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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Whenever an act of horrific terror enrages the West, a predictable second act ensues. Furious commentators and activists on the right erupt with blanket denunciations of Islam, Muslims, and their supposed plots to enslave us all under Shari’a law, urging that we ban the religion, stigmatize its faithful, and restore the Judeo-Christian exclusivity of America. Sometimes a few even seek retribution in attacks on mosques, individual Muslims, and anyone unfortunate enough to “look Muslim.”

Violent or merely loud , these are the “useful idiots,” whose divisive blundering underscores the propaganda of al Qaeda, ISIS, and imitators around the world. They represent precisely the opposite of what we must do and say if we are to defeat Islamist extremism in all its manifestations.

Look behind the delusional murderers who actually carry out such crimes as the massacres at Charlie Hebdo and the Paris kosher market: What is the strategic objective of those who deploy them? Not a military victory over the French army, nor even an atmosphere of fear in Paris. They seek to provoke a harsh crackdown on innocent Muslims, especially the young and unemployed, along with expressions of bigotry and discrimination – to highlight the simmering communal conflicts they hope to inflame into a “war of civilizations.”

So the extremists can only be grateful when anti-Muslim propaganda, repeated constantly in right-wing publications and broadcasts, casts them as the defenders of Islam, rather than its defilers. Every time Islam is publicly defined as a religion of violence, the jihadis gain prestige. Their appeals become more persuasive to oppressed young Muslims – especially if no alternative is apparent.

Yet the narrative of endless conflict and implacable distrust is not only untrue – as we saw last week when Parisians of all faiths and none rallied together – but deeply destructive to traditional democratic values and strategically stupid.

Yes, we must protect the right to commit free speech, including speech that is offensive to religions and even to ethnic groups, without fear of violent responses. We must also protect the rights of religious and ethnic minorities — including the right to protest peacefully against offensive speech. That requires swift action against those who will conspire to maim, murder, and terrorize – and the capacity whenever possible to neutralize those criminals before they act.

But Americans will need to do much more than surround ourselves with police, armies, and intelligence services if we ever hope to overcome our extremist enemies. Effective counterterrorism demands a contrasting narrative of coexistence, respect, fairness, and opportunity.

The elements of that political arsenal exist already — in the stories of Ahmed Merabet, the Muslim policeman who died heroically in Paris, and Lassana Bathily, the young Muslim employee who led Jews in the kosher market to safety; in the undeniable fact that the extremists murder hundreds of innocent civilians, overwhelmingly Muslim, every week; and in the secure, prosperous existence that millions of ordinary Muslim families have enjoyed in this country for decades, despite outbursts of prejudice and harassment.

We ought to note with pride that Muslims serve in the U.S. military and every branch of government, including two members of Congress, because the Constitution specifically bans any religious test for public office. (Certain figures on the religious right may need to be reminded too.) Muslims should know that their holy days are routinely celebrated in the White House by presidents of both parties — even as all religions are subject to disbelief, criticism, and even jeering satire in a free society.

The consensus among ordinary Muslims is well known to public opinion pollsters: By large majorities, here and abroad, they fear and disdain the violent extremists who have defamed their religion. Let’s at least stop trying to change their minds.


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Copyright 2015 The National Memo
  • Dominick Vila

    It is difficult for most of us to determine what is in the minds of religious fanatics, but I would not be surprised if they consider our reactions – or over reactions – to their terrorist attacks a greater victory than the human and material losses caused by the attack itself.
    The greatest victory to a terrorist is likely to be the extremes we go to prevent another attack, our willingness to sacrifice our values and interests to preserve a semblance of freedom; marches that for us represent an example of unity and determination, and for them may represent evidence of exasperation and fear.
    The publicity we give to thugs that should be found, tried, sentenced and punished, is probably seen as victory by those who consider martyrdom their ultimate goal.
    Terrorism is not going to go away. In part because our propensity to confuse true acts of terrorism with expressions of sovereignty, in part because because religious fanaticism and insanity have been part of human history since the beginning of mankind, and in part because we have no choice but to protect our global interests or, rather, the interests of the elite, and doing so require a physical presence in places where our presence is not welcome.

