To be a radical means you go to the roots of a problem and uproot the problem stopping the weed from growing again. A radical looks beyond the surface of the problem and tries to identify the causes of the problem to solve it once and for all.
In the context of Islam, the Muslim world has many problems and many different ideas of what the real problem is. The thing about being a radical is that the thing you identify as the cause is not obvious to everyone as the problem. Weeding a garden can be done without uprooting the weeds and it looks like the problem is gone, but it will just return.
The root cause of Muslim problems identified by supporters of violent rebellions, is that Muslims are weak because they have become too materialistic, loving the comforts of this life and fearful of death. They equate readiness to fight and die as the key prescription needed to turn the situation around.
When faced with the failure of a patient to recover when given this medicine, it is tempting to claim the diagnosis was still right, but that the solution is simply more of the same medicine. This temptation comes because it means not really having to admit to your mistakes.
In the case of the radicals who think Muslim lack of readiness to take up arms is the essential cause of all Muslim problems, this temptation results in a diagnosis of needing to be ready to fight more, in new ways and against new people. The target list is just enlarged and enlarged until practically everyone becomes the enemy who needs to be fought.
The same can be said for the war on terrorism which has without doubt just led to more and more war and more “terrorists”. The war on drugs has a similar dynamic and has just led to more drug addiction and related crime. The medicine does not work because the diagnosis is wrong. Fortunately the BMJ has now seen the light and called for the legalisation of all drugs.
To solve problems like these we need to step back diagnose our failures to diagnose problems correctly. What is really happening is that we are sticking to our diagnosis despite evidence that our prescribed solution is not working. Not only does the intervention not work, it makes the problem worse. This creates a viscous cycle; a positive feedback.
Like any positive feedback mechanism, it eventually reaches some physically restraining limit. In the case of a patient misdiagnosed and given medicine that just makes it more ill, eventually the medicine poisons them to death. Hopefully, the limit is that someone notices and stops the medicine and reviews their diagnosis.
Why do we stick to our faulty conclusions, in spite of the evidence? Is that not the real root of the problem? Is it not our pride that stops us admitting we were wrong, or even that we might have been wrong that is the real illness?
What then is radical Islam that Donald Trump is aiming at? It is a label, nothing more. It is made up to be so vague as to be applicable to anything it likes. It is not a label recognised by Muslims. We as Muslims might use the word “jihadi” as denoting someone who sees the root of all the problems in the Muslim world as an unwillingness of people to risk their lives and comforts for a more noble ideal. No the label “Radical Islam” is just a way of broadening the war on terrorism into a war on “Radical Islam”. This means broadening it to a ban on the avowedly non-violent Muslim Brotherhood organisation and other social and political organisations seeking to defend the rights and interests of Muslims around the world. If this happens it will be another big mistake, causing more oppression and anger.
The label is not helpful. Instead of fighting “Radical Islam”. Trump should say what it is openly and accurately that needs opposing. The US needs just to stop indoctrinating and recruiting and otherwise supporting mercenary irregular forces to fight against its historic enemies, both openly and covertly. Such irregular wars go hand in hand with the illegal drugs trade and intelligence agencies that licence the activities taking a good slice of the profit to facilitate their off the books operations. Trillions are made through these networks of organised crime, and the banks are at the top of that food chain. It will not be easy to uproot this- the real source of the biggest problems in today’s world.
The use of such irregular forces that has been made by Western Imperialists to contain Russia and before that the USSR, can and should be stopped by a Trump administration to the benefit of all. Those Muslim groups that work to aid such policies have never been representatives of Islam or even “Radical Islam” -whatever that means – but are just tools of Western Imperialism, providing the front line troops for proxy wars or where necessary through false flag, inside job operations they provide the pretexts for full scale Western invasions.
The last and perhaps most important point in understanding the roots of “Radical Islam” is that the West has for centuries sought to defame Islam as a religion by claiming it is extreme and irrational. In this effort they have always found fringe elements to offer their support to and to use for their own propaganda aims. Not much changes in this regard. It is a series of attempts at straw man arguments. Their assets are straw men puffed up into enemies they can defeat easily to win a propaganda victory.
No doubt Trump will finish off Isis if Obama and Putin don’t do it before he gets into office. Their hope is to achieve a psychological victory against the ideals of Islamic political parties and their popular dreams of Muslim political unity. This is the long game. But for anyone who cares to study the situations their deceptions are easily undone.
They plot and plan, and Allah too plans; but the best of planners is Allah. (Quran 8:30)