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If everything is generic non-Islamic “terrorism,” how do we talk about violent Islamic jihad?

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There is a disturbing trend, more of an insistence, by the mainstream media to label crimes wholly unrelated to any interpretation of Islam as “terrorism.” Not all that long ago, certainly post-9/11, media reports of “terrorism” meant the perpetrators were influenced by so-called “Islamic extremism.”

Earlier this month, Andrew C. McCarthy (he who led the prosecution of “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel Rahman in the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing) engaged in a perfectly legitimate statutory analysis at National Review Online of whether the perpetrator of the Las Vegas mass shooting earlier this month was a “terrorist.” His conclusion: yes, under Nevada and Federal law, the shooter likely meets the definition of “terrorist.” He further noted that even from a layperson’s perspective, “clearly, Paddock did terrorize a community, particularly an event attended by 22,000 people, at least hundreds of whom he put in mortal peril” (italics in original). (For purposes of our discussion, we put aside uncorroborated claims from ISIS that the shooter was a jihadist, while acknowledging those who point out that the attack has the hallmarks of a lone-wolf under the spell of “Islamic extremism,” including The Geller Report.)

Our problem from a counter-jihad perspective begins with the term “Islamic extremism” and variations thereof. The problem was compounded when the media began using “terrorism” as shorthand for “Islamic terrorism.” Folks on the left are very quick to insist that crimes with no Islamic motivation be labeled as “terrorism.” Heaven forbid anyone associate criminal acts with the tenets of Islam. Use of “Islamic extremism,” and any politically correct code words emanating therefrom, reflect either a blatant misunderstanding/ignorance of the literal interpretations of Islam (i.e. the Islam of Isis, Al Qaeda, et al.) or an intentional desire to deny the truth of what literal Islam says (i.e. the nefarious Muslim Brotherhood-associated Council on American-Islamic Relations). From a scholarly standpoint, “Islamic extremism” is actually “Koranic literalism” or “orthodox Islam.” Thus even use of the term “Islamic extremism” by the media already steers the uninformed away from examination of the literal tenets of Islam and causes them to look outside of the Koran, Surah and Hadith for external reasons why savage cowards commit horrific crimes in the name of their brand of Islam, i.e. poverty, lack of education, poor infrastructure… “Anything but Islam!”

Robert Spencer shares numerous examples of the disconnect between poverty and “Islamic extremism” over at Jihad Watch, as does the Geller Report. Even the New York Times, no friend of Mr. Spencer or Ms. Geller, noted: “Not long after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, for instance, Alan B. Krueger, the Princeton economist, tested the widespread assumption that poverty was a key factor in the making of a terrorist. Mr. Krueger’s analysis of economic figures, polls, and data on suicide bombers and hate groups found no link between economic distress and terrorism.”

More recently, the notion of poverty-as-root-cause-of-Islamic-extremism has been conclusively disproven by a report from no less than the World Bank, dated 10/2016: “We find that Daesh [ISIS] did not recruit its foreign workforce among the poor and less educated, but rather the opposite.”

Thus we safely conclude that the root cause of “Islamic extremism” is in the books of Islam. It is disturbing, to say the least, that we still have to engage in this intellectual debate about Koranic literalism some 1,300 years after Islam was purportedly born.

In 1979, four years before the U.S. Marine barracks bombings in Lebanon (by a group literally calling itself “Islamic Jihad”) and a full twenty-two years before the Al Qaeda attacks of 9/11, the late great William F. Buckley lamented our misunderstanding of Islam:

“The general ignorance of the Western World concerning Islam and its power, latent and active, to move men and create historical events is widely deplored and universally cultivated.” William F. Buckley Jr., Front Line, “The Rising Tide of Islam” March 16, 1979.

Therefore, one hopes the mainstream media will at least consider using the term “Koranic literalism.” Here’s to a new hashtag: #KoranicLiteralism

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