A former history teacher, Tom is a columnist who lives in Lovell, Maine. His column is published in Maine and New Hampshire newspapers and on numerous web sites. Email: email@example.com
- Name: Tom McLaughlin
Tuesday, December 08, 2015
“Why do radical Muslims want to kill us?”
For the last ten years of my teaching career, that was the essential question I wanted students to think about from day one in September. As the educational jargon goes: “Essential questions foster the kinds of inquiries, discussions, and reflections that help learners find meaning in their learning…” When my last principal required us all to write up every unit of instruction we used and title each with its essential question, that’s what I chose for unit one.
It’s also the question President Obama has been avoiding his entire two terms as commander-in-chief. I had good reasons for focusing on that question, and President Obama has his reasons for dodging it. I know what my reasons were. When I think of what President Obama’s reasons might be, it scares me. He’s our commander-in-chief. His primary responsibility is keeping America safe, but fewer Americans believe he knows how to do that — especially when he won’t even name our enemy.
My essential question assumed the obvious: radical Muslims wanted to kill us and were doing so by the thousands ever since 1979 when the Islamic Republic of Iran declared war on the United States in 1979. President Obama ignored our state of war when he authorized Secretary of State John Kerry to negotiate a nuclear arms treaty with one of our biggest enemies. We’re not at war with Islam, insists President Obama. So did his predecessor, President Bush, but Iran, the most powerful country in the Islamic world, has long been in open war against us.
Radical Muslims are those who live their lives in adherence to Quranic verses such as Quran (8:12) - “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them” and Quran (5:33) - “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified…” and more than a hundred others. It doesn’t matter whether they call themselves Shia, Sunni, Boko Haram, al Shabab, Hezbollah, al Qaida, ISIS, or whatever. They all pledge to make the world Muslim and kill or enslave anyone who resists.
It doesn’t matter whether they’re Africans, Asians, Europeans, or Americans either. They’re all seduced by fundamental Islamic theology. What do they all have in common? They’re Muslims. That’s the simple fact President Obama and every Democrat who wants to succeed him avoids with their ubiquitous “religion of peace” rhetoric. Another essential question is: when Obama was campaigning for reelection in 2012 claiming just before the Benghazi attack that al Qaida was “on the run,” was he a liar or a fool? When telling George Stephenopoulos the morning of the Paris attacks that ISIS was contained? Same question. When he told America a week before the San Bernardino massacre that “there was no specific or credible threat to America during the holiday season,”? Same question.
I began teaching about our state of war a few years after the Islamic Republic of Iran declared it in 1979. During the 1980s the war got little attention. It got more during the 1990s when suicide bombers were blowing themselves up in Israeli busses and restaurants. My job was to teach students what motivated them. They had to learn terms like: jihad, sharia, intifada, Quran, etc. After September 11, 2001 our war came front and center. After that my lessons began on the first day of school when our media was hyper-focused on observing anniversaries of the attack, year after year.
Our leaders describe most Muslims as moderates. In response, President Obama’s ally, Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan said: “These descriptions are very ugly, it is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.”
Many of my former students went into combat against radical Islam in its various forms, but it continues to grow. So does the myopia of our president who tells America that climate change is a much greater threat. According to the UK’s Financial Times President Obama said the recent slaughter of over a hundred Parisians was a “setback,” and the Paris climate change talks immediately following it were his “rebuke” to the terrorists.