After a series of terror attacks in France, including one that left three people dead at a Catholic Church in Nice, Vatican Cardinal Robert Sarah said that the West must wake up to the threat of Islamism. “Islamism,” His Eminence said, “is a monstrous fanaticism which must be fought with force and determination.”

But you can’t fight something with determination unless you first believe it exists. Unfortunately, many authorities in the West, including many of Sarah’s fellow cardinals and bishops, refuse to acknowledge the existence of some obvious facts about Islam. Cardinal Sarah is one of a few prelates willing to break with the semiofficial narrative about Islam now prevalent in the Church—namely, that terrorists who kill in the name of Islam both misunderstand and pervert their religion.

Secular authorities, particularly in Europe, have adopted a similar line. There’s nothing wrong with Islam, they maintain; jihadists have simply misunderstood their faith. Thus, government-sponsored “deradicalization” programs are based on the premise that learning more about Islam will cure the would-be jihadist of his extremism.

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