That warrior spirit, or jihad, continues today. The president said there is "democratic progress in many predominately Muslim countries," such as Niger. He also said Muslim men and women are "good citizens" of a number of other nations, including South Africa, Western Europe and the United States. Would it be indelicate to note that Muslims do not (yet) direct the political destiny in those nations?
The president left out Nigeria, which borders Niger. Many regions in Nigeria have introduced Sharia as state law, which has been used to persecute thousands of Christians. Major attacks against Christians have occurred in the Philippines, Pakistan, Indonesia, Java, East Timor and the Moluccas. In the northern Arab and Muslim portion of Sudan, genocidal war continues against the black and mostly Christian south.
To fundamentalist Muslims, liberty is not found in democracy. It is found in Allah and actions they believe please their god. The most extreme of them, who seem to be growing in number and influence, plant the idea in the minds of children (see a number of Palestinian videos and textbooks) that this life is nothing and that they should "seek Shahada" (martyrdom) and "ask for death," which they teach is true liberty.
In his speech, the president said that securing democracy in Iraq is "a massive and difficult undertaking." He is right. It will be made even more difficult if Westerners think that Islamic nations want what we have. In their sermons, in editorials in their state-owned newspapers and on television and in the actions of the most radical among them, their objective is clear - to defeat and subjugate all nations and all thinking to their religion and their way. To them, it is we who live in bondage and they who are ultimately free. It will take more than speeches to convert them to America's point of view.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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