Days after anti-Muslim activist Pam Geller submitted an ad depicting the Prophet Muhammad to DC’s transit authority, its board opted to ban all “issue” advertisements on metro transit for the rest of the year. The motion to ban political, religious and other issue ads was put forward by Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Chairman Mort Downey, according to The Hill, and the Metro board approved it Thursday.
Geller announced Tuesday that her group American Freedom Defense Initiative was launching an ad campaign on DC buses and in train stations bearing the winning cartoon from the group’s Muhammad cartoon contest in Texas that became the target of an attempted shooting earlier this month.
In a statement posted on Breitbart.com, Geller said she was launching the ad campaign because “the media and the cultural and political elites continue to self-enforce the Sharia without the consent of the American people by refusing to show any depictions of Muhammad or showing what it was in Texas that had jihadists opening fire.”
Previously, her anti-Muslim ads had been displayed in the transit systems in cities including San Francisco and New York, where a federal judge reaffirmed her right to run them. A judge in Boston rejected her group’s motion to force the transit authority to run her ads there.
WMATA’s move to nix all issue-based advertisement appears to be an attempt to thwart the legal problems faced by other cities’ transit authorities when they resisted running controversial ads by Geller’s group. The American Freedom Defense Initiative did not come up in Thursday’s meeting, a spokesperson for WMATA told The Hill.
This is a follow-up on yesterday’s front page article about Robert Doggart, the failed congressional candidate whose plot to attack innocent Muslims In Delaware County, NY was foiled by federal agents.
In that thread I mentioned that there’s more than one Islamberg—the one in Texas that I wrote about last year and the one in New York that Doggart was planning to attack—this is about a third one in South Carolina called Holy Islamville. As with the others, local police have had no problems with them.
An article just came in through my Google Alerts this evening mentioning Islamville. In light of reports on Doggart’s plan to massacre Muslims, the York County Sheriff, Bruce Bryant, has made it clear that he’s having none of that:
There is “no truth at all,” he said, to rumors or media reports that there has ever been a Muslim training ground at Holy Islamville.“This guy who wanted to cause chaos in New York, who planned to go after innocent people and also was targeting law enforcement who tried to stop him - we will not tolerate that in York County,” he said. “The people who live at Islamville, and the people who gather at Islamville, they are citizens of America, this state and York County, and we will do everything we can to protect them as we would for any other resident of York County.” […]
—Sheriff Bruce Bryant
Islamville residents have kept an “open relationship” with law enforcement for three decades, Bryant said, and his officers routinely visit the community. There is “no truth at all,” he said, to rumors or media reports that there has ever been a Muslim training ground at Holy Islamville.
“That is plainly untrue,” Bryant said. “There has never been any kind of training camp, obstacle course or anything there. As far as York County law enforcement is concerned, there is no threat there and never has been a threat.
“York County residents need to know that these people are a part of the community, and that the community is safe.”
Islamville residents deserve and will receive equal treatment from police in York County, he said.
“I do not believe what they believe concerning religion,” Bryant said, “but these are people who live in York County who will be treated with respect and who will receive the best that the York County Sheriff’s Office can offer. Freedom of religion is guaranteed in this country. This is America.” […]
Compare the above with reports by Clarion—there are several, but here’s one from 2013 (do not link) which describes Islamville as a site “run by a radical group named Muslims of the Americas (MOA),” which they assert has connections to a terrorist group in Pakistan called Jamaat ul-Fuqra (JF for short).
If you Google JF’s name you’ll mostly get links to to right-wing sites screeching about impending doom and dhimmitude, however buried in there is also an article from October 2008 written by the Combating Terrorism Center (CTC) at West Point. I wrote about the CTC back in 2013, if you want to know more about them. They didn’t seem to reach any concrete conclusion about the attitudes of JF/MOA at the time of the writing.
A quick search of the CTC site turned up four additional articles, the most recent (from 2010) with regard to someone named Clement Rodney Hampton-El:
A member of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing conspiracy, Hampton-El was convicted in 1996 with the “blind shaykh,” `Umar `Abd al-Rahman, and others in connection with the “Day of Terror” plot against New York City landmarks. […]
I could find no mention of Hampton-El after that. Presumably he’s either dead or sitting in a federal prison somewhere.
The SPLC wrote an article on them as well back in 2002. It too mentions Hampton-El, his time in Afghanistan, and his involvement with the 1993 WTC bombing. Included is discussion of Jilani (sometimes spelled Gilani in other articles). There was also a bunch of stuff about white supremacists & the NOI, but my eyes were starting to glaze over by the time I got to that part so I quit reading. A quick search only returned the report linked to above along with three other articles in which JF was only mentioned in comments, not the articles themselves.
