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The Heritage Lectures


Islam, islamic radicals, divisions of Islam, terrorism


The United States is in a war, but it is not a war between Islam and the West. Radical Islamic terrorists hijacked four airplanes and killed thousands of innocent Americans on September 11. But their enmity was not just directed against the United States and the civilization it represents. These terrorists also mean, as President Bush made clear in his speech to the Joint Session of Congress recently, to hijack Islam itself and destroy Islamic civilization. In the developing battle on behalf of these two great civilizations, it is imperative that we understand something about the basic traditions of Islam so that we can establish the historical and principled differences between Islam as it is practiced by the vast majority of Muslims worldwide and the ideas (and tactics) of the Islamic radicals that advocate terrorism.


Also published in 26 Journal of South Asian & Middle Eastern Studies 4 (2002)