LISBON, Portugal -- When the Republican presidential candidates tire of bashing each other, perhaps they will start addressing the expansion of radical Islam. Only Rick Santorum raised the issue in last Saturday's debate in New Hampshire.
Next door in Spain, two new satellite TV stations recently signed on. They won't be airing "Judge Judy," but instead are broadcasting Islamic theology and political propaganda. It was not coincidental that the launch of Islamic TV in Spain coincided with Christmas. One of the early broadcasts featured a story, from Islam's perspective, on the Virgin Mary and the birth of Jesus. Not surprisingly, it differs significantly from the biblical account with which even secular Americans are familiar.
One channel is called Hispan TV and its program content is produced in Iran. That should be warning enough. One of their shows is called "Debate Abierto," or "Open Debate." The Iranian government sponsors the program, which, according to Soeren Kern, a senior fellow at the Strategic Studies Group in Madrid, "will focus on spreading Shiite Islam" in Spain and Latin America.
The second channel is Cordoba Television, which Kern writes, "is the brainchild of the radical Saudi cleric Abdul Aziz al-Fawzan, the spiritual mentor for one of the Islamists who carried out the terrorist attacks in New York on September 11, 2001."
Kern notes that al-Fawzan has a reputation for hating Christianity and marginalizing women. He also preaches against the United States and believes "slavery is a part of Islam; slavery is part of Jihad and Jihad will remain as long as there is Islam."
For many Muslims, Cordoba, a city in southern Spain, remains an important symbol of Islamic conquest. It was once the capital of the Islamic Emirate of al-Andalus, which ruled most of the Iberian Peninsula more than a millennium ago. Cordoba TV is owned by the Foundation for the Message of Islam and backed by the Saudi royal family. Its aim, according to Kern, is to propagate "...the extremist Wahhabi sect of Islam." The same right-wing sect that prints textbooks calling Jews descendants of apes and pigs and Christians cross worshippers and polytheists.
One might reasonably conclude that the goal of these TV stations is to establish a presence in post-Christian Spain with political goals that even Spanish secularists won't like. That Iran is also promoting Spanish broadcasts in Latin American countries is another indication of how radical Islam is advancing worldwide, fueled substantially by what the West pays for their oil.
What is the Obama administration's response to the advance of radical Islam? It seeks negotiations with the Taliban and apparently as a "confidence-building gesture" is contemplating the release from Guantanamo Bay prison of Mullah Mohammed Fazl in exchange for promises of peace talks and the chance to open a political office in Qatar. Fazl, a former commander of the Taliban army, is accused of slaughtering thousands of Shiite Muslims, is said to enjoy a close relationship with al-Qaida and other terrorist groups and is involved in drug trafficking. He is also considered a "high risk" Guantanamo detainee and a real threat to American forces and U.S. allies should he be released. This and more can be found in last year's WikiLeaks document dump called the "Guantanamo Bay Files."
The administration also wants to reach out to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, which it had previously said would not have a major influence in that country's upcoming elections. It now appears Brotherhood candidates will gain significant power in that election to Israel's detriment.
No gesture will deter the radicals. U.S. gestures demonstrate to radical Islamists America's weakness and lack of resolve, which they are eager to exploit.
During the Cold War, the United States made effective use of the Voice of America and Radio Liberty to tell the truth to "captive nations." There are no broadcasting counterweights to what radical Islamists are doing in Spain and Latin America. While America retreats, announcing cuts in defense spending, Islamists advance.
In the film "The Iron Lady," Meryl Streep speaks the words of Margaret Thatcher: "One of the great problems of our age is that we're governed by people who care more about feelings than they do about thoughts and ideas."
Radical Islam challenges every idea in which the West believes. The Republican presidential candidates should start talking about their plans to counter, even defeat, it. We can see what the Obama administration is doing: nothing.
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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