“This preacher teacher is the cancer our president was talking about,” she went on. “This preacher teacher is active in our communities here in the US and in the UK. This preacher teacher is embedded in homes, mosques, and schools and colleges and Muslim centers.”
To counter the ideologues, she insists, it is not enough to get rid of the “preacher teachers” but to reform the core belief of Islam itself. Reformers and dissidents already exist, she said, counting herself among them, although she now considers herself an atheist. “They are convinced that the core creed can be bent to suit their conscience….in the hopes of delegitimizing the extremists like ISIS. The dissidents make a choice between what their conscience tells them and the commandments of the core creed. They go with their conscience. Instead of merely submitting to Allah, they stand up to him.”
This approach, of going to “the core text” of Islam and changing it is important, she said, because “ISIS will not be delegitimized as long as they insist that they are simply carrying out what Allah says.” It’s also important, she added, because without this approach, another group will spring up after ISIS is gone, just as the Islamic State has sprung up after the US and its allies supposedly defeated al-Qaida.
“We’ll go after them, but unless we have a Plan B and a Plan C, there will be chaos, and that creates conditions for the next flood of jihadis,” she said. “Sooner or later we are going to get to the core. I hope that we get to the core before we kill more people or before ISIS kills more people.”