Last week, a reporter of the Kuwait News Agency accused Sen. John McCain and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee of “linking Islam with terrorism as a tool to scare up support among US voters, an election style experts describe as ‘shameful.” But in her story, Heather Yamour invokes only one “expert” — a Far-Left professor.
Shameful style? Yes, if measured by Islamic standards and not those of American politics and free speech. Last Monday it was reported that the British government has drawn up a new handbook for government officials that forbids them to use phrases like “Islamist extremism” or “jihadi-fundamentalist” — instead, police and others must refer to “violent extremism” and “criminal murderers or thugs,” so as to avoid giving the impression that anything Islamic is involved in, er, Islamic terrorism.
But over on this side of the pond, some of the presidential candidates haven’t gotten the message. They somehow still think their First Amendment rights exist.
Mitt Romney has referred to “jihadism” and “violent, radical Islamic fundamentalism” as “this century’s nightmare,” and has warned that the jihadists want to “unite the world under a single Jihadist caliphate.” Yamour took exception to Mike Huckabee’s (“an ordained Baptist minister”!) statement that Islamo-fascism was “the greatest threat this country has ever faced.” She even bristled at John McCain’s declaration that “I’m not interested in trading with Al-Qaeda.” Apparently the PC police, eager as they are to accommodate easily wounded Muslim sensibilities, will soon have us referring to Osama bin Laden’s network as the “anti-Islamic group,” in the spirit of UK Home Secretary Jacqui Smith’s recent designation of, uh, Islamic terrorism as “anti-Islamic.”
So why would Romney, Huckabee and McCain buck “expert” opinion on this? Are they that desperate for votes, that they would recklessly demonize an entire innocent population? Yamour thinks so: Republicans, she fulminates, are “fiercely attacking Islam as a religion interwoven with terrorism,” and are “targeting evangelical churches and conservative Americans seeking to preserve the strict Christian faith in the government and fear the possibility that the future president may open the door wider for Muslims to enter mainstream society.”
Horror of horrors! But it’s worth asking: where did the candidates get this idea in the first place? Where could these desperate, cynical men have gotten the idea that Islam had anything to do with terrorism? Let’s see. Could it have been from Osama bin Laden, who has praised Allah for the Qur’an’s “Verse of the Sword” (9:5), which instructs Muslims to “slay the unbelievers wherever you find them”? Or maybe it was from Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini, who once thundered: “Islam says: Kill in the service of Allah those who may want to kill you!…There are hundreds of other [Koranic] psalms and hadiths [sayings of the prophet] urging Muslims to value war and to fight. Does all that mean that Islam is a religion that prevents men from waging war? I spit upon those foolish souls who make such a claim.”
Maybe it was from the British Muslim Omar Brooks, who said in 2005 that it was imperative for Muslims to “instill terror into the hearts of the kuffar” and added: “I am a terrorist. As a Muslim of course I am a terrorist.” Or maybe it was from the Qur’an itself, which tells Muslims to “strike terror into the hearts of the enemies of Allah” (8:60). Maybe it was from the perpetrators of the 10,000-plus terror attacks committed in the name of Islam since 9/11.
But for the Leftist professor Juan Cole, none of that is relevant. He says that to suggest a connection between Islam and terrorism is not just “shameful,” but “alarming,” because, says Yamour, “it presumes the essence of Islam and generalized Muslims, all 1.5 billion of them, as being related to terrorism.” Cole explains: “There are Muslim, Christian, and other terrorists. But the term ‘Islamic terrorist’ suggests there is something about Islam…If you put two things together in one word like ‘Islamo-fascism’ it implies that Islam is essentially fascist, but nobody talks about Christo-fascism, as they shouldn’t.”
What’s shameful and alarming is that Juan Cole peddles this sort of thinking and anyone takes him seriously. The quotes from Osama and Khomeini above illustrate that many Muslims around the world believe that there is “something about Islam.” And the term “Islamic terrorism” doesn’t suggest that “Muslims, all 1.5 billion of them” are “related to terrorism” any more than the term “Italian fascist” suggests that all Italians are fascists, or than the European designation “Christian Democrat” suggests that no Christians are monarchists. Cole’s implication here is contradicted by simple English usage and every compound term that has ever been used since the beginning of time. Try it at home, kids! Try to think of any compound term that implies that everyone in the first part of the term is part of the second part. Green coffee mugs: does that imply that all coffee mugs are green? Nope. Cute babies — all babies are cute? Sorry. Clear-thinking professors — all professors are clear thinking? Well, Juan Cole is a professor.
“Islamo-” in “Islamo-fascism” is a simple modifier referring to the fact that those terrorists are operating, by their own account, in the name of Islam and in accord with Islamic teachings. They are, after all, the ones who destroyed the World Trade Center on 9/11, and have wrought so much havoc around the world. If the people who were doing these things were Christians who quoted the Bible to justify their acts of violence, it would be perfectly legitimate to call them Christian terrorists. But they are Muslims who quote the Qur’an to justify their acts of violence, and it is therefore perfectly legitimate for the presidential candidates — and everyone else — to call them Islamic terrorists.