Stop Playing ‘Let’s Pretend’ About Islam

It’s disappointing that Lt. General William Mc Master, President Trump’s new National Security Advisor, has said that the Islamic State is “un-Islamic.” He also insists that organizations like ISIS “cynically use a perverted interpretation of religion to incite hatred and justify horrific cruelty against innocents.” In short, the General seems to think that terrorism has nothing to do with Islam.

This kind of thinking prevailed under the Obama administration. And during those eight years, the Islamic threat grew by leaps and bounds. It would be a shame if a key person in the new national security team perpetuated such simplistic views of Islamic terrorism.

Many Church leaders have views not much different. For the last four years, we’ve been treated to a litany of ecclesiastical pronouncements that there is a solid wall of separation between Islam and violence.

Some people seem actually to believe this counter-factual nonsense. Others probably see it as a good strategy — a way to strengthen “moderate Islam.” The strategists are fond of saying that criticism of Islam itself will drive the moderates into the radical camp. From this point of view, the only way to promote positive change in Islam is to praise it, and hope that a self-fulfilling prophecy is set in motion.