If the terrorists are not true Muslims, and terrorism has nothing to do with religion but is simply a pure areligious evil, and
If most of the victims of terrorism are indeed Muslims (throughout the world, rather than specifically in the West), and
If the terrorists claiming to be Muslims inspired by the correct interpretation of Islam are bringing disrepute to an otherwise peaceful religion, blacken all Muslims by association in the popular imagination, and therefore create Islamophobia, which hurts the peaceful Muslim community and, more broadly, social cohesion
Then it is a duty of every Muslim to combat terrorism by fighting against a politico-religious climate of “fake Islam” that radicalises some faithful into terrorists, and by cooperating with the authorities to root out terrorists and their support networks in the Muslim community.
The above is not a judgment of whether Muslims in the West, either individually or collectively, are currently doing enough or not enough to fight terrorism – it is a conclusion drawn from three premises that are the standard responses of the Muslim community as well as the multicultural left when confronted with the phenomenon of Islamist terrorism and the society’s response to it.
Terrorism doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Terrorists need a community to exist and operate, the same way that fish need water to swim in. Terrorists’ ocean includes active material support, ideological support, and indirect support through non-cooperation with the authorities. This is the story of every terrorist group, as well as every guerrilla or resistance group throughout history. The authorities can use a variety of tactics to either destroy or deny the terrorists their ocean, and sometimes they even succeed, but the only real way to end terrorism is for the ocean to decide it no longer wants to support the fish in its midst. The community does it by refusing to give any direct or indirect support to the terrorists or their support networks and by cooperating with the authorities and sharing intelligence to shut down the terror networks.
Some might say it’s unfair that the Muslim community should do so much heavy lifting, but as I’ve shown above the community not only has the most direct interest in destroying the terrorist cancer inside, but that cancer can only be successfully destroyed with the cooperation of the community. The same some might say it’s also unfair to blame the Muslim community for the existence of the terrorist networks – “how many times do we have to say we don’t support terrorism?” – but these sorts of publicly expressed sentiments are only one small part of combating terrorists who operate within the community. Much more needs to be done. And it can only be done from the inside of the community.
It is not the fault of an average Mohammed and an average Fatima that terrorism exists within their community, and it is perhaps not fair that they need to engage each in their own ways in fighting this scourge, which not only doesn’t represent them but by its very existence and its actions defames and hurts them vis-a-vis the public, but life is not fair. Just as the Irish or the Basque people have had to say enough is enough to drain the water from under the IRA and the ETA fish, and just as men have to play key role in combating the “rape culture” and “toxic masculinity”, so do all Muslims have an obligation to work actively to destroy the pathology that harms them and harms the broader community in which they live.
According to an opinion poll conducted last year in Great Britain, two thirds of British Muslims polled “would not inform the police if they thought that somebody close to them had become involved with terrorist sympathisers.”
This is a terrifying statistic.
The community cannot have it both ways – to disclaim any affinity with the terrorists hiding and operating in their midst, while at the same time refusing to assist in the simplest possible way with preventing and combating terrorism.
We need fewer excuses about how it’s all the fault of our foreign policy, or racism, or Islamophobia, or Iraq, or Israel, or social exclusion, or poverty, or climate change – i.e. always someone else’s fault – and more responsibility. These are your sons, brothers, husbands, friends, neighbours, fellow worshippers. Contra Cain, you are your brother’s keeper; if you eschew that duty, you kill him as surely as if you were Cain. Worse still, before he is killed or kills himself, you allow your brother to kill others. The blood of the innocent cries out for the vengeance to the Lord.