I know Emily has written her thoughts about President Obama’s speech to the Islamic Society of Baltimore with a particular focus on Obama championing religious liberty when he is unwilling to extend it to The Little Sisters of the Poor and The Hobby Lobby.
Here are ten of my observations.
1. Obama stated, “Now, a lot of Americans have never visited a mosque. To the folks watching this today who haven’t — think of your own church, or synagogue, or temple, and a mosque like this will be very familiar.” Except for the fact that the former Imam at the Islamic Society of Baltimore condoned Palestinian suicide bombers. Now something tells me that the priest at your church and the rabbi at your synagogue isn’t in the business of condoning the murder of innocent civilians going about their business.
2. The President claims “that threats and harassment of Muslim Americans have surged.” Except that Jews are targeted for acts of religious hatred three times as much as Muslims.
3. Obama chastised Hollywood for not casting Muslims in shows unless it was about national security. Hey, those are your donors. You talk to them.
4. Obama said, “Groups like al Qaeda and ISIL, they’re not the first extremists in history to misuse God’s name. We’ve seen it before, across faiths.” Does Obama really think there is a Jewish or Christian equivalent to al Qaeda or ISIS?
5. The President implored Muslims to speak out when Christians are persecuted in the Middle East and anti-Semitism in France. This is all well and good except for the fact the Obama Administration won’t call the murder of Middle Eastern Christians genocide and would not call the deliberate murder of Jews in Hyper Cacher a deliberate act of anti-Semitism. If the Obama Administration can’t speak up for Christians in the Middle East and Jews in France, then how can he expect Muslims to do so?
6. Obama states, “I often hear it said that we need moral clarity in this fight. And the suggestion is somehow that if I would simply say, these are all Islamic terrorists, then we would actually have solved the problem by now, apparently.” Once again Obama is erecting straw men. No one is suggesting that making such a statement would bring about the end of Islamic terrorism. All that is being asked of President Obama is to acknowledge its existence and the ideology underlying it is a motivating factor. His consistent refusal to recognize it at Fort Hood, Benghazi and in the streets of Philadelphia is both dishonest and unhelpful.
7. Obama claims ISIS is “desperate for legitimacy” and “refuses to give them legitimacy.” I hate to break it to him, but Obama gave ISIS legitimacy when he prematurely withdrew from Iraq. As a consequence of that withdrawal, ISIS controls vast amounts of territory in both Iraq and Syria (as a result of refusing to enforce his own red lines). ISIS isn’t desperate for legitimacy or anything else.
8. Obama resurrected the “America is not at war with Islam” trope yet again. Another strawman. No one is making that argument. But a critical mass of Islam is at war with us whether Obama likes it or not.
9. The President tells us not to dare “suggest Islam itself is at the root of the problem” because “it’s hurtful to those kids trying to go to school and are members of the Boy Scouts, and are thinking about joining our military.” He says to do so “helps our enemies recruit” and “makes us less safe.”
Obama’s infantilization of Muslims is patronizing and insulting. To suggest that Koranic scripture hasn’t played a role in inspiring violence against civilians is simply dishonest. If the former Imam of the Islamic Society of Baltimore is OK with suicide bombing it is fair to ask the ideological and religious foundations of those beliefs. We owe it to all Americans, Muslims included, to be honest about what is happening in Islam including its texts. Obama wants to cite the Koran 5:32 with regard to killing an innocent being the equivalent of killing all of mankind, then he must also cite Koran 5:33, which calls for the killing of those who wage war against Allah and Muhammad.
10. Obama says engagement with Muslim Americans “must never be a cover for surveillance.” If there were terrorist attacks being planned in churches and synagogues, Obama would want to be the first to know about it. If a priest or a rabbi were to say that being homosexual is not OK, Obama would be the first to condemn it. But when the current Islamic Society of Baltimore Imam Yaseen Shaikh says it, you hear not a negative word from the President.
While it would be unreasonable to wantonly surveil every mosque in this country, we cannot treat The Constitution as a suicide note. If the French Socialists are surveilling mosques (and when necessary shutting them down), then why can’t we? There is no liberty without life.