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They don’t care what the President thinks

TOM BURGUM
Staff Columnist
burgum@lbknews.com

Last week the White House sponsored a conference on “countering violent extremism,” president Obama’s preferred description of Islamic terrorists. Given the obtuse nature of the conference, Mr. Obama might as well have called it “countering the over-the-top shenanigans of a bunch of wild and crazy guys.”

White House planners, always alert to possible bigotry in any form, lead off the second day of the conference with an Islamic prayer.  There is no record of any Jewish or Christian theological presentation. I suspect the White House doesn’t want to encourage the Baptists and the Catholics to think they can just forget the murderous depredations practiced in the 10th Century. Oh, I know, the Baptist church came along a bit later but you know them, they would have been right in the Crusades had they been around at the time.

We learned from the conference that Islam has made significant contributions to American life. I’m not too sure about this. I watched the Academy Awards last night and I didn’t see one burka the entire evening. In fact, most women seemed only partially dressed. Why else, of course, would one watch at all?

Still, during the president’s key note address he told the conference, “Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding.” Who knew? I would have thought the Judeo-Christian tradition was the major influence on Jefferson and Madison, but live and learn.

I also learned that Muslims are in danger. I had believed that there was relatively little hate directed at Muslims in America. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson abused me of that notion. “We,” he informed the conference, “in the administration and the government should give voice to the plight of Muslims living in this country and the discrimination that they face.”

I found this curious because in 2013, 62.4% of reported hate crimes involved Jews, while only 11.6% were directed at Muslims. It appears that Mr. Johnson might have his religions mixed up. On the positive side, since Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will be visiting in early March, Mr. Obama and Johnson should have a splendid opportunity to have a good talk with him about the plight of Jews in the United States. That is, they would have the opportunity if Mr. Obama was speaking to Mr. Netanyahu.

Mark Steyn begs to disagree with Mr. Obama’s “fabric of the country” comment. “You might think Islam has been entirely irrelevant to ‘the fabric of our country’ for its first two centuries, and you might further think that Islam, being self-segregating, tends not to weave itself into anybody’s fabric but instead tends to unravel it − as its doing in, say, Copenhagen, where 500 mourners turned up for the funeral of an ISIS supporting Jew hating anti-free speech murderer.”

I think Steyn and the rest of us make too much of what Mr. Obama believes about Muslims or the Crusades, and such. Fact is, the violent Muslim extremists don’t care what Mr. Obama or, for that matter, what the rest of us think of them.

Mr. Obama went to great lengths to show that the violent Muslims are misstating Islamic texts. It appears that he may be the one misreading the Koran. According to an editorial in the New York Post, he quoted the Koran text that reads, “Whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he killed all mankind.” What he omits is that to be considered an “innocent” in this context; one must accept Islam and submit to its law.

The phrase, “moderate Muslims,” was bandied about quite a bit at the conference. It seems that those so identified are the potential good guys who can be lead away from violence if we get them jobs, maybe some midnight basketball and even some courses in remedial religion at the Benghazi Community college, which should be available as soon as we build it for them.

Again reality intrudes. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, was asked about the role “moderate Muslims” might play in the fight against the wild-and-crazy guys who are randomly killing Jews, Christians and Muslims who don’t qualify as innocents. Erdogan cleared up any confusion in the matter, “These descriptions are very ugly, there is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.”

Mr. Obama, and the rest of us, should accept that ISIS, Hamas, and the rest of the Muslim groups are practicing their faith in what appears to be an acceptable manner, at least for a significant percentage of their co-religionists.

The Post editorial informs us that Islam does allow believers to part ways with anyone they deem misguided or deviant. At the theological level, Bira’ah, meaning self exoneration, is the most mundane and would clearly show disapproval of terrorist tactics.  Yet Muslims aren’t using Bira’ah or the other two mechanisms to denounce the Islamic State or other terrorist groups. The Post asks, “If Islamic leaders can bring a million people in the streets of Tehran, Islamabad or Cairo to burn the US flag and Obama effigies, how is that they do not authorize Bira’ah marches against IS?”

ISIS and the rest don’t worry about any show of disapproval no matter how much Mr. Obama and the West might desire it. They don’t care that Mr. Obama thinks that Islam wove its way into the American fabric early on. They don’t care what any of the rest of us thinks. After all, none of us are “Innocents” within Islamic law.

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