“Nothing to Do with Islam”

 

Militant Islamist fighter waving a flag, cheers as he takes part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa provinceIn the aftermath of Paris and before San Bernardino, Hillary Clinton articulated the forced catechism of the Left: “Let’s be clear: Islam is not our adversary. Muslims are peaceful and tolerant people and have nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism.”

What happens when a major political party becomes so wedded to political correctness that it feels constrained to deny reality? Clinton could hardly have chosen a less opportune moment to squeeze her eyes shut about the threat of Islamic extremism – a threat that is glaringly, blazingly obvious.

The first part of what Mrs. Clinton said was true. Islam is not our adversary. There are an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, and if all of them were violent extremists, we’d have a planet drowning in blood. Most Muslims are peaceful. Beyond that, they practice charity, care for the sick, and encourage good works.

But there is a fever sweeping the Muslim world that has infected a significant minority of Muslims – and because Muslims are so numerous, that minority amounts to hundreds of millions. It began in the 1920s with the Muslim Brotherhood. Its Shia incarnation has captured the government of Iran. Saudi oil money has facilitated its spread to places like Pakistan and Afghanistan. President Obama, deluded from the get-go that our enemy was not Islamic extremism, but merely “Al Qaeda,” stood by while the Islamic extremists in Iraq and Syria morphed into a new entity called ISIS. Obama never saw it coming because he was determined to believe, with Mrs. Clinton and other Democrats, that terrorism has nothing to do with Islam.

Isn’t it odd, then, that in Nigeria (70 percent Muslim) and Lebanon (54 percent Muslim) large majorities say they are “very worried” about Islamic extremism in their countries? The presence of Boko Haram in Nigeria and Hezbollah in Lebanon has a way of concentrating the mind. People around the world are worried about Islamic radicalism too. Perhaps they are mindful of 9/11, the Fort Hood shooting (2009), the Boston Marathon bombing (2013), the bombings of trains in Madrid (2004), the three-day siege of hotels and a Jewish center in Mumbai (2008), the bombings of a bus and trains in London (2005), the attack on a Jewish school in Toulouse (2012), the slaughter of students at a Kenya university (2015), the attack on high schoolers in Peshawar, Pakistan (2014), the shootings at a Mali hotel (2015), the stabbings in Israel (2015), the Bali bombings (2002), the Jakarta bombing (2009), and so very many more, to say nothing of the treatment of religious minorities, homosexuals, and women in many Muslim societies.

As for whether Muslims are tolerant – there’s no doubt that some are, but as the 2013 Pew Survey of global attitudes found, 88 percent of Egyptian and 62 percent of Pakistani Muslims favor the death penalty for apostates. “This is also the majority view among Muslims in Malaysia, Jordan and the Palestinian territories.”

We Americans congratulate ourselves for our comparatively superior ability to assimilate Muslim immigrants into our society, and perhaps we deserve the pat on the back. Then again, we have nothing like the numbers of Muslim immigrants Europe does, and the percentages matter. Even among American Muslims, seven percent told Pew in 2011 that “suicide bombing or other violence against civilians” is “sometimes justified to defend Islam against its enemies.” One percent said “often” and five percent said “rarely.” Eighty-one percent said “never.” Those responses were not very different from the views of Turkish and Indonesian Muslims.

Islam is in the throes of a religious war. The primary victims are other Muslims, but thousands of Christians, Jews, Hindus, and others have been bloodied by it as well. “Don’t get on your high horse,” Obama told Christians, referring to the Crusades. Yes, when Christianity was about the age that Islam is now, it too was engulfed in righteous violence. The West is long past it. They’re not. If another civilization had been able to exert influence over Protestants and Catholics in the 1500s and 1600s to quell the violence and encourage the “better angels” of the society, it would have been no bad thing.

As for today, 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. Radicalism has had the wind at its back in the Muslim world for nearly a century. It shows no sign of abating just because Mrs. Clinton and company bury their heads in the sand.

Published in Foreign Policy, Islamist Terrorism
Like this post? Want to comment? Join Ricochet’s community of conservatives and be part of the conversation. Join Ricochet for Free.

There are 42 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    Not sure what you are talking about Mona… we were directed to focus on forecasting weather in 100 years.

    Need to focus on weather.

    Must focus on weather.

    • #1
  2. Marion Evans Inactive
    Marion Evans
    @MarionEvans

    Are you sure this whole thing isn’t just about some YouTube video?