Last but not least, the ADL wrote a profile on them 22 years ago, back in 1993 (PDF). A search of the ADL’s website returns five additional articles, all from their archives with the most recent being from 2002. I only skimmed the articles, but they seemed primarily concerned with antisemitism—not surprising since that’s a big part of the ADL’s mission. I don’t know if the absence of more recent articles means they have ceased expressing such things, but I would assume so since the ADL isn’t shy about pointing out antisemitism. In any event, antisemitism—as noxious as it is—isn’t tantamount to terrorism.
So who should we believe? The scaremongers from The Clarion Project and Fox News? Should we make an assessment based on old reports by the CTC, SPLC and ADL, or do we listen to current local law enforcement in SC, NY and TX who say there’s nothing to be concerned about? I obviously can’t answer that for you, all I can do is share what I’ve found and point out that it seems the group and its communes have been largely quiet & law abiding for quite some time now.
I’m sure there’s more that could be dug up, not the least of which is info on the websites & organizations dedicated to demonizing Muslims and pushing fear (and the connections between them), but I have a life and a full time job, so the info above is all I have time for right now.
That’s all. For now…
P.S. Let me kow if you find any typos and I’ll correct them in the AM. I’m to tired to proofread right now. TIA.
Right wing columnist, and former presidential candidate Gary Bauer has spent some time and come up with some questions that he would like to get the 2016 Democratic presidential nominees to answer. He apparently thinks they’re really smart and that liberals would have trouble answering them. I’m not running for president, and I don’t feel like I would be the most qualified person for the job. That said, I’m still going to have some fun answering each of them.
The 2016 presidential campaign season has begun in earnest, and so has the season of presidential gotcha journalism — at least it has for Republicans.
Gotcha journalism is the attempt by journalists to ask questions that make interview subjects seem uncompassionate, incompetent or otherwise unqualified for office.
Sometimes, gotcha questions really do reveal a lot about the candidate — their values, policy prescriptions and other things that provide citizens with a window into their character or competency.
More often, however, gotcha questions aren’t directly relevant to the duties of the office the candidate is seeking and thus are seen as coming from a hidden agenda.
Ironically the fact that you would even consider asking many of the questions you came up with, especially given how you worded some of them, shows us that you’re not really that compassionate yourself. Personally I’m glad you won’t be running for office, and I hope that none of the GOP candidates that think like you win in 2016.
I’ll confess to a degree of ambivalence when it comes to political gotcha questions. Perhaps it is because I recognize that they are disproportionately asked of conservative candidates, and meant only to embarrass them.
You should actually be embarrassed by the fact that you would even consider asking a presidential candidate some of the questions you want to ask. Spoiler alert, as you might have guessed by my title, many of them are going to be really stupid.
Recently, Republican presidential candidates have been asked whether they would attend a same-sex marriage, whether they believe in evolution, and whether they would outlaw contraceptives. Before that, there were gotcha questions about infidelity, the use of illegal drugs, and which newspapers they liked to read.
Sorry but many of those actually are really good questions. For example, since evolution is a scientific fact, with so much data backing it up, asking whether or not a candidate believes in it, is relevant. It gives us a good idea as to just how educated he/she is, and if he/she completely rejects reality. We don’t want someone in office who would make decisions based on pseudoscience. He/she would be much more likely to do that if he believes in nonsense like creationism. We also want someone in office who understands why it isn’t a good idea for us to teach that evolution is “just a theory” in our schools.
In the interests of fairness, here is a list of questions honest journalists should consider asking Democratic candidates, especially those running for president.
When does life begin? And when does that life become a human person deserving of constitutional rights?
A ) Technically life does in fact begin at conception, however we are not yet people until we start to become self aware. A zygote ( when the baby is just a clump of cells ) clearly isn’t capable of personhood yet. It may be alive, but its not self aware, and it cannot make decisions for itself. Its wrong to kill a baby after its born, because, first off, its never going to put its mother’s life in danger. Second the baby can feel pain. Last but not least, even through its not as aware as it will be as an adult or even a child, it is far more aware than when he/she first started growing in their mother’s womb.
You say you support women’s right to make their own reproductive choices. Do you support any limits on abortion? Third-trimester abortions? Abortions of fetuses who can feel pain or live outside their mother’s womb? Abortions specifically targeting unborn girls?
