Rod Dreher

Charles Krauthammer repeats an exchange in a May 13 hearing of the House Judiciary Committee, in which a latter-day Basil Fawlty the U.S. Attorney General sat for questioning:

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.): Do you feel that these individuals might have been incited to take the actions that they did because of radical Islam?
Attorney General Eric Holder: There are a variety of reasons why I think people have taken these actions. . . .
Smith: Okay, but radical Islam could have been one of the reasons?
Holder There are a variety of reasons why people —
Smith: But was radical Islam one of them?
Holder: There are a variety of reasons why people do these things. Some of them are potentially religious-based.

Krauthammer says this went on for a bit longer, until Smith gave up in exasperation. Krauthammer goes on to talk about how insane we are for falling all over ourselves to avoid talking about the elephant in the room: radical Islam.
Why is it so hard for people like Holder — and they are legion in our government, our military leadership and in our media — to discern between non-violent Muslims and those that interpret their religion in such a way as to justify radical action, including violence? To point out the bleeding obvious, for these terrorists, religion isn’t incidental to their violence, it is the main cause of it. We have trained ourselves out of seeing what is right in front of our noses because we fear being politically incorrect, bigoted or insensitive more than we fear for our lives, and the lives of the people these Islamic radicals hate. So we hide our eyes from the truth, because the implications of it challenge the illusions we’d prefer to have — and we demonize people who point out our folly, even if they are patriotic Muslims fighting back against Islamists, or ex-Muslims who have suffered mutilation at the hands of former co-religionists.
It’s not just the current administration. The previous one was about as bad. At the same time the Justice Dept was in Dallas prosecuting in court (successfully, as it turned out) a terrorist financing case in which it names the Islamic Society of North America as an unindicted co-conspirator (because of its Muslim Brotherhood connections), it was at the ISNA conference in Chicago trying to partner up with the group. And as we’ve subsequently learned about Maj. Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, he was sending lots of plain signals about his Islamic radicalism, but Army officers refused to take them seriously as a sign that something was really wrong with this guy.
How on earth are we supposed to combat the enemy if we refuse to understand its nature? By what crackpot theory is identifying violent Islamists and Salafists tantamount to demeaning all Muslims? I don’t think ordinary people are fooled by this p.c. nonsense. They know that they’re being lied to. The problem is that because few if any in power — and I’m not talking about government exclusively, but also the media — ever trouble to explain the differences among Muslims and strands of Islam, and identify the troublemakers — the public wrongly assumes that all Muslims are the same.
Religion is at the is at the very center of why Hamas does praiseworthy charitable work among poor Muslims in Palestine. It is also at the very center of why Hamas justifies murdering innocent Israelis and others. Read the Hamas charter if you doubt it. This makes perfect sense to the religious mind. They know who they are. We can’t fit that into our categories, so we deny it.
UPDATE: Please take five minutes of your time to watch this important Washington Post interview with Akbar Ahmed, former Pakistani ambassador to the U.S. and chairman of the Islamic studies department at American University. He and his academic team have completed a study of the American Muslim community, and he says it’s absolutely vital to understand the theological differences among them. Regarding homegrown terrorism, Ahmed says that “a new chapter has opened in American history, and [homegrown Islamic terrorism] is going to grow” unless we take a hard look at empirical reality, and develop strategies to deal with the “literalists” (as Ahmed calls the hardliners, versus “modernists” and “mystics”) among the Muslim community. Says Ahmed, “If we just sit back and say ‘Islam has been hijacked’ … we’ve not understood it.”

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