The term of "radical Islamic terrorism" has been repeated so often that now it almost has a place in the Western lexicon. Despite the fact that George W Bush, Margeret Thatcher, Tony Blair, Barack Obama and many other Western leaders warned against its use, there is a war of words over "Islamic terrorism." Muslim leaders and scholars say that if you resort to terror you cannot be a Muslim because terror is condemned by the tenets of Islam. President Obama wouldn't use the name "Islamic State" for that terrorist group and referred to it by its acronym ISIL. There are 50 Muslim-majority countries in the world, none of which calls itself the Islamic State. Calling a terror organization Islamic State denigrates Muslim people around the world.Deputy assistant to President Donald Trump Sebastian Gorka, a self-proclaimed expert on counterterrorism, Islamism, jihadism and such, single-handedly put this word into the president's mouth. Well maybe he was not alone in that; financier-cum-ideologue-cum-presidential assistant Steve Bannon also had a hand in this.
Bannon believes the Apocalypse is coming, and war is inevitable. He thinks we're in "the great Fourth Turning in American history." You don't want to know what the Fourth Turning or the previous three turnings were in American history. Yet very briefly, they are theoretical concepts used by generational theorists William Strauss and Neil Howe, who argued that American history operates in four-stage cycles that move from major crisis to awakening to major crisis. They call these crises Fourth Turnings. I guess you are already rolling your eyes, but Trump's top advisor believes that the U.S.'s Fourth Turning occurred on Sept. 18, 2008, when Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke went to Capitol Hill to ask for a bailout of the international banking system.
Bannon hired Gorka as his deputy. Prof. Dan Nexon of Georgetown University recently published a two-part article on Gorka's academic qualifications on the Lawyers, Guns & Money website. According to Nexon's evaluation, Gorka's doctoral thesis is a work of shoddy scholarship:
"It would be unacceptable as an undergraduate thesis ... at Georgetown University. My guess is that Gorka wanted to call himself 'Doctor,' and his PhD-granting institution was happy to oblige."
Gorka received his doctoral degree from the University of Budapest when he was working for the Hungarian government as a counterterrorism adviser. In general, he holds the opinion that Islam, as a religion, requires its faithful to believe in violence as a legitimate tool because the Quran is "full of war verses." He doesn't know Arabic and he has not studied Prophetic traditions (Hadith), yet he considers terror "systemic" in Islam (hence Islamic terrorism).
Enter Trump's new national security advisor, Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster. In his first "all hands" staff meeting, Gen. McMaster said that the label "radical Islamic terrorism" was not helpful because terrorists are "un-Islamic."
Now, where was that bottle of Tylenol, Mr. President?
About the author
Hakkı Öcal is an award-winning journalist. He currently serves as academic at Ibn Haldun University.