Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Denying the Link between Islamist Ideology and Jihadist Terrorism: “Political Correctness” and the Undermining of Counterterrorism

 By Jeffrey M. Bale - Monterey Institute of International Studies

Ever since the jihadist terrorist attacks on 11 September 2001, Western policy-makers,
mainstream media organisations, and even academicians have been perversely reluctant to
highlight the crucial role played by Islamist ideology in motivating jihadist terrorist attacks.
Indeed, the more acts of jihadist terrorism that are perpetrated, acts in which the perpetrators
clearly reveal their ideological motivations, the more insistently key Western elites refuse to
acknowledge those motivations. This article discusses several of the reasons for this peculiar
disjuncture, and focuses in particular on the persistent efforts to whitewash certain features of
Islam, demonize its critics, and even engage in apologetics for Islamism at a time when the latter,
in both its violent and non-violent forms, poses a significant threat to Western democracies. One
especially worrisome source and dimension of this problem is the continuing reliance of Western
governments on members of Islamist advocacy organizations for advice. In order to illustrate the
degree to which “politically correct” impulses can have both damaging analytical and potentially
lethal consequences, three cases of jihadist terrorism are discussed herein – the Boston Marathon
bombings, the gruesome assault on a British soldier in Woolwich, and the mass shootings at Fort

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