A ) I do have somewhat of a problem with abortion in general, but only because in an ideal world, they would never be necessary. Every single pregnancy in that ideal world, would be wanted, and the mother’s well being would never depend on terminating it. Abortion thus wouldn’t be an issue at all, but we don’t live in an ideal world. We live in a universe where women can get pregnant from being brutally raped, contrary to what some ignorant politicians might say. Women can even die from complications in their pregnancy.
I don’t think it would be a good idea to ban abortion, even if we include exceptions for rape, and the life of the mother. Even ignoring a women’s right to choose, outlawing abortion, does little to actually stop abortion, for the most part, it just harms women. Increasing the availability of contraception and supporting comprehensive sex education, ( not abstinence only which has been shown to never work ) does far more to lower the number of abortions than outlawing it. If you really want to limit the number of abortions, that’s what you should be doing instead.
Do you believe nuns should be forced to buy birth control or face crippling fines? Do you support the Obama administration’s health care mandates that force people of faith to subsidize abortion and life-ending drugs and devices or face the force of law?
A ) No one who isn’t going to use birth control should be forced to buy it for themselves. Other than that the answer to everyone one of those questions is a yes. The Hobby Lobby decision was wrong and religious business owners, or any business owners shouldn’t be able to force their values onto their employees.
What do you think should happen to private business people with strong and deeply held religious beliefs who choose not to serve at a gay wedding? Should they be driven out of business? Should they be bullied into compliance, perhaps through some sort of re-education program?
A ) Private business owners who refuse to serve gay people are like private business owners who think they shouldn’t have to serve black people. They’re bigots, regardless of their religion. If people could use their religion to get around the 1964 civil rights act, we would still see “whites only” signs on business across the South, and even in other parts of the country. Would you like to see racists who think that the Bible forbids interracial marriage, be able to refuse to serve mixed race couples? Should people who refuse to serve gays be driven out of business? Yes. Should they be made to comply with anti discrimination laws? Yes. As long as what your customers want to do with the product that you’re selling isn’t against the law, its none of your business. Gays and lesbians are not harming Christians or anyone by simply existing. Having to obey the same laws as everyone else and serve them doesn’t persecute you.
Of course I don’t support forcing homophobes into some re-education program. We didn’t need to force Southerners into re-education camps during integration, to make them change their minds about black people.
Does the liberal virtue of tolerance include tolerance for those who oppose gay marriage?
A ) If I come across someone on the street who opposes gay marriage, I will tell them that their opposition is misguided. That said, the government doesn’t have the right to force them to change their views. Forcing them to obey anti discrimination laws and sell wedding cakes to gay or lesbian couples, isn’t the same thing. Homosexual business owners shouldn’t be allowed to refuse service to a homophobic fundamentalist Christian couple either.
Many of your supporters consider those who believe in the traditional view of marriage as the union of a man and a woman bigots, akin to racists. Do you agree with this view? If so, how do you reconcile this with the fact that you opposed gay marriage until very recently?
A ) I would say I was wrong, but most of society agreed with me at the time. It is bigotry to oppose marriage equality. The fact that most people didn’t support gay marriage until recently doesn’t change that. The fact that most Americans opposed the right of interracial couples to get married until the later half of the twentieth century doesn’t make that any less bigoted either. Many of the arguments put forth by modern day marriage equality opponents today, are very similar to the ones people used against interracial marriage, and are just as invalid.
A question specifically for Hillary Clinton: Do you still believe, as you said you did until quite recently, that marriage is “not just a bond but a sacred bond between a man and a woman a fundamental bedrock principle”?
A ) I’m not Hillary, but assuming she said that I would imagine that her views have changed to include same sex couples. Thankfully, she seems to support marriage equality now, hopefully not just to get more people to vote for her.
Another question for Hillary: In the 2008 campaign, you suggested Americans would not be able to sleep well at night knowing that Barack Obama would be the one taking an emergency 3 a.m. phone call to the White House about a foreign policy crisis. Based on your conduct in the Benghazi affair, do you think voters have reason to doubt your ability to protect Americans from foreign threats?
A ) Not sure how I would answer that question if I were Hillary, however, she could point out that she didn’t have anything to do with what happened in Benghazi.
You say that you are a person of faith. When is the last time you attended a church to worship? Would you attend a service in a church that did not support gay marriage or abortion?
