FP: There are scholars and critics amongst us who argue that the terrorists have exploited and hijacked Islam to serve their own violent ends. In their view, Islamist terror is a perversion of the true Islam. What do you think?
Bostom: This is ahistoricalprattle, which unfortunately appears to have been accepted by President Bush and his key advisers. But Mr. Bush is our President, not our theologian-in-chief. Neither he nor any of those you alluded to have made informed comments about Islam, least of all the utterance that Islam is a “religion of peace”. Ironically, the renowned 20th century Muslim ideologue Sayyid Qutb, perhaps the most brilliant Muslim scholar of the 20th century, who is demonized as a fomenter of “radical” Islam, has also referred to Islam as a “religion of peace”. But Qutb’s context is unapologetic and clear—he is referring to the Pax Islamica that would prevail when the entire world was submitted to Islamic domination, and the rule of Islamic law (i.e., the Shari’a), by jihad war.
Furthermore, in a recent speech President Bush insisted that the "ideology" of the most notable Muslim terrorists, who he maintained "distort the idea of jihad," is "very different from the religion of Islam" and indeed "exploits Islam to serve a violent, political vision.” The President’s even more specific and assertive comments regarding jihad were a profound disappointment. Indeed, such words could have been written and uttered by the most uninformed, or deliberately disingenuous apologists for this devastating, and uniquely Islamic institution, well over a millennium old, and still wreaking havoc today.