JIHAD & THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES -- AN ASSESSMENT:
PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES & THE "FORBIDDEN WORD"
A REPORT ON ROBERT SPENCER'S MEF BRIEFING
By Winfield Myers
Mr. Spencer, who runs the website Jihad Watch and is author of seven books, most recently Religion of Peace? Why Christianity Is and Islam Isn't, called jihad "the forbidden word" in the ongoing U.S. presidential campaign.
Speaking on Tuesday, December 11, 2007, at a Center City luncheon sponsored by the Middle East Forum, a Philadelphia-based think tank headed by Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes, Mr. Spencer lamented that the majority of candidates in both major parties go to great lengths to avoid naming America's enemies, lest, by stating that a link exists between terrorism and Islam, they find themselves pummeled for their frankness.
The dilemma, said Mr. Spencer, is that, while any presidential candidate would want to avoid being called a racist, anyone speaking the truth on this matter will most certainly find himself tarred with that term. When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney used the word "jihad" in a television campaign commercial, Saturday Night Live parodied it simply by inserting a laugh track into the otherwise unaltered tape, as if using the term "jihad" was self-evidently absurd. The Wall Street Journal attacked Romney in a news article for speaking the unspeakable.
Moreover, CAIR's media guide warns that some unnamed non-Muslim writers suggest the Quran teaches violence. Yet, said Mr. Spencer, none other than Osama bin Laden quoted Quranic verses that call for violence against non-Muslims in his latest video, as did, on many occasions, the late Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran. "There are hundreds of passages in the Quran and the Hadiths [commentaries on the Quran] that call for violence," Mr. Spencer said, and refusing to speak of this historical fact puts the West "at a disadvantage in understanding the enemy in order to defeat them."
Although denial on this matter does presidential candidates no good, most of them act as if it does, Mr. Spencer argued. But to voluntarily refuse to examine the causes of the global war against the U.S.A. and the West is self-defeating, he said, adding that, while Rudolph Giuliani and Mitt Romney are more willing to identity our enemies by name than other candidates, every candidate needs to face the problem more fully. Yet, some voters, Mr. Spencer said, first adopt a policy toward terrorists and then ignore facts that contradict it. "No number of future terror attacks will shake these peoples' beliefs that Islam is a religion of peace," he said, adding that such Americans prefer to flock to candidates who won't address the real issues.
Stating that "cowardice plays a tremendous role" in the problem, Mr. Spencer said that the media share much of the blame for our silence in the face of the most dangerous threat of our time. He recounted the unwillingness of most American media to show the Danish cartoons of Muhammad that caused worldwide rioting among some Muslims when they appeared in a Danish newspaper in September, 2005. Mr. Spencer said that, "essential to a free press and a free society, is the right to offend and to be offended." But, in the wake of the rioting, in newsrooms "the test became, could the Muslims in Denmark be offended?" When Western papers said they didn't want to offend Muslims by reprinting the cartoons, they proved themselves politically correct cowards, Mr. Spencer said.
A corollary of presidential candidates' care not to give offense is that they behave and speak as if terrorism was the fault of the West (America, Israel, and Europe), rather than the violent, barbaric, and criminal actions of culpable and treacherous enemy Muslims in their war against the West. Presidential candidates will recite a litany of Western sins — the CIA's overthrow of Mohammad Mosaddeq of Iran in 1953, America's support for Israel, or Abu Ghraib — as explanations for Islamic terrorist acts. The implication, Mr. Spencer said, was that, with the proper initiatives on the part of the West, "the problem will go away," as if it's "something we can fix." Such an approach fails to grasp that the problem stems from "ideological imperatives within Islam," Mr. Spencer added.
Those imperatives mean that, from Indonesia to America, there is a movement that appeals to peaceful Muslims to become exponents of "pure Islam" and calls on them to "rise up and wage war to subjugate unbelievers under Islam," Mr. Spencer said. While it's true that most Muslims are not involved with this movement, it's also true that "they're not objecting to it, either."
Mr. Spencer said that, while there are indeed moderate Muslims, there is no moderate Islam, which is "not a sect or a school of jurisprudence," since every school of Islam teaches warfare and subjugation. There exists, he said, a "huge spread of beliefs within Islam, just as there is with Jews and Christians." According to Spencer, "the Islamic world is not hermetically sealed against Western influence."
But Mr. Spencer warned against wishing for a widespread "Reformation" in Islam modeled on what the Christian West experienced in the Sixteenth Century under the leadership of Martin Luther and others. A rallying cry of that movement was a return to what the reformers believed was a purer, more ancient form of Christianity. Yet, in Islam, that has already happened under the leadership of the Eighteenth Century writer Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab, the founder of the Wahhabi sect of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia. The severity of this strain rests on reliance on the earliest works of Islam, and yet, Mr. Spencer said, the ancient works of Islam are more violent than later works, which Wahhabis, following the movement's founder, regard as mere "accretions."