    • FireBaron

      Dominick, after 9/11, airport security guards (normally composed of people who could not pass a military entrance examination, or be accepted even as prison guards) patted down diapers of infants looking for firearms and explosives. By that measure, the bad guys won. I am not saying exactly WHO the bad guys are, but take your pick.

    • joe schmo

      Belief and fanaticism are two different birds. However, way too often I have seen everyone who is a believer thrown into the mix. We should not confuse the two nor should we condemn believers, specifically Christians, and, that is, what I see far too often on Liberal sites.

      • MacK

        Just in case people here are not familiar with Joe Schmo in earlier that’s he came out as a virulent racist, admirer of his German antecedents and maker up of stuff.

        Search the bible folks, you will not find Mecca mentioned, even under his biblical spelling as he puts it of Mekkah.

        Don’t feed the racist troll

  • underledge

    It is important to remember that when we are labeling individuals or groups as “religious fanatics” or “terrorists” that we include those Christians that bomb or harm medical facilities.

    • FireBaron

      Sorry, but only people defined by Faux News? as terrorists are to be called terrorists. Others should be referred to as Freedom Fighters, especially if they represent a right-wing cause, and claim the 2nd Amendment gives them the right to do so.

  • Joe T

    So I said to the black person in the green suit with the red eyes, who in the hell are you, he said Satan’s my name and chaos is my game, who in the hell are you….I said FREEDOM MAN.



    IF THEY (muslins) believe the Qur’an/Koran……and you do NOT……you should be killed or dead as for as they are concerned. 4.89 : They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them friends until they fly (their homes) in Allah’s way; but if they turn back, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper.3.85: And whoever desires a religion other than Islam, it shall not be accepted from him, and in the hereafter he shall be one of the losers…..from the Qur’an!

    KEEP BELIEVING THEY ARE PEACEFUL…..8.12: When your Lord revealed to the angels:

    I am with you, therefore make firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off (behead) their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.

    The Qur’an was an oral text throughout the lifetime of Muhammad; it was also a fluid text. The complete text resided only in the memories of Muhammad and his followers. As he added verses and reorganized the text, his followers would rememorize the text in the light of the additions or edits. This means that the Qur’an was a living text during the lifetime of Muhammad. Certain verses revealed to Muhammad were later repudiated by him as “satanic” verses revealed not by Gabriel but by Satan. These verses were expunged from the text that so many had memorized.

    It’s plain to see Barack Hussein Obama has loyalties to this ideology that he can’t hide. It’s self-evident for many reasons; one of which is that he clearly avoids (refuses) to call the terrorists by their identity of followers of Islamic teachings, proven by the Qur’an (Koran) to be VIOLENT. For Manchurian* Candidate substitute the word Muslim.* This is occurring world wide at a rapid rate, due to verbiage changes by current covert leaders.

    • majorwiblit

      ty for all your wisdom and insight,,
      and thanks for keeping the hate, bigotry, and racism alive in our country with your quotes from that magic book of myths and legends…

      • Joe T

        The Magic book is the Qur’an, which is the myth.
        please Google info about same.
        best regards, Joe T

        • majorwiblit

          ahhh.. but I would add the bi-bull to that list..

          People are not drawn to religion to be better.
          They are drawn to religion to feel better.
          In this country what passes for Christians look to the Bible to validate their greed, fear, and hate.
          They wallow in the Old Testament where they can justify any heinous act they want to commit and completely ignore anything that supposedly, Christ said or did. They whine like victims when they can’t legislate their beliefs and cry about being persecuted whenever they are prevented from persecuting others.
          In short our fundamentalist Christians are just as bad as ISIS, and would create a Theocracy here in ‘merica if they could

          • joe schmo

            Maybeeeee, you are Muslim convert and you hate infidels? If you are then perhaps a visit to Mekkah (Biblical spelling) is in order. You will not react until something happens to you. Yes America is supposed to be tolerant of all religions, however; don’t ever forget we were based on Judeo/Christian principles. I think many Americans will attest to that fact. The non-Christians are still in the minority.

            Whatever you are, I would not want to mess with God. Not a good thing.

