That was President George W. Bush’s explanation for the 9/11 attacks. He even specified “our freedom of religion.” And a new study by professors at Duke’s Sanford School of Public Policy and the University of North Carolina suggests President Bush was correct.
Just not the way he intended. (More)
The study – titled Anti-Terror Lessons of Muslim-Americans – found that the best defense against radical Islam in the U.S. is …
… more mosques. Specifically, the study found that despite increased anti-Muslim bias since 9/11, very few Muslim-Americans have been radicalized. Muslim-American leaders have denounced violence both publicly and privately, and Muslim-Americans are alert for and oppose radicalism in their community:
Muslim-Americans have adopted numerous internal self-policing practices [such as] confronting individuals who express radical ideology or support for terrorism, preventing extremist ideologues from preaching in mosques, communicating concerns about radical individuals to law enforcement officials, and purging radical extremists from membership in local mosques. Muslim-Americans have also adopted programs for youth to help identify individuals who react inappropriately to controversial issues so they can be counseled and educated.
In short, when Muslim-Americans share in the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause, they work to protect themselves and our nation from radical Islam. So of course Newt Gingrich joined other Tea Party Republicans who want to cast aside the First Amendment for Muslims, calling them and their supporters “hostile to our civilization.”
Can we spell SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY? Why yes, I believe we can.
If we deny Muslim-Americans constitutional protection under the Free Exercise Clause, we shouldn’t be shocked when they decide the possessive pronoun in “our freedoms … our freedom of religion” means exactly that: our freedom, not theirs. Nor should we be shocked if they protest for their constitutional liberties. And if we ignore those protests …
… then Newt Gingrich and other Tea Party Republicans will be calling for even more surveillance, even more arrests and torture and internments without trial, calling them “hostile to our civilization” and saying “they hate our freedoms.”
It won’t be because of Muslim-Americans’ beliefs, but because too many Christian-Americans believe this is “our civilization” and the First Amendment protects only “our freedom of religion.”
Kick people often enough and eventually they kick back. I suppose if you own shares in Kick Them Back Harder, Inc., that’s a good deal. But it’s not such a good deal for the rest of us.
As H.L. Mencken said, “If you want peace, work for justice.” And if you want war….