The unindicted co-conspirators at CAIR indulge in more finger-pointing and diversionary tactics. “Bush office is anti-Muslim, group says,” by Audrey Hudson and Sara A. Carter in the Washington Times (thanks to Morgaan Sinclair):
A Muslim civil rights group today blamed Bush administration policies for promoting “Islamophobia” and said the “war on terror” won’t stop terrorists.
“The new perception is that the United States has entered a war with Islam itself,” said Parvez Ahmed, chairman of the national board of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
“Terrorism is a tactic. You cannot eradicate it by declaring a war against it. The war on terror is causing us infinitely more harm than the terrorists could have ever imagined.”
Terrorism certainly is a tactic. The Bush Administration has so far refrained from identifying the enemy properly.
Mr. Ahmed, who spoke at CAIR symposium at the National Press Club, said the war against terrorists is driven by an “irrational” fear that the Bush administration has inculcated in the American public. The chance of being killed in a terrorist attack, he said, is 1 in 80,000 over a lifetime.
Oh, is that all? Well, then, carry on, mujahedin!
“It is important to bear in mind that terrorists cannot destroy America,” he said as a member of a panel discussing the symposium theme, “Attacking Islam: Implications for Social Cohesion and U.S. Relations with the Muslim World.” The U.S., he said, is too powerful and too resourceful for terrorists to destroy.
Maybe. But they certainly can wreak havoc here.
The Bush Administration’s policies in Iraq has driven a deep wedge between Muslim’s and non-Muslim people in the United States, he said.
“Policies driven by fear will be naturally irrational. Thus in this state of irrationality the Bush administration often through their surrogates have resorted to fear-mongering. This has unleashed a vicious cycle, one in which fear leads to bad policies and bad policies lead to more fear.
“The popular discourse in America today remains mired in stereotypical denouncements about Islam. As a result Muslims and their faith remained misunderstood, feared and shunned.”
Yeah, surrre. Why don’t you tell me, Mr. Ahmed, what I have “misunderstood”? We could have a fruitful dialogue about the elements of Islamic theology that jihadists use to recruit terrorists, and what peaceful Muslims should do about this. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Keene, president of the American Conservative Union, said in turn that while Osama bin Laden and those who commit terrorism in the name of Islam may represent no one but themselves, “those who represent Islam have an obligation to themselves, and to the faith they profess, to condemn them lest [other Muslims] suffer for their crimes.
Not just condemn. Refute. Act against. Teach against. It is shameful that an American Conservative Union representative would speak at this unindicted co-conspirator event, and even more shameful that he did not call them in any more forceful manner to fight against the jihadism that they supposedly reject.
“If CAIR wants respect as representing the best of Islam to the West, it must shun the role of enabler by siding with the enemies of terror and intolerance wherever they are found,” Mr. Keene said. “The Muslim who attacks Jews and Christians as pigs or Crusaders is as responsible for the breakdown in civility in the modern world as the Christian who implies that all Muslims harbor a desire to kill a Christian or a Jew.”
Even more, Mr. Keene. You can’t reasonably line up a rhetorical “implication” as equivalent to a justification for genuine murderous attacks. Those attacks are all going in one direction, or haven’t you noticed?
However, some of what Keene said bordered on respectability:
Mr. Keene compared CAIR to the emergence of the Italian-American Anti-Defamation League of the 1970s, which he said became “particularly upset whenever anyone mentioned the existence of the ‘Mafia,’ which they took as implying that Italian-Americans were all Mafioso or criminals.
“If someone used the word in public, [the Italian-American Anti-Defamation League] was willing to stage demonstrations on the grounds that its usage was racist and that, anyhow, the Mafia didn’t exist. People began to ignore the League because what its leaders were insisting on as true just didn’t match up very well with the world we live in.”
Mr. Keene said CAIR feeds negative perceptions of Islam with a similarly censorious and hypersensitive attitude toward American newspapers, magazines, and radio and television networks.
“We are meeting today at the National Press Club, which is in a way a living memorial to the freedom of the press that is so important a part of the American tradition. The platform on which we speak is open to all because we believe in the right even of those with whom we disagree to speak their minds. But some reporters have been barred by CAIR from covering this panel because by criticizing CAIR or its policies they have been condemned as anti-Muslim when they are, in fact, simply reporters doing their jobs,” he said.
A reporter for The Washington Times was the only reporter asked to leave the room today. After she was escorted out, the doors to the session, which had remained open, were closed.
Mr. Keene said that CAIR has attacked as “anti-Muslim” a number of publications, including The Washington Times, the Dallas Morning News, the Tampa Tribune, the New Republic magazine, U.S. News & World Report, and the Weekly Reader, a popular newspaper for schoolchildren.
“My hope and belief was that this event was going to be an open discussion,” he said in a brief interview after the symposium. “It was what I said in my speech. You don’t restrict access because someone disagrees with you.”
What did Keene expect would be the outcome of this? Does he think the CAIR leopard will change its spots at his call? If not, why was he there? If so, could anyone possibly be more naive?