This week, Donald Trump spoke that the United States is not at war with Islam, but Radical Islam. As the attack yesterday in Manchester shows, this is an ideology of violence and destruction. But, a majority of Muslims do not subscribe to this radical belief. Unfortunately, not everybody sees it that way.
Some certainly have reason to believe it is a war of faiths. Dozens of attacks by terrorists and radicals are often cited by their evidence (including Manchester). But, that is just it, they are radicals and terrorists. The vast majority of Muslims just want to live their lives and crave the same things we do here; security and stability.
Just imagine for a second if this really was a war of faiths. We’d probably lose. There are simply more of them than there are of us. Besides that, exactly what faiths are at war with Islam? Because America is not made up of one monolithic faith and if this is a war between Christianity and Islam, well, the odds are not in Christianity’s favor. Especially because this means Buddhists, Confucionists and other major faiths which people belong to would be unlikely to get involved.
In this conflict hard choices have to be made. Donald Trump is allying with Saudi Arabia, capped by a 10-year, $350 billion arms deal. Saudi Arabia is not exactly a mecca of democracy and is defined by the Department of State as a sponsor of terror. But, Trump is also trying to repair our alliance with Israel. He is set to visit Israel and meet with both Jewish and Palestinian leaders. Like Presidents before him he will attempt to negotiate an Israeli-Palestinian peace amid the turmoil of the Middle East.
In any conflict a nation needs allies. Without the support of Saudi and Jordanian leadership (for that matter) the US and Israel would have no allies in the region. And apologies to those who might think Syria is an ally, but a puppet of Iran is not an ally to the United States. Period!
Like in any conflict, absolutes are easy to come by but not practical. There are thousands of peaceful Muslims living in the US. They all are not rising up to inflict mass casualties here at home. Similarly, thousands of Muslims in Afghanistan have risked and given their lives to take on the Taliban, Radical Islam and ethnic warlords. Are we to believe they were/are at war with us even as they aid us?
It is easy to think this is a war of faiths. However, one would do better to call it a war of cultures or values. Radical Islam seeks to stifle freedom and practices a violent ideology. Western culture has its own issues but none rise to this degree of seriousness. And again, most Muslims want to simply be allowed to live their lives and crave what most people across the globe do. Radical Islam, for all the notions of it representing the majority of Muslim’s views, does not.
In the end, Donald Trump is right. This is not a “War of Faiths.” It is a war of values, a war against an extremist, violent ideology that kills Muslims and non-Muslims alike. It is a war about stopping an ideology based on violence and bloodshed. As Manchester showed, it must be stopped in its tracks. Or, as Donald Trump put it, “obliterated.”