- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 25, 2005

Unbowed,ifunemployed, Michael Graham issued a thought-provoking challenge as his airtime on “The O’Reilly Factor” ran down to a break. The topic under discussion was the conservative radio host’s firing by Washington’s WMAL — egged on by the terrorist-linked Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) — for having made his case, logically, forcefully, even regretfully, that “Islam is a terrorist organization.” Before discussing Mr. Graham’s final words on “O’Reilly,” it’s worth mentioning that Mr. Graham’s argument linking terrorism to Islam is posted at JewishWorldReview.com in a column he wrote after the second London Underground bombing. Sure, the stand-alonescare quote (“I. is a T. O.”) collides head-on with 21st-century sensibilities, but Mr. Graham builds his argument carefully. He makes the politically incorrect kind of sense, supported by fact (e.g., more than one-in-four British Muslims said they wouldn’t tell police of a planned terrorist attack) and observation (Islamic teachings drive terrorist jihad), that the open-eyed child in “The Emperor’s New Clothes” would instantly recognize. But not his bosses at WMAL — not, it seems, after CAIR objected. When Mr. Graham refused to “apologize,” the ABC-Disney-owned station fired him.

All of which is what he went on “O’Reilly” to discuss, offering a factually reasoned discourse on the controversy. (Good stats, conceded an outgunned Bill O’Reilly.) And then, in closing, Mr. Graham said this: Tell me one terrorist attack that’s going to be stopped by ending this conversation — that is, by WMAL taking Mr. Graham off the air.

An interesting notion. WMAL is no bureau of Homeland Security, but given the line the radio station decided Mr. Graham crossed over global terrorism (jihad) and its central role in Islam, maybe it’s worth wondering whether we are safer because Michael Graham isn’t pursuing his on-air line of inquiry. Surely, we are more “sensitive,” meaning more guarded, even nervous about what is currently permissible to say, at least according to CAIR’s enforcers. Even so, ending a conversation about jihad and Islam doesn’t end Islamic jihad. Nor does cutting the talk about links between Islam and terrorism cut the links between Islam and terrorism. The fact is, the train of logic doesn’t change its destination no matter how many of us — radio stations, pundits, academics, politicians — hop off.

Still, thanks to WMAL, maybe we really are better protected, at least against the sharp edges and noxious corners of reality. This reality includes the fact that what we know as “terrorism” is directly linked to the centrality of jihad (holy war) and dhimmitude (non-Muslim inferiority) in Islam, no hijackings necessary. But spare us: We live in a politically correct country, one in which the State Department declares to the world that Americans “believe we are part of one human family, and that the enemy of that family are those who use the name of religion to pursue a violent and hateful ideology that really goes against [what] any person of faith believes in, no matter what that faith is.” But what if, as Michael Graham roughly wondered aloud, the violent and hateful ideology runs through Islam itself? In America today, it is considered better to cut the mike, seeking not the truth, but rather a kind of security from the truth. Once the survival strategies of realpolitik are traded in for the pipe dreams of pretendpolitik, such security even feels safe, at least for a time.

Protected against reality, we see only good in any religion because it is a religion. Secure from the truth, we see only liberty and justice in any constitution because it is a constitution. Our only problems stem from “extremism,” which not only defines nothing, but also offends no one. Or does it? Out of Great Britain this month came a communique from nearly 40 Muslim leaders and groups. Their message? In part to renounce the label of “extremism.” They wrote: “To equate ‘extremism’ with the aspirations of Muslims for Sharia laws in the Muslim world or the desire to see unification towards a Caliphate in the Muslim lands … is inaccurate and disingenuous. It indicates ignorance of what Sharia is and what a Caliphate is and will alienate and victimise the Muslim community unnecessarily.” In other words, not only does terrorism have nothing to do with Islam, as WMAL seems to have determined, but sharia (repressive Islamic law) and the caliphate (Islamic empire) have nothing to do with extremism, as Britain’s Muslim leaders have explained. Clearly, our vocabulary is shrinking as fast as the ranks of bold talk-show hosts. But isn’t there so much more to talk about?

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