    • #2
  3. Mona Charen Contributor
    Mona Charen
    @MonaCharen

    Hat tip to both of you.

    • #3
  4. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Mona Charen:The first part of what Mrs. Clinton said was true. Islam is not our adversary. There are an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, and if all of them were violent extremists, we’d have a planet drowning in blood. Most Muslims are peaceful. Beyond that, they practice charity, care for the sick, and encourage good works.

    But there is a fever sweeping the Muslim world that has infected a significant minority of Muslims – and because Muslims are so numerous, that minority amounts to hundreds of millions.

    To defeat a group one tries to isolate them from potential allies.  In this case from the peaceful majority (some of whose views on things like apostasy are, as the OP says, awful).

    How to do this with Muslim terrorists?

    Arguing that their actions are not Muslim is a (somewhat crude) way of addressing that – in fact of striking at the heart of their claim to religious legitimacy.  Will you cause them any doubt? No.  Will you help build a consensus about this among the majority? Hopefully.

    Is it entirely truthful? Arguably it isn’t.

    Is it politically wise?  In the West it is increasingly politically unwise.

    Is it a good strategy to win this conflict?  It absolutely is.

    It can’t be the only one, but it’s an important one.

    • #4
  5. David Sussman Contributor
    David Sussman
    @DaveSussman

    Mona Charen:Hat tip to both of you.

    Sorry to be snarky. Serious issue, but the Left isn’t just pushing a politically correct agenda, they are using this attack to justify an apparent executive action to push for gun control choosing to ignore the fact that it was Islamic terror.

    It’s gotten to the point that people tacitly ‘hope’ these events, when they occur, are terror related just so people would wake the heck up.

    • #5
  6. billy Inactive
    billy
    @billy

    Roger Simon summarized our challenge brilliantly:

    So now the game has changed and Islamic terror has reached our shores as never before, just as many have predicted. It has invaded our bourgeois neighborhoods, with the neighbor next door unwilling to a report a garage bomb factory for fear of being called racist. (This, too, is at the foot of Obama.) What, in the words of Lenin, is to be done?

    His solution, elect more Republicans, is somehow a bit uninspiring.

    • #6
  7. Scott Wilmot Member
    Scott Wilmot
    @ScottWilmot

    Mona Charen: Islam is not our adversary

    I’m not buying this anymore. The anecdotes and statistics you cite re Nigeria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Pakistan seem to show that Islam is a problem.

    My Church advocates dialogue with Islam in order to emphasize the meme that Islam is peaceful and that Muslims, like Christians, practice charity, care for the sick, and encourage good works. There is no easy way to address any of these issues because Catholicism and Islam are dogmatically irreconcilable. One must accept one and reject the other or vice versa. There is no “common ground” with Islam except in mere superficialities, such as those you state. Dialogue with Islam can only occur, as Pope Benedict XVI stated at Regensburg, when Islam embraces reason. Until then, it is a waste of time.

    Organizations such as CAIR and OIC will continue to work quietly, just as the jihadist killers work overtly, to achieve their Islamic supremacist goals. Islam is our adversary.

    • #7
  8. jonsouth Inactive
    jonsouth
    @jonsouth

    Scott Wilmot:

    I’m not buying this anymore. The anecdotes and statistics you cite re Nigeria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Pakistan seem to show that Islam is a problem.

    Hear hear. The only reason many still try to convince themselves Islam is not a problem is because it hasn’t reached the tipping point yet. At least in the US. Belgians and Germans are probably thinking otherwise right now.

    The percentage of muslims who are ‘radicalized’ is not even relevant. It doesn’t take actual terrorists to present an everyday security threat to women (including those in the neighborhood and members of muslims’ own families), encroachments on festive traditions and freedom of speech. There is virtually no movement within the muslim world to ‘understand’ western culture and adopt its better traditions. When casting a view across the muslim community as a whole, I find it difficult to see it as anything other than an adversary.

    • #8
  9. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    David Sussman:Not sure what you are talking about Mona… we were directed to focus on forecasting weather in 100 years.

    Need to focus on weather.

    Must focus on weather.

