In a word, Islamism.
In response to all those who refuse to name the core principle that motivates those who commit violence in the name of ISIS – religion – comes a very clear and succinct article from the propaganda arm of ISIS. The primary motivation for this organization to front is hatred of non belief towards establishing Islamism that will not and cannot be moderated or mitigated by liberal appeasement of the One True Faith in all areas of human concern (Islamism) nor denied by some magical number of bombs and bullets aimed at those who represent the Caliphate.
Listen for yourself:
What does correctly identifying the motivation for ISIS mean in practical terms?
It means altering our policies – foreign and domestic – to align with a real and not imagined solution: policies and procedures against Islamism.
Now that we actually know what the battleground is, namely, the attempt to make Islam supreme in all areas of human concern through Islamism, we have to consider how best to neutralize it. Short of a species wide revelation that all faith-based belief including the religious kind is inherently pernicious and divisive and should be rejected outright by all reasonable and sane people (if only), I think the next best solution is to liberalize and reform Islam by supporting change from within rather than continuing this failed attempt to impose a violent suppression from without.
What does that look like?
If Islam is to survive as a socially acceptable religious branch within the family of competing human belief systems, then its adherents have to come to terms with the superiority in the public domain of fundamental Enlightenment values. These values – individual legal autonomy, legal equality, dignity of personhood, shared rights and freedoms – must supersede religious values in the public square. That means Islam itself must undergo a public reformation… a reformation that must be championed and not undermined by Western liberal secular democracies.
The adversaries of ISIS – and ISIS’ unwavering, intolerant, unforgiving, brutal promotion of Islamism by whatever means necessary must be first and foremost be disowned by its most likely victims: reasonable Muslims. It falls to reasonable Muslims to be the front line defense against Islamism, reasonable Muslims who must demonstrate a compatibility between and allegiance to a private version of Islam – an anti-Islamism – within a secular public arena.
Western policies must be targeted at promoting private domain Islam, publicly supporting liberal Muslims, reformist Muslims, who agree to this role, who advocate for supporting those Muslims who support Enlightenment values over and above all other considerations including Islam.
Private polices to help bring this about belongs to all of us. It falls to all of us to go after – meaning with loud and sustained reasonable criticism – Islamist apologists (they are legion and often led by the likes of a Reza Aslan, a Glenn Greenwald, a Karen Armstrong) who blame everyone and everything except Islam itself for producing Islamism. This includes criticizing anyone who calls for the appeasement of criticism of public domain tolerance for Islamist goals like sharia courts and religious schooling, criticism of those who tolerate and excuse and even champion anti-Enlightenment Islamist practices… including Muslims (duh)! This means criticizing those people who like to sling the term ‘Islamaphobe’ at anyone who criticizes Islamism in the public domain. These apologosts, these enablers, of Islamism Creep are many, and they currently enjoy much very stupid and shortsighted support among Western leaders, academics, media personalities and journalists, and misguided voters who falsely equate criticism of Islamism with intolerance, who falsely equate support for liberal Muslims who wish to reform Islam as undermining respect for Islam. Fighting against this necessary reformation and aiding the spread of Islamism even by tacit silence is undermining the very foundation of the ability to do so. Offering respect and tolerance for Islamists who wish to establish the organs of the Caliphate in every part of the public domain everywhere and over everyone is an attack against all of us.
We need to wake up.