A ) How do you know if the person you’re addressing is a Christian to begin with? Most likely he / she is given that most Americans are, but couldn’t he / she belong to another faith assuming they are religious? Also the number of times someone went to church or temple or whatever, isn’t relevant to whether or not they would make a good president. I’m not a Christian, my beliefs actually come closer to deism than anything else, ( not really sure I qualify as that either through ). If I were a Christian, given how I feel about those things, I’d still have a hard time in a church where the pastor railed against “the evils” of homosexuality and abortion. Even so, I wouldn’t support taking away the rights of anyone to go to any church they wanted, even if it opposed those things. The Catholic Church is officially anti gay marriage, anti abortion and anti birth control. That said, there are Catholics who are pro marriage equality, pro choice, and pro birth control. Are they any less Catholic or any less Christian, for having those views? Its not for the government to decide who are the “true followers,” of any particular faith.
As a Christian, do you believe in the biblical account of creation? How do you reconcile that account with your belief in evolution?
A ) Again I wouldn’t call myself a Christian, but evolution isn’t incompatible with Christianity. There are plenty of Christians that see no conflict between evolution and their faith. The only Christians who have a problem with it, are the ones who insist in a literal interpretation of the Bible. I’m sorry if you don’t like to hear this, but a belief in things like a six thousand year old Earth are demonstrably false. While a young Earth has been debunked long ago, there is plenty of evidence for an ancient Earth that’s billions of years old.
The scientific consensus is overwhelming. The vast majority of scientists, especially in relevant fields of study, accept the theory of evolution, regardless of what religion that they happen to belong to. The people who call themselves “scientists,” who believe in some form of creationism, on the other hand, are usually either frauds like Kent Hovind or not someone in a relevant field, assuming they actually are scientists at all.
Do you believe that the American people are undertaxed? Which taxes do you want to raise? Name two taxes you would cut?
A ) Hmm… You actually came up with your first good one.
You won’t like my answer Mr. Bauer, but the rich, especially the one percent need to pay their fair share. They’re not paying enough into the system. Trickled down economics is bunk, so to expect cutting taxes for the wealthy to be some magic bullet that will always improve the economy is wrong. It doesn’t work that way. I don’t really know what federal taxes if any should be cut in particular, right now. However, government provides valuable services with the money it collects via taxes. Both guns ( the military ) and butter ( social services ) are important. We also need to spend more money on scientific research. If we’re going to cut taxes we’ll need to first cut wasteful spending on things that we don’t need. Than we can think about cutting taxes.
In fairness, this question about taxes, might actually be a “gotcha question” since candidates including the ones running as Democrats might have a hard time answering it honestly without upsetting their big donors.
Is America facing a severe threat from radical Islam? If not, what is the nature of the threat from terrorists?
A ) No the threat from Islamists to the United States has been exaggerated. They’re not the ones who are going to turn our country into a theocratic dictatorship, if it ever happens. Americans will not, in significant numbers support implementing sharia law. Despite this, right now there are massive fears of Sharia being implemented in the United States, which are utterly baseless and have been used to justify bigotry against Muslims. Muslim are a tiny minority in this country, about zero point nine percent of our population in 2014. While that is higher than in the past, its still pretty low. It wouldn’t be possible for them to take over and turn the country into a theocracy, even if each and every one of them wanted to, and most of them do not.
Christian fundamentalists are the ones who are currently violating the first amendment trying to impose their religion on students in our public schools. Just one recent example. A while back, a Buddhist student was subjected to a class where the teacher taught a fundamentalist form of Christianity, and pressured him to worship Jesus, even through that’s a clear cut violation of the establishment clause. Mr. Bauer, If you care so much about threats to our freedom, why aren’t you more concerned with fanatics like Bryan Fischer? He literally expects us to believe that the first amendment applies only to Christians ( most likely only to his version of Christianity ) and that people have no right to practice any other faith in America. He even has a blog at the American Family Association, which despite being monitored as a hate site by the Southern Poverty Law Center, is still respected by many conservative Republicans.
Also, do you believe that all terrorists are Muslims? Most domestic terrorists are not and have never been Muslims. Why shouldn’t we be more concerned with the threat from far right domestic terrorists? They’re just as real as terrorists who operate in the name of Islam, foreign or domestic.
Name two decisions that President Obama has made or policies he has implemented that you disagree with, and explain why.
A ) That’s the second question you asked that’s actually good and might challenge the presidential nominee. However two out of thirteen “gotcha questions” so far, qualifying as “gotcha questions” isn’t doing too well. Fine, three out of thirteen if you count the one for Hillary about Benghazi, but only because it might pose somewhat of a problem for her. Still not doing too well Mr. Bauer.
