Yesterday President Obama visited the mosque of the Islamic Society of Baltimore to give a speech defending Islam and Muslims against their unnamed opponents. The White House has posted the text of Obama’s speech. I have embedded the video below (actual time, about 45 minutes, feels like about 4 hours). Obama acknowledged the presence of Minnesota’s own Rep. Keith Ellison, formerly of the Nation of Islam, and of Indiana Rep. Andre Carson, Congress’s second Muslim convert.
In year 15 of America’s defense against terrorists inspired by Islam, Obama reiterated the full “religion of peace” shtick to which we have grown accustomed. Most of the speech partook of this mythical quality. Thus the supposed Muslim contributions to American history and to the United States, and thus the ritual reference to Thomas Jefferson’s Koran, which derived from our war with the barbarous pirates of Barbary. See, for example, Christopher Hitchens’s “Jefferson versus the Muslim pirates.”
Obama didn’t mention the Barbary pirates, of course. He therefore didn’t need to explain how they misunderstood Islam.
Obama decried the “inexcusable political rhetoric against Muslim Americans.” I won’t hazard a guess on what Obama had in mind here, but I’m pretty sure he wants us all to shut up. If we would prefer not to celebrate Islam, Obama invites us to keep quiet or be stigmatized as bigots.
The mosque at which Obama appeared is itself illustrative of the problem of Islam in the United States. The editors of Investor’s Business Daily explored the mosque’s background in this reported editorial.
I believe the mosque is part of the network of mosques affiliated with the Islamic Society of North America. ISNA is the Muslim Brotherhood’s umbrella organization in the United States. Obama’s appearance at the mosque was apparently cleared by the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Both ISNA and CAIR were identified as unindicted co-conspirators of the Holy Land Foundation by the Department of Justice in the successful prosecution of the HLF for supporting Hamas. Funny, Obama didn’t mention any of that either.
When Obama gets around to “acknowledging” the connection of Islam to religiously inspired terrorism, he uses the acknowledgement to invite us to shut up:
Now, we do have another fact that we have to acknowledge. Even as the overwhelming majority — and I repeat, the overwhelming majority — of the world’s Muslims embrace Islam as a source of peace, it is undeniable that a small fraction of Muslims propagate a perverted interpretation of Islam. This is the truth.
Groups like al Qaeda and ISIL, they’re not the first extremists in history to misuse God’s name. We’ve seen it before, across faiths. But right now, there is a organized extremist element that draws selectively from Islamic texts, twists them in an attempt to justify their killing and their terror. They combine it with false claims that America and the West are at war with Islam. And this warped thinking that has found adherents around the world — including, as we saw, tragically, in Boston and Chattanooga and San Bernardino — is real. It’s there. And it creates tensions and pressure that disproportionately burden the overwhelming majority of law-abiding Muslim citizens.
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We shouldn’t play into terrorist propaganda. And we can’t suggest that Islam itself is at the root of the problem. That betrays our values. It alienates Muslim Americans. It’s hurtful to those kids who are trying to go to school and are members of the Boy Scouts, and are thinking about joining our military.
That kind of mindset helps our enemies. It helps our enemies recruit. It makes us all less safe. So let’s be clear about that.
Many more points can and should be made about the this speech. I could go on, but my patience is limited. Obama should never have risen to high office in the government of the United States. He should have enlisted to represent the Organization of the Islamic Conference in its long-standing efforts to stigmatize concerns about Islam as “Islamophobia.” Unlike the cause of the United States, this is one cause that Obama believes in to the core of his being.