'"The FBI conducted internal database reviews, interagency checks and multiple interviews, none of which revealed ties to terrorism," the bureau said.' This from a recent article on Chelsea bomber Rahami.
What people still don't seem to understand is that you don't need "ties to terrorism" in order to be a Jihadist. There are virtually tens of millions of would-be Jihadists. They already believe in the doctrine of Jihad and martyrdom; of conquering the world for Islam or to die trying.
All that's lacking in these potential Jihadists is the will to act. Some will act sooner than others, some might never act at all. But they are all believers in the supremacy of Islam, and that the end-times cannot be ushered in until Islam has dominion over all the peoples of every nation on Earth.
Ideas are dangerous - more so than bullets and bombs. We have to fight the ideas that make becoming a Jihadist so easy. But you cannot challenge an idea if you don't even recognize its existence. Jihad and martyrdom are attractive ideas to a sizable proportion of the world's population, and this cannot be allowed to continue.
Political, Militant Islam, which is to say Islam, is just an idea. It's an idea born in the deserts of 7th century Arabia. Is it any wonder these ideas are so barbaric? Islam, as an idea, is no different than National Socialism or Stalinism as an idea. And when we went to war, we didn't just go to war against Nazis and Stalinists, we waged a war of ideas.
We win ideological battles even when we're not trying, as evidenced by the many heroes of secularism living under oppressive regimes, many of which are Islamic. Imagine what we could accomplish if we really tried to destroy the ideas found within Islam and, ultimately, all religion.
I focus on Islam, the way many public intellectuals have been and should be doing in recent years, because we are at war with Islamic ideology in a way that we are not (and never will be) at war with Hinduism or Buddhism or Judaism or even most modern incarnations of Christianity.
Islam is the ideology that can take a supposed "moderate" and turn him or her into a walking time-bomb at any second. All a person has to do is read their favorite verse about killing the infidel one more time before they're convinced enough to act. Islam does this to people, not Christianity. not Buddhism, but Islam.
It's high time we recognize the difference among religions and treat dangerous, toxic, deadly ideas as dangerous, toxic, and deadly, instead of engaging in endless obscurantism and apologetics.
Religions are simply ideas. And some ideas are worse than others. If you fail to recognize this, then something is wrong with your capacity to reason. For you surely recognize bad ideas in other realms of discourse. You probably agree that Nazism is a bad idea; that most forms of ultra-nationalism are bad ideas; and you probably use these examples to support your worldview or your petty identity politics.
Yet on the subject of religion, and ONE religion in particular, you lose sight of all objectivity and reason when it comes to identifying and denouncing bad ideas.
This will not end well. Not for you, not for anyone.