“What do you mean you will see me there?”
He dismissed the question with a wave of his hand. Awkwardness hung in the air. Was this the sort of suspicious behavior I was supposed to report? Nearly four years since four commercial airliners were forcibly smashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania and we still don’t know what exactly qualifies as “suspicious.”
With the initial shock of 9-1-1 having receded some, we are more inclined to question our own suspicions. After all, its not very PC to suspect or criticize other cultures. Yes, we read in the paper about terrorists detonating a series of bombs across London’s mass transit system, but nothing like that has occurred here since September 11. Even as terrorists strike again in London, igniting more bombs in the subway and bus system, we remain hesitant to admit that such evil will pass close to us again. Afraid of being labeled xenophobic, we sit passively by while radical Islamic leaders plot ways to destroy our way of life.
At some point we must realize that actively defending against radical Islamic teachings is not a matter of cultural relativity. It is a matter of universally recognized human rights. The idea of terror attacks is at odds with the basic freedoms embraced by all enlightened, democratic societies. At some point we must make a decision not to allow the mere threat of charges of cultural or religious insensitivity to stop us from dealing with this evil.
Very simply, the culture of another people does not have to be accepted when it is subhuman! Terrorism is subhuman! And human rights activists need to admit where this problem is coming from. The anti-western hatred perpetuated at mosques and Muslim meeting places needs to be held up to public scrutiny. At the same time, the government needs to engage in outreach programs to Muslim youths. They need to make sure that Muslim kids are not so alienated from mainstream society that they can simply be programmed by Mosques to hate and degrade westerners. Most of all the government needs to provide sanctuary to young children who do not agree with these radical and hateful teachings, instead of allowing Muslim extremists to hide their hate behind a disingenuous veil of cultural relativity. We cannot refrain fail to take these basic steps for fear of being called culturally insensitive. Democratic societies can no longer give religious fanatics a free hand to abuse and murder non believers. Such action betrays contempt for the basic human rights which animate any democracy with meaning.