President Bush made an excellent speech on Tuesday at Bolling Air Force Base, outlining the scope and rationale of the war on terror — which he once again identified as a struggle against “Islamo-fascism:”
|Some call this evil Islamic radicalism; others, militant Jihadism; still others, Islamo-fascism. Whatever it is called, this ideology is very different from the religion of Islam.|
Mr. President, are you sure that’s true?
There is, of course, no way of knowing whether Mr. Bush believes this. Given the political exigencies, it is necessary for him to say it. His statement does, however, beg the central question of our time:
Does violent jihad represent the essence of the religion of Islam?
And the corollary:
Is the existence of the “moderate Muslim” possible?
I don’t pretend to be able to answer these questions, nor do I think it is possible to answer them yet. But they should be uppermost in our minds as we watch current political events unfolding across the world, and especially those unfolding across the bloody littorals of Islam.
The central problem is that Islam is more than a religion. It is a blueprint for political action, one whose core text requires the adherent to be violent in the pursuit of political goals. In this respect Muslims bear more resemblance to Communists than they do to Presbyterians.
But there are peaceable Muslims. The ones I know personally look and act like ordinary Americans. The women don’t wear the hijab, and the girls go to school and act like any other American kids.
But these Muslims are also not particularly observant; they don’t pray five times a day or visit the mosque very often. They are roughly equivalent to “lapsed Catholics.”
So I am still left with the open question:
Will the truly observant Muslim always engage in or support violent jihad?
A lively discussion emerged in the comments section of my post yesterday (I recommend the entire thread, which is full of thoughtful and vehement argument by a variety of people). In response to some of the more bellicose commenters, Cato said this:
|Do you really think all billion muslims hate the west that implacably? Do you think there is any practical program that will lead to the elimination (or forcible conversion) of all the planet’s muslims?|
|I often wonder where the logic of “all Islam is out to get us so we had better do something about it” leads.|
So where does it lead? If the enemy is in our midst, but not actively pursuing violence at the moment, what do we do? And are all Muslims our enemies?
We know that some of them are, and it is a reasonable assumption there are some among us who are even now planning to harm us. But is the proper response to declare that all Muslims are our enemies?
If all Muslims are in fact our enemies, then we will have to take concrete action. The first step would be to require them all to register with the government so that they could be monitored. Next they would have to be disarmed. Then we would need to require them to display some sign so that we could recognize them as the enemy, say a yellow crescent and star sewn onto their outer clothing. The next step would be to gather them all together in secure camps removed from the rest of the populace, so that they could do us no harm. Then…
Wait a minute. We’ve seen that road before, and we’re not going to follow it.
The civil liberties accorded citizens of this country protect people from being targeted simply for their beliefs or membership in a particular group. Yet members of a particular group are plotting to do the country harm by murder, mayhem, and levying insurrection. If they succeed in their diabolical plans and unleash a devastating attack within our borders, people may well take the law into their own hands and civil liberties will be thrown out the window.
I don’t buy the idea that we should just be quiet and let domestic law enforcement do its job. I’m certain that it has indeed interdicted many terrorist attacks since 9/11, but Able Danger and Annie Jacobsen’s experience on Flight 327 and the Jamaat ul-Fuqra compounds and the farce that masquerades as airport security have all convinced me that incompetence rages throughout the system.
So what can be done?
First and foremost is to propagate as much information as possible. Turn over every rock. Open all the closet doors and turn on the lights. Bust open all the rotten stumps so we can see the termites inside. Spread the word, because that is what the blogosphere is for.
But let’s be sure we distinguish fact from speculation and rumor. And above all, remember that incitement to violence is the enemy’s specialty, not ours.
The second tactic is political. We are not going to be able to control the mujahideen in our midst if we don’t shrug off all the politically correct nonsense that hobbles us, and also control our borders. The current administration seems to have no will to do either of these things, and the next administration, no matter which party takes office, is unlikely to do any better.
Therefore we’re going to have to throw out an awful lot of rascals, and elect people who will shake the entrenched bureaucracy until its back teeth rattle.
Any other ideas out there? This is an open forum. Somewhere between the extremes of “Islam is a religion of peace” and “nuke the ragheads” is a course of action which will protect American citizens and also secure their liberties. I invite you to help me find it.
Calling all armchair generals! Gather at the Gates and make yourselves heard!
UPDATE: Best comment so far, by peggy:
I have been saying for a long time that the solution to the problem that islam poses is a simple one if we only have the courage and vision to pursue it relentlessly.
Just tell the truth about it.
The truth is our greatest weapon. We should only resort to other means if our free speech to protest against islam were threatened by the powers that be and then it is our right as citizens to fight those powers. The average muslim person should never have to worry about our intentions towards their persons or families or property or businesses or prayer centers as long they abide by the laws of our land.
If we keep to the high ground, we should with time be able to turn things around. The first idea we must get across with meticulous care is this: It is possible to oppose islam without bearing hatred towards all those who believe it and everyone should be able to freely and openly dispute the ideas and beliefs of others by right as long as they dont call for violence against the other group in an indiscriminate way that would hurt peaceable folks.
A big problem with islam and muslims is that they do not understand this. They equate open rejection of their beliefs as hatred and bigotry mainly because their own leaders encourage them to do so by their example. But coming as they do from their original environment which is devoid of the hurly-burly of true democracy and liberty, they are easily mislead to shut their ears to the “bigots” who dislike all muslims and are encouraged to dismiss all criticism of their religion as ignorant. If we happen to think that islam is the worst idea for a religion there ever was but have no inclination to hate those who believe in it then we have to distinguish ourselves from the true haters by our conduct, by our charity and hospitality towards all.