“A war on Christians is being waged by fanatics of radical Islam,” warned Sen. Rand Paul at the Values Voter Summit today. But he also reminded the audience that Islam can look back to “the good in its history.” Other news outlets overlooked Paul’s comments or downplayed them.
“From Boston to Zanzibar, there’s a worldwide war on Christianity,” Paul stated. “Make no mistake: this is about religion. There is a minority of Muslims who advocate killing Christians, but unfortunately, that minority numbers in the tens of millions.”
Paul recounted stories of Christians who were assaulted or killed by jihadists in recent years. He mentioned a Syrian, Sarkis el Zakhm, who, when faced with the choice of death or conversion to Islam, chose death.
“War on Christianity came to Boston this year,” said Paul, referring to the Tsarnaevs who bombed the Boston Marathon. “Maybe they weren’t targeting Christians, but they weren’t targeting a mosque. Their motive wasn’t against our government, but against our people—our Christian people.” The response to this kind of aggression, Paul said, is to stick to our principles. “He will get a lawyer, he will go to trial—it’s what makes us different from them.”
But Paul’s indictment of radical Islam was tempered by a show of respect for the history of Islam and its more rational believers. “Tolerance and sophistication were the norm at one time in the Middle East,” Paul reminded the audience. “There was enlightenment at one time in that part of the world.” He cited achievements in science and inquiry from Muslim thinkers, his voice hitting a more tender note as he spoke:
The great medieval physician Rhazes identified smallpox and measles. The great Persian mathematician Al-Khwarizmi made advances in algebra. Innovation in Muslim communities developed the magnetic compass, pens, and printing. … I mean, the world really, at one point in time in the Middle East, was something that was very amazing.
Why has Islamism become so prevalent? It doesn’t help that the U.S. continues to fund radical jihadists, Paul said, and supports countries with heinous human rights records. “Until Asia Bibi is freed—not one dollar should go to Pakistan,” Paul insisted, referring to a Pakistani on death row in her country for the “blasphemy” of drawing water from a Muslim well. The senator also spoke of his respect for Malala, the young woman touring the U.S. who had been shot by the Taliban because she attempted to get an education. “Where is the rest of Islam? Why don’t they stand up and condemn this?” Paul wondered.
Paul said it would help to be more careful about the ease with which we go to war:
[M]ilitary action can at times actually enable and empower radical Islam. I think going into Syria could possibly enable al Qaeda. It could make things worse. So we have to be very clear about that. In Egypt, in Libya, in Syria, it’s still unclear whether the war or the changes or the new regimes are going to be more friendly or less friendly to America.
Paul is especially adamant about not funding Egypt, mentioning his attempts in the Senate to end aid to that nation. “In Egypt, the mob attacked our embassy, climbed on top of our embassy and burned our flag…I say not one penny more to any country that would burn the American flag.”
Good Muslims will have to rein in bad Muslims, according to Paul: “Islamic republics, they see us as invaders and infidels, they are never going to accept us. They must be made to understand that they must root out the sadists and killers among them.” And finally, in an appeal to his largely Christian audience: “Hopefully the message of Christianity, if listened to, can be part of an eventual peace process.”