- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 14, 2007

A need to change

“I don’t call for violence. I don’t call for the abolition of Islam. I don’t say that Muslims should be kicked out of the country. I don’t say that they should be attacked. All I say is that being a Muslim, having been brought up as a Muslim, could we please ask Muslims to look at ourselves, could we please look at the Koran and acknowledge that there is an urge, that it urges us to be violent, accept that it’s in there and then change it. …

“[P]lease look at the Arab media, the Islamic media. And what you see is the Jews are compared to monkeys, they’re called ‘our enemies,’ ‘we should destroy them,’ and so on and so forth. Now what I’m saying is, let’s not deny that. We’ve been taught that. And why?

“Because we’ve lived in dictatorships. And these dictators want to take advantage of us by first of all saying it is Islamic to be anti-Jewish, which is not necessarily true; yes, there were moments when the prophet was friends with the Jews, and there were moments when he felt betrayed by the Jews; and he started to have these anti-Semitic verses in the Koran. They pick these verses out. But by pointing out the facts such as the virulent hatred against the Jews, I’m not attacking all Muslims, and I’m not trying to be ungraceful, and I’m not generalizing. I’m saying we have to acknowledge things like these to change.”

— Ayaan Hirsi Ali, author of “Infidel,” interviewed by Joel Whitney in the February issue of Guernica

‘Metamorphosis’

” ‘The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11’ — [Dinesh] D’Souza’s new book … works a strange metamorphosis. Whereas ‘Illiberal Education’ and ‘The End of Racism’ proved D’Souza a precocious commentator and gifted polemicist, the new book is crude and sophomoric. Worse than its sophomoric treatment of serious issues is its presentation of a blinkered and politically correct version of the Muslim world. It is a presentation that the young D’Souza would have scorned. It is as though, having arrived on the scene as Franz Kafka, he has turned himself into Gregor Samsa.”

— Scott W. Johnson, writing on “D’Souza goes native,” in the March issue of the New Criterion

Hawkish hero

“Agent Jack Bauer has tortured his own brother, used household appliances to electrocute a terror suspect, staged the execution of a child, and even shot a man’s wife to get information from him. On any given day, he will disarm suitcase nukes and presidential assassins. The orders of superior officers at the Counter Terrorist Unit don’t deter him, the rule of law and even the threat of death do not diminish Bauer’s iron will to defend America.

“It’s not just Bauer’s over-the-top methods that keep audiences gripping their Barcaloungers, it’s also the show’s novel format, which relies on ‘real-time’ storytelling. … The common thread is terrorism — that constant existential threat demanding self-sacrifice and frequent disregard for the polite rules of procedure and diplomacy. It’s Us or Them.

“In a gentler time, conservatives would have deplored this gory prime-time fare. But now, finding a worldview consonant with their hawkish tendencies, they have embraced Jack Bauer as their pop-culture icon, his name uttered as an invocation of the grit and guts needed in the Age of Terror.”

— Michael Brendan Dougherty, writing on “What Would Jack Bauer Do?” in the March 12 issue of the American Conservative

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