An editorial in Investor’s Business Daily (thanks to Paul Sperry) ably sums up what was good and what was bad about the President’s speech Thursday — and says what I have been saying all along:
War On Terror: Understanding what motivates the enemy is essential to defeating it. The commander in chief took a major step in that direction with last week’s speech tying terrorism to “Islamic radicalism.”
Over and over, President Bush called the terrorists “Islamic radicals.” It was a stunning departure from his usual rhetoric marginalizing the religious aspect of the long-term threat America faces. In past speeches, Bush has described an otherwise amorphous enemy of “evil-doers” motivated by a rather nebulous thing called “evil ideology.”
With Thursday’s speech, he also abandoned his mantra that Islam is a “religion of peace.” He called it a “noble faith,” and left it at that.
The president could have gone even further to explain what motivates the terrorists. He left the impression they are all heretics distorting the idea of jihad and defiling their scripture. He said they were “driven by ambition.”
Yet self-immolation is the antithesis of earthly ambition. Suicide bombers are inspired not by earthly gain, but by the Quranic promise of endless carnal delights in paradise “” rewards that are reserved for jihadists who “slay and are slain” battling the infidels in the name of Allah. No fewer than 26 chapters of the Quran deal with holy war and the rewards for martyrs, or shaheeds.
The unpleasant truth is, Muslim terrorists are getting all these terrible ideas “” from violent jihad to self-immolation to even the beheadings we’ve seen in Pakistan and Iraq “” straight out of the text of their holy book.
The president, however, may be relying too much on scholars to tell him what the Quran does and does not say, and does and does not promote. One of his top advisers on the subject “” religious pluralist David Forte of Cleveland State University “” believes nothing as evil as 9-11 could come from a religion. It’s from Forte that Bush got his lines about Osama bin Laden “hijacking” and “perverting” a “peaceful religion.”
The influence of such apologists for Islam can be seen in Bush’s closing remarks defending Islam in an effort to draw a distinction between mainstream Muslim beliefs and the distorted beliefs of those who kill in the name of their faith: “Many Muslim scholars have already publicly condemned terrorism, often citing Chapter 5, Verse 32, of the Quran, which states that killing an innocent human being is like killing all humanity.”
Beautiful. Except a key part is missing that gives terrorists a lot of wiggle room to murder. Here’s the full text of the verse Bush cited (according to the version of the Quran approved by the Council on American-Islamic Relations): “We ordained for the children of Israel that if anyone slew a person “” unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land “” it would be as if he slew the whole people.”
In the footnotes, widely revered translator Abdullah Yusuf Ali interprets “mischief” as “treason against Allah.” And the very next verse calls for guilty infidels to be beheaded. Sadly, the clause starting with “unless” can be cited by terrorists to fuel their jihads “” and it is, along with countless others far more direct in the Quran….
We must test the pleasant platitudes of political correctness against the evidence, and that evidence is in their holy book. As Ronald Reagan warned regarding the Soviets and their goal of constructing an evil empire, we mustn’t be afraid to see what we see. And we must not hesitate to call things by their proper names.
Amen to that.