Sober reflection on Islamic terrorism
I’m about as big a fan of syndicated columnist Mona Charen as I am of Donald Trump – which is to say, not so much. However, she pointed out something in a Dec. 7 column that opened my eyes wider. Charen quoted a Pew poll of 2011 that showed 7 percent of American Muslims believed “suicide bombing or other violence against civilians is justified to defend Islam against its enemies sometimes.”
Say what?! That’s one out of every 14 Muslims in the country. Five percent said it was “rarely” justified, and 1 percent said “often.” Eighty-one percent said it “never” was justified.
So where does that leave us regarding Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the country, at least temporarily? One’s first reaction is to say those figures support his plan. That’s where sober reflection on the possible ramifications is in order.
We are at war with radical Islamists who use terror to advance their jihadist cause. What do we accomplish by alienating that small minority of Muslims who condone such violence in certain instances? We push them further in that direction, creating a division which pits one side against the other. Kathleen Parker, another conservative columnist, though not as far to the right as Charen, noted a few days later that Hitler’s depiction of Jews as the enemy led to the Holocaust, and Trump’s idea of creating a registry of Muslims and a religious test at the border “sounds terribly familiar.”
A better idea
Said Parker, “Our best defense against radicalization of the 3 million Muslim-Americans is inclusiveness.” Her next line was a big surprise: “(President) Obama understands this.”
She said further, “Few doubt that we could easily take over Iraq and Syria in a replay of shock-and-awe, but then what? Invading another Muslim country feeds right into the Islamic State’s playbook and installs a Crusader vs. Caliphate narrative … Our internecine squabbles about our own nation’s principles couldn’t be a better holiday gift to the butchers-in-waiting. And Trump, by dividing us from within, is the enemy’s hero.” She called him “the most dangerous person to emerge on the American political scene in decades. As president, he would be the most dangerous man on the planet.”
A new report on the San Bernardino attack by a married Muslim couple said the wife, Tashfeen Malik, posted a message on Facebook pledging her allegiance to ISIS before she entered the United States. Intelligence experts were unaware of that posting. An expert said on CNN that scrutiny of such social media chatter was absent as recently as a couple of years ago, but is beginning to take shape.
“We owe it to ourselves to be alert to the obvious threat that radical Islam poses to the people of the Middle East – primarily – and to the rest of us,” Charen wrote.
Who would argue with that? However, it comes off as empty rhetoric when she fails to mention that such alertness should prompt us to deny gun permits to persons on the terrorist watch list. And what about the terrorism by non-Muslims that has claimed more than 11,000 lives as compared with 45 killings by Muslims, as reported by Fareed Zakaria on his Global Public Square (GPS) program on CNN? Is it necessary or advisable to allow people to buy AK-47s, which are used in war? You’ll never see Charen call for a ban or regulation of any guns.
She condemns President Obama and Hillary Clinton for “the forced catechism of the left” when they trumpet their insistence that Islam is not our enemy and Muslims are peaceful and tolerant. Fortunately for all of us, those two perceive the urgency of leadership in assuring the vast majority of Muslims that they will not be marginalized. If they didn’t speak out, the only voices heard would be those of Trump and his supporters, and that would spell disaster. In that respect, Charen, unlike Parker, doesn’t get it.
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