One of the points that I’ve seen made on social media – I believe basketball great Kareem Abdul Jabbar has been making this point repeatedly – is that ISIS (or Daesh, as we’re now supposed to call it) has the same relationship to Islam as the KKK has to Christianity.
I’m not sure that analogy works completely, but I do get the essential point. ISIS is in no way representative of ordinary Muslims.
With respect to the ISIS-KKK analogy:
- Unlike ISIS, the KKK has had a long history, and there have been three distinguishable movements over the years. While nominally Protestant, and both anti-Semitic and anti-Immigrant, the KKK is primarily a white supremacist and racist organization. In other words, Christian theology isn’t a big part of what animates the KKK. Theirs is mostly a straight-forward belief in white supremacy.
- ISIS (or Daesh) is a relatively new organization, but unlike the KKK, they actually hold territory. Also, belief that their mission is divinely inspired and part of the restoration of the historic caliphate is very much at the core of their belief system.
It should be noted that the largest Muslim countries in the world have essentially nothing to do with radical Islam. Indonesia and India are the two largest Muslim countries, and there have been essentially no radical Islamic groups emerging out of either country. Or out of countries like the largely secular Turkey. This underlines how little ISIS has to do with Islam worldwide.
By the way, French President François Hollande’s constant assertion over the last week that France is “at war” with ISIS completely plays into the ISIS ideology: that Islam – as was true during the Crusades – is at war with the West. So, François, maybe it’s time to pipe down a little. Otherwise the terrorist will have “won,” as the saying goes.
 There has been been over a generation of Turkish “Gastarbeiter” or guest workers living in Germany. They make valuable contributions to the German National Soccer Team (die “Mannschaft”) and to German society in general, but they have essentially not been the source of any radical Muslim activity or “homegrown” terrorism.