As I watch this story unfold I’ve been curious about the repeated use of the word “radicalization” in reference to the two Muslims who set off bombs at the Boston Marathon.
As I’ve written here before, words matter, and the use of the word “radicalization” as a substitute for getting too much of a bad religion concerns me.
There is nothing new about Muslims killing people in the name of Allah. It’s been happening for 1,400 years. The crusades were a response to, not an instigator of, such Muslim aggression. And it’s in the book (the Koran), so it’s not a hard sell for young zealous converts looking for meaning in life, whether it be killing Coptic Christians in Egypt, or Americans in Boston, or French in Mali. It’s the continuation of a long tradition.
That’s why I have a problem with the word, “radicalization.” It suggests there is something inconsistent between the conduct of those who have been radicalized and Islam in general, when at best it is a very, very thin line.
I get what our secular media is trying to do. I get what President Bush and President Obama have tried to do. The idea is to convince Muslims that their religion does not teach violence, that it is a “religion of peace,” in the hopes of preventing more Islamic terrorism on the one hand and hatred toward Muslims by the general public on the other.
The problem with such an approach is that those who need to hear it the most are the last who would ever listen. If you are a Christian, would you believe what the secular media or the President of the United States said about Christianity or would you believe the Bible and your religious leaders?
Christians need not participate in such naive, and ultimately fruitless, exercises. Truth is a better policy. Christians do not need to pretend Islam is something it is not in order to love Muslims. Jesus died for all sinners, including Muslims and Muslim terrorists, just like He died for a Christian-hating Jewish religious leader named Saul of Tarsus, and just like he died for you and me.
If you are a Christian you are to love Muslims and Muslim terrorists, even the two who are suspected of planting bombs in Boston this week. But you are not required to participate in a political rebranding of Islam. Leave that to the politicians. GS