Moderates and Radicals

A new BuzzFeed article on “a homeschooled, evangelical Christian from Chattanooga” who went on to join the Islamic State has this to offer on her life before the Islamic State:

When she wasn’t working, she was active in many social justice groups in Chattanooga, protesting and raising awareness of issues facing the city’s working poor and often traveling out of state to march in rallies for teachers’ rights or protests against America’s overseas military actions.

As I have written many times before, this is why Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) or equipping mosques to counsel kids won’t make much of a difference. We need a political response and the American Muslim “leadership” has been too cowered to offer one. Moderation doesn’t cut it. Not any more at least. The Islamic State attracts people because it is radical. We need an equally radical response and only the left is capable of providing that.

As early as in 2005, Faisal Devji pointed out in an otherwise unmemorable article:

Like the gestures that mark the environmentalist or anti-war movements, those of the jihad arise from the luxury of moral choice. The passion of the holy warrior emerges from the same source as that of the anti-war protester – not from a personal experience of oppression but from observing the oppression of others. These impersonal and even vicarious passions draw upon pity for their strength. And pity is perhaps the most violent passion of all because it is selfless enough to tolerate monstrous sacrifices.

A left that can attract those disturbed by the violence, inequality, and general wretchedness of the world and empower them politically to work toward a more just world is the most potent weapon against groups like the Islamic State. Unfortunately, that encroaches on the comforts of those benefiting from the status quo a bit too much.