    Well the Climate is the root cause of all our current suffering. You see, climate change occuring in the 8th and 9th centuries created a shortage of food in the middle east, leading to the rise of ideologies favoring military expansionism over peaceful agrarianism. Islam was clearly such an ideology. Furthermore, the cooling of the northern Hemisphere in the 16th and 17th century lead Europeans to expand out to warmer climates, where they ruthlessly oppressed the numerically superior local minorities, eventually the Europeans through their burning of fossil fuels were able to warm up the planet so that they could comfortably live in Europe, but by that time they had already oppressed much of the world, including the part where Islam was dominant. Now facing uncontrolled, European caused climate change Muslims for historically oppressed regions, are striking out at the privileged 1%.

    If we only lived on a planet with a stable climate we would never have these problems.

    • #9
  10. Aaron Miller Inactive
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    After the 2005 tsunami, Catholic nuns and other Christian groups stepped up to care for Hindus and Buddhists where Muslim majorities would not. I’m not sure where you’re drawing this claim about a charitable Muslim majority. A week ago, we were talking about sending food and clothing to refugee camps in Saudi Arabia and surrounding nations because presumably Arabs can’t be bothered to devote half as many resources to the care of fellow Muslims as they regularly spend on anti-Semitic propaganda worldwide.

    I think more highly of many of my Muslim American neighbors, but only because they are more American than Muslim.

    It would be more accurate to say that most Muslims worldwide are not active jihadists. If polls can be trusted at all, they consistently — worldwide — show half or more Muslims vocally supporting sharia, intolerant laws, FGM, and such. Many who don’t murder infidels cheer those who do.

    And somehow nearly every Muslim nation in every region, despite cultural and historical differences, hosts this same ideological “minority” in its political leadership. From Indonesia to Saudi Arabia, from Belgium to Iran, that “minority” terrorizes anyone not of the tribe.

    That Islam itself is the problem is at least a reasonable enough proposition to demand political consideration. When Reagan was President, we didn’t pretend communism was benign on account of the millions of kind Soviet citizens.

    • #10
  11. Lucy Pevensie Inactive
    Lucy Pevensie
    @LucyPevensie

    Mona Charen: Nigeria (70 percent Muslim)

    Nigeria is not 70% Muslim. It’s roughly 50% Muslim, 50% nonMuslim–a situation that a recent post pointed out is relatively rare in the world. (Most countries are either <10% Muslim or >90% Muslim. This is not a sign of how easy it is for Muslims to live side-by-side with others.)

    I imagine that this leads to unusual pressures in Nigeria.

    • #11
  12. Freesmith Inactive
    Freesmith
    @Freesmith

    Yes, Mona, the numbers matter and there is such a thing as a tipping point. We have too many followers of Islam in this country now, have no need whatsoever of their peculiar charms and have reason to be concerned with their continued presence in our society.

    The answer is discrimination – blessed, prudent, wise discrimination based on common sense and history: exactly what our forefathers practiced in their pre-1965 immigration policies. (How big was the quota for Arabs in the first part of the 20th Century? – Zero.)

    Prohibiting Muslim immigration of any kind into the US, along with a government-sponsored program gently facilitating the departure of those already here, will serve our people best.

    • #12
  13. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    The western world did not look or act like this in the recent past; Muslims having more children while Christians and Jews were having less, along with decline in faith. All of a sudden we have Muslims and refugees everywhere and they keep coming in droves – posts today include hundreds in Muslims in Seattle, in the suburbs of America and throughout Europe.

    What if the tables were reversed and Christians and Jews were flooding the Middle East and all the other predominantly Muslim countries? They would not allow it. If we could all live equally and peacefully, it might be different – things are getting much worse. I read this story – things have become very unbalanced within cultural heritage and traditions – we would welcome diversity if the threat was not there.

    http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/6607/sweden-migrants-fear

    • #13
  14. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    Here’s an interesting article on what we have to look forward to:

    http://www.danielpipes.org/16322/muslim-no-go-zones-in-europe

    • #14
  15. Byron Horatio Inactive
    Byron Horatio
    @ByronHoratio

    I tend to look at religions the way I look at political ideologies. There are good ones, bad ones, in-between ones, and some that are completely incompatible with liberalism and pluralism.

    Did Cold Warriors qualify every criticism of Communism by saying, “But of course not all communists are killers…there are many forms of communism…communists cared for the poor after all…its true essence is peace”?

    It would have been pointless to. Communism was acknowledged to be the morally bankrupt sham ideology that it truly was. Islam traditionally understood (adherence to Muhammed’s example) is no different. You can’t be a religion (Islam) or a state (Soviet Union) founded by gangsters and expect peace.

