Andrew McCarthy’s book depicts the incompatibility of the political agenda of Islamist ideology and the values of our Western liberal tradition

One year ago, in January of 2015, Muslim terrorists, crowing about vengeance for the prophet Mohammed, attacked the Paris offices of the satirical magazineCharlie Hebdo. The rampage was the kick-off for a three-day jihadist assault which would stretch across the city, including in a kosher market, leaving 17 innocenISLAM AND FREE SPEECHts dead.

I should, because I can, be more precise. They were not simply Muslim terrorists, though they were, by their own testimony, that. Better: they were radical Muslim terrorists; or, better still: they were radical Islamist terrorists. The qualifier Islamist, conveys that brand of fanatical thought which insists Islam is much more than merely a faith that shapes personal piety but is an organizing principle encompassing all ethical, economic, political, and social activity. For the Islamist, Islam is a totalizing system that governs every bit of life – all of it, for everybody, believer and non-believer — and those who don’t agree to this are to be subdued, to the nth degree. This fundamental strain of political Islam is adhered to by such as Boko Haram, al Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Taliban, and ISIS.

But why, did I suggest that because I can be more precise, I should be? Because I am a product of the Western liberal tradition and traditions such as this insist that words matter, that nuance is important because it is correct, morally so, to use words with precision, because truth is essential — even difficult truth — and to describe a thing is make, even if a tentative one, a truth claim about that thing. To leave out essential detail is to leave out elements of truth. So, because there is a distinction between a person who is a Muslim and another who is an Islamist, we ought, when we know the distinction is operative, to render it. Such charitable allowances are precisely the kind of things not rendered by those who gallivant across Paris gunning down cartoonists and Jewish shoppers.

This is part of the point of Andrew McCarthy’s short and excellent Islam and Free Speech…

Read the rest at ToTheSource:

Marc LiVecche, PhD, is managing editor of Providence and Scholar on Christian Ethics, War, & Peace at the Institute on Religion and Democracy

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