            2 Peter 3:1-18:1
            The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.

            Matthew 24:4 – 13
            Jesus while talking to his Disciples on the Mt. of Olives – And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled:
            for all [these things] must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these [are] the beginning of sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake.And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
            But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

            Atheist professor goes to hell and is revived to change his life:


            Good luck!

          • Joe T

            You’re entitled to your opinion, albeit it’s not accurate per se’. Your painting with a broad brush the human race that is not correct, my opinion.

    • stsintl

      Here are some verses I found in the Holy Bible within 15 minutes as I was just browsing thru it.

      Deuteronomy- 7: 1-5
      1. When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girahites, and the Amonites, and the Caananites, and the Perrizites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;

      2. And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them:

      3. Neither shall thou make marriages with them……………………..
      4. But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves; and burn their graven images with fire.

      Deuteronomy- 13: 6-10
      5. If thy brother,….. [list of other blood relatives]……….., or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;

      6. Namely, of the gods of the
      people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;

      7. Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:

      8. But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the peoples.

      9. And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

      Deuteronomy- 20: 13,14
      13. And when the LORD thy God hath delivered into thine hands, thou shalt smite every male thereof with the edge of the sword:

      14. But the women, and the little ones, and the cattle, and all that is in the city, even all the spoil thereof, shall thou take unto thyself; and thou shalt eat the spoil of thine enemies, which the LORD thy God hath given thee.

      Luke 19: 27
      27. But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

      The point is that people find what they are looking for. Just like terrorists, you have taken mistranslated verses out of context to justify your hatreds.

      By the way, there was no Jihadist terrorism before 1980. President Ronald Reagan, with his deep seated hatred for the Evil Empire of USSR, created Osama Bin Laden and his so called “Freedom Fighter [Mujahedeen] in Afghanistan to drive out the Soviets. Then Dick Cheney expanded it globally with his Iraq War in 2003.

  • Gary Miles

    If they were completely ignored, they would continue with their twisted views of life. Look at the recent actions of Boko Harem. This is a worldwide issue that needs to be dealt with by the world, all of them, including Muslim countries. If Muslim is truly a peaceful religion, I would think that more Muslim’s would speak out and do so much louder. I have heard and read a few that have spoken out and I commend them, they have just become targets of the extremists. But, let’s face reality, the world leaders have failed and will likely continue to do so. I’m concerned with the US an my fellow citizens. I can’t help those abroad.

    At the same time, we have a better chance at getting shot and killed by a police officer than by getting killed by a scary terrorist with a scary looking gun. Even bees kill more people in the US every year. So shouldn’t we put things in context with reality? Is the fear of terrorism over exaggerated? Terrorists rely on an emotional response much like politicians do to get your support for their ideology. Radical Islam wants you to follow their LAWS (Sharia) and try to force you to covert through force and fear. Politicians want you to follow their LAWS and force you to do so through force and fear. Strange, it’s really easy to equate them as the same. In closing, IT’S BUSH’S DAMN FAULT!

    • StubbornlyRational

      What utter nonsense. If you are a peaceful, law-abiding citizen, your chance of being shot and killed by a policeman in the U.S. is not much different from the chance of being hit by lightning — vanishingly small. Even if you are arrested for a violent felony, you will be very unlikely to be shot. On the other hand in 2001, several thousand Americans died in one year at the hands of terrorists.

  • Mister_YT

    We must begin removing all Muslims from the USA. Killing them will be the cheapest way to do it.

    • majorwiblit

      you, and people like you are part of the problem

      • Mister_YT

        No, communist socialist atheist homosexuals like you are the problem and the only solution is killing all of you too. There’s a big change coming and assholes like you are going to die.

        • majorwiblit

          you funny

    • charleo1

      Really? Do we have to fight you, and the terrorists? Is that what you want? For us to sink to their level, and make them look moderate to us by comparison?

      • Mister_YT

        You must be shot first. You’re a traitor to God’s America and His White Christian master race.

        • majorwiblit

          stupid internet troll,, Trix are for kids….

        • charleo1

          We’re never going to be friends, you and I. And I want you to know, that I take a great deal of personal pride in that. And also, that I live in a Country that tolerates not only you, and your intolerant views. But the views of all of us, lucky enough to be a part of a free America we all share.

          • Mister_YT

            I’d love to use you for target practice you commie queer.

