Last week, a man tragically attacked a nightclub full of American citizens. The attacker then pledged allegiance to ISIS over a 911 call during the attack. Despite these facts, many pundits and politicians have tried to avoid referring to ISIS or “radical Islam” in responding to this attack.
Avoiding identifying the ideology that motivated the deadliest mass shooting in America’s history is just wrong.
Since the attack, many politicians–including President Obama–have shared their opinions on handling the situation. But in his response, President Obama failed to mention radical Islam or Islamic terrorism in regards to their relation to the shooting in Orlando. Similarly, presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton warned citizens about using “inflammatory anti-Muslim rhetoric.”
Any response that focuses on using caution towards the term “radical Islam” is seriously misguided. We as a country need to accept that radical Islamists preach a rhetoric of hate and violence. Anybody who says that identifying radical Islamic ideology is a form of discrimination against non-radicalized Muslims is wrong. Anybody who refuses to recognize an ideology, not the people, as an enemy is wrong.
We cannot accept this tragedy as a consequence of America’s own wrongdoings, either. This issue goes beyond just being politically correct. It is understood that Islam does not equal radical Islam. By identifying jihadist groups as radicalized movements rooted in Islamic beliefs, we are not attacking the entire Muslim population. However, the threat of radical Islam will prevail long after we censor terms that accurately identify such groups.
Censoring ourselves in the name of political correctness only furthers the cultural relativism that allows for Islamic terrorism to continue its destructive path.
In his reaction to the attack, Trump stated that “Many of the principles of radical Islam are incompatible with western values and institutions.” Trump is right, and ideology matters. Radicalized Islamic beliefs cannot coexist with western values: the two are diametrically opposed, and nowhere that radical Islam exists is there peace.
Radical Islam is real, and its threat to western society is relevant.