Belmont Club

Give My Regards to Broadway

On the day before a crude car bomb was defused in Times Square, the NY Daily News ran an article describing the increasing frequency of homegrown Islamic terrorist attempts. These include:

  • Najibullah Zazi, a US permanent resident accused of attempting a 2009 suicide bombing of the New York subway system in 2009, together with Bryant Neal Vinas, a Muslim American, who also trained for the same attack.
  • The cases of Wesam El-Hanafi and Sabirhan Hasanoff, both US citizens, who were tasked with providing technical assistance to al-Qaeda via Yemen.
  • Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, an illegal alien from Jordan arrested on suspicion of planning to blow up the Fountain Place in Dallas.

The Daily News lists many others, including the Lackawanna Six, the Sears Tower plot and about a dozen more cases, all involving either US citizens or permanent residents. Its inference is simple. Islamic extremism can no longer be stopped at the borders. It’s here. The Daily News writes, “Al Qaeda no longer needs a command center. Its foot soldiers are everywhere. They need only to win once, while the good guys have to win every time. How long can a winning streak go? Forever, one prays.”

That winning streak is unlikely to continue forever.  That it has lasted so long is an achievement for which everyone owes a debt of gratitude to the police, the intelligence services and the military. But whether the sought after success is another car bomb, the destruction of a high rise building, an attack on a school, the demolition of a courthouse or a public building, or the assassination of a prominent figure, it is only a matter of time. Sooner or later a leaker will get through.

Whether or not one believes that Islam as a whole is inherently a militant force, bent on world conquest, certain militant factions within it undoubtedly have that as their aim. At a talk I attended recently, Dr. Mark Durie, an Anglican clergyman who had visiting appointments at the University of Leiden, MIT, UCLA and Stanford and is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities examined the modern ideological basis for the jihad in his book The Third Choice. His conclusion was similar to the Daily News. They’re in Australia, but more importantly, Dr. Durie concluded that the political authorities were absolutely determined not to see it.

Which is a pity. The necessary precondition for successfully coexisting with the bulk of Muslims (many of whom simply want to live ordinary lives) is to recognize the existence and wellspring of Islamic militancy. The militant strains within Islam cannot be managed until they are at last admitted to exist. You can’t separate the sheep from the goats  by referring to them all as “gheep”. Nearly all major Western leaders, including GWB, are bent on muddling the situation in the interests of political correctness. Reflexive Western self-loathing mandates a pre-apology before even the most timid inquiries. Every public utterance requires copious references to Islam as the ‘religion of peace’; a lengthy acknowledgement of its scientific and cultural achievements and fulsome praise of its enlightened doctrines, none of which the speaker may even have heard of, before anyone gets to the point: “and by the way, do you know who left the car bomb at the school?”  Having raised something to such an exalted pedestal by preface it is more than awkward to utter what follows, like asking to borrow money from a woman right after you’ve proposed.

The inability to see certain Islamic traditions and doctrines as malevolent to avoid giving offense leads to a disastrous split level approach.  It makes subversion excellent by one’s own admission in the hope the damage done by hypocrisy can be undone by espionage and pre-emption. And by this means Western society hopes to win the respect of Muslims. It undoes with the left hand what what it permits to happen with the right because politics will not abide the truth, and we tell lies through clenched smiles. A dysfunctional public policy is allowed to continue on the understanding that the consequences can be managed. But this is nothing new; it simply the domestic equivalent of the foreign policy practice of letting certain dictators get nuclear weapons so that we can later quarantine them. It’s a process also known as kicking the can down the road.

Official attempts to intellectually engage extremist Islam have been confined to half-hearted and symbolic attempts to ban articles of clothing, like face coverings in public or promoting hip Islamic public figures as if the establishment of a Mohammedan Mod Squad could ever sufficiently counteract the endless burrowing, tunneling and patient undermining of the foreign-funded preachers.  Unfortunately the Times Square car bomb attempt suggests the can cannot be kicked any further. Sooner or later a terrible day will dawn, when the ultimate effect of toxic prison ministries and Saudi funded mosques will make itself felt. Even then, as after September 11, as after Fort Hood, the first reaction of the politicians will be to say anything but the truth.  That would be hurtful, divisive, unfair, inappropriate and non-inclusive. Consequently, they’ll make the same old excuses thereby lumping the innocent with the guilty, for the blind do not distinguish, and make the next attack even more certain than the first.

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