Within the hours and days after the recent Paris terror attack, the internet buzzed with reactions from people around the globe. Presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush both called for religious tests for Syrian immigrants and refugees, arguing that Muslims—and their faith—should be held responsible for the bombing. In response, the phrase “terrorism has no religion” started trending on Twitter within several hours of the attack. Muslims and supporters condemned not only the attacks but the generalization, urging the world to accept the different between Islam and extremist philosophy of ISIS.
The Reverends Emmett G. Price III and Irene Monroe joined Jim Braude and Margery Eagan on Boston Public Radio for their regular Monday feature, All Revved Up. “We have to be honest about the fact that name calling doesn’t solve anything, and extremism goes across the board,” Price said. “In a sense, trying to create polarization of extremism creates more extremism. We can’t necessarily go so far left that we think that we’re countering something, and we create another aspect of it. I don’t have the solution to how we solve this, but name-calling and this crazy sense that we can’t help others who are in need is not the way to go about it.”
Senator Marco Rubio criticized fellow presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for not characterizing the attackers in Paris as “radical Islam” during Saturday night’s democratic debate. “That would be like saying we weren’t at war with Nazis, because we were afraid to offend some Germans who may have been members of the Nazi Party but weren’t violent themselves,” Rubio said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.”
According to Monroe, there have been significant historical connections between religion and warfare. “Religion has very much been about terrorism through the centuries,” she said. “The crusades, the eighty-year war, (which I think this might be a replica of), the inquisition… I think that what we have to own up to is the way in which religion incites people, as much as it is supposedly about the community, but a lot of the wars that we’ve had have all had some kind of religious or theological undertaking.”
Even the name, ISIS, or Islamic State, implies a state or a caliphate, a form of Islamic government led by a person considered a political and religious successor to the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, and a leader of the entire Muslim community. World leaders have taken to calling ISIS “Daesh,” a word the Islamic State hates. Daesh stands for the Arabic name of the Islamic State: “al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi al-Iraq wa al-Sham,” and as Zeba Khan explained in the Boston Globe, “Depending on how it is conjugated in Arabic, it can mean anything from ‘to trample down and crush’ to ‘a bigot who imposes his view on others.’” “We really need to change the name,” Monroe said. “It helps not to blur the line between Muslim/Islam/Islamist. The bigger problem is that it’s very hard to change ideology. This might be one way to educate folks outside of that circle about what exactly this ragtag of thugs are about.”
To hear All Revved Up, click the audio link above.Rev. Emmett G. Price III is a professor of music at Northeastern University, and the author ofThe Black Church and Hip Hop Culture.Rev. Irene Monroe is a syndicated religion columnist who writes forHuffington Post andBay Windows.