Claims of 'McCarthyism' in the wake of the Peter King hearings threaten to suffocate a vital discourse on Islamism just when we need it most. Even as cries of 'Islamophobia' seek to smother debate, Muslim Americans must speak up, and out loud.
Decapitation has a way of clearing one’s head. My invitation to a beheading came from former Israeli officer and counter-terrorism expert Richard Horowitz, who thought that if I watched a video of one in the security of his library, I would understand what he already knew: just how ferociously we in the West are hated. In the video, a Muslim boy beheads a man. The murderer is 10.
I am a woman who practices medicine and Islam. Islam took me to Mecca and Hajj. Medicine took me to Riyadh and London. Each capital hosts communities espousing Islamist neo-orthodoxy. Both spawn violent jihadist ideologies. Listening to counter-terrorism experts and examining the ugly underbelly of contemporary radical Islamism has taught me what Muslims in Mecca, Riyadh, or London could not: the difference between Islam and Islamism.
Rep. Peter King (R) of New York’s Senate hearings seek answers to these and other questions, while attacks of “Islamophobia” and “McCarthyism” threaten to suffocate this vital discourse. As a Muslim, watching Islamists at work lends me rare perspective. Mr. King’s hearings offer the public this same perspective, just when it is needed most.
Islamist terrorism places martyrdom at its center, distorting Islam into a false faith valuing death above life. Islam reviles suicide, yet suicide operations are now synonymous with Islamist terror. This is deliberate.
Suicide distracts. Suicide enthralls. Our terror terminology appears transfixed by these suicide bombers’ singular pursuit of self-destruction, seemingly overlooking the murder these martyrdom operatives commit. Dr. Joan Kirschenbaum Cohn, assistant professor of Medicine and Community Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center, observes these martyrs are better termed homicide bombers. Somehow this phrase never caught on.
These “martyrs” seek only to divide: the living from the dead; those who believe in death from those who believe in life; those who choose nihilism over those who guard pluralism. Islamist elements, not Senate hearings, have created the same divides here in America. These divides are not the work of Americans marginalizing Muslims. These divides are the work of Muslims marginalizing Muslims. We have polarized ourselves.