We need to think clearly about Islamism

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Title We need to think clearly about Islamism
Author(s) Henry F. Srebrnik
Related item Canadian Jewish News
Start page 16
Date 2004
Abstract In his lengthy and thought-provoking piece in the September 2004 issue of Commentary, titled 'World War IV,' Norman Podhoretz, Commentary's former and longtime editor, expresses a related message well: 'We are up against a truly malignant force in radical Islamism and the states breeding, sheltering or financing its terrorist armory.' Podhoretz provides a detailed account of terrorism, particularly in the Middle East, that in fact goes back to the 1970s. They will come up with any convoluted line of reasoning to explain away the worldwide outbreak of Islamist-orchestrated terrorism: American imperialism, Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands (or sometimes even the Jewish state's very existence), globalization, Third World poverty, the greed of oil companies, failed states, western 'Orientalism' and racism, reaction to Christian fundamentalism and a host of other 'root causes.' Everything but the militant religio-fascist creed we have come to call Islamism. For our learned intellectuals, trained in obfuscation and even mendacity, this would constitute being 'simplistic,' perhaps even 'prejudiced,' and therefore deemed unacceptable. Many professors pride themselves in the use of obscure language and technical terms that appear to enhance their prestige as 'deep thinkers.' Much of this is nothing but mystification.

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