One of the most pernicious and least-remarked aspects of Obama’s speech at the Baltimore mosque Wednesday was that throughout it, he assumed that the religious freedom of Muslims was under attack in the United States. It is not. Obama is conflating legitimate concern about terrorism with attempts to infringe the First Amendment. He is taking a page from the playbook of groups such as the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which for years have consigned counter-terror efforts to the realm of “bigotry” and claimed that measures designed to stop the encroachment in the U.S. of Sharia provisions that contradicted the Constitution were attempts to limit Muslims’ religious freedom. The freedom of religion does not relieve one of the obligation to follow the other laws of the land. It is not a license to commit sedition or subversion in favor of an authoritarian political system. Muslims are perfectly free to practice their religion in the U.S., but the elements of Sharia that contradict the Constitution — jihad violence to defeat and subjugate people of other religions, the denial of the freedom of speech, the institutionalized inequality of women and non-Muslims, etc. — should not be welcome here, and Muslims who genuinely accept and respect the Constitution should have no problem with that.
No one would have any negative feelings about Islam at all, and there would be no “Islamophobia” or “anti-Muslim bigotry,” were it not for the reality of jihad terrorism. As Jefferson said, if my neighbor has one god or twenty, it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. All the nonsense Obama and the Islamic Society of Baltimore purveyed on Wednesday about Muslims being made to feel as if they were second-class citizens and not fully American would be solved in a trice if Muslims in America would tackle the problem of jihad terrorism honestly and actively combat the spread of the understanding of Islam represented by al-Qaeda and the Islamic State within their communities. Notice there is no Hinduphobia or Buddhophobia in the U.S.: this is not about religious freedom or racial or religious bigotry. It’s about national security.
Young Sabah Muktar, introducing Obama, said: “In these uncertain times, some of us might find ourselves doubting where we fit in this society. Personally, this visit by our president is an affirmation to all Muslims we are just as American as any other. It’s a gesture that invites inclusiveness of all faiths and color.” If Muslims would stop screaming “Allahu akbar” and killing people, and if peaceful Muslims would stop whining about being victims over counter-terror measures and start fighting against jihad terror themselves, they would find Americans to be much more inclusive.
Meanwhile, Obama’s statement that “an attack on one faith is an attack on all our faiths” is simply absurd. Is an attack on one country an attack on all countries? By invading Poland, did Hitler somehow invade his ally Italy as well? Only one faith today has clerics calling for believers to stab and murder people, and boasting of the imminent conquest of others. Obama apparently doesn’t regard the Muslim Brotherhood’s stated goal of “eliminating and destroying Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house…so that Allah’s religion is victorious over other religions” to be “a politics that seeks to manipulate prejudice or bias, and targets people because of religion,” because he was speaking at a Muslim Brotherhood-linked mosque. What is he doing to ensure that mosques in the U.S. “reject a politics that seeks to manipulate prejudice or bias, and targets people because of religion?” Why, nothing at all. He was only addressing this admonition to his “fellow Christians.”
And so if we’re serious about freedom of religion — and I’m speaking now to my fellow Christians who remain the majority in this country — we have to understand an attack on one faith is an attack on all our faiths. (Applause.) And when any religious group is targeted, we all have a responsibility to speak up. And we have to reject a politics that seeks to manipulate prejudice or bias, and targets people because of religion.