Islamism and Islam are different

Re: “9/11 and the lost decade of policy” Sept. 14

Although this article makes many good points about the negative effects of the wars in the Middle East and civil rights violations in the name of anti-terrorism, it is factually incorrect in one particular point. The article cites a quote by Stephen Harper about Islamism being a threat to national security and states “to name Islamism as the cause of 9/11 is to paint all people of the Muslim faith as terrorists.”

Islamism and Islam are not the same thing: Islam is a religion, whereas Islamism is a political ideology.

Islamism is the fundamentalist and anti-secularist belief that Islamic law must form the basis of national law in Muslim countries and that mosque and state must not be separated.

Islamism also frequently includes the belief in purging all non-Muslim influences from Muslim countries, and often includes an opposition toward western and secular culture that may manifest itself in violent forms.

Now, whether or not Islamism is actually a major threat to Canadian national security today in 2011 is debatable.

However, the fact is, claiming “Islamists” are a threat to Canadian security is not the same as saying “Islam” or “Muslims” are a threat. In making his statement, Harper was not speaking against an entire religion, but against a specific fundamentalist political ideology.