    • #15
  16. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    Front Seat Cat:What is the tables were reversed and Christians and Jews were flooding the Middle East and all the other predominantly Muslim countries? They would not allow it.

    I wouldn’t say flooding, but that’s exactly why there were communities of Jew in North Africa and the Ottoman Empire.

    Today, sadly, I think you might be right.

    • #16
  17. Zafar Member
    Zafar
    @Zafar

    jonsouth:

    There is virtually no movement within the muslim world to ‘understand’ western culture and adopt its better traditions.

    Most of the Muslim world was colonised by the European countries in the period before WWII – for periods going up to several generations (130 years in Algeria, for eg).  Hence their elites’ enduring familiarity with European languages (sometimes also used for Governance) and the almost universal popular enthusiasm for some sort of democracy.  Even dictatorships (like Mubarak’s or Assad’s or Saddam’s) felt the need to go through the motions, however hollowly.

    IS is driven by a reaction against this – it is at war only tangentially with the West, but it is directly and violently in opposition to the profound trend of Westernisation in the Muslim world.

    • #17
  18. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    Petty Boozswha:Here’s an interesting article on what we have to look forward to:

    http://www.danielpipes.org/16322/muslim-no-go-zones-in-europe

    Daniel Pipes’s article is interesting. He says there are and are not “no-go zones.” He had one bad incident in Marseilles, but otherwise in other Muslim neighborhoods, he felt relatively safe.

    The picture (below) of the low-income housing in Marseilles, however, may explain a little bit why the Marseilles situation is worse: the buildings are reminiscent of the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) disastrous multi-floor apartment complexes built in Boston after World War II as low-income housing. These buildings became centers of crime and rape and drug trafficking.

    Ultimately HUD had to tear them down (one famous site was in Dorchester, and it was replaced by the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and the Massachusetts Archives). HUD learned a lot from its failure such as the fact that bright lighting is crucial in preventing crime in parking lots, lobbies, and stairwells.

    These buildings in Marseilles are terribly designed:

    3304

    • #18
  19. genferei Member
    genferei
    @genferei

    Mona Charen: What happens when a major political party becomes so wedded to political correctness that it feels constrained to deny reality?

    What happens when it happens to both major political parties? Ugly things. Ugly, ugly things.

    • #19
  20. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    Aaron Miller: And somehow nearly every Muslim nation in every region, despite cultural and historical differences, hosts this same ideological “minority” in its political leadership. From Indonesia to Saudi Arabia, from Belgium to Iran, that “minority” terrorizes anyone not of the tribe.

    The Saudi’s have been working for decades to spread Wahhabi Islam around the world. A large percentage of Mosques and Madrassa’s around the world are funded by the Saudis ,including the ones here in the good old USA.  The one thing Saudi has volunteered to do for the Syrian “refugees” in Europe is build them a bunch of Mosques.

    • #20
  21. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    Aaron Miller: I think more highly of many of my Muslim American neighbors, but only because they are more American than Muslim.

    And if at any time they come up to around 10% of the population in your community, there will be calls for adjudicating under Sharia, pressure for all women to be in hajibs, etc.

    Islam is the enemy, it should be contained to those parts of the globe where it is hegemonistic, and suppressed to the extent possible elsewhere.

    • #21
  22. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    This makes me wonder about just how clueless we are and how bold our enemy is….

    And the reason no one can locate her origin is most likely that her name is not really “Tashfeen Malik”. No one is able to find any female named “Tashfeen Malik”. The name is very unusual for a woman and there is no record of any Tashfeen Malik in the U.S. or even abroad in Arabic.

    Tashfeen Malik (King) is a nom de guerre for a Muslim Jihadist from the annals of Muslim history. As he is known to Muslims “تاشفين ملك الموحدين” Tashfeen Malik Al-Muahideen, in English: Tafhseen King of the Unitarians (Muslims) and the conquerer of the west. The history stems from when Yusuf ibn Tashfin led the Muslim forces in the Battle of Zallaqa/Sagrajas. He came to Andalusia from Morocco to help the Muslims fight against Alfonso VI, eventually achieving victory and allowing the Muslims to remain in Spain for centuries. The battle has been symbolic for Muslim victory against the Christians.”

    So when she applied for that visa to come to the US from Saudi, nobody at the embassy, no Saudi “ally” working there said, “uh guys about this woman….”

