Jihad: Can You Even Win a War of Ideas with an Army?

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We can't afford to stereotype or snap-diagnose the assorted simmering sentiments of over a billion people, especially when the rationalizations of radical elements in their midst are routinely resulting in death and destruction all over the planet. I wonder whether human nature itself might have changed when global jihadism has become such an attractive career path and when the Scott Peterson case generates more daily interest and media
attention than details about the death toll in Iraq and Afghanistan

Even though I already had another religion, when I was a kid, I used to
read a newspaper named Muhammad Speaks fairly regularly. Armed only with
bean pies and a periodical spouting the then incendiary ideas of Malcolm X,
well-dressed brothers in bow-ties would try to recruit me right off the
street, despite the freckles and a Catholic school uniform.

As fervently as I believed that Jesus had walked on water, back then they
believed that all white people were devils and a creation of the diabolical
Yakub, a mad Black scientist. I learned at any early age that as odd as
someone else's dogma might strike me, freedom of religion means that they
everyone is entitled to their faith.

I declined to replace my slave name with an X, though their publication's
political perspective, if not their theology, piqued my interest. I enjoyed
the fact that their periodical addressed serious concerns we never covered
in Catechism. The Muslim's did find plenty of converts in the prisons,
because their ideas resonated with so many men long-discarded as pariahs by
a society with no further use for them.

Fast-forward about 40 years and Islam is no longer considered a fringe sect
in America, but its fastest growing mainstream religion, 9-11, ethnic
profiling and Middle East tensions notwithstanding. Though its tenets might
be tweaked to suit the cultural demands of different countries, such as
China where they have female mullahs and all-girl mosques, this is a
religion to be reckoned with.
       
We can't afford to stereotype or snap-diagnose the assorted simmering
sentiments of over a billion people, especially when the rationalizations of
radical elements in their midst are routinely resulting in death and
destruction all over the planet. I wonder whether human nature itself might
have changed when global jihadism has become such an attractive career path
and when the Scott Peterson case generates more daily interest and media
attention than details about the death toll in Iraq and Afghanistan, the
ethnic cleansing in Sudan and Bosnia, the suicide bombings in Indonesia,
Israel and elsewhere, the Russian planes falling out of the sky and the
slaughter of hundreds of innocent children kidnapped on the first day of
school.

Anybody dare connect the dots? Or do we just continue to be blase' and
ignore the anti-Western backlash, a frightening consequence of imperial
overstretch? The dangerous assumption we make, and at considerable risk, is
that the answer is to entertain ourselves with trivial pursuits like Kobe
and Wacko Jacko, while praying that it won't happen here, again. This
ostrich approach amounts to an abdication of our responsibility and presumes
that only a military solution is possible, when there must be an alternative
means of making the world safe for diversity than killing for peace.

Attorney Williams is a member of the NY, NJ, PA, CT, MA & US Supreme
Court bars

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