“Radical Islam” — Redundant?

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007 4:39 pm by Neal

Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch points out that Turkish PM Erdogan dislikes the term “moderate Islam.” From the MEMRI blog:

Speaking at Kanal D TV’s Arena program, PM Erdogan commented on the term “moderate Islam”, often used in the West to describe AKP and said, ‘These descriptions are very ugly, it is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.”

Source: Milliyet, Turkey, August 21, 2007

Spencer replies,

And so in two sentences Erdogan dismisses the concept on which the Western world has placed its hopes of survival and peace.

Islam is Islam. Will this be discussed in the Western media? Will American and European analysts publicly take up the question of whether or not Erdogan is right, and what the implications might be if he is? Or will they ignore this and continue to assume in all their analyses that the opposite is true, and to dismiss as “ideologues” or “Islamophobes” those who point out that influential Muslims like Erdogan are saying things like this?

Which course do you think they’ll choose?

Will Western leaders then begin discussing political Islam and its implications openly? Or will they ignore this and continue to pretend that Islam has no inherent or traditional political character, or if it does, it is infinitely malleable anyway, and can be massaged without difficulty into something completely benign?

Which course do you think they’ll choose?

Spencer is right-on. Westerners tend to define “radical Islam” as a strain — a subset — of Islam that knows no separation between Islam and politics; whereas, “moderate Islam” defines a strain of Islam that “has no inherent or traditional political character.” Turkey’s Prime Minister now claims that the latter definition is not only incorrect, but “ugly” and “offensive and an insult to our religion.”

Is Erdogan correct? If the characterization of Islam as “moderate” is offensively inaccurate, then is “radical Islam” — as understood by the West — redundant?

Comments are closed.