For Americans, the iconic face of terrorism has become the devastation of the Twin Towers. For many American Muslims the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 were an awakening to the urgency of the long festering struggles deep within our faith communities. Radicalism does not spontaneously arise out of thin air. Al-Qaeda, Hamas, the Taliban, or Hezbollah are but symptoms of a far more pervasive ideology that has both violent and non-violent components. "Violent extremism", as some like to call it, is only one terminal end point of an insidious ideology that provides a conveyer belt with many other endpoints. Liberal Muslims know that none end in genuine liberty, and all end in some form of theocratic supremacy.
Enjoying a deep love of God and the role which Islam plays in my own soul and conscience, I have long known this central conflict to be a deeper more nuanced one between political Islam (Islamism) and liberty (liberal democracy). Many of us had already long begun to confront the deep seeded elements within various Muslim mindsets and institutions of political Islam (Islamism) and its incompatibilities with modernity and American freedom.