The ideology of Islamic extremism— a militant, politically activist ideology whose ultimate goal is to create a worldwide community, or caliphate, of Muslim believers through violence and intolerance — poses an increasingly serious threat to the rest of the world. We must defend tolerance and protect all people from being victimized by Islamic Extremists.
Next month, leaders from around the globe will convene at the White House for the Summit on Countering Violent Extremism in an attempt to find a solution to fight against radical Islam. In order to achieve this, the summit will give groups involved—religious and community leaders, law enforcement, etc.—the opportunity to speak out and reflect on future steps to take to battle extremism effectively. Such cooperation is the key to success. Islamic extremism is not simple terrorism. It is grounded in one of the largest faiths of the world (though deviating drastically from beliefs of the Islamic tradition). Coming up with a sustainable solution requires an array of viewpoints and opinions.
“This is an ideology, like it or not, that is grounded in the principles and theology of one of the world’s great religions. […] It’s a narrative that grafts on tops of all of the grievances that are perceived — and real — in the Muslim world.”—Juan Zarate, CBS News senior national security analyst for counterterrorism during the Bush administration
Fighting Islamic Extremism is a priority of the world. However, recent backlashes against immigration due to terrorism, specifically last week’s Charlie Hebdo terror attack in Paris, is a step backwards. A record number of attacks on Muslims have been recorded in Paris and online hate messages are flooding the Internet. Other European countries are feeling the same way. In Dresden, Germany weekly marches initiated by the PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West) against the threats of Muslim immigrants on Western civilization have attracted a record number of attendees.
In the midst of all this terrorism, we forget that thousands of Muslims living in Europe are not there to harm and destroy Western values. They are not there to take away women’s rights, expand the Islamic state through violence, or commit acts of terrorism. Most are there to simply have a better life.
With such hatred, we are forgetting our most fundamental value—the hope of constructing a society in which everyone is free to live in accordance with their own beliefs as longs as they agree to extend the same freedom to their fellow citizens. Only by upholding this value can we fight Islamic Extremism effectively and still maintain who we are.