Friday, March 11, 2011

Is Islamic Terrorism the Fault of the West?

That is what apologists for radical Islam would have you believe.

Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, is holding hearings on the issue of how and why American Muslims are being radicalized and recruited for terror attacks. This common-sense effort (if his committee was not addressing the root causes of the majority of terror attacks in the US in the past 20 years it would hardly be doing its job), has occasioned a terrific howl of protest from groups with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and other related terror organizations. It has also caused the American Left to become unhinged with all sorts of wild-eyed accusations about the motives of Rep. King.

One often repeated theme is mouthed by Imam Feisal Abdual Rauf on this video interview at Real Clear Politics. Notice his arguments. My comments are in red following each point.

1. The problem is not Islam because all religions have extremists and so moderates of all religions should band together to oppose extremist ideologies.

But, of course, Hinduism is not blowing up jetliners right now, nor is Judaism setting off bombs in Times Square. And Evangelicals quoting Revelation are not being caught with weapons of mass destruction plotting to create mayhem in American cities. Muslims are and until Muslim leaders face up to reality a solution will be hard to find. Rather than pretending that all religions have the same problem as Islam, Imam Rauf should be asking why it is Muslims doing these horrible things. He seems intent on deflecting attention from the main point.

2. He rejects the interviewer's reasonable suggestion that, given the on-going string of Islamist terror attacks over the past few years we ought to explore the ideology behind them. He basically says, "No, we should not focus on Islamist ideology, but on terrorism itself.

But we are dealing here with a systematic campaign fueled by a coherent, if evil, ideology, not the random actions of madmen like the Giffords shooting tragedy. So if we don't examine the ideological roots, we will never really examine the causes of the problem. Rauf's argument would lead to exactly that unfortunate result.

3. Then Rauf gets into his main argument, which is that if you allow anyone in the West to speak badly of Islam or try to connect terrorism with Islamic beliefs, then you create a backlash in the Muslim world. He takes a swipe at Evangelicals and subtly suggests that there is some sort of moral equivalence between conservative Christians and Islamists - without coming right out and saying so in so many words. Then he mentions the Danish cartoons and not-so-subtly suggests that this "arouses hostility." He actually says that when Westerners do something Muslims find offensive it is the Westerners who are "creating hostility."

It is our fault. We cause their violent rampages. They, apparently, have no choice in how they respond to our provocations. This seems rather patronizing - to Muslims. Notice that he is expanding on his theme in #1 above. (He is very disciplined in staying on his talking points.) He really expects us to believe, apparently, that there is nothing about Islam in particular that is related to Islamist terrorism. It's just random acts of mad men just like when Christians snap and do something violent.

4. In response to a question Rauf actually says that what fuels Islamic terrorism is radical ideologies from all sides!

Here he is blaming the West for causing Islamic terrorism by criticizing Islam. In his world (which is the same world in which the Western Left lives), only "extremists" and "radicals" ever criticize Islam. Ironically, he implies this in answering a question in which the interviewer quotes David Cameron and Angela Merkel as saying that multiculturalism is a failure. Are they dangerous extremists too? (A risible thought, that!) In the next paragraph, he goes after another "religious extremist," Samuel Huntingdon.) In Rauf's world, nobody is supposed to criticize Islam and anyone who does is fueling terrorism. There is a chilling threat implied clearly in these words.

5. Then, as the argument seems to be going against him, right on cue he plays the victim card.

I hope no relatives of 9/11 victims were watching this disgusting attempt to portray himself as the victim of terrorism. Terrorism has real victims and they are not usually on TV defending Islam.

Some far more sensible and reasoned perspectives on the hearings are available from Ruth Marcus here and Jennifer Rubin here. Both are published in that rabid hotbed of extremist, Christian fundamentalism: The Washington Post. I suppose they will likely cause several more terrorist attacks each, if Imam Rauf is correct.

Jennifer Rubin's column today describes the first day of hearings and is tellingly entitled: "Democrats embarrass themselves at Islam radicalization hearings."

By the way, if you want some facts and figures on just how "under siege" the American Muslim community actually is these days, check out Calvin Freiburger's post "No Islamophobia Epidemic Here: The Surprising Truth About Hate Crimes in America." It puts the tearful histronic performance of Keith Ellison at the hearings in perspective.

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