Although it receives less media attention than the two wars in the Middle East, the “War of Ideas’ 8212; the struggle over the ideology that gives rise to Islamic terrorism 8212; is essential to winning the War on Terrorism.
The United States is arguably losing this war.
Rather than fighting a perpetual War on Terrorism overseas, it would be in America’s best interest to take advantage of peaceful conflicts within its own borders to fight its enemies. The more America demonstrates a tolerance of Muslims, the harder it will be for terrorist organizations to attract sympathizers and recruit members. It will become more difficult for al-Qaeda to label American forces as “crusaders” seeking the destruction of Islam.
William Rosenau, an adjunct professor and political scientist at Georgetown University, wrote in the McGraw-Hill Homeland Security Handbook that it is clear the United States has so far failed to conduct anything approaching an effective counter-ideological campaign against al-Qaeda.
America missed its last opportunity to strike a blow against Islamic extremists when many reacted with opposition toward the religious center proposed to be built near Ground Zero. Contrary to the opinion of many in America, the “Ground Zero mosque” would not have been a statement of Islamist conquest. Instead, it would have represented the exact opposite version of Islam that extremists embrace.
According to an article in The New York Times titled “A Nation Challenged,” during the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan the following items, among many, were forbidden: satellite dishes, cinematography, equipment that produces music, pool tables, chess, alcohol, computers, television, nail polish, statues and pictures. Employment and education were also prohibited among women.
So the question arises 8212; does something like the building of the religious center represent the kind of “Islamic conquest” that many Americans have labeled it?
Browsing the website behind the proposed “Ground Zero mosque,” www.park51.org, one finds a project dedicated to “pluralism, service, arts and culture, education and empowerment.” I assume, then, that only Islamist extremists would hate that project more than Americans.
When seeing the uproar Americans made over the proposed religious center, al-Qaeda will smile, point out that America is hypocritical by not following its own laws which legally allow for such a project and the war will go on as planned.
Andrew Mabry is a senior political science major from Southlake.