September 1, 2012  

Understanding the threat

Maj. Mark Jacobsen’s well-laid-out plan in “How to Teach About Islam” [July/August] misses a basic point: We, as members of different departments of our government, in order to protect and defend the United States and its interests through counterterrorism, law enforcement, military or public policy roles, do not study Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity or any other religion as a matter of curiosity. We study the tenets of the Islamic faith and its teachings because they have been cited by the most aggressive and lethal terrorist groups of our time as justification for attacking the U.S., the West, Christianity, Judaism and even what they consider apostate Islamic governments in their native countries.

The major cites progressives and moderates whose practice and interpretation of Islam is not widely understood, but unless we see those Muslims counteracting (denouncing, condemning, thwarting and shaming) the extremist threat, they are of little interest or consequence to us except in the larger academic understanding of the faith.

While balance is justified, and imbalance or disinformation that promotes intolerance and discrimination should be righted, as should programs to muzzle debate and dialogue, there is a different reason we study Islam: to understand the threat from its extreme adherents, and thus the aspects studied are rightly focused on that.

Capt. Greg D. Rowe, Navy

Chief Staff Officer

Information Dominance Corps Region – Southwest