Friedman: Terrorism Needs a Muslim Solution

Thomas Friedman’s Friday column, “If It’s a Muslim Problem, It Needs a Muslim Solution” is well worth a read.

[…] When jihadist-style bombings happen in Riyadh, that is a Muslim-Muslim problem. That is a police problem for Saudi Arabia. But when Al-Qaeda-like bombings come to the London Underground, that becomes a civilizational problem. Every Muslim living in a Western society suddenly becomes a suspect, becomes a potential walking bomb. And when that happens, it means Western countries are going to be tempted to crack down even harder on their own Muslim populations.

That, too, is deeply troubling. The more Western societies – particularly the big European societies, which have much larger Muslim populations than America – look on their own Muslims with suspicion, the more internal tensions this creates, and the more alienated their already alienated Muslim youth become. This is exactly what Osama bin Laden dreamed of with 9/11: to create a great gulf between the Muslim world and the globalizing West.

[…]

Because there is no obvious target to retaliate against, and because there are not enough police to police every opening in an open society, either the Muslim world begins to really restrain, inhibit and denounce its own extremists – if it turns out that they are behind the London bombings – or the West is going to do it for them. And the West will do it in a rough, crude way – by simply shutting them out, denying them visas and making every Muslim in its midst guilty until proven innocent.

And because I think that would be a disaster, it is essential that the Muslim world wake up to the fact that it has a jihadist death cult in its midst. If it does not fight that death cult, that cancer, within its own body politic, it is going to infect Muslim-Western relations everywhere. Only the Muslim world can root out that death cult. It takes a village.

What do I mean? I mean that the greatest restraint on human behavior is never a policeman or a border guard. The greatest restraint on human behavior is what a culture and a religion deem shameful. It is what the village and its religious and political elders say is wrong or not allowed. Many people said Palestinian suicide bombing was the spontaneous reaction of frustrated Palestinian youth. But when Palestinians decided that it was in their interest to have a cease-fire with Israel, those bombings stopped cold. The village said enough was enough.

The Muslim village has been derelict in condemning the madness of jihadist attacks. When Salman Rushdie wrote a controversial novel involving the prophet Muhammad, he was sentenced to death by the leader of Iran. To this day – to this day – no major Muslim cleric or religious body has ever issued a fatwa condemning Osama bin Laden.

Quite right. Despite the constant refrain that Islam is a Religion of PeaceTM, the fact of the matter is that bin Laden and his band of murderers have strong support within the Muslim world. Even while civilized Muslims condemn the violence, there is always a “but” attached. “It’s a crime against Islam to murder innocents but __________ (insert excuse here).”

It’s high time the “but”s stop.

FILED UNDER: Middle East, Terrorism
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. […] Muslim village has been derelict in condemning the madness of jihadist attacks. When Salman Rushdie wrote a controversial novel involving the prophet Muhammad, he was sentenced to death by the leaderIran. To this day – to this day – no major Muslim cleric or religious body has ever issued a fatwa condemning Osama bin Laden. Surprising, huh? Or not. Thanks to James for the pointer.   […]

  2. Leopold Stotch says:

    Of course, Bernard Lewis has been saying this for years. This is why I can’t respect or even like Friedman — it’s as if he simply reads a few academic journals, rewords their ideas, and calls it his new idea. He’s a total fraud.