The truth will out, eventually. “Extremists winning war of words, too,” by Greg Sheridan in The Australian, with thanks to JE:
SIX years after the 9/11 terror attacks that destroyed the World Trade Centre in New York and killed almost 3000 people, a majority of American Muslims do not believe the attacks were carried out by Arabs. And more than one-quarter of young US Muslims believe suicide bombings can be justified in some circumstances.
These shocking and tragic findings, which come from the Pew Research Centre, tell us much about why the war against Islamist terror is going to last for generations.
The West is losing the information and propaganda war against Islamist extremism. It is not losing because it is being insufficiently kind to Muslims at home or in the Middle East.
As Britain’s Tony Blair wrote in The Sunday Times: “Extremism will be defeated only by recognising that we have not created it … pandering to its sense of grievance will only encourage it.”
Blair confronted the argument that Muslims hate the West because it has taken military action in Afghanistan and Iraq: “Tell me what exactly they feel angry about? We remove two utterly brutal and dictatorial regimes; we replace them with a UN-supervised democratic process. And the only reason it is difficult still is because other Muslims are using terrorism to try to destroy the fledgling democracy and, in doing so, are killing fellow Muslims. Why aren’t they angry about the people doing the killing?”
The reason we are losing the battle of information and ideas is because the coherent religious and ideological position that al-Qa”ida represents has an extraordinary degree of support within the Muslim world. Even sentiments that don’t finally endorse al-Qa”ida often adopt a similar world outlook that embraces much of al-Qa”ida’s historical narrative and paranoid world view.
Most Muslims are moderates and abhor terrorism. But the minority that is extremist is a big one.
The flipside of al-Qa”ida’s success in the information war is our own dismal effort in this field. This does not mean endlessly telling Muslims how much we love them. Although in principle a bit of that is OK, as Blair implies it can be counterproductive by feeding an unjustified sense of grievance….
In many nations, moderate Muslims have been intimidated or even killed….
The Danish imams who campaigned successfully to turn a few cartoons into a worldwide jihad had previously been wrongly identified as moderates and benefited from state travel grants and the like….
One of the many disturbing features of the US Pew survey on the attitudes of American Muslims is that younger Muslims are substantially more extreme than their parents or grandparents. This reflects the experience in Europe, and probably Australia, that far from the second generation being more integrated, as has happened with every other migrant group, it is becoming more prey to the appeal of extremist ideologies and more alienated from its host society.
It is important to emphasise that the US survey does show that most American Muslims are moderate and reject extremism, and that American Muslims tend to be more moderate than European Muslims or Muslim populations in most majority Muslim nations.
But the US poll is merely the latest from across the world to show that the extremist minority is a very big, and therefore dangerous, one. A poll by the British think tank Policy Exchange showed similar results. Although most British Muslims are moderate, among 16 to 24-year-olds, 37 per cent would prefer to live under sharia law than British law, while 36per cent believe a Muslim changing their religion to something else should be punishable by death and 13per cent support al-Qa”ida.
Similarly, a joint Asia-Europe Foundation and University of Malaya poll found that 98 per cent of Malay Muslims believe Muslims should not be allowed by law to change their religion, 31 per cent want sharia law to replace the Malaysian constitution, 12 per cent support suicide bombings and a clear majority dislike or hate Europe, the US and Australia.
And in Australia, Taj Din al-Hilali, after all his extremist statements, remains the mufti. After everything, the national imams council still has not dismissed him. To equate this with Christian fundamentalism is utterly absurd. The widespread presence of extremist views in large minorities among Muslim communities poses acute dilemmas for a liberal society that no one has yet begun to face up to.