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Herbert London: Islamophobia & Political Correctness

In accordance with a ten year plan of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to implement United Nations’ Resolution 16/18 which criminalizes all criticism of Islam worldwide, the U.S. House of Representatives issued H. Res. 569 condemning violence, bigotry and “hateful rhetoric” toward Muslims in the United States.

This bill comes on the heels of Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s post San Bernardino attack promise to the Muslim Americans community to prosecute anyone guilty of anti-Muslim speech. It is clear that Ms. Lynch is firing a canon at a fly. According to FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report, there were 1014 hate crime incidents motivated by religious bias in 2014. Of those, 154 – 15.2 percent - were anti-Islamic. More than half were anti-Jewish incidents. Not only is this yet another example of the Obama administration exaggerating minor threats, but it suggests as well an ignorance or callous avoidance of the First Amendment.

Progressive elites have accused those who condemn Muslim extremism of being extremists themselves – claiming that censure of radical Islam is an indiscriminate criticism of all Muslims. Here is an example of what progressives would call “Islamophobia,” dubbed appropriately by Andrew Cummins as a word “created by fascists, used by cowards, to manipulate morons.”

According to a 2013 Pew Research Survey, 10 percent of Muslims (160 million) support religiously motivated violence against civilians in certain situations. Fifteen percent believe that execution is justified for apostasy and almost 23 percent justify killing women who have extramarital sex. Since 9/11, there have been well over 20,000 terrorist attacks connected to Islam.

Why then do progressive elites accuse critics of radical Islam as Islamophobic? According to French Prime Minister Valls this tactic is a weapon by Islam’s apologists to silence their critics. It is a cudgel of political correctness to silence the opposition.

What has emerged with this campaign of political correctness is a frontal assault on free speech. In this emerging paradigm if you criticize Islam, you are a racist. Islam is rendered of limits except for accolades, or, at least, neutral acceptance.

This attempt to silence voices of opposition and critical analysis has gained adherence as the House Resolution would suggest. Clearly a resolution is not an Act and presumably members of the Senate will reject this proposal; nonetheless, it is worrisome that a Republican led House would even entertain the idea of opposing anti-Muslim speech. Every American, obviously including Muslims, has an inalienable right to live without fear and intimidation and practice religious ideas without interference.

The issue is the practice of one’s faith that may be incompatible with provisions of the Constitution, including upholding the laws of the land and expecting citizen compliance with these laws. TashfeenMalik and SyedPizwanFarook who killed 14 of Farook’s co-workers and wounded dozens of others in San Bernardino, California were radicalized in a mosque according to recent reports. They did not respect the laws of this land, despite the fact Farook was an American citizen. Here is the rub. Muslims are free to pursue their faith, but when radicalization occurs that challenges national security and our way of life, censure is appropriate. This isn’t Islamophobia; it is common sense. The rhetoric should be condemnatory even if many House members don’t see it that way.

Free speech isn’t only light and sweet; it represents the harsh dimensions of life. The concern about Islamophobia is part of cultural degradation. Several years ago, the philosopher Mortimer Adler said, “A culture is not killed by political conflicts, even when they attain the shattering violence of modern warfare, not by economic revolutions, even when they involve the dislocations of modern mass uprisings. A culture dies of diseases which are themselves cultural. It may be born sick, as modern culture was, or it may decay through insufficient vitality to overcome disruptive forces present in every culture, but in any case, cultural disorder is a cause and not an effect of political and economic disturbance which beset the world today.” If Adler is right, one might ask how can the culture be inoculated against a political correctness that protects potential violence and erodes the foundations of the nation?

Herbert London is President of the London Center for Policy Research, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of the book The Transformational Decade (University Press of America). You can read all of Herb London’s commentaries at www.londoncenter.org

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.

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