I think, there is a much more fundamental flaw in the reasoning here and another layer to the onion which underlies the whole argument; the war on “terror” is a complete misnomer and doomed to fail, the whole argument skewed and framed by govt.
Firstly, the “terrorists” are only a symptom of something else - an idea, ideology or “meme” that is being “communicated” by various methods in society. It isn’t very effective to try to continuously treat the symptoms, rather than the cause of the underlying disease. It is also ridiculous therefore to expect to win a war against bad ideas spreading, by stemming 1 particular means of communication – all means of communication would have to be stopped and eventually “thought-crime” would become a reality.
The particular bad meme we are dealing with that creates the terrorists derives from an interpretation of the Q’ran. The argument is basically framed by govts and religious leaders, around the idea that this particularly toxic interpretation is a travesty of the “true” message of the book, a mis-reading.
The truth of the matter is that the terrorists’ interpretation is just as valid and probably much more so (on balance reading the text) than the moderates’ viewpoint.
You could argue this till the cows come home, but the basic incontrovertible truth is that these books (Bible etc inc) contain both good and bad ideas, self-contradictory things….and they can literally be interpreted any which way you want.
THIS….I think is the underlying, fundamental issue – I mean, what are the “fundamentalists”, fundamentalist about? - the fundamentals of their religion….as they see it. Their position is unquestionably reasonable – (If you grant the books are somehow magic or contain ultimate truths). It could be said that the terrorists are just more devout Muslims just as easily as misguided ones.
We are fighting a bad meme, so we should be looking at how to stop the bad meme spreading – you can only do this with good memes, not force. To frame the fight as a war on “terrorism” is to cut serpents from Medusa – they just grow more martyred heads.
It seems clear to me that given the situation we now have with all the harm being caused, where we have a handful of books, which can mean anything to anybody being ascribed magic powers – it is a recipe for disaster.
I would further say that I do not primarily blame the terrorists, I blame the books, I blame the Imams and I blame the “knowledgeable” moderates primarily. You may ask why the last group and I would say because they give legitimacy to the books as a source of “truth”, the same books the terrorists get their “truth” from – they therefore are culpable. I say “knowledgeablet” meaning that they see the harm being done and are intelligent enough to see the books can be interpreted in alternative ways – I need make no ideological claims or enter into any existential arguments here – I am just making what I think is a rational argument.
I would go further to say that I believe it is morally incumbent on all decent people who understand the issues to question why they believe what they believe – are they good reasons….good enough reasons for this? I think those that do not care much about these things, don’t really believe but call themselves Christian or Muslim and don’t even THINK ABOUT WHY and ignore the consequences of continuing the madness are as culpable if not more so than the terrorists. The terrorists have been brain-washed by the Imams….they are victims too as I see it.
And……why do you think Govts frame the issue this way? They don’t want to chuck the baby out with the bath water do they? They want you religious and ignorant and controllable and easy to mobilize under a moral crusade or Jihad….take your pick, it oscillates throughout history - bad guys just cottoned on to this and decided to do things old style biblical….anyway….meh….this Charlie Hebdo thing really been pissing me off all week….