Where Seldom Is Heard

Diane Alden
September 28, 2001

For whatever reasons, President Bush is wasting his time on devising increased security measures which terrorists or war mongers or nut cases can get around. A national ID card will do nothing but make it easier for government to catch tax cheats and parents who have not had their kids immunized.

Meanwhile, back in the REAL world, lavish funding will continue to flow into the pockets of terrorists and others who can game the system. Falsifying documents and buying cryptotechnology and the latest in fraud techniques will create brand new business ventures. The only people who will be impacted by more surveillance will be you and me as the thousands of laws and regulations we now have are written into a microchip and put into the ID card to tell Homeland Defense who is avoiding the tax man or hitting porn sites on the Net.

The recent proposals of a new and improved terrorism bill coming out of the John Ashcroft DOJ will be as flaky and full of holes as the last terrorism bill of 1996. Bills and more laws and more IDs is not the problem here.

Meanwhile, Bush meets with mullahs and Muslim clerics and tells us all to be nice to our new playmates. I have trouble with Bush's priorities, but so what else is new. I have trouble with the fact that he changed the name of the operation against terrorism to appease Islamic leaders, a name change from Infinite Justice to Enduring Freedom.

He changed the name because, according to the mullahs, infinite justice can be rendered only by God. I am wondering, considering it was Islamic fundamentalists who vaporized 7,000 folks of various nations in the WTC, why Bush wastes time on such arcane and unimportant concerns. Political correctness at this juncture is stupid and vainglorious and will further serve to impede American resolve.

I bet he would have ignored the request if the pope had asked him to rename a similar operation if the terrorist attack had been conducted by Catholic fundamentalists. Having respect for another religion is one thing, but he should have blown it off as beneath consideration.

It would seem we are once again losing sight of what just happened in New York and Washington. As we sink further into a morass of multicultural Sensitivities, most of us must come to understand this "war" is bogus. The last thing that should be on Bush's mind is accommodating clerics who have done little but whine and complain about being picked on by nasty Christian and Jewish America. Talk about creating resentment.

Bush is not helping by reminding us twice weekly to be nice to Muslims. Most of us are trying to be nice. But he is blind to the fact that Christian and Jewish America is NOT our immediate problem. .

In a recent column, John Leo supports what I am telling you. He says, "The media stress on bias crimes is important. Sikhs, who are neither Arabs nor Muslims, have been attacked simply for wearing turbans. As Mayor Giuliani said, cowardly attacks based on hate are exactly what we are supposed to be opposing now. Still, there is something unbalanced and one-sided about the anti-bias rhetoric. I have noticed no comparable stress on the heightened responsibilities of Muslim Americans."

Operating with his newfound knowledge about Islam, Bush is making some monumental mistakes. He is under the impression that the word "Islam" means peace. Sorry to disabuse him of that notion, but according to eminent British historian Paul Johnson:

It is widely said that Islamic terrorists are wholly unorthodox in their belief that their religion sanctions what they do, and promises the immediate reward of heaven to what we call "suicide bombers" but they insist are martyrs to the faith. This line is bolstered by the assertion that Islam is essentially a religion of peace and that the very word "Islam" means "peace." Alas, not so. Islam means "submission," a very different matter, and one of the functions of Islam, in its more militant aspect, is to obtain that submission from all, if necessary by force.

What Johnson has to say will not go down well with the multicultural coffee klatches in the West Wing of the White House. Johnson relates in a recent article in the National Review:

Islam is an imperialist religion, more so than Christianity has ever been, and in contrast to Judaism. The Koran, Sura 6, verse 85 describes the inevitable enmity between Moslems and non-Moslems: "Strongest among men in enmity to the Believers wilt thou find the Jews and Pagans." Sura 9, verse 5, adds: "Then fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them. And seize them, beleaguer them and lie in wait for them, in every stratagem [of war]." Then nations, however mighty, the Koran insists, must be fought "until they embrace Islam. ... The number of Moslems penetrating and settling in Europe is now beyond computation because most of them are illegals. They are getting into Spain and Italy in such numbers that, should present trends continue, both these traditionally Catholic countries will become majority Moslem during the 21st century.

This is no time for political correctness or celebrating diversity. I have yet to hear anything but a passing reference to the terrorist attack of Sept. 11 from almost anyone in the Muslim community. With the exception of the very fragile Muhammed Ali, the silence is deafening. However, almost daily there is a call to be nice to Muslims. I keep asking myself, what the heck did I do to any Muslim?

