Guy W. Farmer: Where are the moderate Muslims?
Question: What do you get when you combine a “progressive” community organizer with a left-wing constitutional law professor? Answer: President Barack Obama, who demonstrated yet again last Monday he seems to place a higher priority on the protection of Muslim rights than he does on defeating radical Islamic terrorism (words he refuses to utter).
In a strangely restrained televised Oval Office address to the nation, Obama said some of the right things about terrorism as he vowed to “destroy ISIL/ISIS and any other organization that tries to harm us.” His muted tough talk rang hollow, however, because he announced no new national security policy initiatives to combat terrorism. His low-key, soft-spoken approach to terrorism even drew criticism from some of his fellow Democrats, who seek more urgency and passion from Obama and the White House on a life or death foreign policy issue.
The president became more animated when he slammed proposals to pay particular attention to Muslim Americans and Muslim visitors to America from Europe and the Middle East. Let me begin by condemning Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s dangerous and silly call for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.” Even though Trump’s ban wouldn’t apply to Muslims who are American citizens, it would apply to foreign Muslims who are allies of the United States, like Jordan’s King Abdullah and his family. The leading GOP candidate should engage his brain before opening his big mouth.
Nevertheless, Trump’s uninformed and probably unconstitutional ideas don’t negate the need to increase vigilance here at home following the bloody massacre of 14 San Bernardino County employees two weeks ago by a husband and wife team of ISIS-inspired domestic terrorists. Despite efforts of the Obama administration and some White House allies to downplay the ISIS/Islamic connection, it’s clear the San Bernardino shooters, 28-year-old Syed Farook and 27-year-old Tashfeen Malik, had been thoroughly radicalized by Islamic jihadists well before she arrived in the U.S. from Pakistan last year on a “fiance’ visa” as a new bride. The newlyweds were building bombs and stockpiling weapons and ammunition at their modest home in Redlands, Calif., while making regular visits to local shooting ranges.
Which raises serious questions about Farook’s family? What did they know, and when did they know it? Can it be his mother, who lived in their home to babysit their infant daughter, didn’t know they were manufacturing bombs in the garage? Or that some of his fellow county employees didn’t detect signs of his increasing radicalization. Let’s take the president’s advice on this point: If you see something, say something, even if it might make someone feel “uncomfortable.” This is no time for political correctness.
My erudite friend Col./Dr. Richard Hobbs, who has written several books about radical Islam, asks the right question: “Why don’t the vast majority of so-called ‘moderate Muslims’ not rebel against those who are supposedly stealing their religion and giving all Muslims a bad name?” Good question, Dick.
So why aren’t the imams of mosques in cities like New York, Chicago, Seattle, and even San Bernardino and Reno, speaking out forcefully and publicly about the atrocities being perpetrated by radicalized practitioners of their “peaceful” religion?
Although most Muslim Americans are hard-working, law-abiding citizens, they and their leaders need to condemn radical Islamic terrorism in the strongest possible terms and reaffirm their allegiance to the Constitution. But mostly, they have been silent except for the controversial Council on American — Islamic Relations (CAIR), which blamed the San Bernardino massacre on U.S. foreign policy. Are these the people who speak for America’s Muslim community? I hope not.
Guy W. Farmer, of Carson City, is a retired U.S. Foreign Service officer.