Islamic terrorism is the most democratic and representative form of war there is. There is no draft. No government mandate. And no compulsion but that of the Koran. Of course in territories under their control, becoming a Jihadist sometimes is compulsory. But that certainly isn’t the case in the West. While Western diplomats chatter about democracy, the Muslim votes with his bomb vest. And his vote is the decisive one.If "extremists" are now "moderates," what does that make the "moderates"? By now we know what it makes them: Silent. Fearful. Invisible. Cowed.
Islamic terrorism is a direct refutation to that understanding of evil as a function of governments, rather than people. Its election victories mock the idea that democratic political representation ends violence. While Western intellectuals parrot the party line about a tiny minority of extremists being at fault, the political success of Islamist parties demonstrates that they are neither a minority nor extremist. The version of Islam they relegate to cave dwelling barbarians is actually the mainstream one.
If Western elites were to accept this, they would also have to accept that compromise is impossible. And that we face a war of extermination waged against us with every available weapon from demographics to atomics. But rather than accept the error of their ideas, they mainstream the Islamists. When the Muslim Brotherhood or Hamas ride a wave of popular support, they rush to explain why they are really moderate after all. If Al-Qaeda were to win elections in Yemen, there would immediately be distinctions made between the moderate Al-Qaeda terrorists who won the election, and the extremists who don’t represent the humanistic principles that Al-Qaeda stands for.
The official position is that we are fighting a war of ideas against ‘radicalization’. To win, we have to beat that tiny minority of extremists in a debate over the nature of their religion. And while they have an encyclopedic knowledge of the Koran and the Hadiths, we have a silly little ditty we picked up about Islam being a “Religion of Peace”. But no matter how often we lose the debate, we never admit defeat. Instead we go on empowering Islamic populism, and when the populists turn out to be the very radicals we were fighting all along, then we reach for the dictionary and redefine them as moderates.
Update: If we could talk to the Taliban, just imagine it, chatting with jihadis in Pashto...
Update: Obami M.O.: Let's chat with the "moderate" MuBros, too.