While the West is preoccupied with fighting “hate speech”, “Islamophobia” and white supremacist groups, it appears more than willing to ignore the cultivation of Muslim hate speech and supremacist attitudes towards non-Muslims.
It is a cultivation that occurs especially in the process of dawa, the Muslim practice of Islamic outreach or proselytizing, the results of which seem to have been on show this week in a downtown New York terror attack. The terrorist, Sayfullo Saipov, originally from Uzbekistan, was apparently only radicalized after he moved to the United States. The mosque he attended in New Jersey had been under surveillance by the NYPD since 2005. A 2016 U.S.-commissioned report said Uzbek nationals were “most likely to radicalize while working as migrants abroad,” according to the U.S. State Department.
On the surface, dawa, or outreach — in person or online — appears to be a benign missionary activity, about converting non-Muslims. Legal in Western societies, it is allowed to proceed undisturbed by the media or government. Dawa generally attracts little attention, except when members of an outreach organization suddenly turn up in the headlines as full-fledged jihadists.
Politicians and the media in the West seem to prefer viewing Islam solely as a religion and not as a political system that, according to critics, seeks to impose its own laws and regulations, sharia, on the world.