This notion that religion is not at the heart of the hatred directed at America from outside and now inside the country qualifies as extreme denial. Throughout the Muslim world, America is condemned not mainly because of its ideas but because Islamists believe we are infidels opposed to God.
Take the Palestinian Authority (PA), as one of many examples. During the war with Iraq, the PA actively endorsed the killing of Americans, producing a music video celebrating the death of U.S. soldiers that was repeatedly broadcast on PA television. Since major combat ended, anti-U.S. rhetoric has not abated. Sermons on PA television denounce America for religious reasons. Last February, a broadcast sermon described the United States as "the foremost enemy of the Muslim nation." A more recent sermon broadcast last month contained this gem: "If we go back 1,400 years in time, we find that history is repeating itself .. The Prophet Mohammed was besieged by two powers, Persia in the east and Rome in the west. These represent the Soviet Union and America of today .. Persia fell first in the east, and America will fall, may it be Allah's will, just as Rome fell."
There are no calls in the Islamic world for any of these speakers - from prime ministers to imams - to tone down, retract or repent for their rhetoric. There are only calls for Americans to remain silent about this growing threat.
The problem is illustrated by this story: There are two dogs; one is vicious and the other friendly. The vicious dog regularly attacks the friendly dog. The owner of the friendly dog decides to muzzle his dog, hoping this will demonstrate to the vicious dog that the friendly dog means him no harm. The vicious dog sees his opportunity and kills the muzzled friendly dog.
In muzzling Boykin, the Pentagon has not converted those who believe they have a religious mandate to destroy us. It is silencing, instead of sounding, the alarm that this enemy is bigger than any threat America has ever faced.