Terry Jones, the Florida ‘‘minister’’ who threatened to burn the Quran on the anniversary of Sept. 11, is as much a distraction from the real challenge facing America as was Sen. Joseph McCarthy when it came to communism. Communism was — and remains in its Chinese incarnation — a real threat. But radical Islam — rabid, advancing, intolerant, subjugating — is potentially a bigger one and must be conquered.
Various apologists for the Nazis and communists in the media, academia and religion are now mostly forgotten, and that’s the problem. Forgetting what happens when evil is accommodated leads to terrible consequences and more evil.
Some ancient wisdom about what must be done with evil is helpful for those who would pay attention: ‘‘You must purge the evil from among you’’ (Deuteronomy 22:21). Instead, we are tolerating, even welcoming, evil under the false assumption that evil can be neutered when it is in the midst of good. If that were so, the good works performed by various cultures would have long ago eradicated evil. Evil must not only be purged, it must be defeated.
The former co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission, Democrat Lee Hamilton and Republican Thomas Kean, write of the ‘‘Americanization’’ of al-Qaida leadership, reports the Washington Post. In a 43-page study by the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, Hamilton and Kean warn of the radicalization of Muslims inside the United States and how al-Qaida’s strategy is changing from big events, like airplane hijackings and attacks of mass destruction, to plotting for smaller actions designed to spread fear and instability across the country.
In this chilling sentence from the report is the challenge for those who deny the reality of what we face: ‘‘The U.S. is arguably not little different from Europe in terms of having a domestic terrorist problem involving immigrant and indigenous Muslims, as well as converts to Islam.’’ The report says al-Qaida and its affiliates in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen have minimally established an ‘‘embryonic’’ recruitment infrastructure in the United States. It points to convictions last year of at least 43 American citizens or residents aligned with radical ideology and high-profile cases of recruits who went abroad for training.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano seemed to confirm the findings in the report when she spoke last week to a group of first responders in New York: ‘‘The old view that ‘if we fight the terrorists abroad, we won’t have to fight them here’ is just that — the old view. It is abundantly clear that we have to fight them abroad; we have to fight them at home. We have to fight them, period.’’
We are doing a poor job of fighting the terrorists at home if we continue to allow Muslim immigrants, especially from Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, into America. We won’t win this war if we permit the uncontrolled construction of mosques, as well as Islamic schools, some of which already have sown the seeds from which future terrorists will be cultivated. We won’t win this war if we continue to permit the large-scale conversion to Islam of prison inmates, many of whom become radicalized and upon release enlist in al-Qaida’s army.
Even Syria understands the threat better than our own government. The New York Times reported on Sept. 3 that the Syrian government has asked imams for recordings of their Friday sermons and has begun closely monitoring what is taught in religious schools: ‘‘(Syria), which had sought to show solidarity with Islamist groups and allow religious figures a greater role in public life, has recently reversed course, moving forcefully to curb the influence of Muslim conservatives in its mosques, public universities and charities.’’
What does Syria know that we refuse to acknowledge out of fear of offending ‘‘sensibilities’’?
We must purge the evil from among us, or else.
E-mail nationally syndicated columnist Cal Thomas at email@example.com.