You Can’t Destroy Ideas with Bombs

ISIS is just the tip of the iceberg. It is just the latest symptom of the underlying disease that is radical Islam. Most Muslims worldwide are NOT radicalized; they are not extremists. But among non-radicalized Muslims, there is still a substantial amount of sympathy or support for radical leaders and groups.

The Demographics of Islam from the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs:

“Islam is the world’s second largest religion after Christianity, with approximately 1.5 billion adherents-nearly a quarter of the global population. Islam dominates the religious landscape of the Middle East, North Africa, and large parts of Asia. Though the Arab world is often regarded as the historical heartland of Islam, Arabs comprise only about 20 percent of the world’s Muslim population, while about 30 percent come from the Indian subcontinent and the rest live in Asia outside the Middle East and the West. The country with the largest Muslim population is Indonesia, home to about 13 percent of all Muslims worldwide. Islam is the largest religion in Africa, with a particularly strong presence in the North and West. Sizeable Muslim minorities exist in many countries, including Russia and China. Islam is the second largest religion in much of Europe, and Muslim communities exist in North and South America as well. By best estimates, 87-90 percent of Muslims are Sunni and 10-13 percent are Shi’a, with small numbers belonging to other sects.”

It is difficult to say how many Muslims are either radicalized, or are sympathetic or supportive to the more extreme version of the religion. Fundamentalism does not necessarily imply violence. But the extremist Muslims are almost exclusively fundamentalists. And fundamentalism tends, more often than not, to lend support to a radical point of view.

Radical Islam is supported by Islamic fundamentalism. More specifically, it rises out of a certain idea: that Muslims have the right and duty to use force to convert the whole world to Islam — and to kill all who refuse to convert. This idea is found among the Shiite Muslims who lead Iran, and among the Sunni Muslims who lead ISIS. The outcries: “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” really mean: “Convert or Die”. There is no toleration of other religions, and no end to their quest for a worldwide Islamic State.

We can’t destroy radical Islam with bombs. ISIS is just an expression of the main principle of radical Islam: “Convert or Die”. If we kill all the leaders of ISIS, new leaders will rise up, from radical Islam, with the same radical ideas. If ISIS ceases to exist, it will be replaced by a different group, operating under the same principle, the claim that any amount of force is justified to destroy every religion, culture, political system, and philosophy, other than radical Islam. And the more we bomb the Arab/Muslim nations, the more their population will hate us and support whomever we are bombing. Radical Islam will only increase in strength and numbers.

What could be worse?

Soon, the extremists who run Iran will have nuclear weapons — if they don’t have them already. The Iranian leaders also have the same attitude as ISIS, that the whole world must be forced to convert to radical Islam or be put to death.

Iranian leaders are Twelvers, who believe that the reappearance of the Twelfth Imam (the Mahdi) will usher in an apocalyptic holy war that will kill all who refuse to convert. According to author Joel Rosenberg:

“But one thing that is fairly well agreed upon among devout ‘Twelvers’ is that the Mahdi will end apostasy and purify corruption within Islam. He is expected to conquer the Arabian Peninsula, Jordan, Syria, ‘Palestine,’ Egypt and North Africa, and eventually the entire world. During this time, he and Jesus will kill between 60 and 80 percent of the world’s population, specifically those who refuse to convert to Islam.” [Source]

One of the more alarming ideas within this type of radical Islamic eschatology is that a large percentage of the world’s population, even as much as 60 to 80%, will be directly killed in a holy war. With a world population of about 7 billion, this percentage works out to roughly 4.2 to 5.6 billion persons killed. Extremists Muslims justify killing any number of persons, merely because they refuse to convert.

Why is ISIS committing acts of extreme violence? It is not because they object to American or European foreign policy. It is not anything we have said or done. They commit acts of violence in pursuit of their goal: to force the whole world to convert to radical Islam.

The Future

My predictions regarding radical Islam: Once Iran gets nuclear weapons, there will be a power struggle in Iran. Hassan Rouhani will emerge as the sole leader of Iran, being both President and Supreme Leader at the same time. ISIS will then make a pact with Iran, so that these two powers, the Sunnis of ISIS and the Shiites of Iran, can work together against the West. Then the rest of the Arab/Muslim nations of the Middle East and northern Africa will unite under the dual leadership of Iran and ISIS (based in Iraq).

And then World War 3 will begin.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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