The threat of radical Islamic terrorism is so clear and plain that even a president could see it. But Barack Obama is blind, deaf or indifferent, and maybe all three, and determined to keep himself that way.
At his White House conference on “extremism” — where it came from and where it wants to go left carefully unsaid — he proposed “building a global partnership” to “show the world the power of peaceful communities instead of extremist violence.” This is a reprise of the War on Poverty from the previous century, a “Jobs for ISIS” approach as set out earlier in the week by an ignorant spokeswoman for the State Department.
The president sometimes insists he’s willing to shoot somebody if that’s what it takes to deal with the growing worldwide plague of gangster religion, but so far he can’t find a suitable somebody to shoot. He can’t see the Islamic terror that everybody else sees. The president is big on the transforming game, but transforming Islamic terror, whose name the president dares not speak, into a branch of the League of Women Voters is a task far beyond even his magic powers.
The president, eager to speak up for Islam every time he sees a microphone or a reporter’s notebook, obviously wants to be the man to defend the faith that frightens the world. This is unfair to the millions of Muslims who want only to worship in their own way, take care of their families, mind their own business and wish their neighbors well, but everyone who reads the newspapers and watches the television newscasts worries about the approach of the enemy, perverters as they may be, which the president cannot see.
ISIS, which calls itself “the Islamic State,” beheading Christians (including Americans), crucifying children and burning men alive in the name of Islam, is reduced by Mr. Obama to “individuals from various religions” who practice “hateful ideologies.” He does not say who the “individuals from various religions” may be. Episcopalians? Buddhist monks? Baptist missionaries? Jewish rabbis? Roman Catholic nuns?
Mr. Obama does not retreat from assigning to Christians the blame for unspeakable atrocities, whether for the Crusades 700 years ago or the shooting by a militant atheist of three Muslim students in an argument over a parking place in North Carolina. In an editorial page essay this week in the Los Angeles Times, the president concedes that “we do not yet know why” the Muslim students were killed. The cops aren’t yet sure, either, but it’s never too early to lay the blame on Christians, who clearly get under this president’s skin.
Mr. Obama, born of a Muslim father, raised by a mother who did not hide her scorn for America, and educated in a Muslim school during his formative early years, has lately become aggressive in defending Islam from its American critics. He says things that an educated American, even an American who speaks of 57 states, should know are not so.
“Islam,” he told his White House conference on extremism this week, “has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding.” Who knew that? Generations of an earlier time rarely heard of Muslims, who were called “Mohammedians,” and who lived somewhere over the oceans.
“Generations of Muslim immigrants,” the president said, “came here and went to work as farmers and merchants and factory workers, helped to lay railroads and build up America. The first Islamic center in New York City was founded in the 1890s. America’s first mosque — this was an interesting fact — was in North Dakota.”
Someone at the White House who knows better (if there is someone at the White House who knows better) should tell the president that America was founded in the 18th century, not the 19th, and North Dakota was an uncharted wilderness when the Founding Fathers were weaving the fabric of America. It’s nice for the Muslims in North Dakota to have a mosque, but the president need not write an alternative history of America to make Muslims (or Methodists or Mennonites, for that matter) feel good about themselves. He should leave fanciful writing of history to Brian Williams.
Nor should the president, who gags on saying the word “Christian,” make up stories about terrorism in America. “We all know there is one profile of a violent extremist or terrorist,” he told his friends at the White House. “Around the world and in the United States in excusable acts of violence have been committed against people of different faiths, by people of different faiths, which is of course betrayal of all faiths.” The president shouldn’t take credit for crap like that. He should sack that speechwriter.
• Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Washington Times.