President Obama's speech in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize showed great growth in his development as a leader. He courageously set forth the principles of just war before those who had assembled to give him a peace prize. The president boldly acknowledged America's very real enemy, Al Qaeda, in a move rarely heard from him prior in public addresses. His remarks also rectified his failure to mention any leaders besides himself in his remarks for the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. In doing so, President Obama exhibited humility and grace as he noted the achievements of leaders like Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Pope John Paul II, and Lech Walesa in his Nobel address.
President Obama failed in just one key area in his otherwise impressive address. Once again, he proved himself ignorant of history and embarrassingly sycophantic when it comes to the history and nature of Islam.
In the very same week in which five American Muslim men were apprehended in Pakistan for intent to wage jihad, President Obama offered these words that so often sprinkle his messages: “Most dangerously, we see it in the way that religion is used to justify the murder of innocents by those who have distorted and defiled the great religion of Islam, and who attacked my country from Afghanistan. These extremists are not the first to kill in the name of God; the cruelties of the Crusades are amply recorded.”
President Obama loves to reference the Crusades as his one Christian parallel for the modern-day Islam of massive religiously-inspired violence. He could not be more wrong. Were Obama to read distinguished Cambridge historian Jonathan Riley-Smith's The Crusades, Christianity, and Islam, he would find an excellent account of what happens when Islam expands it reach and what is required to thwart it.
Riley-Smith helpfully counters the modern misconception that Christians attacked Muslims in the Crusades without provocation to seize their lands and forcibly convert them. All the Crusades met the very criteria of the just wars in which President Obama sought to ground his Nobel speech. They came about in reaction to attacks against Christians or the Church. The First Crusade was called in 1095 to defend against the recent Turksih conquest of Christian Asia Minor as well as the earlier Arab conquest of what until then had been the Christian Holy Land. The second Crusade developed as a response to the Muslim conquest of Edessa in 1144. The third resulted from the Muslim conquest of Jerusalem and a number of other Christian lands in 1187. In each case, Christians went to war to defend Christians, to combat the attackers, and to rectify egregious wrongs.
President Obama continues to show a lack of history education as he likens the Crusaders to the Muslim jihadists. That ignorance is unacceptable. One would hope that in an Ivy League education that included undergraduate years at Columbia and law school at Harvard, the President would have had access to a non-politically correct reading of history. It appears not.
Thus, we are subjected to the historically negligent comments of a Nobel Peace Prize winner not only in his acceptance speech but in other addresses as well. In his West Point address regarding Afghanistan, Obama said, “As we know, these men belonged to al Qaeda - a group of extremists who have distorted and defiled Islam, one of the world's great religions, to justify the slaughter of innocents.” In his official remarks at the beginning of Ramadan, the President commented, “These rituals remind us of the principles that we hold in common, and Islam’s role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance, and the dignity of all human beings.”
One cannot help but ask, Are Obama's history books lacking an account of the routine Islamic assaults against the infidel lands? For example, the path of coercion and violence inaugurated by Islam's founder, Mohammed, shortly after he created his new religion in the 7th century? The jihadist conquest of Europe in the 8th century, finally repelled at Poitiers in 732 by Charles Martel? The anti-Christian assaults mentioned above which spawned the Crusades? The second Muslim European surge halted at Vienna in 1683? Or the modern day jihad against the West?
Frankly, the aggressive, relentless, militaristic dimension of Islam cannot be ignored. The stakes simply are too high. The very principles that make America exceptional hang in the balance. Freedom of religion. Freedom of speech. Equality of women. Freedom of assembly. None of these are valued in the Islamic world view, and we ignore that basic fact at our own peril. A strategy of ignorance paves a path to national suicide.
In the last month, we have not only seen the arrests of five more Muslim men from America in Pakistan, we have also witnessed the horror of Nidal Hasan's Islamic terror massacre at Ft. Hood. Moreover, twelve additional American men are being sought on charges of collaborating with Islamic terrorists in Somalia. In 2009 alone, at least 80 Muslim men in America have been charged, convicted, or sentenced on terrorism-related charges. These events have transpired in cities as geographically dispersed as Denver, Boston, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, Little Rock, New York, Minneapolis, as well as our nation's capital, Washington, D.C.
These are terrorists who are right here. They are our neighbors, our students, our co-workers. They do not believe the tenets of freedom; they merely enjoy them. They walk in the footsteps of the warriors and jihadists inaugurated by Mohammed. They do not embrace the very values for which many Americans, including several thousand moderate Muslims serving in the military, are willing to die.
Given that about 0.6% (1.35 MM) of the adult American population is Muslim according to the most recent American Religious Identification Survey, that very small population clearly generates an inordinate number of terroristic males. If American numbers of young male Muslim terrorists are this high, one can only imagine what those numbers would look like in countries like Somalia, Pakistan, or Yemen. Plainly, Ibrahim Hooper from the Council on American Islamic Relations finds no basis in fact for his wild claim that only “.0001% of Muslims will ever come near an act of violence.”
When will America and her leaders wake up to the threat that will not go away and the threat which is growing within our own borders? The present strategy of heaping praise and mindless platitudes on followers of Islam who want nothing less than our demise is patently absurd. And dangerous. One also has to wonder when, and if, President Obama will open his mind to read history and current events rather than merely parroting the politically correct mantras of our day about a great religion that has been defiled. A Nobel prize winner can, and must, do much better.