Willful Ignorance: House Rejects Rep. Franks' Proposal to Study Islam
By nine votes, 217 to 208, the House of Representatives on Friday voted down a proposal to identify “Islamic religious doctrines, concepts or schools of thought” that jihad terrorists use.
Twenty Republicans joined the solid Democratic bloc to vote down this measure, which Muslim Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) termed “wrongheaded” and fought hard to defeat. It’s hard to believe that there would be 217 votes against understanding the ideology that motivates and incites jihad violence, but that testifies to the power of the “Islamophobia” victimhood lobby today.
The measure would have directed the Defense Department to carry out:
... strategic assessments of the use of violent or unorthodox Islamic religious doctrine to support extremist or terrorist messaging and justification.
There is nothing “unorthodox” about jihad violence in Islamic law and doctrine. Yet even though this specification that the Islamic doctrines to be studied were “unorthodox” allowed for support from those who hold that jihad terror is a twisting and hijacking of the religion of peace, that wasn’t good enough. According to Politico:
[The proposal received] heavy criticism from Muslim lawmakers serving in Congress, Muslim interest groups and the American Civil Liberties Union, who say the proposal would unfairly target Muslims.
If you have an amendment that says we’re going to study one religion and only one, we’re going to look at their leaders and put them on a list -- only them -- and you are going to talk about what’s orthodox practice and what’s unorthodox, then you are putting extra scrutiny on that religion.
Yes, you are.
And there is a reason for that: 30,000 jihad attacks committed in the name of Islam and in accord with its teachings since September 11, 2001.
No one religion has anything approaching that kind of record of death and destruction. So why shouldn’t we put extra scrutiny on that religion?
The Muslim Brotherhood-linked Ellison also claimed that the measure was “abridging the free exercise of that religion.”
Yes, again -- insofar as the free exercise of that religion involves bombs, AK-47s, machetes, and the like. The free exercise of any religion is not a license to break existing laws. The free exercise of religion is not a free pass to commit treason or subversion or sedition. The Constitutional guarantee of the free exercise of a religion does not allow the adherents of that religion to commit violence in its name and in accord with its teachings. When they crafted the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers did not envision a religion that mandated warfare against and the subjugation of unbelievers; nor did they intend to lace the Constitution or Bill of Rights with time bombs that would ultimately destroy the republic they were trying to create.
Nor does studying the motivating ideology of jihad terrorists restrict the practice of Islam by peaceful Muslims in any way.
If these peaceful Muslims are as appalled by jihad terrorism as Islamic groups in the U.S. profess to be, why wouldn’t they welcome an attempt to address this alleged misuse of their religion, and support this proposal? The sponsor of the measure, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), noted correctly:
Right now, there is a certain spectrum within the Islamist world that is at the root of the ideological impulse for terrorism. … Ironically, Muslims are the prime targets of these groups. To suggest that this is anti-Muslim is a fallacy, and I think that anyone who really understands it knows that. … We’ve worked very hard to protect the religious freedom for everybody. But it is important that we empower America to identify those heroic Muslims within the world that will help us begin to delegitimize this ideology of global jihad.
His appeal was to no avail. Ellison would not number himself among the “heroic Muslims” who would “help us begin to delegitimize this ideology of global jihad.” He said of Franks and his measure:
This is the wrong way to do what he’s trying to do.
He didn’t offer any specifics about what the right way might be.
With Ellison leading the way, 217 members of the House of Representatives, including 20 Republicans, chose denial and willful ignorance instead of knowledge of the beliefs, motives and goals of the jihadis who have vowed to destroy us. That’s just asking to be defeated.