Foreign Policy quotes Rafik Hariri Center Resident Fellow Faysal Itani on the rhetoric surrounding the Islamic State in the 2016 presidential election:

“This is a tricky one for non-Muslim Westerners to get right,” said Faysal Itani, a resident fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East. “I can understand why non-Muslims would want to delink the ideology from the religion, to discourage anti-Muslim bigotry and avoid alienating Muslims from the West, which would feed the jihadi narrative of ‘the West vs. Islam.'”


Itani warned that taking the word “Islam” out of the discussion “makes the conflict appear much less complicated than it is, which in turn makes it easier for Western governments to pursue shallow policies toward jihadist Islamism.” This has been seen so far, he said, by a U.S. strategy that seems to consist largely of airstrikes “with no thought to the milieu in which [jihadis] operate, as if they are some anomaly from Mars that has nothing to do with the dire state of Muslim civilization.”


It is still not up to the United States or any Western country to call for reform within Islam, argued Itani. “Western criticism of Islam — even of its fringe jihadi forms — may simply make Muslims even more defensive and less likely to have an honest debate about their religion,” he said.

Read the full article here.

Related Experts: Faysal Itani