In the wake of the horrific video and pictures chronicling the murder of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh, I found this piece by William Kilpatrick to be particularly poignant:
A widely read Catholic news outlet recently carried a piece about the causes of Islamic terrorism. The conclusion? We don’t know what causes it, but it doesn’t seem to have much to do with Islam.
That has become a familiar refrain. When bad things are done in the name of Islam, we are told it has nothing to do with Islam. To be fair to the author, Susan Wills, she relies heavily on two books by academics who have studied terrorism.
One would think they should know the score, but they are hesitant to come to any conclusions, except to rule out the one that would jump to most people’s minds when an Allahu akbar-shouting individual starts shooting in their direction.
One of the authorities cites seven reasons why individuals might turn to terrorism, but none of them has anything to do with religion. For example, reason No. 1 is the aggressors “feel angry, alienated or disenfranchised” — a descriptor that would fit about one-third of the planet’s young-adult males.
Although the terrorists themselves may cite religion as a motivator, the researchers dismiss this as a red herring made up after the fact to justify their behavior. Consequently, for counterterrorism agents’ purposes of profiling, “infiltrating mosques and hanging out in hookah bars is a waste of time.”
The White House seems to be consulting the same researchers. President Barack Obama and his representatives refuse to connect Muslim terrorist attacks with Islam — not even with “radical Islam.” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest has been pushing the nothing-to-do-with-Islam meme — well, in earnest.
After the Paris massacre last month, he wouldn’t address the terrorists’ loudly shouted explanation: “Allahu akbar! We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad!” According to Earnest, this was an obvious red herring: “They later tried to justify that act of terrorism by invoking the religion of Islam and their own deviant view of it.” In another briefing, he said, “We’re still trying to figure out exactly … what their motivations are.”
And so, it seems, are some Catholic journalists. One of the academics Wills cites answers the question, “Why would anyone commit such acts?” with “We don’t know why. Even the terrorists don’t really know what their motivations are.”
The terrorists don’t know why? Then what’s the point of terrorizing?
Do read the rest.
Mr. Kilpatrick's money quote in his closing comments: "If you’re not familiar with the laws of probability, you can always consult the laws of common sense."
The enlightened West will need a healthy dose of common sense to deal with the rampaging barbarians that threaten us all.