According to the British government Islamic terrorists or extremists will be no more. Last year it stopped using such terms as "the war on terror." It was offensive to Muslims and provided Al Qaida with a powerful recruiting tool as the terrorists could paint their struggle as the defense of Muslim values against a war waged by Western secularism. Now Gordon Brown's government imagines it can woo Muslim opinion by renaming Islamic terrorism as "anti-Islamic activity." At the same time a Dutch film maker was postponing the issue of his study of Islam in which he likened the Koran to Hitler's Mein Kampf, the British government wants us all to believe that Muslim belief does not countenance acts of atrocity against infidels. I must say it will have a hard job on its hands.
Looking at the problem of radicalizing young Muslims in Western society, we may say that if indeed renaming Islamic terrorism as anti-Islamic activity they have done in the past, it would be an acceptable change. However, there is no evidence that changes like the one we are considering will have the slightest effect on Al Qaida recruitment or on the radicalizing of young Muslims.
Along with renaming Islamic terrorism, the government intends seeking to encourage mosques to deal with extremism and to prevail on more imams to learn to speak English. Now we are getting to the real heart of the problem but the government's way of dealing with is insipid and doomed to fail. Britain's mosques have all too often been hotbeds of rebellion and treachery. The Arabic-speaking imams bode no good for Britain, rather are they all too often the lightning rods for Muslim discontent.
Wishing Muslim terrorism away will not get rid of it. Renaming it will make no difference to it. Being nice to radical imams whose big purpose in Britain is to radicalize young Muslims is like feeding cupcakes to a hungry lion in the hope he won't eat you. Britain is afflicted with the same fear of Islam that is paralyzing the other governments of Europe. They are undoubtedly right in seeking not to offend or alienate Muslims who wish them no harm and engage in no radical activity. But it is difficult to see how or why law-abiding Muslims should be radicalized or scandalized by calling terrorists who commit their acts of carnage in the name of their religion "Islamic terrorists." Those moderate Muslims know as well as the rest of us that many of Britain's mosques are havens for radical imams and their followers, so why would they be offended at that fact being publicly stated?
Whether we like it or not, the West is in a war with Islamic terrorists. We cannot wish it away. Nor can we win it simply with guns and rockets. We have an increasing Muslim community. It is largely a closed community and therefore more easily radicalized. What we need is the exposure of Muslims to genuine Christianity, preached and lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. What they imagine is Christianity is more likely antichristianity and we need to give ourselves to prayer that we may be able to have an effective Christian witness that will bring Muslims out of the bondage of Islam into the liberty of the gospel. Converted Muslims-just as converted Jews, Protestants, Roman Catholics or Hindus-will never become terrorists.