Part of the reason that Islamic terrorism continues to proliferate in the western world is that too many of our opinion-molders and interpreters have been hamstrung by not understanding that we are fighting a war which always means that certain freedoms need emergency adjustment. We all accepted the need for us to remove our shoes and submit to personal searches when airplane hijacking became part of our new normality. But we also submitted to the notion that blaming Islam for the murderous deeds of a minority was somehow a “phobic” over-reaction and unacceptable in our politically correct society. So we went out of the way to mislabel a terrorist attack at Fort Hood as “workplace violence” and to insist that not erecting a mosque less than two blocks away from the killing fields of Ground Zero was an assault on our freedom of religion. Some among us became enraged at the revelation of how much data the NSA had collected in its extraordinary surveillance, forgetting that the loss of some privacy may have been essential for increased security from terrorist acts. The tagline for Nicholas Kristof’s article in today’s Times is “Let’s not respond to extremists with our own brand of intolerance.” (1/8/15)
One day after the horrendous massacre of 12 members of the press in Paris, Kristof is most immediately concerned about our not showing our supposedly knee-jerk Islamophobic tendencies. Towards this end, he states that “Some of the most systematic terrorism in the Islamic world has been the daily persecution of Christians and other religious minorities, from the Bahai to the Yazidi to the Ahmadis.” Hmm, though by far the most hated and persecuted group in Islam are the Jews, they don’t receive a mention. Yet further on Kristof informs us that in his vast travels as a journalist he has learned not to prejudge and not to perceive everything through “simple narratives” such as the one Muslims hold “that America is an oppressive state controlled by Zionists.” The reason that one shouldn’t accept that simple narrative is that it is blatantly false and has no empirical substantiation. It is no different than other anti-Semitic canards such as Jews using the blood of Christians to bake their matzoh. By contrast, it is neither Islamophobic nor religious profiling to be realistically concerned, frightened and outraged by Muslim terrorism because it is by far the most common and widespread source of all the massacres, wars and assassinations in our 21rst century world. Where are those presumed “revenge attacks” that American Muslims and Nicholas Kristof are so frightened of? We can all recall the televised scenes of Muslims dancing in the streets of Brooklyn and New Jersey after 9/11 , a time when they should have been most nervous about a possible backlash. Instead our president went out of his way to invite an imam to the national services of mourning for the 3,000 innocent American victims killed in Allah’s name.
The most profound truth about the dilemma for western liberals is expressed in Daniel Henninger’s column in today’s WSJ (1/8/15) responding to the placards held by Frenchmen proclaiming “Je Suis Charlie.” Understanding this in a way that Nicholas Kristof does not, Henninger observes:”One many assume that many, if not most, of the thousands in Paris’s streets over the Hebdo massacre believed in 2013 that Edward Snowden was a hero for stealing software from the United States National Security Agency, the world’s primary surveillance instrument for identifying terrorists before they kill. Here we have two symbolic and broadly embraced beliefs about the West’s posture toward the reality of fundamental Islamic terror - that Edward Snowden is a hero and “I Am Charlie.” They are incompatible.” Well said.
Have PoliticalMavens.com delivered to your inbox in a daily digest by clicking here