James Forsyth

The Archbishop shows politicians a more honest way to answer the question

The Archbishop shows politicians a more honest way to answer the question
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After Islamist terrorist atrocities, political leaders often rush to say that the attacks had nothing to do with Islam. One can understand why they feel the need to do this but the problem is the terrorists clearly do think, however mistakenly, that they are acting in the name of Islam.

But if any politician wants to know how to answer the question about the link between terrorism and Islam, they should look at these answers from the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in an interview with The New York Times:

There are aspects of Islamic practice and tradition at the moment that involve them in violence, as there are, incidentally, in Christian practice. The answer to that is not to condemn a whole religious tradition with one simple sentence, but nor is it to pretend it’s not happening

Question:  Do you think that these terror attacks are primarily a result of some kind of political or sociological phenomenon, or primarily religiously driven?

A. There are undoubtedly economic and sociological causes. But it is a massive error of a secular worldview to say that explains it. There are also religious elements, some of them more authentic than others, and the issue of pushing back against terror requires not merely a robust criticism of those places that fund and finance and support terror, but also a long-term ideological campaign to provide alternative narratives that are as exciting as the one the terrorist organizations run.

Welby’s answer strike me as far more intellectually honest than simply claiming that Islam has nothing to do with these terrorist attacks.