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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

President Obama's 'new beginning'

Writing in the New Republic in response to President Obama's speech at West Point last week, in which he announced that he is sending an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, Marty Peretz argues that President Obama cannot embark on a 'new beginning' with Islam (as Obama claimed he wanted to do in Cairo last June) until he faces up to reality.
I suspect that the assembled men and a few women thought that Obama's definition of the adversary--here, I myself trim; isn't it really "enemy?"--was rather thin. "A group of extremists who have distorted and defiled Islam, one of the world's great religions, to justify the slaughter of innocents." If only the men of Al Qaeda were only a group of extremists. And the Taliban, the same.

In the last few days alone, these "extremists" have blown up a train (and maybe even a nightclub with over 100 dead) in Russia, massacred fifty-odd civilians in the Philippines, bombed a Somali medical school graduation and killed some 22 students with their instructors (this is the country's second medical school class in 20 years), executed a suicide attack on a mosque in Pakistan with at least 40 gone to the creator and, in the guise of a government, continued the persecution of democrats and moderate Muslims in Iran.

I believe that there is an epidemic of extremism in Islam. Not all extremists become jihadists, of course. But many do. And they do so quietly and surreptitiously. We already know that the security agencies simply ignored the terrorist education of Dr. Hasan. We know that a Palestinian agitator--a Jerusalemite, no less--infiltrated the Obamas' first White House state dinner. But we are also assured that he was a flake, with dozens of civil suits against him. OK, leave him off the list. But do remember that a resentful Palestinian nationalist, also a native Jerusalemite, assassinated Robert F. Kennedy in a kitchen of Los Angeles' Ambassador Hotel. He, however, was a Christian. OK, leave him off the list, too. At your peril.

The fact is, as Barack Obama refuses to grasp, Islam needs to shoulder responsibility for what is done in its name. For what is not rejected--in most cases, not at all rejected--by the sages of present-day Islam. Since the president has taken to lecture Americans about "one of the world's great religions," which I believe it to be, he might also take to studying why so many of its elders in schools of theology and other authoritative men have embraced, publicly embraced, the gangsters in their midst.
The failure to hold Islam accountable for what is done in its name has been the problem all along, hasn't it?

Read the whole thing.


At 5:00 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Islam is unreformable. At its heart, it really finds it laudatory to commit mass murder, kidnapping and extortion. That makes it a form of organized crime not a religion. And yet despite all the evidence to the contrary, people insist on hailing it as a peaceful religion. They are seriously in denial about the true nature of Islam.


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