Mr. Spencer closed with a few public policy prescriptions. He said that the U.S. government should undertake a new "Manhattan Project" to find alternative energy sources by putting the best brains in the nation to work on the problem. He also argued some of America's massive foreign aid budget is misspent, saying that, in particular, we should tie aid to Egypt and Pakistan to their willingness to work against the jihadists in their countries. Otherwise, Mr. Spencer said, "we're financing our own destruction."
The American Political System:
Politics & Government in the U.S.A.
Islamism & Jihadism -- The Threat of Radical Islam
Page Three Page Two Page One
Middle East -- Arabs, Arab States,
& Their Middle Eastern Neighbors
American Foreign Policy -- The Middle East
International Politics & World Disorder:
War & Peace in the Real World
Page Two Page One
Islamist Terrorist Attacks on the U.S.A.
Osama bin Laden & the Islamist Declaration of War
Against the U.S.A. & Western Civilization
Islamist International Terrorism &
U.S. Intelligence Agencies
Counterterrorism & U.S. National Security
U.S. National Security Strategy
Winfield Myers is Director of Campus Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum.
Robert Spencer is the author of two New York Times bestsellers on Islamic topics and Director of Jihad Watch, a project of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. An expert on Islamic theology, law, history, jihad and terrorism, he has appeared on virtually all the major television and radio news networks and has given seminars for the U.S. military, the U.S. State Department, and the German government. Mr. Spencer addressed the Middle East Forum on November 13, 2007, in New York City and on December 11, 2007, in Philadelphia.
The foregoing article by Winfield Myers, originally published in The Bulletin, December 17, 2007, is a report on Robert Spencer's briefing presented to the the Middle East Forum at its December 11 meeting in Philadelphia, and can be found on the Internet website maintained by the Middle East Forum.
The Middle East Forum is a think tank which seeks to define and promote American interests in the Middle East, defining U.S. interests to include fighting radical Islam, working for Palestinian Arab acceptance of the State of Israel, improving the management of U.S. efforts to promote constitutional democracy in the Middle East, reducing America's energy dependence on the Middle East, more robustly asserting U.S. interests vis-à-vis Saudi Arabia, and countering the Iranian threat.
Africa: Black Africa *
Africa: North Africa *
American Government 1
LINKS TO PARTICULAR ISSUES & SUBJECT MATTER CATEGORIES
TREATED IN THE PROGRESSIVE CONSERVATIVE, U.S.A.:
American Government 2 * American Government 3 * American Government 4
American Government 5 * American Politics * Anglosphere * Arabs
Arms Control & WMD * Aztlan Separatists * Big Government
Black Africa * Bureaucracy * Canada * China * Civil Liberties * Communism
Congress, U.S. * Conservative Groups * Conservative vs. Liberal
Constitutional Law * Counterterrorism * Criminal Justice * Disloyalty * Economy
Education * Elections, U.S. * Eminent Domain * Energy & Environment
English-Speaking World * Ethnicity & Race * Europe * Europe: Jews
Family Values * Far East * Fiscal Policy, U.S. * Foreign Aid, U.S. * Foreign Policy, U.S.
France * Hispanic Separatism * Hispanic Treason * Human Health * Immigration
Infrastructure, U.S. * Intelligence, U.S. * Iran * Iraq * Islamic North Africa
Islamic Threat * Islamism * Israeli vs. Arabs * Jews & Anti-Semitism
Jihad & Jihadism * Jihad Manifesto I * Jihad Manifesto II * Judges, U.S. Federal
Judicial Appointments * Judiciary, American * Latin America * Latino Separatism
Latino Treason * Lebanon * Leftists/Liberals * Legal Issues
Local Government, U.S. * Marriage & Family * Media Political Bias
Middle East: Arabs * Middle East: Iran * Middle East: Iraq * Middle East: Israel
Middle East: Lebanon * Middle East: Syria * Middle East: Tunisia
Middle East: Turkey * Militant Islam * Military Defense * Military Justice
Military Weaponry * Modern Welfare State * Morality & Decency
National Identity * National Security * Natural Resources * News Media Bias
North Africa * Patriot Act, USA * Patriotism * Political Culture * Political Ideologies
Political Parties * Political Philosophy * Politics, American * Presidency, U.S.
Private Property * Property Rights * Public Assistance * Radical Islam
Religion & America * Rogue States & WMD * Russia * Science & Ethics
Sedition & Treason * Senate, U.S. * Social Welfare Policy * South Africa
State Government, U.S. * Subsaharan Africa * Subversion * Syria * Terrorism 1
Terrorism 2 * Treason & Sedition * Tunisia * Turkey * Ukraine
UnAmerican Activity * UN & Its Agencies * USA Patriot Act * U.S. Foreign Aid
U.S. Infrastructure * U.S. Intelligence * U.S. Senate * War & Peace
Welfare Policy * WMD & Arms Control
Africa: Black Africa *
Africa: North Africa *
American Government 1
POLITICAL EDUCATION, CONSERVATIVE ANALYSIS
POLITICS, SOCIETY, & THE SOVEREIGN STATE
Website of Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
An Online Journal of Political Commentary & Analysis
Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr., Editor