If researchers at Arizona State University are to be believed, Americans (and the rest of the world), have completely misunderstood the mission of radical Muslim groups like al Qaeda and al Shabaab. Apparently, these robed, rocket-launcher wielding foot-soldiers are not particularly concerned with global domination. Nope, their real goal is to protect and preserve their culture from Western influence. In other words, these “artists formerly known as terrorists” are patriotic, not parochial.
In what can only be described as academic double-speak, these ASU academics have determined that even though the Koran encourages and commends its followers to global jihad in submission to Allah (after all, Islam means “submit”), “radical” and “extremist” sects of Islam (as they are called by the media) do not refer to or interpret their holy writings in this way. In fact, the researchers were “surprised” by the lack of references in al Qaeda and al Shabaab writings to the “Verse of Swords,” or Sura 9:5, which reads: “When the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.”
Notice that the study does not try to hide the fact that the Koran does indeed teach jihad; its primary point of discussion is that radical groups that appear to take the Koran seriously don’t bother quoting the violent verses in their own writings. And this proves what exactly? Christians who take the Bible seriously don’t quote John 3:16 in all of their writings either. Does this mean that they don’t believe it, live by it, and hold it very near and dear? Of course not. If this is what passes for academic research in 2012, I’m going to apply for a grant.
A deeper point must be made regarding this politically correct approach to “radical” Islam. One of the primary reasons why these types of Islamic groups are labeled as “extreme” or “radical” is because they are not willing to comport with modern sensibilities of what constitutes acceptable social behavior in the 21st century. Radical Muslims are truly “anti-social.” In fact, the media labels Radical Muslims as “radical” for the simple reason that they take their seventh century book seriously and live accordingly. Now we are being told that this isn’t the case, and that what these Radical Muslims are really thinking about are “themes of victimization, dishonor and retribution.” Really? And just what does the victimized, dishonored, and retributive individual think of those who victimized and dishonored him? Are we really to think that he is preparing a dinner table for peace talks or that he is only trying to protect his Islamic culture of interpretive dance and fashion design, despite what his holy book tells him to do to them? Obviously not; their actions say otherwise.
The media has gotten this one right: Radical Islam (which is nothing more than consistent Islam) IS a threat. Its adherents do want to eliminate (or convert, there’s always that option) the infidel. And they want to do this because they have been told to do it by their prophet, who claimed to have learned it from Allah. If Radical Muslims aren’t really concerned with what the Koran actually teaches, then, in reality, they are no more “radical” or “extreme” than the majority of “non-radical” Muslims around the world who have no clue what Koran says. The majority of Muslims (just like the majority of Christians) have never read their holy book and have the same amount of knowledge of what’s in it as the average “infidel.” And even though it appears to be all the same to these ASU researchers, I would much rather have the ignorant Muslim living in my neighborhood than the radical one who doesn’t often quote violent verses from the Koran in his writings of victimization and manifestos of retribution. I suppose that makes me a radical.