3First, it is argued, a distinction should be made between moderate Muslims andradical Islamists. More subtle than sometimes acknowledged, this premise argues thatthere exists a range of opinion in modern Islam. Speaking of those who engage in whathe calls a “terror offensive”, President Bush has said, “Some call this evil Islamicradicalism; others, militant Jihadism; and still others, Islamo-fascism. Whatever it iscalled, this ideology is very different from the religion of Islam.” Prime Minister Blairhas very strongly distinguished Islam the religion from Islamic terrorism and spokenwarmly of the former: “To me, the most remarkable things about the Koran I howprogressive it is…[It] is a reforming book… inclusive.. extol[ling] science andknowledge. It is practical and far ahead of its time in attitudes towards marriage, womenand government.” The radicals are the obvious danger, by way of contrast, and must bedealt with decisively; moderate Muslims can and should be enlisted in this anti-radicalcampaign.Second, while adverse social conditions account in part, for the rise of radicalism,the main driving force is ideology. Radical Islam, in the words of President Bush,“thrives, like a parasite, on the suffering and frustration of others” and a “culture of victimization”. But what really matters is that these radicals follow a “clear and focusedideology – a set of beliefs and goals that are evil, but not insane”. These evil tenets,importantly, are “inalterable” and “totalitarian”, in the words of Prime Minister Blair,“fanatical”.Third, the radicals constitute an “empire of terror” – “borderless” in form,“global” in its reach. Al-Qa’ida in particular forms a seamless network, reachingoutwards in shadowy ways, encompassing vast portions of the Muslim world and manygroups. Prime Minister Blair, writing in
was explicit about theinterconnections:
The struggle against terrorism in Madrid, or London, or Paris is the same as the struggleagainst the terrorist acts of Hezbollah in Lebanon, or Palestinian Islamic Jihad in thePalestinian territories, or rejectionist groups in Iraq. The murder of the innocent in Beslanis part of the same ideology that takes innocent lives in Libya, Saudi Arabia, or Yemen.