  • MacK

    It would be useful to also note that numerous members of the Christian Right have at the same time opposed secularism and loudly insisted that the U.S. should be governed by (their version) of Christian law. Should we hunt them down too?

  • charleo1

    They do this to bring out the worst in us. We do know this, right? So, when a group of terrorists react in such a heinous way, to something we perceive as relatively trivial, someone drawing a caricature of Muhammad. They do this to provoke a certain disproportional reaction. They hope will result in the rousting about, scrutinizing, discriminating, demonizing, and jailing innocents in the larger populations of Muslims. Because their goal is to have us direct the hatred, anger, and fear that arises in all civilized people over such acts, and visit that on all of Islam. We do know this, after the aftermath of 9/11? That when we cast aside our ideals, relinquish our freedoms, get railroaded into a war, lose, or forget to use our common sense, listen to the radicals, and hate mongers among ourselves, they win. Have we figured this much out after how many years? They can’t bring us down, so they want us to bring ourselves down. What’s that the Brits say? Keep calm, and carry on.

  • Luis Villar


    Is the politically correct mantra that “Islam is a
    religion of peace and justice hijacked by a minority of radical jihadists”
    intellectually honest?

    In 610 CE, when 40 year old Muhammad was ordained the
    last prophet by Abraham in a cave called Hira on the mountain called Jabal
    an-Nour near Mecca, the world was not a pretty place.

    There was no central government. Tribes waged war against each other. Justice was eye for and eye, and vendetta, the law
    of retaliation (lex talionis). Beheading, amputation of limbs, stoning,
    crucifixion, and torture were commonplace.
    The strong raped and pillaged the weak.

    After his initial rejection in Mecca and then in
    Medina, Mohammad adapted the tactics of the time to spread his Faith. He robbed caravans. He rapped and pillaged. He took slaves. He
    beheaded, amputated, and stoned resisters.
    He slaughtered men women and children to unify the tribes and expand the
    empire. This was nothing new. It was how things were done in those
    days. He just did it better and more

    He then established Sharia law that codified these acts
    and consolidated power by defining the rules and empowering imams and Caliphs
    to judge and authorize punishment.
    Beheading for non-submission or murder (unless you murder for
    Allah). Amputation for stealing (unless
    you steal for Allah). Stoning of
    gays. Stoning of women for offending the
    family. Robbing caravans was punishable
    by death (unless for Allah). Peace was
    the reward for total submission (islam) to God.

    Mohammad did bring law and order to the warring
    tribes. But did he bring “peace and
    justice” as we think of it in modern terms.
    Did he embrace concepts of “turn the other cheek”, “love they neighbor”,
    “tolerance and respect for opposing ideas”, “rejection of cruel and unusual
    punishment”. “All men are created equal”, “women are equal to men”? Did he reject ”might makes right”, “rape and pillage thy enemy”?

    Did Mohammad simply consolidate the power to perpetuate
    the cruelty and inhumanity of the times in the name of his new- found God?

    Was this a “my way or the highway religion from the
    start”. Submit and God will love and nurture you. Resist and die

    Are moderate Muslims deviants of the true religion as
    fundamentalists insist? Should they
    suffer death and eternal damnation for embracing western music and dress,
    educating their daughters, foregoing the burqa?
    Should those who find solace in another faith be slaughtered? Should daughters that fall in love with
    non-believers be stoned?

    Just asking these questions brings the penalty of
    death in countries such as Pakistan.

    Once we can be intellectually honest about these
    questions of the Muslim faith, we can find solutions of merit and promise.

    Western Civilization and religions have evolved over
    the past 1402 years. The barbarities
    and inhumanity of the past are no longer acceptable. We embrace concepts that “all men and women
    are created equal”, “freedom of thought
    and speech”, “children can determine their own destiny without coercion”,
    “intellectual freedom”, “rejection of cruel and unusual punishment“, ”respect
    and tolerance of opposing opinions, peaceful debate of issues”, “rejection of
    slavery”, “tolerance of gays”, “rejection of submission”, and “love of rock and

    If moderate Muslims are a deviation or evolution of
    the original faith and/or early interpretations of the Faith, then we have an
    obligation to embrace them, assimilate them, and protect and empower them from the fundamentalists.

