This campaign season, presidential candidates seem intent on battling each other with a war of words over universal healthcare, tax reform, immigration, the war in Iraq, the economy and Biblical literalism. Yet, they have spent few words on and have literally ignored the greatest threat to America and Western civilization since the Cold War: the global jihad.
Instead, conservative pundits debate whether we are in the midst of World War III or IV and non-candidate Newt Gingrich voices his concerns in monumental orations, such as his now famous, "Deeply Worried" speech at the National Press Club. Meanwhile, candidates on both sides of the aisle tiptoe around the proverbial elephant in the room as the critical issue of our nation and civilization's very survival takes a back seat. Aiming for front-row placement, they busy themselves with demonstrations of religiopolitical piety or make strident commitments on either side of popular social issues, such as same-sex marriage or abortion. More discussion has been devoted to the U.S. treatment of enemy combatants and the prison at Guantanamo Bay than the jihadist threat itself.
Yet, viewing Islamic fundamentalism as just another faith is to play into the hands of those who would destroy us.
Among the current crop of presidential contenders, Mitt Romney has been the lone, yet intermittent, voice of courage. He has gone beyond the standard, national security rhetoric to warn the American public about the global jihad. In a straightforward television commercial in October, Romney courageously stated,
"It's this century's nightmare: jihadism; violent radical Islamic fundamentalism. Their goal is to unite the world under a single Jihadist Caliphate. To do that, they must collapse freedom-loving nations like us."
Already, presidential candidates are feeling the influence of high-profile Islamist organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations. CAIR insists on calling itself a mainstream, Muslim civil rights group, despite being named as an un-indicted co-conspirator in the trial of those charged with illegally funding the Palestinian terrorist group, Hamas. In a recent presidential forum in Iowa, after a CAIR director -- accompanied by cheers from audience members -- complained of anti-Muslim discrimination, Senator John Edwards quickly responded with a pledge to "stop racial profiling," close the "national embarrassment" that is Guantanamo, put an end to all "torture," limit the scope of the Patriot Act, and prohibit the overseas abduction and detainment of enemy combatants.
CAIR also demanded a meeting with Mitt Romney following his statement that he probably wouldn't consider Muslims for cabinet posts if elected, and it has called for Rudy Giuliani to fire a campaign advisor who is a vocal CAIR critic. Further, Islamist groups such as CAIR are reportedly sending their leaders to pose as ordinary Muslim Americans to question candidates at the presidential debates and advance the perception that Muslims are victims of profiling and hate crimes.
While this may appear to be benign, election-year activity, it important to note that CAIR's aims are far from that. In 1998, CAIR's founder, Omar Ahmad, stated that "Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Koran should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth."
Worldwide, Islamic fundamentalists continue to make inroads into Western culture, political structures and in the economic system, while, at the same time, insisting on severe and outrageous punishments for even minor violations of sharia or Islamic law. It is unprecedented that a minority group that freely immigrated to the United States and Europe of its own accord is now endeavoring to overhaul Western civilization to its Koran-dictated, specifications. The West, particularly America, has a tradition of welcoming people from other cultures and practitioners of different religions. However, immigrants have always assimilated and strengthened American society rather than demand that we adopt their ways at the expense of our own.
Many Westerners, who worship at the altar of multiculturalism and erroneously believe that Islam is just another faith, fail to understand the inherent cultural and political dangers of a religion that is a consummate ideology for the faithful. Unwitting Westerners write off barbaric punishments as mere cultural differences, enthusiastically embrace blatant acts of appeasement and readily respond to demands for special privileges and allowances never before conferred on other groups.
In places like Saudi Arabia, the epicenter and primary global financier and promoter of Wahhabism, an austere form of Islam that interprets the Koran literally, social rules are severe, extensive and often brutal. Gender apartheid is enforced with separate libraries for men and women. Starbucks coffeehouses are divided into "male" and "family-only" sections, and hotels are completely devoid of a female presence, as all personnel, including maids, are male. A rape victim was recently sentenced to 200 lashes, a punishment that was increased when her lawyer complained of its injustice. At the same time that the Saudi government is sponsoring 32,000 students on visas to the United States, the standard Saudi elementary and high school curriculum teaches hatred for Christians and Jews.
In other Muslim strongholds and countries with significant Muslim populations, Islamic law and customs have been imposed and Muslim demands routinely appeased. In many hospitals across the United Kingdom, unprecedented faith-based, special services have been provided to Muslim patients at the risk of damaging overall quality of care and burdening healthcare professionals. These include special patient counseling during the Muslim holiday, Ramadan; devising substitutions for alcohol and porcine-derived drugs; rotating the beds of bedridden patients toward Mecca and providing fresh bathing water for the five-times-daily prayer rituals; distributing burka-style gowns for patients and mandating that hospital personnel participate in taxpayer-funded workshops on Islam-specific customs. In September, a Muslim dentist in Manchester, who offers special discounts to hijab-donning patients, refused to see a female patient with an uncovered head. Last week, the Philippine government announced plans to surrender territory for a Muslim "homeland," following decades of Muslim slaughter of area Catholics.
In the "enlightened" West, Muslims are free to perform "Dawa" or proselytizing on behalf of Islam. They openly engage in organized efforts to spread the message of Islam and invite non-Muslims to join the faith. Furthermore, the building of mosques and the opening of madrassas proceed without hindrance. Yet, in many Muslim countries, non-Muslims are not free to practice their religion, let alone proselytize, and may be prosecuted for doing so. A Muslim convert to Christianity may be sentenced to death for apostasy.
Although mostly spurious charges of Koranic desecration abound in the Western world, little mention is made of the numerous Bibles actually being confiscated and shredded at the Riyadh airport. In many Islamic countries, Christians are not permitted to build churches or renovate existing ones. While Muslims are invited to the Vatican and to serve on interfaith councils, non-believers are not permitted to travel to Mecca or Medina.
Meanwhile, six years after 9/11, most Americans remain ignorant about the history, nature and intent of Islamic jihad. They know little about the worldwide presence of Islamist groups, the hateful rhetoric directed toward non-Muslims spewing from mosques and madrassas, the use of the Internet by Muslim radicals to spread their propaganda and connect with each other, the extent of weapons arsenals and nuclear proliferation, and the geopolitical interconnections between countries in the Middle East, Europe, Pakistan, Afghanistan, South America, North Korea, Southeast Asia and Africa.
The Bush Administration and the media have focused on Islam as a "religion of peace" and have done little to educate the public about the presence of Islamist groups on American soil, the level of their infiltration and their ultimate objectives.
The popular, pluralistic bumper sticker "Coexist" espouses a philosophy of religious harmony, mutual acceptance and brotherhood across all faiths and nations. Yet, in Islam, the word of Allah, as represented in the Koran, reigns supreme and overrides any state-imposed laws. The Koran dictates three options for non-believers: conversion, subjugation or death.
An ideology that endeavors to supplant our laws, culture and religious beliefs poses a dangerous threat and is not a candidate for coexistence. We had better face the reality of true, Islamic doctrine and forcefully fight its encroachment into our society. It is a peril to our way of life if we wish to preserve the liberal and enlightened democracy that is America.