Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Ironically, we all owe a debt of gratitude to Rowan Williams, who as Archbishop of Canterbury is chief prelate of the Church of England. Our thanks are not due this cleric, however, for his appalling pronouncement last week that we had better get used to the imposition of Shariah law in Britain since it is now, in his words, “unavoidable.”

Rather, we should be appreciative because, by his declaration of capitulation to and appeasement of the Islamofascists — who agree with him on the inevitability of the triumph of the brutally repressive totalitarian theo-political-legal code they call Shariah — Archbishop Williams has, albeit wholly unintentionally, sounded a needed alarm. In response, British politicians of every stripe are suddenly professing concern about the danger a courageous British author named Melanie Phillips has, until now, been reviled for depicting as “Londonistan.”

Sadly, America is no less in need of such an epiphany. An appeals court in Texas reportedly has just agreed that something called “Texas Islamic Courts” can arbitrate Muslim divorce proceedings in that state. Minnesota is allowing its cabdrivers to refuse transportation to people they consider, under Shariah, to be “haram” or unclean — including blind people with seeing-eye dogs and folks transporting alcohol. Universities, other public institutions and even some private corporations are acceding to demands by Shariah-adherent Muslims for prayer facilities, ritual foot-baths and excused absences from work to allow them, and those among their co-religionists they will pressure for conform, to practice their faith.

Of course, practitioners of other faiths would never be afforded such accommodations. Were they even to ask for equal treatment, Christians, Jews, Hindus, etc., would evoke a firestorm of criticism from those guardians— both self-appointed and official — of the U.S. Constitution’s separation of church and state. The latter, including it seems that storied defender of American rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, not only tolerate that cardinal principle’s breach by Islamists in this country; they appear supportive of it.

The creeping (some call it “Fabian”) imposition of Shariah in America and other freedom-loving nations is not exclusively a product of the coercive effects of terror-backed intimidation and what it evokes from the likes of Archbishop Williams in the form of politically correct “sensitivity” and acts of appeasement.

It is also the result of the money available to avowed Islamists and their enablers in places like Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states. In fact, in his infamous speech in the Royal Courts of Justice last week, the archbishop actually recommended “a scheme in which individuals retain the liberty to choose the jurisdiction under which they will seek to resolve certain carefully specified matters. … This may include aspects of marital law, the regulation of financial transactions and authorized structures of mediation and conflict resolution.”

Whether movements of these funds manifest themselves as U.S. acquisitions by Sovereign Wealth Funds (which would be better described as “Dictators Slush Funds”) emanating from Islamist nations or as so-called “Shariah-compliant finance,” the effect, over time, will be truly “unavoidable”: investments in what the Islamofascists call “financial jihad” — penetration and subversion of American and other Western capitalist systems.

It is an ignominious fact that most of the money put to such insidious uses comes from us, in the form of hundreds of billions of dollars we transfer abroad to purchase oil. If we do not wish, inevitably, to be subjected to the Islamists’ Shariah on an ever-greater scale, we must recognize it is an illegal political program, unconstitutional and seditious.

We also must do something meaningful and effective about what President Bush has rightly called “our addiction to oil.”

Fortunately, there is a practical, near-term and low-cost way to begin dramatically reducing our dependence on oil imported from places that wish us ill: “fuel competition.” This alternative to our present, near-exclusive reliance on a commodity controlled by a cartel can be achieved by creating an infrastructure that will permit our transportation sector (where we use most of our imported oil and use it most profligately) to use instead “Freedom Fuels” — namely, ethanol and methanol that we can produce here at home or import cost-effectively from friendly countries.

How can we obtain such an infrastructure? Simple: By adopting an Open Fuel Standard that requires every new car sold in America to have not only seat-belts and air bags but Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV) capability. An FFV can use ethanol or methanol or gasoline (or some combination) thanks to a chip and some plastic fittings in the fuel system. Today, these cost a trivial $100 per car. When in three years time, 50 million American cars have this feature (and another 50 million to 100 million overseas), the marginal additional cost will probably be zero.

Not surprisingly, excitement is beginning to develop all over the country as more and more Americans discover the technology is available, here and now (there already are 6 million FFVs on our highways). They are empowered by the opportunity FFVs present to do something real about our vital transportation sector’s strategically and economically reckless reliance on oil. Best of all, this is not a big government program deciding which of the various alcohol fuels from sources as diverse as algae, kudzu, coal and trash will be “winners” or “losers.” Fuel competition means market forces, not bureaucrats, will decide.

With the exception of a few vocal libertarians (whose opposition in this instance to competition and market-based decision-making seems inexplicable, not to say bizarre), the idea of fuel competition seems to be one upon which we can all agree.

If we wish to avoid in our own land the unsavory fate of enslaved nonbelievers (“dhimmis”) under Shariah, we had better hope the adoption of the Open Fuel Standard is recognized as “unavoidable” — and soon.

Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is president of the Center for Security Policy and a columnist for The Washington Times.

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