Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Whither 'Extremist Islam'?

Three related items from today's blogosphere. First, from Dreher, who quotes Bill Gertz:

Stephen Coughlin, the Pentagon specialist on Islamic law and Islamist extremism, has been fired from his position on the military's Joint Staff. The action followed a report in this space last week revealing opposition to his work for the military by pro-Muslim officials within the office of Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England.

Mr. Coughlin was notified this week that his contract with the Joint Staff will end in March, effectively halting the career of one of the U.S. government's most important figures in analyzing the nature of extremism and ultimately preparing to wage ideological war against it.

He had run afoul of a key aide to Mr. England, Hasham Islam, who confronted Mr. Coughlin during a meeting several weeks ago when Mr. Islam sought to have Mr. Coughlin soften his views on Islamist extremism

The Bush Administration signals....what? That there are no Islamic bad-guys? That bad-guys are NOT Islamic?

Who the Hell knows?

2) In the SOTU, GWB did not even name the enemy (HT: PowerLine):

We are engaged in the defining ideological struggle of the 21st century. The terrorists oppose every principle of humanity and decency that we hold dear. Yet in this war on terror, there is one thing we and our enemies agree on: In the long run, men and women who are free to determine their own destinies will reject terror and refuse to live in tyranny.

Anent that, another blog noticed that phrases such as "Islamic extremists", "Islamofascists," etc., were not present in this year's SOTU. Not once.

3) From Clay Cramer, who picks up an interesting narrative from Europe. (The author, Bruce Bawer, used to the the film critic for the American Spectator. His reviews were spot-on, every time--Bawer is a treasure.)

One day last month, I gave a talk in Rome about how the supposedly liberal ideology of multiculturalism has made possible the spread in Europe of the highly illiberal ideology of fundamentalist Islam, with all its brutality and – among other things – violent homophobia. When I returned to my hotel, I phoned my partner back home in Oslo only to learn that moments earlier he had been confronted at a bus stop by two Muslim youths, one of whom had asked if he was gay, started to pull out a knife, then kicked him as he got on the bus, which had pulled up at just the right moment. If the bus hadn’t come when it did, the encounter could have been much worse.

...The reason for the rise in gay bashings in Europe is clear – and it’s the same reason for the rise in rape. As the number of Muslims in Europe grows, and as the proportion of those Muslims who were born and bred in Europe also grows, many Muslim men are more inclined to see Europe as a part of the umma (or Muslim world), to believe that they have the right and duty to enforce sharia law in the cities where they live, and to recognize that any aggression on their part will likely go unpunished...

These things cannot be allowed to stand. Obviously, not every Muslim is a violent, shari'a-enforcing extremist.

But to simply place these incidents and their implications into the 'memory hole' is irresponsible, and could be called suicidal.

One cannot fight a war without clearly identifying the enemy--unless, of course, we are looking for an "Eastasia"-type war; unwinnable and permanent.

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