But politicians have been criticised for underplaying the role of Islam as a religion in terrorist events. The gist of what many have said is terrorists are not driven by their religion but by their ideological convictions. The form is Islam, the latter is Islamism and the relationship between the two is tenuous at best.
The truth we need to face, however, is that Islamism that drives Manchester-type terrorism (technically most accurately described as Salafism) is deeply Islamic. Here is the chilling, terrifying ISIS media release re Manchester:
Here the West is "the Crusaders" or militant Christians, down to every last teenage fan of Ariana Grande. All soldiers in this centuries old religious war. The bombing is "revenge for Allah's religion." The concert arena is "shameless" meaning it transgresses Islamic values of purity and holiness. The next event will be worse, "more severe on the worshipers of the Cross and their allies." Everything happens within an Islamic religious worldview, "by Allah's permission."
The Islamism of terrorism is not an ideology it is a religion. A terrifying, rogue strand of Islam. And, seemingly, ultimately well funded by Saudi Arabian money (to which you and I have contributed with "donations" at petrol pumps). Saudi Arabia, not to forget, being the country in which Mecca is found.
This religion has one particular religious enemy: Christians. So, in the past couple of days, we learn again of another atrocity against Coptic Christians in Egypt.
Let's be clear about two matters these events highlight.
(1) We cannot in the West feign innocence about our contributions to Islamic terrorism. Both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn are correct to identify that Western actions have exacerbated the threat to Western countries from Islamic terrorism. However well intentioned we have been about military actions in places such as Libya and Iraq, the resulting chaos has been fertile for terrorist recruitment. Not one Western country (and certainly not NZ) has ever taken a decisive stand against Saudi Arabia and its shadowy role in these matters. Trump's fawning visit to Saudi Arabia recently underlines the importance we Westerners place on this country. The West is not responsible for Islamic terrorism but it has contributed to the conditions in which it has been conceived, birthed and nurtured.
(2) Even if we overcome our feigned innocence, put matters to right in Libya and Iraq and deal to Saudi Arabia, Islamism will still be at war with Christians. Coptic Christians have no foreign policy to fault. They were not European Crusaders sweeping down on the Middle East. They are a minority people in a majority Muslim nation. But they worship the Cross. That is enough to warrant death. For Islamism there is only one way. Until we submit to that way, or are killed, Islamism will never give up. Allah requires the submission of every last person on the planet.
Islam, dear politicians, is surprisingly religious in its convictions.