Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Is the threat over?

Mideast analyst Barry Rubin disputes the claim that the threat from radical Islam is gone now that Osama Bin Laden is dead. He offers a long list of countries where Islamist movements either control the state or are advancing politically, noting that the threat is not confined to traditional Muslim countries.

As he puts it: "Serious Islamist movements have gained political hegemony over growing Muslim communities all over the West. While many Muslims are indifferent to the movement and a few courageous dissidents combat it, Western governments and elites often blindly favor the Islamists ... In fact, the degree that Western governments, elites, and societies are blind to the actual threat defies belief."

This is what happens when you don't define your problem correctly: when you worry only about 'violent extremism,' not 'extremism:' the act of terror but not the ideology that underlies and justifies it. We don't have unlimited time to 'wake up and smell the coffee.'

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