Islamist terror and the civilized world

The civilized world, which includes the vast bulk of Muslim believers, has yet to declare a clear distinction between Islam and Islamist extremists.

Kenyan forces take positions at Nairobi Mall 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Kenyan forces take positions at Nairobi Mall 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The BBC, dominated as ever by the “politically correct” attitudes of the liberal-left, continues to shy away from calling a spade a spade. Take its reporting of the recent Kenyan shopping mall siege. In spineless deference to people sympathetic to the jihadists’ cause, BBC news reports consistently refrained from referring to those responsible for the gunning down of over 60 people as “terrorists.”  The furthest they would go was to use the term “militants.”
A row immediately blew up in the British press, parliament and beyond. It was summed up effectively by Douglas Murray, associate director of the Henry Jackson Society think-tank: "By not calling these jihadists what they actually are, the BBC is effectively covering for them. No-one wants to say they are jihadis, which they are. No-one wants to say they are Islamic extremists, which they are. Most people know what these people are, and it’s only certain sections of government and the media which refuses to point the finger."
Or as one Member of Parliament said: "Most members of the British public would see the planned and systematic murder of dozens of innocent people in Kenya as terrorism."
BBC guidelines, which govern journalistic practice within the corporation, suggest avoiding the use of the word "terrorism” because it is a “difficult and emotive subject with significant political overtones.” So in a misconceived pursuit of maintaining their reputation for objectivity and accuracy, the BBC avoids using “terrorist” – except when they are quoting someone else. In other words, they prefer sheltering behind some other source bold enough to condemn people who commit monstrous outrages in pursuit of their distasteful agendas. For the BBC to do so itself is too strong meat for its delicate appetite nowadays.Objectivity and accuracy
BBC executives might reflect that the corporation’s enviable reputation for accuracy was established during the Second World War, when BBC news broadcasts were renowned for telling the truth, however unpalatable at times, and people across Europe literally risked their lives to listen to London. “Objectivity” did not feature as a suitable aspiration when the nation was fighting a war to the death against a ruthless enemy. The BBC did not bend over backwards in those days to present Hitler’s point of view.  Everyone knew what he and his Nazi régime were up to, and the BBC, along with everyone else, condemned it outright.
What the BBC -- in common with other sections of the western media, a range of non-governmental organizations worldwide, some United Nations agencies, and even some governments -- will not acknowledge, is that the civilized world is today fighting for its continued existence against enemies just as ruthless as the Nazis – namely, Islamist terrorists, intent on undermining the West and all it stands for. Many refrain from outright condemnation of Islamist extremism for fear of being dubbed “Islamophobic” – a fear that may well be justified.  However, understanding the reasons for faint-heartedness does not justify it, nor does burying one’s head in the sand remove the danger.
Seth Frantzman, writing in The Jerusalem Post recently, suggested that “terrorism” was not adequate to describe the atrocities being committed continually by Islamist extremists. Citing recent incidents like the killing of 81 people in Pakistan during the bombing of a church, and the slaughter of 159 people in Nigeria, he suggests they should be dubbed “crimes against humanity,” and treated as such by the civilized world. What inhibits robust condemnation of incidents such as these, Frantzman suggests, is that it is often non-Muslims who are targeted by the terrorists. This was certainly the case in the Kenya shopping mall siege, where those held hostage who could prove they were Muslims were allowed to go free, while non-Muslims were gunned down.
In an entirely understandable effort to avoid suggesting that there is a battle of ideologies in progress between the Muslim and the non-Muslim worlds – for this is certainly not the case – left-wing opinion is throwing out the baby with the bathwater. The baby, in this case, is Islamist extremism, which is indeed at war with the West, with our democratic values, our standards of justice, tolerance and free speech, and the importance we assign to individual liberty and human life. In short, by obfuscating or deliberately ignoring the nature and objectives of Islamist terrorism, the civilized world is allowing it to flourish, and is in effect sleep-walking towards its own destruction.A main protagonist of Islamist extremism of the Sunni persuasion – by far the major part of Islam – is the Muslim Brotherhood and its al-Qaida-backed adherents like Somalia’s al-Shabaab. Wherever it manifests itself, the Muslim Brotherhood and its associates are dedicated to the tenets set out originally by its founder, Hassan al-Banna, in 1928. He declared, quite simply: “It is the nature of Islam to dominate, not to be dominated, to impose its law on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.”
That is the agenda of these Islamist extremists. That is why their expansion of influence and activity should concern the Western world far more than it has done up till now. For the Brotherhood not only spans the Middle East but, as political author Lorenzo Vidino has demonstrated, since the early 1960s its members and sympathisers have “moved to Europe and slowly but steadily established a wide and well-organized network of mosques, charities and Islamic organizations.” Islamism has active branches in the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and a variety of other European countries. Its goal, stated quite openly by its leaders, is to create situations in which Sharia law can be imposed on states, with the aim eventually of uniting them and thus continuing the expansion of Islamism. The Brotherhood’s motto includes the chilling words: “Jihad is our way. And death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our ambitions.”
The civilized world, which includes the vast bulk of Muslim believers, has yet to declare a clear distinction between Islam and Islamist extremists, to characterize the jihadists for what they are – dedicated enemies of everything the West holds dear – and to oppose them tooth and nail, using every means at its disposal. This should include – and why not? – charging in an appropriate judicial setting any who are apprehended with crimes against humanity.
The writer is the author of One Year in the History of Israel and Palestine (2011) and writes the blog “A Mid-East Journal” (