Do not pray for New york, London or Paris, engage in the battle of ideas!

The world has a global problem with islam. Let’s get it right. New York, Paris, London, Africa, South America, India, China, Russia and the Philippines have all, just in the last couple of years, had to deal with islamic terrorism or the threat of islamic terrorism.

Since 9 /11 around 70 countries have had islamic terrorist attacks. (Gad Saad)

What has Islam got to do with it? Are western countries responsible for the rise of Islamic terror? And how do we fight Islamic terrorism?

If islamists kill Jews, western infidels and also kill each other, all with references to islamic theology and in the name of God, has it still not to do with the religion of islam?

Throughout my childhood and youth I have heard of, believed in and also fought for peace and democracy in the Middle East. For each year of my life, the world and I have had to come to terms with the fact, that we were moving further away from peace and democracy. The past five years has made it very clear that we’ve never been further from peace and democracy in that region.

What does Middle East have to do with terrorism that hits New York or Europe?

What we have witnessed in New York, Paris, London, Los Angeles and many other cities around the world, is a direct result of 40-50 years of radicalization of muslims everywhere. Radicalization of muslims but not islam. Radicalization is not even the right word.

Mainstream islam has not changed and the many different schools of law in islam, have not changed. Mainstream islam is the literal understandings of islamic texts, be it the Quran or Ahadeeth. Mainstream islam is literalism, it is an ideology.

All over the world both muslims and others have been exposed to, and have met the theological and totalitarian ideology that is mainstream islam. An ideology that uses violence, terror and war to suppress people, spread fear and gain power. Gays and Jews are not even considered real people, at least not people who deserve to live.

Women are second class citizens.

With terrorism hitting the West today, it becomes very clear that, what we thought was an Israel-problem was really an islam-problem.

The peoples of the Middle East are in the midst of Third World War, a sunni-shia war and also other holy wars. They are experiencing it or they fear that it will spread and spill into their countries as well. The situation is bad, war destroys people.

Building an alternative to the political and religious madness going on there, on all sides, seems absolutely impossible from within.

The sunni-shia war started in Syria, spread to Iraq and also Yemen. Iran and Saudi Arabia have big roles to play in these wars, and many other countries in the region are also effected and are influenced by this secterian conflict. The war is a religious one, and it’s about power and Islamic supremacy.

And it’s not even just the sunni-shia war, where muslims have turned against muslims, with reference to islamic theology. Muslims are killing muslisms in so many countries with reference to islamic theology; Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kurdish areas, Egypt, Tunisia, Somalia, Lebanon, Turkey and in many other countries.

All jihadists regardless of whether they are on one side or the other, or a third, they are muslims for whom their god is great. It applies to Hezbollah, as it applies to ISIS. They use the saying “God is great” in arabic “Allahu Akbar”, in their terror attacks and before their killings.

So if islamists kill jews, western infidels and also kill each other, even with very specific references to islam and islamic theology, does it still not have to do with the religion of Islam and Islamic theology?

And if not, then does this expanding and rampant sectarian war of terror, have to do with the western racism and imperialist war?

Actually, racism and imperialist wars are relevant concepts to discuss when it comes to the islamic expanding wars and terror, because they are integrated in the ideology on all sides of the sectarian holy wars of jihadists.

The racist and imperialist ideology that prevails on all sides of these wars and also effects the West by the everyday terror, is exactly what we need to identify, analyze and fight against. Islamic terror has become the new normal.

As the former leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir, Maajid Nawaz said about the deadliest attack on Paris, since the second world war; “We must stop blaming the West and realize that there is something wrong with our own values.” (Loosely quoted from the live coverage on the night of the terror-attack.)

Not only ISIS and Al Qaeda threatens world peace

But the worlds problems with islamic terrorism has not only to do with Al Qaeda and ISIS.

My own father fled from an Islamic revolution in Iran in the early eighties, rather a revolution that was terrorized and then stolen by the shiite islamists, all because the secular liberals and the lefties ignored islam.

Today I therefore live in Europe and I’m now European, and as a European I have had to fear the Iranian regime, in Europe.

Iran is also a threat to the West. Remember the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, or the many killings of Iranian dissidents in exile? What about Irans plans to blow up a restaurant in Washington in 2011?

The bombing of Israeli embassies? What about the time Iran bombed a Jewish cultural center in Argentina and killed 85 and injured hundreds?

And not only does the Islamic Republic of Iran represent one of the world’s most repressive regimes and biggest sponsors of terrorism, Iran has great diplomatic and military skills too.

Iran has managed to expand their regional power through their holy warriors in the revolutionary guard, Hezbollah and other militias throughout the region.

If it was not for Iran, Assad would not be in power in Syria, and if it was not for Iran the sunnies would not have been marginalized in Iraq since 2003, and if it was not for Iran the houthies would not have been able to come to power in Yemen.

Today Iran has managed to play a central role as kind of an ally to the West, in the wars against ISIS, Al Qaeda, Al Nusra and other salafistis on that side.

But Iran is fighting a sectarian holy war on the other side.

We in the West have to understand the role of religion in these wars. It is necessary to understand the role of religion in the holy wars, and in the terror attacks, if we want to battle the ideas of homegrown islamists and jihadists in New York, Paris and other western countries. We need to understand the battle of ideas, if we want to win the battle.

We need to win the heart and mind of muslims in the West, not with apologetic whataboutery about islam, but with criticism of the religion.

We in the West must understand jihad and the religion, the politics, the ideology, the racism and the sectarianism behind it, on all sides.

Iran and Muslim Brotherhood (MB) are also the problem, they are not a part of the solution.

Many western leaders tend to think that MB is somewhat a peaceful and democratic movement, because they do not believe in and aim to practice holy war in the West.

Different tactics than ISIS, does not make islamists democrats.

Today it is very unrealistic in the Middle East to initiate or mobilize a counter-movement against mainstream islam (islamism), with a theological criticism, which is absolutely necessary in the long run. The battle of ideas can and will take place in the West, at least when it comes to the criticism of the religion.

Our police and militaries are not going to win this fight alone, it is never going to happen, and we therefore need to fight the very idea of islamism (mainstream islam).

Whether it will happen through a political counter-movement that upholds democracy and its values, or a cultural counter-movement that upholds modernity and freedom, or a religious and theological counter-movement that will reinterpret, and in popular terms reform islam, I can not say for sure. But criticism of mainstream islam is where it starts, and it’s much needed.

Muslims can stop being muslim or they can reform the religion, those are the options.

Mainstream islam can not coexist with others in democracies, as mainstream islam is today.

We probably will see a mixture of all three movements in the fight against our times greatest fascist threat to democracy, peace and coexistence, and the battle of ideas must be won with humanism, secularism and democracy.

Everyone who can, should make a difference for democracy, peace and coexistence.

They kill in New York, London and Paris and they kill everywhere. They kill innocent and peaceful young people, they terrorize us and give us nightmares, but they should know that they can not kill our values and our humanity.

We will not be intimidated by, nor ignore terror, and we will not stop defending our freedoms, values and our way of life. So we should stop pretending that the terror is fought with prayers, thoughts, flowers and candles, and instead get involved in the battle of ideas.