Americans have had our fill.
We look around us and we see our country unrivaled by anything in the history of human tolerance. We see thousands of thriving mosques, permitted to operate freely even though we know for a fact that mosques have been used against us, repeatedly, to urge terrorism, recruit terrorists, raise money for terrorists, store and transfer firearms, and inflame Muslims against America and the West. As Islamists rage against us, we see Islam celebrated in official Washington. As we reach out for the umpty-umpth time, we find Muslim leaders taking what we offer, but always with complaint and never with reciprocation. We're weary, and we don't really care if that means that Time magazine, Michael Bloomberg, Katie Couric, Fareed Zakaria, and the rest think we're bad people -- they think we're bad people, anyway.
So finally we're asking: Where is this "moderate Islam" you've been telling us about? Why would a self-proclaimed bridge-builder insist on something so patently provocative and divisive? How can we be sure that if imam Rauf builds his monument on our graveyard, it won't become what other purportedly "moderate" Islamic centers have become: a cauldron of anti-American vitriol?
It turns out that there are no satisfactory answers. When finally pressed on the taxonomy of moderate Islam, the best our elites can do -- besides shouting "Islamophobia!" -- is debate whether there ever was a "golden age" of Islamic tolerance. They have to confess that the Islamists -- whom they'd like us to see as a handful of "extremists" but who are in truth a mass movement -- are in the ascendancy. It is embarrassingly obvious that while some of us have been working to defeat Islamism in our midst, our elites are of the incorrigibly progressive mindset that counsels accommodating them -- in the delusion that they will be appeased rather than encouraged to become more aggressive. That is precisely the mindset that makes an Islamist think: Maybe now is the time for a $100 million mosque at Ground Zero.
"Moderate Islam" is a dream, not a reality. It is a dream with potential, because there are millions of Muslims who are moderate people, and because there are dedicated Muslims working to transform their faith into something that is institutionally moderate. But they work against great odds. They confront Islamists whose dedication to theocratic principles is deeply and undeniably rooted in Islamic scripture. And they confront American opinion elites who, wittingly or not, serve as the lifeline of the Islamists.
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Andrew McCarthy on "Moderate Islam"