    An Imam explained, “The Koran is like a hammer. It can be used to build a house. It can be used to tear down a house”.

    Only when we divest ourselves of the mantra that
    ““Islam is a religion of peace and justice hijacked by a minority of radical
    jihadists” and consider that ” moderate Muslims are a healthy evolution of an
    intolerant religion that was a product of barbaric and inhumane times can we
    see light at the end of the tunnel.

    We are only useful idiots to the enemy when we allow political correctness to prevent an analysis of the threat.

  • Luis Villar

    Charleo, the Brotherhood of Islam began infiltrating Western countries including the USA over thirty years ago.

    Ali Abdul Saoud Mohamed was sent to infiltrate the USA by Bin Laden after being discharged from Egyptian army in 1984. He joined the US army and was passing secret documents to Bin Laden through the blind sheik in New York and infiltrated the FBI. This double agent was not arrested until 1998!!!

    Our only insult to Islam at that time was brokering the peace deal between Sadat and Israel at Cap David in 1978.

    This politically correct notion that Islamists are attacking the West because we offend them is naive. They see a duty to convert the world. They can infiltrate by stealth easier if critics are silent and unaware of their activities. So they cry “foul” if anyone tries to expose them. Ask questions and they cry islamphobe. They only way they win is when we give up our right of free speech, freedom to question, freedom to probe, freedom to offend.

    Asking the tough questions is an offense to them, punishable by death in Pakistan by the way.

    • charleo1

      Although what you say is news to me, it really doesn’t surprise me.
      We’re an open democratic society. I doubt if any of the radicals has penetrated N. Korea. Or, if N. Korea ever offends them. And you’re right, it’s not about taking offense. Even that converting the World thing, I’m not all that convinced of. It is about power. After all, if it was about being offended, why don’t they strap on the bombs themselves, instead of sending young teens, or that bunch in Africa using 10 year old girls? I really don’t have many questions about these guys. They are thugs, committing atrocities to instill fear. A
      fairly common way many likeminded predecessors have conducted business in the past. They can cry foul all they want, they are not taking over the World. They’ll wind up on the trash heap one of these days, just like the rest of their kind, who oppose those natural Rights of freedom to speak, to question, and yes, absolutely, especially the freedom to offend.

  • Luis Villar

    Mister YT Killing muslims is fruitless. Embrace moderate muslims. Teach them rock and roll. Explain that the Koran does not prohibit exposing the face and hair but only the breasts, so they can wear western dress. Explain that the Koran does not prohibit images of Mohammad so they do not have to be offended. Explain that in America, the Constitution is above sharia law.
    The Constitution can protect them against fundamentalists.

  • Oscar’s Wilde

    From what we know now, it appears that Colorado high school shooter Karl Pierson was an outspoken adherent to the ideology of liberalism.

  • FT66

    I can’t understand the right wingers freaking around and want everyone of us to label all extremists as Islamic terrorists. What about the label of Christian Extremists Terrorists? Don’t we have such people? How will the entire Christian believers enjoy hearing such a title? I hope won’t sound nice in their ears. What do they think it sounds to the entire innocent muslims believers, hearing the title Islamic Extremists Terrorists?

    • StubbornlyRational

      What predominantly Christian nation makes it a capital offense to practice any religion other than Christianity?

  • StubbornlyRational

    A predictable second act after every Islamic atrocity is limp-wristed columnists like Joe Conason worrying less about the victims and more about the offense given to Islam by commentaries on the atrocities.

    Joe, I have a suggestion. Go to any reasonable source (start at Wikipedia) on “penalties for apostasy”. You’ll find that millions of people living in *dozens* of countries controlled by Muslims face death, non-lethal violence, or lengthy imprisonment for simply leaving the Muslim faith.

    There are many fine people who practice some variation of Islam. I have no doubt of that. But Islam is, according to its own scriptures, by nature intolerant. Islam, *as practiced*, may eventually evolve, just as Christianity has.

    But Joe — in all seriousness — is executing or flogging someone just for leaving Islam not “violent”? Could you please stop spouting liberal cliches for a few moments and look at facts?

  • Melissa Newton

    Each of us should remember that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.