Pinpoint and denounce roots of terrorist ideology
Regarding the Aug. 2 article "Special briefing: How radical Islamists see the world": It is encouraging to see the media finally grasp the reality that ideology is fueling terrorism and that it is not originating from just one guy. An idea can be beaten only by a better idea, not by an army. Battling an ideology demands that it be addressed and defeated on the merits of its own logic.
While you correctly point out that a global Islamic caliphate is one goal of Islamic terrorists, that is only one goal and it is not necessarily the motivating force behind the movement.
People blow themselves up because they feel powerless to make change. Why do these Muslims feel oppressed and what is the Western response to these concerns? Those are the questions and answers missing from your coverage. Why don't you translate and publish the Islamic terrorist messages and debate their logic on its merits?
The July 28 article "Why jihadists target the West" explores two contrasting opinions about why jihadists attack the West: because of who we are, or because of what we do.
The writer cites some interesting experts, but none are jihadists themselves. Why not ask Osama bin Laden?
He answered the question definitively with another question, when he asked, "Why don't we attack Sweden?"
The question of why jihadists attack us seems to be a futile search for justification of the unjustifiable. It seems aimed at shifting responsibility for the attacks from the attackers to the attacked.
But the bottom line is that it makes no difference whether some may consider the attacks justified for some arcane reason or another. They must be stopped.
The July 25 article "The rise of a jihadi suicide culture" was mistitled. It should be homicide bombers. These people are not simply committing suicide. They are committing multiple homicides that many news agencies, such as yours, overlook. I believe it is your responsibility and all news agencies' responsibility to notice the difference and use the appropriate term.
Shadi Hamid's condemnation of terrorism was brave (July 28 Opinion piece, "London attacks a turning point for US Muslim community). Moderate Muslims must re-claim the agenda of their religion. The struggle between moderates and extremists is filled with danger. It is critical for moderate Muslims all around the world to denounce terrorism in clear terms. Especially refreshing and encouraging was Mr. Hamid's clear recognition that "Muslims must rediscover their religion's deep respect for the sanctity of human life - whether the lives in question are British, Iraqi, or Israeli."
The Arab community does have legitimate criticism of Western colonialism, and the Palestinians have legitimate national aspirations. The realization of those aspirations is a subject for negotiation. Terrorist tactics do not advance those goals. Moreover, terrorism is completely void of moral authority.
As one American to another: Peace be upon you, kind sir [Shadi Hamid], for your words. It is men like you that can do the most to end senseless killing by simply letting the world know that you and yours will not tolerate abuse of your beautiful religion.
Col. Jerry Cadick, US Marine Corps (ret.)
Camano Island, Wash.
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