The World War Inside Islam

(Foreign Policy) James Traub - The establishment of a self-declared "caliphate" in the heart of the Arab world, as well as the slaughter of a group of cartoonists in the heart of Europe, has made radical Islam look far more effective, more powerful, and more threatening than it had when the movement was led by a handful of men in caves. The 9/11 attacks gave the misleading impression that the rise of Islamist extremism was "about" the West. But Islamist extremism is about Islam and about the regimes that rule in the name of the faith; it is hard to imagine the extremist narrative losing its appeal unless and until Arab regimes gain real legitimacy in the eyes of their own citizens. There is a great deal that the West can, must, and will do to defend itself from the terrible consequence of this struggle inside another civilization, but there's little it can do to change the terms of that struggle. But doing little is not the same as nothing. Anything outside actors can do to fortify the legitimacy of Arab states in the eyes of their own citizens will help tip the scales in the war inside Islam. The writer is a fellow of the Center on International Cooperation.

2015-02-13 00:00:00

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