10/03/2014 02:14 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Fear of Criticism Enables Jihadist's Rampage


To state that the IS (Islamic State) only appeared a few months ago, out of nowhere, is preposterous. IS is part of the jihadist and Islamist paralysis currently affecting large parts of the Muslim world. Had we just looked a bit more carefully behind the scenes of the play that was called the Arab Spring, we would have been able to see this. Very few wanted to acknowledge or even report on the fundamentalist rampage for fear of being singled out as Islamophobic, but have, by a failure to act, instead helped the jihadists' movement.

Since IS in June invaded Mosul in Iraq, there has been a confused and misguided debate. On one side of the debate are those who attack Islam as a religion and include all Muslims in something they believe stands for hatred, bloodshed and oppression. On the other side are Muslims and intellectuals such as e.g. journalists, who openly accuse those reporting, debating and analyzing IS's rampage, labeling them Islamophobes. Both postures are unreasonable.

IS requires that all who do not follow their way of interpreting the Qur'an either convert to Islam or otherwise prepare themselves to flee or die. The act of writing about how IS puts this approach into practice does not make one Islamophobic, just like thinking that a terrorist group that kidnaps children for brainwashing, women for sexual slavery and beheading journalists in front of cameras must be stopped does. The many Muslims who believe that IS is a terrorist organization that must to be stopped, are they Islamophobes as well?

For over ten years, Assyrians/Chaldeans/Syriacs, Mandaeans and Yezidées have been killed in Iraq because of their faith. Over 100 churches have been damaged or completely destroyed by Islamist attacks in Iraq, for a full decade before IS or ISIS became known concepts. Since the war began in March 2011, the same thing is happening in Syria. How much have you read about this in the media? Who were the perpetrators before IS was formed?

"What do you think about America's drone attacks that kill innocent people?" was a Swedish journalist's first question to me in an interview about the extermination murder of non-Muslims in Iraq and Syria. I assumed that with his question he meant to imply that Islamists could be provoked by America's war on terror and therefore kill Christian Assyrians. Yes, that was exactly what he meant. The day after, I was in contact with another Swedish journalist who wanted to "balance" their reports with the question; "But the Crusaders then?" Yes, that's right, the crusades in the Middle Ages. What do they have to do with anything?

It is high time that we start calling things by their proper name in Sweden, USA and the rest of the world. If we dare to shine the light on, and criticize, IS followers here in the western world, perhaps we can prevent the recruiting of even more young men into one of the most dangerous movements in the world. And maybe even stop attacks from happening in New York, Stockholm or London. But if all our energy goes into accusing those who want to bring this to the surface, labeling them racists and Islamophobes, then there could indeed be consequences that we may come to regret very deeply.