President Barack Obama’s address yesterday in Cairo has been well received by the Muslim world and by general audiences.
Nobody may be happier with it, though, than the Muslim Brotherhood — the global organization that seeks to impose authoritative Islam’s theo-political-legal program known as “Shariah” through stealthy means where violence is not practicable.
Egyptian Muslim Brothers were prominent among the guests in the audience at Cairo University and Brotherhood-associated organizations in America, like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), have rapturously endorsed the speech.
Accordingly, Americans who love freedom, whether or not they recognize the threat Shariah represents to it, have abundant cause for concern about the speech and what it portends for U.S. policy and interests.
Right out of the box, Obama mischaracterized what is causing a “time of tension between the United States and Muslims around the world.” He attributed the problem first and foremost to “violent extremists [who] have exploited these tensions in a small but potent minority of Muslims.” The president never mentioned a central reality: The minority in question, including the Muslim Brotherhood, subscribes to the authoritative writings, teachings, traditions and institutions of their faith, namely Shariah.
It is the fact that their practice is thus grounded that makes them, whatever their numbers (the exact percentage is a matter of considerable debate), to use Obama's euphemistic term, “potent.”
Instead, the president’s address characterized the problem as a “cycle of suspicion and discord,” a turn of phrase redolent of the moral equivalence so evident in the Mideast peace process with it “cycle of violence.” There was not one reference to terrorism, let alone Islamic terrorism. “The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and the continued efforts of these extremists to engage in violence against civilians has led some in my country to view Islam as inevitably hostile not only to America and Western countries, but also to human rights. This has bred more fear and mistrust.”
Then there was this uplifting, but ultimately meaningless, blather: “So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, and who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity.”
More often than not, the president portrayed Muslims as the Brotherhood always does: as victims of crimes perpetrated by the West against them, from colonialism to manipulation by Cold War superpowers to the menace of “modernity and globalization that led many Muslims to view the West as hostile to the traditions of Islam.” Again, no mention of the hostility towards the infidel West ingrained in “the traditions of Islam.” This fits with the meme of the Shariah-adherent, but not the facts.
Here’s the irony: Even as President Obama professed his determination to “speak the truth,” he perpetrated a fraud. He falsely portrayed what amounts to authoritative Islam, namely Shariah Islam, as something that is “not exclusive,” that “overlaps” and “need not be in competition” with America. Actually, Shariah is, by its very nature, a program that obliges its adherents to demand submission of all others, Muslims (especially secular and apostate ones) and non-Muslims, alike.
This exclusiveness (read, Islamic supremacism) applies most especially with respect to democratic nations like America, nations founded in the alternative and highly competitive belief that men, not God, should make laws. Ditto nations that stand in the way of the establishment of the caliphate, the global theocracy that Shariah dictates must impose its medieval agenda worldwide.
In practice, Shariah is the very antithesis of Obama’s stated goal of “progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.” Its “justice” can only be considered by civilized societies to be a kind of codified barbarism.
At least as troubling are what amount to instances of presidential dawa, the Arabic term for Islamic proselytization. For example, Obama referred four times in his speech to “the Holy Quran.” It seems unimaginable that he ever would ever use the adjective to describe the Bible or the Book of Mormon.
Then, the man now happy to call himself Barack Hussein Obama (in contrast to his attitude during the campaign) boasts of having “known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed.” An interesting choice of words that, “first revealed.” Not “established,” “founded” or “invented.”
Elsewhere in the speech, Obama actually declared that “I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.” Note that, although he referred in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian-Arab conflict to “vile stereotypes” of Jews, he did not describe it as “part of his responsibility as president” to counter anti-Semitic representations.
Unremarked was the fact that such incitement is daily fare served up by the state media controlled by his host in Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak, by the Palestinian Authority’s Mahmoud Abbas and by every other despot in the region with whom Obama seeks to engage. Worse yet, no mention was made of the fact that some of those “vile stereotypes” — notably, that Jews are “descendants of apes and pigs” — are to be found in Quran itself.
Perhaps the most stunning bit of dawa of all was a phrase the president employed that, on its face, denies the divinity of Jesus — something surprising from a self-described committed Christian.
In connection with his discussion of the “situation between Israelis, Palestinians and Arabs,” Obama said, “When Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad (peace be upon them) joined in prayer.”
Muslims use the term “peace be upon them” to ask for blessings on deceased holy men. In other words, its use construes all three in the way Islam does — as dead prophets — a treatment wholly at odds with the teachings of Christianity which, of course, holds Jesus as the immortal Son of God.
Finally, what are we to make of Obama statements about America and Islam? Since he took office, the president has engaged repeatedly in the sort of hyping of Muslims and their role in the United States that is standard Muslim Brotherhood fare.
In his inaugural address, he described our nation as one of “Christians, Muslims and Jews.” Shortly thereafter, he further reversed the demographic ordering of these populations by size in his first broadcast interview (with the Saudi-owned al-Arabiya network), calling America a country of “Muslims, Christians, and Jews.”
Yesterday in Cairo, the president declared that “Islam has always been a part of America’s story.” Now, to be sure, Muslims, like peoples of other faiths, have made contributions to U.S. history. But they have generally done so in the same way others have, namely as Americans — not as some separate community, but as part of the “E pluribus unum” (out of many, one) that Obama properly extolled in his speech.
The President’s remarks about America as a Muslim nation would give rise to its treatment by them as part of dar al-Islam, the world of Islam, as opposed to dar al-harb (i.e., the non-Muslim world).
Were the former to be the case, Shariah requires faithful Muslims to rid the United States of infidel control or occupation. And we know from last year’s successful prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation, a so-called “charity” engaged in money-laundering for one of the Muslim Brotherhood’s terrorist operations, Hamas, that such an agenda tracks precisely with the Brothers’ mission here: “To destroy Western civilization from within America, by its own miserable hand.”
This reality makes one of Obama’s promises in Cairo especially chilling. Near the end of his address, the president expressed concern that religious freedom in the United States was being impinged by “rules on charitable giving [that] have made it harder for Muslims to fulfill their religious obligation.” He went on to pledge: “That is why I am committed to working with American Muslims to ensure that they can fulfill zakat.”
Let us be clear: Some Muslim charities have run into difficulty with “the rules” because they have been convicted in federal court of using the Muslim obligation to perform zakat (tithing to charity) to funnel money to terrorists.
At this writing, it is unclear what Obama has in mind with respect to this commitment to “ensure [Muslims] can fulfill zakat.” But you can bet that the Brotherhood will try to translate it into the release of their imprisoned operatives and new latitude to raise money for their Shariah-promoting, and therefore seditious, activities in America.
Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is President of the Center for Security Policy in Washington.
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