Here is the latest report:
The man behind the Nice truck attack drank alcohol, beat his wife and has been described as “not a Muslim but a shit”.
Furthermore about a third of the dead from the attack were Muslims (NYT).
One form of radical Islam is Sufism, many strains of which are pacifist in nature. It was not too long ago that Amjad Sabri, of Sabri brothers fame, was shot dead in Pakistan by terrorists. Was he the radical or were they? And which do we want more of?
Recently I had a long lunch with a researcher in Brussels who was studying terrorism in the city. He was very much of the view that most of the terrorists and terrorist-candidates are not very religious, although most did end up latching onto Islam as an identity marker and source of group support.
In other words, they are not “radical Islam.” Here is a Vox piece on why the term “radical Islam” is not always productive.
In general, I am suspicious when someone dismisses a view for being “radical” or “extreme.” There is usually sloppy thinking behind that designation. Why not just say what is wrong with the view? How for instance are we supposed to feel about “radical Christianity”? Good or bad? Does it mean Origen or Ted Cruz or something altogether different? Can’t we just debate the question itself?
The same is true in politics. Let’s say someone favors free trade and the First Amendment. Is that “radical”? Or is it mainstream and thus non-radical? Does labeling it radical further the debate on whether or not those are the correct positions?
For similar reasons, don’t be too quick to call someone or someone’s views “divisive.” If the status quo is problematic, a good reform might be divisive in some critical regards. Arguably the modern world is specializing in “non-divisive” means of creating an ultimately divisive state of affairs.
More generally, when that term “radical” or “extreme” is introduced, there is a presupposition that no external argument or perspective can be so strong to counter what one’s own swarmy group takes for granted.