We strive to face the threat of terrorism, intolerance, and social injustice, and hope to help in fostering civil dialogue...

Opinion: Islamism, Biggest Challenge After Cold War

Islam is a religion, a culture, a personal faith, and a political system that produced a modern ideology. It is an ocean of information that has been sending its waves in the world for more than 1400 years.

Today, after the end of the Cold War and the regression of Communism in the early 1990s, few issues have more serious implications for the future of Christendom and the Free World than the resurgence of Islam in the 21st century. Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, in New York and Washington, the world has been witnessing an undeclared “Cold War” between the West and the Church on one side, and the Islamic World on the other, whether one side or both sides admit it or not.  While the Church and the West say that they are not at war with Islam, many Muslim activists claim that they are at war for Islam, and add that Islam is under attack from the West, and that Muslims have been targeted, more than ever, by Western law enforcement agencies, as well as by the evangelistic activities of the Church. Undoubtedly, due to a long history of conflicts, there is a lot of misunderstanding between the two sides. But today, even though we live in an age of globalized information, the West and the Church still fail to understand Islam and the challenge it poses for the future the World Order and Christendom.

Radical Islam seems capable of inspiring more individual fanaticism than Communism. In addition, radical Islamic ideology works on dismantling the World Order that had been founded on nation-states. Islam, both as a religion and political system that engulfs all the aspects of life, offers the promises of mundane and “spiritual” rewards, in this world and the hereafter, something that Communism and Socialism never promised.

In addition, Islamic ideology has a strategic advantage not enjoyed by those seditious political ideologies.  While communists, for example, were overt in their beliefs and under scrutiny of Western governments, Islamic activists hide their ideology behind a wall of religion, and cannot be censored because the freedom of faith is protected by Western constitutions.

In addition, immigration of Muslims to the West has globalized the threat of radical Islam. Muslims are emigrating in large numbers to the West and Islamists among them are using the freedoms there to build substantial bases of support for radical Islam in Western communities.

Furthermore, because of their agenda and motivation, Islamists are spearheading the movements toward the foundation of Islamic communities all over the West, by “Islamicizing” the immigrants and their Western-born children. While doing that, those Islamists are enjoying the protection offered by the rule of law and the affluence as well as the tolerance and benevolence of the Western pluralistic societies that are adopting them. Such freedom of political and social activism is not available to them in their countries of origin, where most Islamic and Arab regimes are built on state police power.

Eventually, such Islamic communities serve as recruiting grounds for Islamic movements that are sometimes more radical than their counterparts in the Islamic World.  Hence, Islamists who harbor hate towards the West are growing in numbers and influence, using what they have learned of modern technology and communications in Western countries in order to fight the West and Christendom.

While Western families are procreating at a low rate, Islamic communities are procreating at high rates, expanding rapidly, and they have grown many folds in the past few decades. Essentially, the West is not equipped to fight “demographic” and ideological wars of this kind. The West is bound by laws and ordinances that eventually work against it in the face of such a challenge or enemy. In such demographic and ideological wars, the West cannot define the nature of the threat. And as the West fails to define the goals and the means to fight such wars, it fails to produce a coherent strategy to deal with them. In this sense, the West becomes like a physician who only deals with the symptoms of a disease, instead of dealing with the disease itself. Bound by human rights and the freedom of speech, Western governments can only deal with terrorism, not with the existential problems in Islamic ideology that generates terrorism.

Furthermore, Islam cannot be described only as either a personal faith, an aggressive proselytizing religion, a medieval political system, or a modern supremacist ideology. Islam could include all of these elements.

However, the Islamic World is a mosaic, and Muslims range from the fanatic Islamic extremist to the nominal Muslim who does not adhere to the commandments of Islam. Noteworthy is that this mosaic nature of Islam makes it more difficult to fight such wars or wrestle with such an enemy.

It also makes it more difficult when the enemy is “within,” i.e. citizens of a Western country. An example is the late, American-born imam, Anwar Al-Awlaki, who was invited to lead prayers at the U.S. Congress after the 911 terrorist attacks and was considered an example of a tolerant Muslim leader. Tragically, Al-Awlaki turned out to be the most influential terrorist imam in America, and he inspired American-born Islamic terrorists during his life as well as after his assassination in Yemen by a US drone in 2011.

Hence, some Westerners believe that the Muslim population in the West is either like a time bomb that would explode at one time in the future and destroy the Western culture, or a consistent detrimental force that would eventually erode the life and freedoms they enjoy. To properly deal with this, experts on Islamism should be supported in order to censor extremist leaders of Muslim communities, as well as encourage reformers and moderates among Muslims in the West. This is why this author has founded Islamic Reform Forum (IRF), a non-profit organization.

IRF is a pressure and watchdog group in Chicagoland that works to encourage peace- loving Muslims to integrate in the American culture, and transform their communities, based on peace, human rights and secular governance.

We believe that Islamic reform must defeat the ideology of Islamism, or politicized Islam, and seek to reclaim the progressive spirit of the Islamic culture in the golden ages of Islam.

We strive to face the threat of terrorism, intolerance, and social injustice, and hope to help in fostering civil dialogue between Islamic communities and non- Muslim communities in Chicagoland.

Hesham Shehab

Previous article at XPian News: https://xpian.news/2019/01/15/opinion-a-new-orland-park-imam-is-spreading-anti-semitism/

Hesham Shehab
Hesham Shehab
Educator, Journalist, Columnist, Islamic Expert, Muslim Expert, Human Rights Activist, Pastor at Salam Christian Fellowship | Website

Adjunct Faculty at College of DuPage, Formerly Adjunct Faculty at American University of Beirut and Pastor at Peace Lutheran Church Lombard, IL Name pronounciation: HI-shahm SHI-hab  Hebrews 12: 4 & Philippians 1: 29

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