons arguing that the West has stolen the Islamic heritage. If the West is future oriented, embracing modernity; Islam is regressive, seeking a return to the past. This look through the rearview mirror offers a justification for the Caliphate.
Unless Islamists discard the impulse for a Muslim super-state, many will be killed and maimed. Here then is the challenge for the West: Remove the tenet that a Caliphate must be created. This is a battle of ideas. A West rooted in the tradition of rationalism and the Enlightenment must roundly challenge and defeat the desire for a Caliphate. Islamists shun rationalism; their view is based on Allah’s will. Hence, so-called cultural meetings and Internet exchanges based on civil discourse are a waste of time. The appeal, if it exists, must be emotional.
To achieve success the West must point out that the pathway to a Caliphate is a shortcut to frustration, neglect, and a death outside the limits of Paradise. If the armies of public affairs officials can argue effectively, the dreams of a Caliphate will fade as a nightmare.
This is not a campaign for one year or even one decade, it requires a long-term and firm commitment to destroy a tenet of the Islamic faith. While the Caliphate remains a key component of the religion, it is possible to maintain religious observance without this sense of ideological domination. If there is one concession Islam must make to the West, it is the sense there are many roads to the kingdom of God and no one religion has a monopoly on virtue.
Of course this is easily said and difficult to accomplish. However, at the moment, the West doesn’t have a strategy, nor does it have an understanding of the problem. It responds with fear and horror to the terrorist attacks, but repeats the methods of the past oblivious to what might reduce the Islamist anger.