Islam as Ideology – and Its Exclusion

By James R. Edwards, Jr. on January 10, 2016

Just as in medicine, getting the diagnosis right is half the battle. So is it with immigration policies relating to Muslims. This will enable U.S. officials to prescribe the right cure: ideological exclusion.

Former State Department official John Bolton has recently compared the United States' and the West's conflict with Soviet Communism to the present U.S. and Western conflict with radical Islam. It's a compelling comparison:

Although communism and radical Islam differ in countless ways, they share one critical element: they are ideologies driven by an obsession to force the real world to match their preconceptions, whether of class conflict or superior religious belief. Terrorist attacks are simply manifestations of the ideology, the symptoms of the threat, not the threat itself. Accordingly, U.S. policies that ignore the ideological driving force will fail, because they are not addressing the real menace.

Bolton quotes historian George Kennan, who observed that the Soviets' conduct fostered hatred against them among Western officials. But, "The Communists, on the other hand, hated the Western governments for what they were, regardless of what they did."

This difference in motivation must be recognized. Adherents of radical Islam hate the civilized world of the West — and America especially — because of what we are: Nations with a shared culture, built upon a Judeo-Christian foundation, characterized by the rule of law, individual liberty, free enterprise, and equality under the law.

The fundamentals of our civilization are anathema to Sharia law, and proponents of radical Islam are not only incompatible with American and Western society, but hold beliefs and ideology bound and determined to destroy our society.

That is, there is no way to win the hearts and minds of those holding the radical Islamist ideology. Sharia Islamism is an enemy of the state in the United States and other Western nations.

The clear connection between strengthening our ideological exclusion laws during the Cold War and the need to reinvigorate our ideological exclusion laws now in response to the ongoing conflict with radical Islamists (something involving "hot" and "cold" war and insurgent elements) should be inescapable to rational human beings responding to the God-given nature for self-preservation and defending one's own people and place.

The Eagle Forum's Phyllis Schlafly recently stressed the need for this common-sense course of action.

As far as ideological exclusion, the record of attacks on our own soil by Sharia Islamists — on the World Trade Center and up to more recent Islamist-inspired attacks in San Bernardino and Chattanooga, against Americans because of who they are and the liberty under law they represent — calls for reinstitution.

Presidential candidate Donald Trump has called for stopping all Muslim immigration until we assess the situation. That option should be on the table and a reasonable emergency move, but it isn't a permanent solution.

Islam differs from Communism in that Communism is an ideology, while Islam is both a religion and an ideology. Not all Muslims hold Islamic beliefs that lead them to join or support ISIS or al Qaeda or any of the other strains of Islamic political extremism. It's not quite the same, but analogous to Christianity having different denominations (e.g. Protestantism vs. Catholicism). There are some westernized Muslims whose strain of that religion allows both civilized living in Western society and fidelity to Islam.

It seems the majority of Muslims are sympathetic enough to radical Islam or fearful enough of the imams and the totalitarians of the Taliban, Hezbollah, et al. who incite ideological belief and its political manifestations (e.g., large, worldwide demonstrations following Mohammed cartoons' publication). Even the large-scale Syrian "refugee" movement across Europe appears to be a mix of a few actual refugees, opportunists, adventurists, and radical Islamists.

Restoring meaningful ideological exclusion policies is long overdue. But it must be done in a manner that addresses today's foremost external threat to America's existence: radical political Islam.

Failure to reinvigorate and fiercely enforce ideological exclusion leaves Americans and the American way of life increasingly vulnerable to deadly attacks and to the ability of foreign radicals and their sympathizers to use our political processes to displace the democratic republic our Constitution guarantees.

Our leaders must get serious and become clear-eyed about the threat and the proper policy response. It is critical to start carefully, systematically screening would-be immigrants, refugees, asylees, and even immigrants already in this country for their ideological beliefs and keeping out those whose allegiance is to political Islamic radicalism.

Otherwise, the San Bernardino-style slaughter of innocent Americans; wholesale rapes and assaults on Western women by Muslim men as in Cologne, Germany, during what is supposed to be a holiday celebration; Islamist terrorist attacks in busy shopping malls; and other manifestations of hatred against our nation and the American people because of what we are will continue to escalate.