As Americans pause today to remember the dead and devastated from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, our friend M. Zuhdi Jasser laments the country's failure to examine the ideological causes for the attacks and to teach our children about them.
Jasser, a physician, retired Navy officer and devoted Muslim, writes in the National Review Online that hypersensitivity has stopped the country from closely examining Islamism:
"In short, ‘political Islam' is a belief that Muslims have both a duty and obligation to promote the public application of their interpretation of sharia, and where possible, establish Islamic states. Terrorists do this by any means necessary; non-violent Islamists do it through patient advocacy and slow societal change."
But you won't see that in textbooks, he said, noting that even the U.S. government is avoiding "Islam, Islamism, salafism and jihad, all but stifling any discourse on or analysis of the influence of radical Islamism upon the very terrorists we are fighting."
We ignore the roots of extremism and the terrorist threat, along with any discussion of the movements and governments fomenting them. Jasser argues that we hear instead from "self-serving representatives of the Muslim community who are apologists for Islamism — who exaggerate victimology, and minimize radicalism and the need for reform."
Jasser founded the American Islamic Forum for Democracy to counter those voices.