22 August 2006

Analysis of Religious Rhetoric Requires Balance

"JURIST Contributing Editor Ali Khan of Washburn University School of Law says that politicians' increasing use of abusive language to describe Islam in the context of the war on terror is symptomatic of multiple problems in Anglo-American democracy and culture."

Fighting Words: The Abuse of Islam in Political Rhetoric

RESPONSE: I agree with Mr. Khan to the limited extent that we should be cautious in rhetoric that paints entire religious belief systems with a broad brush. But I would submit such an agreement, in turn, needs to be broad enough to cover not only statements attributed to Western countries or officials, but also antisemitic or anti-Christian remarks attributed to predominantly Islamic countries, Iran being the most notable example. An analysis that criticises one but ignores the other is suspect in my mind.

I would also respectfully ask Mr. Khan to consider that much of the terrorism that has come to pass, both prior to and since 2001, have been ostensibly been done to support or maintain the faith, to please deity, or both. The term "jihad" comes to mind in this regard. The religious decrees issued by the likes of Osama Bin-Laden also come to mind. Even if we assume that the term "Islamic fascism" is inappropriate to describe such acts or behaviour, how does one avoid the fact that religion is unavoidably intertwined therein?

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