    • #22
  23. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    To Kozak and others – Islam seems to currently be fueled by an intolerance to other faiths – there have been periods of peace and turmoil throughout history. But it is not compatible whatsoever with western culture if the leadership among the Muslim communities throughout the world condone or stay silent on extremism. There are devout Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and there are moderates, along with the secularists and atheists. Sometimes extremism rears an ugly head within these faiths, and it never turns out to benefit anyone – only harm.

    If a Muslim such as the one that worked in San Bernadino for 4 years, grew to hate with such venom, I say to him and all that wish to embrace an intolerant view… go and live in countries where Wahhabi Islam is the only way – they will embrace you. You will be happy there. Don’t live in a free country, befriend neighbors and co-workers, come and go as you please, earn a living, have a family – you are not welcome here in my country, and what do we have to offer you if your end game means to erase other’s rights, life and liberty? You did not make things better for yourself, your family or your faith. Go home.

    • #23
  24. V the K Member
    V the K
    @VtheK

    I see on CNN that Syed Farook was “radicalized by his wife.”

    See, you silly billies. He wasn’t radicalized by Islam. He was radicalized by heterosexual marriage.

    • #24
  25. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    And one more thing – since we have no direction from the leadership currently in place in our country, no warning system, a president who cannot even say the truth, then the rest of us need to skip the politically correct climate and go full tilt with being vigilant, call it profiling, whatever – if you notice anything suspicious or out of the ordinary, report it, takes notes, pictures with your phone – take nothing for granted.

    After 9/11, there were people photographing and videotaping sensitive areas and historical landmarks throughout our cities – this was noted on a regular basis in Peggy Noonan’s columns in Wall St. Journal – she saw it herself. – Again, we’re on our own to pay attention.

    • #25
  26. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Kozak:This makes me wonder about just how clueless we are and how bold our enemy is….

    And the reason no one can locate her origin is most likely that her name is not really “Tashfeen Malik”. No one is able to find any female named “Tashfeen Malik”. The name is very unusual for a woman and there is no record of any Tashfeen Malik in the U.S. or even abroad in Arabic.

    Tashfeen Malik (King) is a nom de guerre for a Muslim Jihadist from the annals of Muslim history. As he is known to Muslims “تاشفين ملك الموحدين” Tashfeen Malik Al-Muahideen, in English: Tafhseen King of the Unitarians (Muslims) and the conquerer of the west. The history stems from when Yusuf ibn Tashfin led the Muslim forces in the Battle of Zallaqa/Sagrajas. He came to Andalusia from Morocco to help the Muslims fight against Alfonso VI, eventually achieving victory and allowing the Muslims to remain in Spain for centuries. The battle has been symbolic for Muslim victory against the Christians.”

    So when she applied for that visa to come to the US from Saudi, nobody at the embassy, no Saudi “ally” working there said, “uh guys about this woman….”

    That is unreal!!! That we cannot even vet someone with the name of a terrorist of past history! Forget vetting all of the new refugees, thousands of which have gone missing in Europe and here – Like I said….we’re on our own to watch out for one another.

    • #26
  27. Johnny Dubya Inactive
    Johnny Dubya
    @JohnnyDubya

    My thoughts and prayers are with those who say it “has nothing to do with Islam”.

    • #27
  28. jetstream Inactive
    jetstream
    @jetstream

    Jean Kirkpatrick argued, on several occasions, the confrontation between The West and Islam is a war of civilizations .. her very persuasive argument was the 8th century is at war with Western Civilization. No amount of happy talk about “the good muslims” has proven her argument wrong.

    • #28
  29. billy Inactive
    billy
    @billy

    V the K:I see on CNN that Syed Farook was “radicalized by his wife.”

    See, you silly billies. He wasn’t radicalized by Islam. He was radicalized by heterosexual marriage.

    Are the risks of being radicalized preventable? Like, condoms will protect me from the risk of an STD, so will they protect me from being radicalized?

    I don’t want to be a silly billy and end up beheading a co-worker or planting IEDs because I was careless and got myself radicalized.

    • #29
  30. Herbert Inactive
    Herbert
    @Herbert

    Front Seat Cat: I say to him and all that wish to embrace an intolerant view… go and live in countries where Wahhabi Islam is the only way – they will embrace you.

    you think this option wasn’t available to them?  Why would they not choose it?

    • #30
Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.