- - Tuesday, January 20, 2015


Bobby Jindal, the Republican governor of Louisiana, says what a lot of politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, believe but are afraid to say, that the urge to be politically correct is strangling America and the West.

Mr. Jindal delivered the toughest speech anyone has yet made, challenging Muslim leaders who say that terrorism in the name of the prophet is a distortion of Islam to prove it by denouncing such terrorism — loud, clear and as often as it takes.

“Muslim leaders must make clear that anyone who commits acts of terror in the name of Islam is in fact not practicing Islam at all,” he declared Monday in London. “If they refuse to say this, then they are condoning these acts of barbarism. There is no middle ground.”

He offers specifics for language the Islamic terrorists will understand: “Muslim leaders need to condemn anyone who commits these acts of violence and clearly state that these people are evil and are enemies of Islam. It’s not enough to simply condemn violence, they must stand up and loudly proclaim that these people are not martyrs who will receive a reward in the afterlife, and rather they are murderers who are going to hell. If they refuse to do that, then they’re part of the problem. There is no middle ground here.”

This is tough stuff, and not just for wayward Muslims. It’s the kind of language that makes many of the weak, the sickly, the pale and the fearful in the West look for a fainting couch. Talking about religious belief is regarded in these precincts as impolite and bad manners. (Who knew good manners had survived in modern America?) Muslim clerics have even been invited to preach from the pulpit of the nominally Episcopal National Cathedral, once dedicated to the glory of Jesus Christ.

The governor, a Roman Catholic, American-born son of parents who were born in India, speaks of Islam with due respect. He does not mock Islamic belief in the afterlife, or the idea that Muslim faithful will collect their reward in heaven in a goodly number of virgins. But if an appeal to the moral core in men who obviously have no moral core does not work, Muslim leaders should appeal to them in the language they will understand.

Mr. Jindal, whose common sense upsets some people in his own country, was scolded for earlier saying the demonstrably obvious, that there are “no-go” neighborhoods in certain European cities ruled by Shariah law where those of other faiths (or of no faith) are afraid to go. There can be no allowance for nations within nations. Mr. Jindal did not retreat, renege or advance to the rear when called on for the apology most politicians are eager to give. He told CNN that he was “speaking truth to power.”

The governor’s stout words are similar to those of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt, the rare Muslim leader who is willing to confront evil in the clergy of his own Muslim faith. “It’s inconceivable,” he said, “that the thinking we hold most sacred should cause the entire [Islamic world] to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world.”

Bernard Henri-Levy, a prominent French intellectual writing in The Wall Street Journal, thinks the Charlie Hebdo murders can be a “Churchillian moment” if France and the West “slam the useful idiots of a radical Islam immersed in the sociology of poverty and frustration.”

President Obama has convened a summit on “violent extremism” (he gags on calling it terrorism) next month at the White House. If the president can screw up the courage, that would be a good time to do more than denounce tragedy and offer cheap sympathy to the dead. He could invite Mr. Jindal to bring the backbone to the party.

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