Furthermore, why do Muslims and others keep saying that we deserved what happened because of our foreign policy or friendship with Israel? Why is it that there is always "it's too bad what happened, BUT ..."? BUT is usually followed by a laundry list of things they think America has done to the Islamic world, like our support for Israel. Like not dumping Israel in order to promote the Palestinians.

Yet Muslims turn a blind eye to the fact that we backed Albanian Muslims of the KLA against Serbian Christians. In addition, they wanted our troops and dollars to throw Saddam out of Kuwait, but they don't want us on Saudi soil. God forbid they should be subjected to the slimy Americans anywhere near Mecca or that American women soldiers with their sleeves rolled up might be seen driving a jeep by one of the sons of Ishmael.

Christians are getting killed by Muslims all over the world, but America is not supposed to see that. Frankly, I don't care if they don't like our foreign policy. All I know is that some 7,000 Americans are dead because Islamic fundamentalists abused our hospitality and now they try and blame us for provoking the attack. It won't wash, and it shouldn't with President Bush.

Americans are asked to be tolerant and counseled to be patient as a coalitions with Arab countries is formed. We walk on eggshells so we don't piss off the Islamic world. Yet Moslems in Afghanistan destroy Buddhist statues in that country which was once Hindu and Buddhist. Meanwhile, Islam continues its rule by force in Africa in Nigeria and the Sudan, in Indonesia, and elsewhere. Non-Muslims are given a choice of conversion or death. Barbarities committed on women in Afghanistan by the Taliban go unremarked except by westernized members of RAWA, the counter-revolutionary group of Muslim women, who risk their lives to bring the information to the West. Information that we promptly ignore.

A Historical Lesson on Islam

Much has been made of the Koran recently, and Americans are getting a short course on what Islam and its attendant credo are. However, little is said in regard to the other traditions which go hand in hand with Islam. There are rules which were established as early as the eighth and ninth centuries by the founders of the four schools of Islamic law: Hanafi, Malaki, Shafi'i and Hanbali. These bodies of law are as important as which parts of the Koran are used as cover for the more violent aspects of Islam. Islam is more than the Koran, and even that is misquoted or misunderstood in an effort to be fair to Muslims. The other aspects of Islam should not be ignored; rather, every effort should be made to understand them.

Bush and our leaders ignore the darker truths at our peril. In modern times, the 19th century and particularly after World War I, Islam conquered former Christian territories spreading from the Balkans, Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria to Armenia and the Middle East. In a desperate attempt to accommodate Islam and Christianity in the area, Eastern Christians tried to shield themselves against Islamic persecution and slavery. While Christianity survived in some places like Egypt and Turkey, in other places it was completely wiped out.

There is a word for the strange situation with Christians and Jews living in Islamic countries. When Christians and Jews have been allowed to exist, they exist under a condition of "protection," or pact, which in the testimony of religious historian Bat Ye'or* before Congress early last year means "pact," or dhimma. The explanation is that Christians and Jews, known in the Koran as "people of the book," are a protected people if they submit to Muslim rule – somewhat like the American Indian in the USA. In the case of the Muslim world, they must pay a poll tax, the "jizya," to the Islamic community, the "umma."

Ye'or related that if dhimmis rebel against Islamic law and give allegiance to a non-Muslim power or refuse to pay their poll tax; entice or convert a Muslim from his faith; harm a Muslim or his property; commit blasphemy, and that includes denigration of the prophet Muhammed, the Koran, the Muslim faith and other "errors," the jihad begins. The jihad is the sixth tenet of the Muslim faith. The first five are sweetness and light and Bush can rattle them off, but everyone seems to stumble over number six and its implications.

To further enlighten you, the word shari'a is one you should know and understand. It is a compendium of laws based on theological sources, the Koran and the hadiths – the latter the sayings and acts of the prophet Muhammed. The shari'a also relates to the concept of dhimmini. Yeor tells us that "dhimmintude" includes the inequality of rights in all domains between Muslims and dhimmis, the social and economic discrimination of dhimmis, the humiliation and vulnerability of the dhimmis.

The other word you should know is fatwa. If a fatwa is decreed against an individual, any Muslim is authorized to kill him, and by so doing he is the executor of what is considered the sentence of Allah. Fatwas are usually issued by the powers that be; like a Supreme Court ruling or an act of Congress, they become the law.

These have been issued by bin Laden and other Islamic Jihad networks against many people. In the case of several Muslims, they were assassinated for translating Saloman Rushdie's "Satanic Verses." This was done because a fatwa was issued by the religious rulers of Iran.

