For those unfamiliar with Islamist and Salafist ideology you may have been surprised by the scope of the protests. Don’t be!
The question remains what to do? Dependent upon who you listen to in the Middle East the problem is: Israel, American Policy, post Colonial angst, criticism of Islam, cartoons featuring the Prophet, Jews in general, Christians in general, Hindus in general, Buddhists in general, dictatorial Muslims, Western use of Arab resources and international influence in the area. Please feel free to add a few of your own. Oh, and don’t forget, the reasons for the ‘rage’ are a floating point target subject to propaganda based change.
Traditional approaches to foreign policy have not gotten us anywhere. Favorable opinions of America in the Islamic world are at its lowest point in history.
Perhaps we should start an insult of the week contest? Perhaps we should empty our embassies and throw a cartoon out there every week. Maybe the best way to handle the situation is to keep the raging mobs so busy with protest that they eventually fall by the wayside, exhausted and spent. (For some of our readers, I need to clarify that the above was a tongue in cheek comment.)
As silly as it is, where is an answer that makes sense. Short of the courage to draw bold red lines in the Islamic world that come with the threat of and execution of retaliation once the line is crossed; what’s the answer to these ‘protests’? Appeasing them has not worked, apologizing has not worked, PR campaigns have gone begging, coddling them has not worked, our money has not worked, failure to support our own Constitution has not worked and accepting a 10th century ideology has not worked.
Of even more importance; what’s the answer to American Muslim Imams and groups? CAIR (Council for American Islamic Relations; a Brotherhood sponsored organization and unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror financing trial) says the protests are America’s fault, a result of a failure to treat Islam with enough dignity and respect. CAIR enjoys unprecedented access to and influence over our current Executive Branch of government and have accomplished influence everywhere from the State Department to local police forces. If you do the research you’ll find that a frightening number of CAIR leaders over the years are in jail, indicted or deported, just saying.
Islamic Imams want the First Amendment changed to fall in line with Sharia law; really? A Sharia compliant First Amendment has a big bold BUT in it; free speech BUT, not a word of complaint about Islam or Muslims. What’s next, free speech unless you criticize the government, free speech but only if politically correct? One may surmise based on past statements and behaviors that were CAIR’s or the Imam’s First Amendment rights limited all hell would break lose.
We accept what is essentially on the borderline of treasonous speech from these folks and we don’t engage in organized or government sanctioned violence such as we see in Pakistan where everyone got a ‘holiday’ so that they could come to the protests. Apparently it’s Pakistan’s version of Woodstock, although I can’t imagine the music is better.
Let’s look carefully at what is going on in the Islamic world. Let us reflect on and be clear about the differences between our cultural and legal norms and theirs. It should lead us to embrace more strongly what we have and commit to its protections. It should lead us to reject what we see from the Islamic world; especially that little piece of the Islamic world that exists right here.
The reactions of American Islamic organizations are proof, yet again, that these organizations put Islam first above any commitment to the American ideals that shelter them. It’s their right under our system, it is also our right to hold them to account.