Three Arguments on Islam That Counterterrorism Scholars Need to Junk

Aersh Danish in The Wire:

ISIS-Iraq-ReutersSince 9/11, there has been a tremendous growth in terrorism-related research and related activities, with vast output through publications in mainstream and academic media, and seminars and conferences. The aim has been to develop a discourse that tries to understand the problem and then solve it. However, as a scholar of terrorism and counterterrorism for almost four years, I have observed that certain fallacies continue to mire the discourse. Mine is not the sole voice of complaint. Scholars of terrorism and/or counterterrorism studies have critically introspected upon the nature of the study and have expressed their dissatisfaction at various points. Specifically, my problems arise from the manner in which some scholars (mostly Muslim) argue about the interplay between Islam and Islamist terrorism.

The Global Terrorism Index 2016 states that 74% of all terrorism-related deaths were caused by ISIS, Boko Haram, the Taliban and al Qaeda – all of which espouse the concept of religious extremism. Due to the religious dimension of contemporary terrorism, a vast amount of scholarship has been dedicated to understanding how Islamist terrorist organisations use religion to build narratives that attract susceptible individuals. Thus, scholars of religion, prominent religious figures and clerics have begun to play an integral role in the discipline. A recent conference at an Indian think tank brought together a large number of Muslim researchers and clerics, as well as scholars of Islam and counter-terrorism to discuss how to address the challenge posed by religious extremism. While the intentions behind such events are indeed commendable, most scholars at such places tend to be apologists (for Islamist terrorism?).

More here.