So let me see? Can I think of two specific Obama policies that I disagree with and why?
His perpetual drone strike policy seems to have backfired, and has actually led to more radicalism and hatred of the US. Beyond that, most of the people killed by our drones haven’t been the bad guys, but innocent civilians instead. I know we need to fight wars and we want to keep our troops out of harms way as much as possible, but we really need to come up with an alternative to these drone strikes, unless we find a way to drastically reduce the amount of collateral damage.
Not as egregious, but I really wish Obama had come out in favor of marriage equality sooner. I’ve got to give him credit for doing it eventually, but he took a bit too long, and it would have been nice if he could have openly supported it from day one.
Which conservative publications do you read or news outlets do you consume? How do you ensure that you are exposed to the best arguments of those with whom you disagree?
A ) I don’t read too many conservative publications ever since I stopped being a conservative, but that entire time I was exposed to what conservatives thought on a daily basis. Interestingly, unlike many of the conservative websites, the left wing blogs that I read, usually link back to the original commentary or video when they try to refute a conservative’s ideas.
That was actually another decent “gotcha question,” but that’s still only four out of fourteen at best, and that was your last question.
Most people would call the questions above tough and incisive but not out of bounds. Too bad so many politicians feel they can brush them aside simply by labeling them “gotcha questions.”
Actually I would say that most people outside of the Right, at least, would call a majority of them “not very good questions.” With some exceptions they could easily be answered by liberal or progressive candidates.
That’s not right. Political candidates — especially those seeking to become leader of the free world — should be able to answer any question, so long as it is at least somewhat relevant to the job he or she is seeking.
Which is something on which I agree.
So ask away, journalists. But let’s give Democrats the same treatment you give Republicans.
Go right ahead. If you or one of your fellow conservative Republicans want to ask a Democratic nominee one or more of these questions, go ahead. You might not like their answers but they’ll probably be able to answer most of them more easily than you think. Most of them really aren’t very good “gotcha questions”
The news from Garland, Texas, last week was appalling. Two depraved young men, possibly motivated by ISIS propaganda, opened fire on people at an exhibit of cartoons and caricatures of the prophet Muhammad.
We condemn in the strongest possible terms the vicious actions of these criminals. As rabbis, we regard this attack as utterly sinful and indefensible. We commend the law enforcement officers who subdued the assailants, and we pray that the private security guard wounded by the attackers has a speedy and full recovery, body and spirit.
At the same time, we are deeply disturbed by the actions of the organizers of this event: Pamela Geller and her associates at the so-called American Freedom Defense Initiative. While we do not dispute Ms. Geller’s First Amendment right to trumpet even the most heinous of views, as Jewish religious leaders we feel compelled to speak out against her decision, in the name of free speech, to publicly insult and demean another religious tradition.
We express solidarity with the many American Muslims who feel wounded by this malicious disregard of their sacred heritage. Further, we are dismayed that a member of the American Jewish community led this incendiary effort. We can only imagine how upset we would be if a group set up a public display of cartoons mocking Jews, offering (as was the case here) a $10,000 prize for the “best” rendering.
Our long history as a persecuted and often taunted minority does not allow us to stand by in silence when such an act is perpetrated against another religious community in our society. Jewish history and teaching compel us to denounce such offensive and inflammatory behavior.
A culinary school in Denmark was found liable for violating a Muslim student’s rights after forcing her to eat pork.
The student, whose has not been identified, was told by school officiasl that she would have to eat the food she cooked like her other classmates, the Danish newspaper Politiken reported.
Pork is considered to be a forbidden food, or “haram”, in the Islamic tradition and practitioners of the religion abstain from consuming the animal.
The student claimed during the case that she was the victim of discrimination based on religious grounds. The complaint against the school was originally filed with the Equal Treatment Board.
The native born Libyan student, who was taken to Denmark when she was still a baby, had been attending the Holstebro Culinary School when the incident occurred.
The student’s refusal to eat dishes containing pork prompted officials to insist that she at least taste the food the class had prepared.
Would they do the same thing to a Jewish student or a vegetarian? I know observant Jews who have attended culinary school and although they were required to prepare non-kosher dishes as part of the course material they were never ordered to eat it.
Do not read the comments at JPost. Do. Not. Read. The. Comments.
Here’s an interesting story Curious Lurker recently alerted me to via twitter.
Its a story by Dominic Casciani about the battle between mainstream Islamic clerics and ISIS. (Off course we all know the anti Muslim bigots in the “counter Jihad” will accuse the anti terrorist clerics of lying, cause their Muslims.)
