Shared by Tahir Mahmood

I’ve never been a fan of global conferences to solve problems, but when I read that the Obama administration is organizing a Summit on Countering Violent Extremism for Feb. 18, in response to the Paris killings, I had a visceral reaction: Is there a box on my tax returns that I can check so my tax dollars won’t go to pay for this?

When you don’t call things by their real name, you always get in trouble. And this administration, so fearful of being accused of Islamophobia, is refusing to make any link to radical Islam from the recent explosions of violence against civilians (most of them Muslims) by Boko Haram in Nigeria, by the Taliban in Pakistan, by Al Qaeda in Paris and by jihadists in Yemen and Iraq. We’ve entered the theater of the absurd.

Last week the conservative columnist Rich Lowry wrote an essay in Politico Magazine that contained quotes from White House spokesman Josh Earnest that I could not believe. I was sure they were made up. But I checked the transcript: 100 percent correct. I can’t say it better than Lowry did:

“The administration has lapsed into unselfconscious ridiculousness. Asked why the administration won’t say [after the Paris attacks] we are at war with radical Islam, Earnest on Tuesday explained the administration’s first concern ‘is accuracy. We want to describe exactly what happened. These are individuals who carried out an act of terrorism, and they later tried to justify that act of terrorism by invoking the religion of Islam and their own deviant view of it.’

This makes it sound as if the Charlie Hebdo terrorists set out to commit a random act of violent extremism and only subsequently, when they realized that they needed some justification, did they reach for Islam.


One thought on “SAY IT AS IT IS

  1. Comment By F. Sheikh

    Thomas Friedman usually writes well, but this is a self serving article by Mr. Friedman. The radical Islam played its part, but one could also see fingerprints of France’s culpability in creating an environment where such radicalism can easily take root. There is plenty of discussion in media on this culpability. It is no accident that two days ago Mr. Valls, Prime Minister of France said following while reflecting on the Paris Terrorist attack.

    “A territorial, social, ethnic apartheid has spread across our country,” he said

    “He cited “daily discrimination” against those who do not “have the right family name or the right skin color, or because the person is a woman.”

    He said that he was not looking to make excuses for those who threaten French society, but that “we must look at our country’s reality.”

    Mr. Valls also cited a “collective fear” created by the weak economy and lack of jobs, especially for youths, that was aggravating the divide.

    “These last few days have emphasized many of the evils which have undermined our country from within, or challenges we have to face,” he said. “To that, we must add all the divisions, the tensions that have been brewing for too long and that we mention sporadically”

    There is one notable change this time. Since 9/11 for any terrorist attack in the West, there was always chorus of high pitch voices demanding apology from Muslims with no ifs, or buts. This time there are few such voices, and there are significant loud voices blaming West for their part in fueling this fire of radical Islam and making matters worse by Iraq and Afghanistan war, Abu Gharib and Guantanamo, drone strikes and torture chambers, discrimination and anti-Muslim venom on air all the time.

    Karim Miske said in “ Le Monde” on 3/31/11

    “In 1944, Jean-Paul Sartre argued that ‘It is the anti-Semite who makes the Jew’; in 2011, we might say that ‘It is the Islamophobe who makes the Muslim”

    In the West, just condemning radical Islam is not going to resolve the problem. The Western leaders has to involve the Muslim leadership to find a common solution and both work hard to implement it. Unilateral decision by the Western leaders enforced from top down is not going to work.

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