Egypt a test case for war with Islam

Is there a difference between “Islamic extremism”, and Islam?

The British prime minster proposes Egypt as a test case:

This highlights, I think, a significant problem when discussing the terrorist threat that we face.  There is so much muddled thinking about this whole issue.  On the one hand, those on the hard right ignore this distinction between Islam and Islamist extremism, and just say that Islam and the West are irreconcilable – that there is a clash of civilizations.  So, it follows: we should cut ourselves off from this religion, whether that is through forced repatriation, favoured by some fascists, or the banning of new mosques, as is suggested in some parts of Europe .  These people fuel Islamophobia, and I completely reject their argument.  If they want an example of how Western values and Islam can be entirely compatible, they should look at what’s happened in the past few weeks on the streets of Tunis and Cairo : hundreds of thousands of people demanding the universal right to free elections and democracy.

The point is this: the ideology of extremism is the problem; Islam emphatically is not.  Picking a fight with the latter will do nothing to help us to confront the former.

It looks to me that those hundreds of thousands of people are demanding free elections, democracy, guaranteed government jobs, government subsidized food, war with Israel, and the right to rape infidel women.

Those who want to believe there is a difference between Islam and Islamic extremism, and that we are at war with one but not the other, are going to wind up telling themselves that Jews need killing, infidels need raping, and the masses need government jobs and government food.

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