Islam and the west must form an alliance insteadby Liam Byrne / November 22, 2016 / Leave a comment
High in the hills between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, someone has scrawled an old piece of wisdom on the concrete barriers that slice across the former border: “all walls fall.”
One can but hope. With Donald Trump now heading for the White House, the signs are not good. Trump himself declared during the campaign “I think Islam hates us.” His choice for National Security Advisor, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, is notorious for his anti-Islamic tirades—he once tweeted “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL.” Steve Bannon, Trump’s new chief strategist and senior counsellor, frequently attacked Islam while running Breitbart News.
But extremists relish this approach. IS commander Abu Omar Khorasani has already declared that the “complete maniac” in the White House will increase terrorist numbers by thousands. According to the Global Terrorism Index, IS is now the deadliest terror group in the world. Last year, it killed over 6,000 people. It is facing defeat in Mosul and Raqqa, but experts such as Britain’s EU Security Commissioner Julian King have warned that this defeat “may lead to the return to Europe of violent IS fighters.” London Mayor Sadiq Khan has said that our border security isn’t tough enough to stop terrorists smuggling in weapons.
For some years, neoconservative thinkers have argued that the west is locked in an epic struggle with Islam. But as former US commander David Petraeus correctly observed, we are fighting an insurgency. We cannot kill our way to victory. Ultimately politics must prevail—and to win in politics, you have to first win the battle of ideas. I suggest that the key idea is the core shared interest between Islam and the west: the defeat of heretical, totalitarian theocrats who love death as we love life.