Tens of thousands of Muslims gather to pray in front of the Kaaba (Ka’ba) in Mecca
With the explosion of violence in recent days throughout the Islamic World, including the invasion of our Embassy in Egypt and murder of our Ambassador in Libya, most Americans are again left scratching their heads. We continue to wonder how such barbaric behavior can be driven by a marginal, silly, class-B movie trailer published by private individuals. The reason for our confusion comes with the misinformation from the mainstream media and most political leaders since 9/11. Much of the commentary over the past decade about a possible connection of the Islamic religion to Muslim terrorists follows a familiar pattern: Islam is a religion of peace and the terrorists are aberrations not supported by the Islamic world or tenets of the religion. We are shown selective quotes from the Koran appearing to condemn the actions of the terrorists, while the violent verses are ignored. We are told the terrorists are attempting to generate a religious war, and we must not hold the broader Muslim community accountable. Therefore, we should do everything possible to help perpetuate the perception of Islam being a religion of peace. Finally, we are told that any criticism of the Islamic religion (as currently practiced) or Islamic leaders will assist the terrorists and move us away from our goals of “winning over” the Islamic World. After eleven years, I believe it’s time for Americans to wake up and smell the coffee. What we’ve been told is not the full truth of what we face in the Islamic World, and ignoring reality will only lead toward our own destruction.
Here’s a truth kept hidden from the public: The religious, political, and intellectual leadership of the Islamic world has turned a blind eye to morally questionable behavior for over 30 years and bears much responsibility for the rise of “Islamic fundamentalism.” Muslim “elites”, through both silence and tacit approval, have allowed the Islamists to flourish and grow more violent. They have let the voices of hatred be heard above the voices of reason, starting with the approval of terrorism and hatred against Israel. Let me explain.
Hatred of Israel, and intellectual/theological approval of terrorist tactics in the fight against Jews, pushed the modern Islamic World down a path of moral ambiguity with regards to violence. With the condonation of murder/suicide tactics of the Hamas and Hezbollah in the 1980’s, Islamic clerics and intellectuals have continually allowed the lines of acceptable behavior to be stretched. Whether it was through theological “reinterpretation” of religious texts to allow suicide or the targeting of civilians, or political justification toward “justified” revenge, the results were the same. Many “elites” in the Islamic world who should have condemned murder of civilians, gave justification to this behavior against the Jews of Israel. Read editorials from the newspapers in almost any Arab-Islamic capital from the 1980s to the present. A new moral standard was developed when dealing with Israel: The Jews are “occupiers” of Palestine, and hold the stronger position militarily; therefore, terrorism (including murder of innocents) is justified for those under occupation. Much of the Islamic World bought into this reasoning. Editorialists justified murder, and Muslim religious leaders allowed terrorists to believe they could achieve “paradise” by killing civilian Jews. Many Muslim countries, like Saudi Arabia, gave money to “martyr’s” families and glorified Palestinian terrorists. This encouraged more “martyrs” particularly Muslim youth.
Unfortunately for the greater non-Muslim world, the violent religious messages can be twisted to suit almost any aim. Note the “peace” quotes from the Koran picked for many editorials defending Islam as peaceful: “God does not forbid you from showing kindness and dealing justly with those who have not fought you about your religion and have not driven you out of your homes.” Or: “A person killing a person with Muslims shall not smell the fragrance of paradise.” Ponder those lines. Though seemingly peaceful and not nearly as violent as Surah 9:5 “slay the unbeliever wherever you find him”, those “peace” verses still allow for the justification of the killing of all non-Muslims. Osama Bin Laden used the same “peace” verses to claim that killing Jews and “Crusaders” was justified. These quotes do not prove that Islam (as currently practiced) is a religion of peace.
This “justified” violence in the Islamic world did not stop with the fight against Israel. It was not much of a leap to take the justifications for murdering Jewish civilians to the fight against the other non-Muslim nations, including the U.S. Islamist clerics adopted the justifications Islamic “elites” have given for murder and taken them a step further. The silence from so-called “moderate” Muslim intellectuals has been deafening, and it has allowed for the continued growth of hatred and violence against the non-Muslim world. Sharia Law, which strips non-Muslims of legal equality with Muslims, is now supported by the Majority in countries like Egypt. It has taken root in Gaza, and most expect to see it passed in Egypt and Libya. The fact that the Islamic World is moving back to the unfair and unequal provisions of Sharia Law is telling about the direction it continues to move.
Shortly after 9/11, Muslim author Irshad Manji wrote a book called “The Trouble With Islam”. She claims to love Islam, and wanted to turn it back from the violence and hatred we saw ten years ago and see today. Manji’s primary argument in a book directed to both Muslims and non-Muslims: Western elites should quit “enabling” the Muslim elites with coddling defenses for the violence, and instead challenge them with the blunt truth. Muslim intellectuals would be helped by rightful criticism of Western intellectuals and media. After bravely writing this book, radicals put an Islamic Fatwa on her life allowing justification for her murder. Despite the Fatwa, Manji claims many Muslims have anonymously thanked her for writing the truth and they hope Western intellectuals will take the advice. Unfortunately, most are afraid to go public with their support as they face the threat of Fatwa.
We do nothing to protect ourselves or help the Islamic world by continuing in denial. For the sake of our children, we no longer have the luxury of allowingIslamic violence and hatred to continue to metastasize while we collectively stick our heads in the sand. It’s time to speak up against the barbarism that continues to grow, and demand reform from within. That is, while we still have time.
God Bless America,
Bill Connor - of Orangeburg SC is an Attorney, a decorated Army Reserve LT. Colonel (Airborne Ranger), and is an expert in counterinsurgency combat. He served as Senior US Advisor to Helmand Province, Afghanistan where he received the Bronze Star. Connor is a graduate of The Citadel and the University of South Carolina (USC) School of Law. He is a former candidate for S.C. Lieutenant Governor (making the runoff election in the Republican primary 2010.) Connor served as National Security Advisor for presidential candidate Rick Santorum. He currently serves as GOP Chairman for South Carolina’s sixth district, director of the Army’s Command and General Staff College (ILE) in S.C., and a is member of the U.S. Counterterrorism Advisory Team. Connor, along with partner W. Thomas Smith Jr. recently founded National Defense Consultants LLC, a partnership providing clients with military analysis ranging from geostrategy to special operations; counterterrorism; ground, Naval, and air combat; military leadership and military law. Connor is also the author of the book “Articles From War” He became a contributor for the South Carolina Conservative Dot Com in 2012.
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