It is crucial to admit we are in a religious war against radical Islam, the president of the Conference of European Rabbis said Wednesday.
Writing in the Telegraph, Chief Rabbi of Moscow Pinchas Goldschmidt insisted that "the 21st century has seen a return to the religious wars of the Middle Ages."
We must not "divorce terrorism from religion," he said, while admitting that this idea "goes against the tolerant, inclusive society that has developed in the Western World."
Rather than divorcing ISIS from Islam, the Rabbi described the terrorist group as a "fascist offshoot" of the religion, and emphasized that it must be considered "a strain of Islam."
Pinchas described the strand of Islam present in ISIS as "medieval," having yet to learn to integrate into society, and likening it to Christianity in premodern times.
He denounced the idea of fearing all Muslims because of this extremist element of Islam, instead suggesting it is vital to "clearly define what is and what isn't radical Islam."
This, he claimed, will lead to success in tracking those who "pose a threat to Western values, isolate them and ensure that the threat does not escalate."
The rabbi also recommended that mosques known to be attended by radicals should be closed, "preventing their imams from preaching hate and stopping their access to the internet and social media." The key, he said, was "cutting them off from fellow radicals."
He urged the West to work with the Muslim communities to recognize radical Islam – which he said is "easy to identify" – and to "denounce these acts and loudly and proudly declare 'not in our name.'"