It’s not theology, it’s politics. Radical Islam is the product of the broken politics and stagnant economics of Muslim countries — they have found in radical religion an ideology that lets them rail against the modern world, an ideology that is now being exported to alienated young Muslims everywhere — in Europe, and even in some rare cases in the United States.
How can we bring an end to this?
There’s really only one way: Help the majority of Muslims fight extremists, reform their faith, and modernize their societies. In doing so, we should listen to those on the front lines, many of whom are fighting and dying in the struggle against jihadis. The hundreds of Muslim reformers I’ve spoken to say their task is made much harder when Western politicians and pundits condemn Islam entirely, demean their faith, and speak of all Muslims as backward and suspect.
But here’s another way to think about this. In America, African-Americans make up about 13% of the population, yet they comprise about 50% of homicide offenders, according to a Justice Department study. Now we understand — I hope we understand — that when we see a black man on the street, we cannot and must not treat him as a likely criminal. It would be dehumanizing, unfair and racist. In America, of all places, people should be treated as individuals and not as stereotypes from a racial, ethnic or religious group. And remember, the Bangladeshi cabdriver who drives you to the airport has nothing, nothing to do with ISIS, even though he is also a Muslim.