Helle C. Dale, senior fellow in public diplomacy at the Heritage Foundation, says it all in the title of her recent post at The Daily Signal.
Why is this true? Because in the same way that every action is rooted in a thought, entire movements spring from sets of ideas. To ignore this reality is hapless folly. As we watch the evil flow of jihadist terrorism engulfing wretched victims and threatening free societies, no effort to stem that tide which does not include the ideological element can ultimately succeed.
Unfortunately, the Western media, and intelligentsia, steeped as they are in an atheistic-materialist worldview, seem to be little inclined to consider how religious and ideological elements might play into these conflicts. But South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is one exception. Graham effectively expressed the truth about this matter during an interview on Fox News last week.
We are in a religious war with radical Islamists who’ve embraced a religious doctrine that requires them, compelled by [Allah], to purify their religion, to kill all moderate Muslims or people who don’t agree with them within the faith, to destroy every other religion.
The jihadists themselves understand the religious nature of this war. Their recruitment messages appeal unabashedly to youths—male and female—who are disaffected with the superficiality in life in the West. They want to change the world and ISIS gives them that opportunity, as Holly Yan writes at CNN World.
The false messages of ISIS can only be countered by the truths of the Bible. This is one of the messages from Darrow Miller’s 2012 book, Emancipating the World: A Christian Response to Radical Islam and Fundamentalist Atheism. His analysis includes the following excerpt which speaks to the religious nature of the current conflict which, for many millions of people, effectively began on September 11, 2001.
A Religious War
Most Western media, news, and university elites are cultural relativists; they are tone-deaf to the pronouncements of the jihadists. They see the poverty of and injustices committed against Muslim societies as the primary source of jihadists’ rage against the West. And yet, as we have seen, this is not the rhetoric fueling al-Qaeda. The elites of the Western world are in a Neville Chamberlain mode, in denial of the dangers we face.
Dr. Mary Habeck, associate professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins University, has written:
The consistent need to find explanations other than religious ones for the attacks says, in fact, more about the West than it does about the jihadis. Western scholars have generally failed to take religion seriously. Secularists . . . discount the plain sense of religious statements made by the jihadis themselves. To see why jihadis declared war on the United States and tried to kill as many Americans as possible, we must be willing to listen to their own explanations. To do otherwise is to impose a Western interpretation on the extremists, in effect to listen to ourselves rather than to them. [emphasis added]
We have witnessed this over and over again in the politically correct statements of President Obama and his administration. In November 2009 US Army major Nidal Malik Hasan, a Muslim radical, cried “Allahu Akbar” as he murdered fourteen people and wounded thirty-one at the Fort Hood army base. Janet Napolitano, secretary of homeland security, commented on the rampage: “This was an individual who does not, obviously, represent the Muslim faith.” In February 2010 the Department of Homeland Security’s Quadrennial Homeland Security Report “failed to make any reference to the Islamist nature of the threat.”
Today many academics, reporters, and government officials view the world through an atheistic and materialistic set of glasses. They see all problems and their solutions through political and economic lenses. They cannot understand how jihadists can be motivated by religious belief. Robert Spencer, American author and director of Jihad Watch, writes:
Even at the Wall Street Journal they don’t understand that the primary motivation of the jihadists is a religious ideology, not resentment born of economic injustice or marginalization. Economic injustice and marginalization are things they understand; a religious ideology that can move men to give up good lives and devote themselves to murder and destruction is so far out of their purview that they cannot even imagine it, and take all the evidence of it that is in front of their faces as indications of something else.
– Darrow Miller
 Mary Habeck, Knowing the Enemy: Jihadist Ideology and the War on Terror (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006), 7.
 “Napolitano Warns against Anti-Muslim Backlash,” Fox News, November 8, 2009, http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/11/08/napolitano-warns-anti-muslim-backlash/.
 Kim R. Holmes, “Who Links Terrorism to Islam? Not America,” The Washington Times, February 19, 2010, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/feb/19/who-links-terrorism-to-islam-not-america/.
 Robert Spencer, “Does America Have a ‘Muslim Problem’?” FrontPageMagazine.com, September 9, 2005, http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=7325.
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