Chinese state-affiliated news agency Xinhua cites a U.S. expert arguing that, while the threat of radical Islamism is an existential one to much of the world, the United States is ill-equipped to fight it because “the U.S. is perceived by many in the Muslim world as a ‘Christian’ country.”
The article, by author Matthew Rusling, explores the potential threat of “lone wolf” attacks on the West, using the attack on the Canadian Parliament last month and the New York City ax attack as examples of a surge in such violence. “From a law enforcement standpoint, ‘lone wolves’ are nearly impossible to preempt,” he argues, because “they do not belong to terror cells, which precludes the possibility of law enforcement infiltrating the groups or monitoring their movements.”
The article clearly argues that the problem driving Islamist radicalism is inherent in the ideology of Islamism, and not outside factors weighing on radical Muslims. To make this point, Rusling cites Zuhdi Jasser, an author on the topic, who tells Xinhua that “it is Islamist supremacist ideology, rather than political events and grievances, that drives Islamist terrorism.”
The end of the article argues, however, that the United States has little or no role left to play in fighting radical Islamist extremism. The argument is attributed to Wayne White, former deputy director of the U.S. State Department’s Middle East Intelligence Office, who reportedly stated that “it would be difficult for Washington to battle the spread of such ideology, as the U.S. is perceived by many in the Muslim world as a ‘Christian’ country.” He also cites support for Israel as a problem.
As something of a state mouthpiece (though not as openly as the People’s Daily), Xinhua’s publishing of a post both denouncing radical Islam as a serious threat and criticizing the United States as an unsuitable leader against the threat dovetail into moves the Chinese government has made in recent months to edge closer to the forefront of the war against Islamism. While the nation’s communist government is publicly anti-Israel and pro-Palestinian, China has moved to crack down on public displays of Islam within its borders, particularly in the Western Uighur province of Xinjiang. It has now prohibited long beards and Islamic clothing and banned public celebrations of the holy month of Ramadan.
Radical Islamist terrorists have also laid their eyes on China. At least one Chinese member of the Islamic State terrorist group has been identified, and al-Qaeda has called upon Islamist terrorists to fight to take Xinjiang out of the hands of the Chinese government and return it to full Sharia rule.