Many political theories state that one can’t solve a political problem without perceiving the problem accurately. For example, the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2007 was based on the false perception that Iraq somehow caused the 9/11 bombing and other international terrorist activities. The invasion was also based on the false perception that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction” which threatened U.S. security.
The existential logical deduction from these perceptions was that if we invade Iraq and turn the country into a U.S.-friendly democracy, there would be less world terrorism (jihad) and the U.S. would be safer.
Of course, the false existential premises led to false results. The invasion resulted in more terrorism and less U.S. security.
(See also When to Invade.)
The same basic reasoning can be used in perceiving the conflict between Islam and the West.
The perception that President Obama has is that terrorism is not caused by Islam, or by the Koran, or by following the example of Mohammed’s life. The terrorist problem is caused by disordered extremists who twist a good and peaceful religion into one with evil and destructive practices.
The perception of the problem of many of Obama’s opponents – the right wing – is that terrorism is caused by Muslim extremists. Once we perceive the problem accurately, then we are more able to resolve it effectively.
RG’s perception of the problem differs from both of the above perceptions. I see the terrorism problem as a direct result of the Koran and the life of Mohammed. The terrorists are not evil, psychotic, psychopathic, nor anti-authentic Islam. Rather they are authentic Muslims who have an authentic and reasonable interpretation of the Koran and Mohammed’s life. They are fundamentalist Muslims, who practice what they reasonably believe that the Koran says and what Mohammed practiced in his life. The real problem is the Koran, Mohammed’s life, and fundamentalism.
Thus, we will not resolve the terrorist problem until we accurately perceive the problem and its causes.