In one corner, there’s the religious establishment of a global faith - complete with 1,400 years of collected learning. In the other, there is the self-styled Islamic State (IS) and its daily dose of propaganda videos flooding the internet. Have traditional clerics got what it takes to be heard in this digital culture war?
Even if every Muslim scholar in the world constantly tweeted against IS, young Muslims on social media could simply turn their backs and carry on reading IS’s output. But Jordan’s e-Muftis are among those beginning, slowly, to put up a fight online.
Earlier this year, IS posted a video showing its fighters burning alive Jordanian air force pilot Muad al-Kasasbeh, in revenge for the country’s role in international air strikes.
More: Je Suis Pamela Geller?
The self-styled ‘anti-jihadist’ Web warrior who organized Sunday’s Draw Muhammad event is an embarrassment. But that doesn’t diminish her right to free speech.
Since Pamela Geller likes to fashion herself a heroine of the Jewish people, let me use a Yiddish word to describe her: shanda.
Shanda means “shame,” and it’s usually used to describe a person or behavior that shames or embarrasses the Jewish community. It is hard to think of an American Jewish public figure of more ill repute than Geller, the self-styled “anti-jihadist” web warrior who hosted the Draw Muhammad event that came under attack Sunday in Garland, Texas.
From her luxury apartment in Manhattan, Geller has been single-handedly waging a crusade against global Islamic fundamentalism, which, in her considered view, is Islam itself. Like extremists of all stripes—including Sunday’s featured speaker, populist Dutch politician Geert Wilders, who has advocated banning the Quran—Geller lacks nuance, seeing the world in black and white. The “only moderate Muslim is a secular Muslim,” this reputed scholar of religion told The New York Times in 2009 after coming to prominence as a leader in the anti-Ground Zero mosque movement. When Muslims “pray five times a day…they’re cursing Christians and Jews five times a day,” she asserted.
If Geller embraced an element of camp, like that other right-wing female firebrand, Ann Coulter, she might be mildly amusing. Early in Geller’s Internet career, she produced an amateurish music video called “My Shariah,” with original lyrics refashioned to the tune of The Knack’s “My Sharona.” Now sadly erased from the web, it hinted at someone who at least had a sense of humor.
But Geller isn’t performance art. She’s deadly serious. The problem is that, contrary to her self-imaginings and those of her deluded followers, she isn’t a latter-day Golda Meir. She’s what you would get if Fran Drescher and the late ultranationalist anti-Arab rabbi-turned-political leader Meir Kahane reproduced.
For those of us who genuinely want to combat extremism and promote liberalism in the Muslim world, Geller is a uniquely toxic presence in the public discourse. She makes it easy for Islamist apologists to avoid debate, as they can always point to Geller and her outrageous behavior for ready examples of how pervasive “Islamophobia” has become in American society.
Interesting, thoughtful article. As always, avoid the comments.
This is strange. Why are conservatives more hostile to Muslims and Islam today than they were in the terrifying aftermath of 9/11? And why have American Muslims, who in 2000 mostly voted Republican, apparently replaced gays and feminists as the right’s chief culture-war foe?
Muslims have become the right’s greatest cultural enemy in large part because they are what remains after the ideological collapse of the “war on terror.”
For half a century, cultural conservatives have vowed to protect America against threats from domestic insurgencies: black militancy, feminism, the gay-rights movement. But those insurgencies involved large and restive groups. Muslims, by contrast, make up only 1 percent of the U.S. population. And they are not restive. Yes, a tiny share sympathizes with Salafi groups like the Islamic State, or ISIS. But unlike the civil-rights, abortion-rights, and gay-rights activists of eras past, American Muslims are not seeking to transform American culture and law. They are not marching in the streets. For the most part, they constitute a small, well-educated, culturally conservative minority that wants little more from the government than to be left alone.
Muslims have become the right’s greatest cultural enemy in large part because they are what remains after the ideological collapse of the “war on terror.” After September 11, George W. Bush outlined an epic, generational struggle—a successor to World War II and the Cold War—to make the Middle East democratic and pro-American. “In our grief and anger,” he told a joint session of Congress nine days after the attacks, “we have found our mission and our moment.”
For a time, that mission directed the right’s energies outward. Most conservatives (along with many liberals) supported Bush’s efforts to occupy and transform Afghanistan and Iraq. Undergirding these efforts lay a deep confidence in the power of American arms, the size of America’s bank account, and the universal relevance of American democracy. […]