Hundreds of potential victims owe their lives to three Americans and a fellow British passenger who risked theirs to save them on an Amsterdam to Paris train last week.
The heroes, including two U.S. servicemen on leave, contrast sharply with the unarmed crew who barricaded themselves inside locked cabins. And even more so with politically correct leaders on both sides of the Atlantic who continually fail to show leadership in confronting radical Islam.
Even though the gunman, Moroccan 25-year old Ayoub el-Khazzani, was known to Spanish, German and French authorities for ties to “radical Islamist movements” and was armed with an AK-47, 300 rounds of ammo, a pistol and box cutter, the French government’s reaction was typical: “It is too early to speak of a terrorist link.”
America and Europe desperately need a history lesson about radical Islam. And our leaders must be held accountable if they will not face the facts.
President Obama claims that jihadists like the self-labeled “Islamic State” are not really Islamic. If so, why are Guantanamo detainees served 4 halal meals a day, issued Korans and prayer rugs, and have arrows pointing to Mecca painted throughout the camps? Either somebody is lying or the Gitmo guards have a truly bizarre sense of humor.
As a former Pentagon spokesman from 2005-2009, our office kept busiest on three things: the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, plus the byproduct of Guantanamo. Since Islam figured so prominently in each, I kept a Koran on my desk to better understand the allure of violent jihad.
I learned about the Five Pillars: testimony of faith, prayer five times day, alms for the poor, fasting for the month of Ramadan, and the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. All cited as proof that Islam is a religion of peace.
Yet I also read several passages which glorify killing infidels. Muslims who convert are similarly marked for death. Be-headings are justified. Women and girls are subjugated as property, with consummated marriage to girls as young as nine years old. Which includes Aisha, the last of Mohammed’s dozen wives.
Islam has always been a religion based on conquest. From inception in the 7th century, it spread by the sword from the Arabian Peninsula to rule Indonesia in the East, Spain in the West, and most places in between. If not for military defeats in what’s now France, Austria and off the Greek coast, it would have conquered all of Europe. Yet its dominion is still massive, with 1.6 billion followers.
Western elites who push moral relativism in defending Islam often cite violent passages from the Bible — including stoning for various offenses. During this year’s National Prayer Breakfast, Mr. Obama warned Americans against getting on their “high horse,” noting that “during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ. … So this is not unique to one group or one religion.”
Yet since the Crusades, Inquisition and slavery happened centuries ago, Mr. Obama’s comparison merely insults our intelligence.
So why do some Westerners defend radical Islam so vigorously? Why is it “politically incorrect” to acknowledge the religion fueling violent jihad? Why is criticizing Islam, however slight, labeled “Islamophobia?”
Perhaps Winston Churchill provides a clue. In his 1899 book, The River War he wrote, “Individual Muslims may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith.”
While Churchill is praised by conservatives for standing tough against the Nazi war machine, to many progressives, he symbolizes colonialism and racism.
Is Western guilt for slavery, racism and colonialism so deeply ingrained in many elites today that anyone challenging the status quo obviously has a legitimate grievance? That’s the word on campus, and this faculty lounge mentality helps explain why Obama was elected.
But does atoning for sins in past centuries justify endorsing suicidal policies related to security and immigration now? I think not. Americans and Europeans ought to demand our leaders stop making excuses for jihadists, and start getting tough to protect us. Beginning with tangible support to moderate Muslim leaders, ones who don’t interpret every passage of the Koran literally and are challenging those who do. They are keys to stopping hardline Islam exported from Saudi Arabia and Iran, both promoting dueling versions of Sunni and Shia extremism since the 1970s.
“Political correctness” ought to mean survival of free societies, not providing cover stories for tens of thousands of “violent extremists” killing in the name of Allah. This charade must end.
J.D. Gordon is a retired Navy Commander and former Pentagon spokesman who served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense from 2005-2009.