As the scenes of wanton carnage from bombings in Paris and Brussels lacerate our sensibilities, test the limits of compassion, and strike fear in our hearts about the prospects of such violence being visited once again on our own shores, our chattering classes have gone to great lengths to reassure us that the Muslim community in America is different from the Muslim community in Europe.
We are repeatedly told that Muslims in America are well off and integrated into our communal structure. The violence we see in Europe is not a function of Islamic theology but of alienation and marginalization — of Europe’s inability to integrate its Muslims.
Of course, those mourning their loved ones in San Bernardino, California might dispute that notion.
After absorbing so many Muslim refugees into their community, the people of Minneapolis might also question the underlying proposition. Having served as ground zero for the Al Qaeda-affiliated Al-Shabab a decade ago, they are now America’s recruitment center for ISIS.
Against this backdrop, one would have expected various Muslim communities to go out of their way to reassure their fellow Americans that indeed the wanton killing of innocent citizens is not Islam. American Muslims did raise $200,000 to help the victims of the Islamic extremists in San Bernardino. In nearby Pomona, California, Dr. Faisal Qazi undertook fundraising for the San Bernardino victims as a personal mission.
But in Wichita, Kansas, the local Islamic society invited Monzor Taleb to speak at a local fundraiser. Mr. Taleb is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial that was about raising money for the terrorist group Hamas. As a one-time singer, Mr. Taleb sang about killing Jews as Mohammed had done in Arabia. Mr. Taleb is known for singing, “I Am From Hamas.”
That this is the person the Islamic Society of Wichita chose as a motivational speaker speaks volumes.
Now, let us be clear, if the Islamic Society of Wichita wants to bring in some jihadist as a motivational speaker, they should be free to do so. However, if Muslims are claiming, along with our president and the rest of the chattering classes, that the violence flashing almost daily across our television screens has nothing to do with Islam, then this certainly undermines that message.
Congressional Representative Mike Pompeo undoubtedly summed up the feelings of his constituents when he released the following statement:
“I am profoundly disappointed and disturbed by both the content and the timing of the Islamic Society of Wichita’s decision to bring Sheik Monzer Talib to Wichita, Kansas. On one of the most holy days on the Christian calendar, and only days after radical Islamic extremists murdered dozens of innocents of many faiths in Brussels, Belgium, they chose to bring a Hamas-connected sheik to their community center here in Wichita. They should cancel his appearance.”
Mr. Taleb’s speech was canceled, not just because of Rep. Pompeo’s opinion, but more importantly because in the aftermath of San Bernardino and the gruesome scenes from Paris and Belgium, local residents were going to let their feelings be known. They were legally going to stand outside the speech and protest while carrying guns. Open carry is legal in Kansas.
Muslims should know that freedom in America runs both ways. They have the freedom to host and listen to a speaker that the rest of the community finds not only obnoxious but also threatening, especially in the wake of recent events. And the community has the right to stand outside in the public square, with guns, and protest.
Now, predictably, the Islamic Society of Wichita is screaming “Islamophobia” and embracing victimhood.
A phobia is an irrational fear. There is nothing irrational about feeling threatened by someone who takes to the public square to praise terrorism in the aftermath of wanton carnage.
Muslim communities, like all communities, are internally diverse. There are the people who sprang into action to raise money for the victims of the San Bernardino jihadists, and there are the people who want to showcase a man who literally sings the praises of a philosophy that promotes wanton killing.
The victims of the imbroglio are not Mr. Talib and the Islamic Society of Wichita. They are the good people of Wichita, who were unnecessarily made to feel threatened; Congressman Pompeo, who was bashed for uttering a judicious opinion; and most of all, Muslims like Dr. Faisal Qazi, who teach us that there are Muslims who embrace good over evil.