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It's stupid to say that the religion of Islam has nothing to do with Islamist terrorism.

But then people say that about the religion of Christianity whenever Christian terrorists, like Eric Randolph and Wade Page, kill people. Their religion and how it inspires their heinous actions rarely even comes up.

You seem to have this everlasting liberal need to make sure people know that the bad white Christians equate to a few bad apples in Islam.

That's not my point or purpose at all.

Instead, it's that when radical Islamists commit terrorism, we tend to emphasize the Islamic part. With radical Christian terrorists, we emphasize the radical part and almost completely ignore their religion.

There are two obvious reasons for this: (1) radical Islamist terrorists at present are far more numerous and better organized, i.e. their "movement" is much bigger and "effective" and (2) since our culture is predominantly Christian, we deny that Christianity has anything to do with Christian terrorism. It makes us very uncomfortable to think there's any connection at all.

So instead, we say Christian terrorists are motivated by something else, which is partially true. But it's also true of Islamic terrorists. We say that Christian terrorists have a twisted, distorted view of Christianity. But you could say the same thing about Islamic terrorists.

It's significant to note that most Islamic terrorism has its roots in secular, nationalist or "tribal" politics: Palestinian independence, Chechen independence, Pakistan v. India antipathy, various Southeast Asian political movements, etc. A huge exception to this are domestic political movements opposed to some kind of dictatorship, such as in Egypt, where the only barely-tolerated expression of political dissent and anti-government organization could take place in the mosque.

Those political movements are transformed into religious wars because for most people "God" is a much better motivator than some fuzzy notion of "country." "God is on our side" is also a much better recruiting slogan and excuse for killing people. This "twisting" of religion is almost entirely unnecessary in Western nations and cultures, where politics and religion are kept at arms length and there are plenty of other avenues for political expression.

In the U.S., those seeking political change and those with religious or tribal motivation for violence against others have political channels through which to express themselves, such as the the Republican Party and the U.S. military. We see the religious motivation of nominally secular actors peek through occasionally, such as when anti-abortion activists speak in explicitly religious terms and when some in the military describe the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as crusades or holy wars. That we go to considerable lengths to deny any religious motivation for those wars suggests that underneath, such a motivation exists for many.
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