Still Getting Jihadism Wrong

President Obama’s recent claim that Islamic State has nothing to do with Islam was nothing new. Since 9/11, we have heard from both ends of the political spectrum that jihadist terror has material causes and psychological conditions created by social, political, or economic dysfunctions. This argument is an old one, and was common in the aftermath of 9/11. Typical of such thinking was Bill Clinton’s claim that “these forces of reaction [al Qaeda] feed on disillusionment, poverty, and despair.” Left unexplained is the fact that billions of other people around the world even more impoverished and hopeless have not created a multi-continental network of groups dedicated to inflicting brutal violence and mayhem on those who do not share their faith or who block their visions of global domination.

Share