Obama's Muslim Problem is America's Problem
On January 16, 2015, in response to questions from CBS News’ White House Correspondent Major Garret, President Barack Obama discussed (41:55 - 44:34 into the video) what he called “violent extremism” and Europe’s challenges. Obama said:
Our biggest advantage, Major, is that our Muslim populations, they feel themselves to be Americans. And there is this incredible process of immigration and assimilation that is part of our tradition, that is probably our greatest strength.
Obama did not cite any evidence for his assertion. There is evidence from a 2012 poll showing that if American Muslims “feel themselves to be Americans,” a significant number of them have that feeling without having American values. On November 13, 2012, Bob Unruh of WorldNetDaily reported on a poll it commissioned that sought the opinions of American Muslims. In the poll of 600 Muslims, 98 percent of the respondents were American citizens, and 97 percent were registered to vote. The poll found that “40 percent of Muslims in America believe they should not be judged by U.S. law and the Constitution but by Sharia standards.”
Further, 46 percent of the respondents said that they believe those Americans who offer criticism or parodies of Islam should face criminal charges. One eighth of these citizens, 12.5 percent of the respondents, said they think those Americans who criticize or parody Islam should face the death penalty, while another nine percent said they were unsure on the question. The hard core, 7.2 percent of the respondents, said they “strongly agree” with executing those who parody Islam, and another 4.3 percent said they somewhat agree.
Thus, 21.5 percent of the respondents “cannot say they believe Christians or others who criticize Muhammad should be spared the death penalty.” A full 39 percent of the respondents “said they believe existing U.S. courts should consult Sharia law when adjudicating cases involving Muslims, and 21 percent of the respondents said the U.S. should establish separate courts based solely on Sharia law to adjudicate cases involving Muslims. And nearly a third, 32 percent of the respondents, stated that Sharia should be the supreme law of the land in the United States. Unruh reported:
Asked whether U.S. citizens who are Christians have the right to evangelize Muslims to consider other faiths, just 30 percent agreed Christians have such a right. Another 42 percent said they do not have such a right, while 28 percent said they were unsure on the question.”
One in five say Muslim men should be allowed to follow their religion in America and have more than one wife, and 58 percent said criticism of their religion or of Muhammad should not be allowed under the Constitution.
While 43 percent said they disagreed with the idea of Christians evangelizing Muslims, another 27 percent said they were undecided. Only 19 percent said they “strongly agree” with the idea that Americans have a right to invite Muslims to consider another faith.
Nearly one in three said Israel either has no right to exist or they were uncertain whether it does.
I wonder how Obama would answer those questions, were he to do so honestly. Neil Munro, White House Correspondent of The Daily Caller, reported that through his Press Secretary Josh Earnest’s remarks on January 12, 2015, Obama announced a policy of pressuring American journalists into foregoing publishing material that would be taken as critical of Islam by those who might attack American troops in retaliation for the criticism. Earnest said this was based on the President’s duty to protect American troops. Thus, under the guise of protecting American troops, Obama is enforcing Sharia blasphemy laws as much as he can without drawing too much opposition. Earnest’s remarks included the following:
Q Your predecessor from this podium in 2012 was asked about one of the cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo. And he said, representing the President and this administration, that the White House questioned the judgment of the publication of that particular cartoon -- not that it was an illegitimate act of satire, but the judgment involved behind it. Does the White House stand by that questioning of the judgment of the publication of that cartoon in light of recent events?
MR. EARNEST: Let me say a couple of things about that. The first is -- and this is something that I don’t want to be overlooked -- what my predecessor also said in the context of those very same comments was that the publication of that material did not in any way justify an act of violence. That was true then, it was true last week, and it’s true today. There is nothing that the individuals at that satirical magazine did that justified in any way the kind of violence that we saw in Paris last week. None. That is, I think, the most important principle that's at stake here.
At the same time, it would not be the first time that there has been a discussion in this country about the kinds of responsibilities that go along with exercising the right to freedom of speech. And in the scenario -- or in the circumstances in which my predecessor was talking about this issue, there was a genuine concern that the publication of some of those materials could put Americans abroad at risk, including American soldiers at risk. And that is something that the Commander-in-Chief takes very seriously. And the President and his spokesman was not then and will not now be shy about expressing a view or taking the steps that are necessary to try to advocate for the safety and security of our men and women in uniform.
Q But advocating and taking steps to protect American service personnel is different than criticizing or raising questions about the judgment underlying any satirical expression, be it to mock Islam or Christianity or Judaism, or anything else. Where do you draw the line?
MR. EARNEST: Well, I think it depends on the scenario. I think --
Q There is not an absolute support of satirical mockery of any institution on this planet.
MR. EARNEST: I think there are a couple of absolutes. The first is, is that the publication of any kind of material in no way justifies any act of violence, let alone an act of violence that we saw on the scale in Paris. And there is -- this President, as the Commander-in-Chief, believes strongly in the responsibility that he has to advocate for our men and women in uniform, particularly if it's going to make them safer. And the President takes very seriously his responsibility as Commander-in-Chief to do that. And that's something that we're going to continue to do in the future. Those are the absolutes -- or at least two of them.
But when we are confronted with these kinds of scenarios where we're balancing basic rights alongside very important responsibilities that must also be exercised, it's going to always depend on the scenario. But what won't change is our view that that freedom of expression in no way justifies an act of violence against the person who expressed a view. And the President considers the safety and security of our men and women in uniform to be something worth fighting for.
I expect that in the future, Obama will invoke his duty to protect all Americans here in the United States as a justification for counseling journalists to refrain from publishing anything that can be taken as a criticism of Islam. A significant number of the Muslim Americans who responded to the WND poll will be happy about Obama’s clever ruse to discourage criticism of Islam. How many non-Muslim Americans will either agree with Obama’s tactic or be unaware of it and believe that his only purpose is to protect American lives?
It would be unfair to refer to the Obama Administration as AQWH (Al-Qaeda in the White House) because it does not appear that Obama supports the violent means by which Al-Qaeda seeks to achieve an Islamic tyranny based on Sharia. However, everyday it appears less likely that Obama is the right person for America to depend upon to prevent such a result.
Allan J. Favish is an attorney in Los Angeles. His website is allanfavish.com. He has co-authored with James Fernald a book about what might happen if the government ran Disneyland entitled "Fireworks! If the Government Ran the Fairest Kingdom of Them All (A Very Unauthorized Fantasy).