“It is these radicals who are Islam’s true enemy.” Fair enough. Certainly the jihadists have never hesitated to target Muslims whom they didn’t deem sufficiently Islamic. Just think for a moment, however, about what we do not see: we don’t see comprehensive programs in American mosques to teach against the jihad ideology and political Islam, and the virtues of the U.S. Constitution and the non-establishment clause. We don’t see any Islamic authority that has rejected not just the vague “terrorism,” but the specific supremacist agenda that has always been part of the jihad imperative. These things make it unlikely that the President will succeed in convincing large numbers of Muslims to turn against their “true enemy” with more than mere words, and vague, half-hearted words at that.
By James Gerstenzang for the Los Angeles Times (thanks to the Constantinopolitan Irredentist):
WASHINGTON — Visiting an Islamic mosque on Washington’s Embassy Row, President Bush delivered a strongly worded denunciation today of Muslim radicals and said he would appoint for the first time a U.S. representative to a major international Islamic organization.
Drawing a distinction between moderation in the practice of Islam and those seeking to use the faith for what he described as radical political ends, the president said “it is these radicals who are Islam’s true enemy.”
He cited U.S. support for Muslims in Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina after the disintegration of Yugoslavia “” a reference applauded by his audience “” and said Americans offered such support out of “compassion, conviction and conscience.” It reflected the proper course of supporting moderation against extremism, he said.
In the Middle East, he said, “we have seen the rise of groups of extremists who seek to use religion as a path to power.”
It is the radicals, Bush said, who stage “spectacular attacks” against Muslim holy sites to divide Muslims and push them into fighting each other, conducting “acts of butchery … in the name of Allah.”
It is such extremism, the president said, that needs to be turned back “before it finds its path to power.”