Earlier this week in New York, the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair stated in no uncertain terms that radical Islam has been winning several battles against the West. Blair cited that in Islamic theocracies, there exists a growing misconception that the West is attacking Islam as a whole rather than simply its extremist, more virulent strains.
And why does this misconception exist?
According to Blair, it’s because of a total absence of any kind of rebuttal from the Western media. “Measure, over the years, the paucity of our counter-attack in the name of peaceful coexistence,” Blair said. “We have been outspent, outmaneuvered and out-strategized.”
Blair said that the West’s tendency to “sympathize” with extremism was not only dangerous, but disempowering for moderate Muslims; the failure to differentiate between the two builds mistrust towards all Muslims as extremists. Siding with Blair, I would add that the only way the West can triumph over radical Islam is by encouraging the silent majority of moderate Muslims to speak out against Islamic extremism wherever it occurs.
By not holding extremists accountable—and make no mistake, we do this every time we apologize for and rationalize their heinous behavior—we absolve them of their wrongdoing. By the same token, when we do not hold moderate Muslims accountable for their apathy and indolence, we squander an opportunity to encourage them to join a fight that is in both of our interests. Without this urging, such moderates will continue to watch from the sidelines.
President Obama’s unprecedented levels of appeasement have removed any and all pressure on these non-extremists, which leaves us to do all the heavy lifting alone. This of course provides more fodder to the spin doctors, who brand us as anti-Muslim hate mongers—which in turn cause the ranks of Jihadists to swell with fresh recruits.
We’re not really anti-Islamic here in the West, but the left-leaning, apologist media is inadvertently feeding that image when we are left to combat Islamism without any significant assistance from so-called moderate Muslims. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy!
It bears mentioning I had to cross the pond to the UK’s online version of the Daily Telegraph to even find an article on Blair’s speech. The only media source that covered the speech was ABC online of Australia, which saw fit to cover the speech with a negative angle; author Amin Saikal criticized Blair’s comments, stating that “many extreme elements in the Muslim world could take heart from Blair’s condemnation of ‘radical Islam’, enabling them to sharpen their argument that the West is against not only Muslim extremists but the religion of Islam itself, and thus widen their circles of recruitment and sympathy in the Muslim world.”
To recap: we cannot fight the extremists directly, we cannot condemn their actions, and we cannot condemn our own liberal press when they fail to provide coverage to those who do speak out —to do any of this is evidence, apparently, of Islamophobia. I think Mr. Blair is right: if these are the constraints of the world we live in, we have clearly been out-strategized. Fighting a war on terror under these circumstances is destined to be both half-assed and ass-backwards unless we change the rules.