While professing unwavering faith in a transcendent deity, radical Islam is a militant, politically activist ideology whose ultimate goal is to create a worldwide community, or caliphate, of Muslim believers. Determined to achieve this new world order by any means necessary, including violence and mass murder, radical Islam is characterized by its contempt for the beliefs, practices, and symbols of other religious traditions. This intolerant creed is cited by Islamists as the philosophical justification for their terrorism.
Scholar of Middle East affairs Martin Kramer further describes the goals of radical Islamists:
“The idea is simple: Islam must have power in this world. It is the true religion—the religion of God—and its truth is manifest in its power. When Muslims believed, they were powerful. Their power has been lost in modern times because Islam has been abandoned by many Muslims, who have reverted to the condition that preceded God’s revelation to the Prophet Muhammad. But if Muslims now return to the original Islam, they can preserve and even restore their power. That return, to be effective, must be comprehensive; Islam provides the one and only solution to all questions in this world, from public policy to private conduct. It is not merely a religion, in the Western sense of a system of belief in God. It possesses an immutable law, revealed by God, that deals with every aspect of life, and it is an ideology, a complete system of belief about the organization of the state and the world. This law and ideology can only be implemented through the establishment of a truly Islamic state, under the sovereignty of God. The empowerment of Islam, which is God’s plan for mankind, is a sacred end.”
Both liberals and conservatives assume that the Islamist holy war against the West revolves solely around Westerners themselves, rather than having something to do with Islam itself. For example, people on the anti-war left believe that al Qaeda attacked the U.S. because the latter was imperialist, racist, or insufficiently responsive to the needs of the Third-World poor. By contrast, the pro-war right (including former President Bush) maintains that the Islamists hate Americans for their freedoms, opportunities, and overall success as a society.
Radical Islam - Discover the Networks