The GOP is demanding that the Democratic presidential candidates use the term “radical Islam” to refer to ISIS. Yet it’s hard to imagine them making similar demands that various acts of homegrown terrorism be called the work of “radical Christians.” Many would argue that simply committing such an act means one is not a true Christian. By the same token, ISIS is not Islamic, as Islam is understood and practiced by the overwhelming majority of the world’s Muslims. So why insist on the label, unless you have an axe to grind about a faith you deem inferior? Why add to the Islamophobic backlash that has already led to a Texas mosque having its front door hit with feces?
ISIS thinks in terms of a “clash of civilizations,” and (surprise!) so do American right-wingers. Anyone framing this issue as The West vs. Islam is playing right into ISIS’s hands.