It is important to note in light of the increasing number of "let's blame America and the West for everything" bunch that it was only under colonial rule that Christians and Jewish minorities in conquered lands were liberated from centuries of oppression.

Having said that, it is also a fact that the vast majority of Muslims are also victims of Islamists from Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sudan, Egypt, Turkey and Algeria.

The warning which Ye'or gave Congress should warn us as well:

We should realize that those populations are in grave danger and that even Muslim governments cannot protect them from mob violence – sometimes they pretend to be unable to do so, in order to stop foreign pressure or public campaigns. We should also remember that, from the late 1940s, the Jewish communities in the Arab-Muslim world – then more than a million, now less than 1 percent of that number, under 10,000 and fast dwindling – were the victims of persecution, terrorism, pillage, and religious hatred that forced them to flee or emigrate. Christians were left as the only non-Muslims on whom religious fanaticism and hatred could be focused. Each Christian community tried to resist the return of the old order, following the path of secularism or communism.

In other words, there have been Jews and Christians in so-called Muslim lands for years.

But the sad fact is there are very few moderate Muslims. Most have taken on the worldview and groupthink that the Islamists promote. Even Muslim intellectuals and academics suffer from the groupthink, much as ours suffer from years of Hegelian groupthink and political correctness. That fact kills dialogue, cooperation and peace between ideologies, religions and peoples. It kills it in Muslim society as well as ours. It is insufferable that ideas are now classified according to a set of standards set up by political correctness on the one hand and violent and militant religious or ethnic dogma on the other.

If Bush and America do not understand the history and the real facts behind the jihad on America, we will lose this war. I am not saying that we should hate all Muslims or Arabs. What it does mean is that as a nation we have the right to find out if there are people living here, citizens or not, who want to kill and maim Americans and contribute to our downfall. In order to do that, we don't need a national ID card – we need common sense.

We also need the cooperation of the Muslim community in the U.S. We now find some Muslim organizations asking Muslims in the U.S. not to cooperate with the FBI. If Muslims do NOT cooperate with the FBI and this investigation in pursuit of the terrorist network, there WILL be a war. Perhaps it will sneak up on people as they whine about being picked on instead of looking around and giving some thought to the anti-American hate they spew and the spawn of hell they may be harboring in their communities. Understanding is a two-way street – it applies to all of us and not just Christians, Jews, or American atheists of non-Muslim or Arab lineage.

Quoting New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, John Leo reminds us that the responsibility of Arab and Muslim Americans is to send positive word about America overseas just as immigrants in the past have done. A good word home helps create and heal and lifts up all our diverse groups. The opposite just creates jihad and more days like Sept. 11.

The Tribe of Memory

My mother's mother and her family came to America from Poland in the early 1900s. A small, blonde, independent, rugged yet sentimental woman, she survived so much and sacrificed so profoundly to come to America for a better life. With nothing but four suitcases, along with her husband, John, and two children, plus a framed picture of Christ on the cross, Victoria left her homeland and pledged allegiance to a country she came to love deeply.

I can remember as a child seeing her weep openly whenever she spoke about the home America had given her and her family. I never heard her say one unkind or critical word about America. I never heard her say one single time that she was oppressed or picked on by the majority. That was true even AFTER the KKK burned a cross on her lawn. The KKK threatened her family and other foreigners often in the small mining town in northern Minnesota during the anti-Catholic and anti-foreign 1920s.

Among her few possessions was a battered American flag given to her by a local unit of the American Legion. She received it when one son was shot by a sniper at the Battle of the Bulge and another went down on a ship in the Pacific. Her favorite song was "Home on the Range." The words are good ones for this time and place, for both Muslim Americans and those Americans who don't hyphenate their names. "Where seldom is heard a discouraging word ..." Millions of people from all over the world come here for something. Most come to live in peace and to find prosperity. To them I say welcome home.

But to those who have evil intent or, what is just as bad, who turn a blind eye on the evil in their midst, I say BE American or BE gone.

*Bat Ye'or is the author of "The Dhimmi: Jews and Christians under Islam" (1985/1996) and "The Decline of Eastern Christianity under Islam. From Jihad to Dhimmitude: 7th to 20th Century" (1996). Both books were published by Fairleigh Dickinson University Press/Associated.

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Diane Alden is a research analyst with a background in political science and economics. Her work has appeared in the Washington Times as well as, Enterstageright, American Partisan and many other online publications. She also does radio commentaries for Steve Myers' show on Liberty Works Monday and Friday mornings, and can be heard regularly on Mike Fleming, WREC in Memphis.

Reproduced with the permission of All rights reserved.

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1 oct 2001