I am not a Muslim and have never studied the Koran. As such, I have no business opining on whether Islam is inherently peaceful or inherently violent. It is simply not my problem, and I have no theoretical interest in it. As an American citizen however I do have an opinion on national security: I want the leaders of the nation to defend American lives from foreign aggressors. That is why we have leaders. If they are not going to do that, to hell with them.
The last two presidents – Bush and Obama – have gone out of their ways to describe Islam as peaceful religion. What business is that of theirs? They are politicians and (at least nominally) Christians. Shut up about theology and provide for the national defense.
Whenever some guy named Mohammed commits an act of terror here or abroad the American press starts hyperventilating about a possible “backlash” against Muslims that never in fact happens. American Muslims are in fact less likely to be assaulted for their religion than American blacks are for their color, who are in turn less likely to be the victimized than Jews. Allow me to repeat: American Jews are four times as likely to be attacked for being Jews than American Muslims are for being Muslims.
Per FBI 2013 statistics:
Of the 1,223 victims of anti-religious hate crimes:
- 60.3 percent were victims of crimes motivated by their offenders’ anti-Jewish bias.
- 13.7 percent were victims of anti-Islamic (Muslim) bias.
- 6.1 percent were victims of anti-Catholic bias.
- 4.3 percent were victims of bias against groups of individuals of varying religions (anti-multiple religions, group).
- 3.8 percent were victims of anti-Protestant bias.
- 0.6 percent were victims of anti-Atheist/Agnostic bias.
I draw two lessons from this:
- 1200 anti-religious crimes out of 330 million people? And despite terror and war, only about 200 against Muslims? Americans are really, really nice.
- The American media holds its fellow citizens in deep mistrust.
I don’t read much National Review aside from Kevin Williamson, but this one article by David French – about the experience he and other soldiers have had in Iraq – got through my filter.
Yes, they were in the middle of a war — but speaking from my own experience — the war was conducted from within a culture that was shockingly broken. I expected the jihadists to be evil, but even I couldn’t fathom the depths of their depravity. And it was all occurring against the backdrop of a brutally violent and intolerant culture. Women were beaten almost as an afterthought, there was a near-total lack of empathy for even friends and neighbors, lying was endemic, and sexual abuse was rampant. Even more disturbingly, it seemed that every problem was exacerbated the more religious and pious a person (or village) became.
I spent enough time outside the wire and interacting with tribal leaders to get a sense of the reality around me, but the younger guys on the line spent weeks at a time living in the heart of the local community. I remember one young soldier, after describing the things he’d seen since the start of the deployment, gestured towards the village around us and said — in perfect Army English — “Sir, this shit is fucked up.”
He doesn’t claim Islam is responsible for the dysfunction he witnessed (what, I wonder, would one find snooping about an isolated European village in the 9th century) and goes out of his way not to implicate all Muslims, but he does illustrate that there are realities beyond the constant attempt to speak glowingly of Islam.
It is not a Westerner’s job to apologize for Islam, nor is it a Westerner’s job to defame Islam. But it is our government’s job to protect us from acts of terror. I fear that they get so busy talking they forget the doing.