A Cautious Man
March 06, 2009
 
The Coming Conservative "Holy War"
Okay, so maybe the title is a little too harsh or strong. However, there does seem to be a pronounced anti-Islam "undercurrent", if you will, in conservative political circles. It's more than just opposing terrorists, and seems more along the lines of promoting fear of anything which, or anybody who, is Muslim. I could be wrong, but there are just so many signs of this out there.

For example, Rick Santorum (the former Senator) seems to have made this issue the one he will use to keep in the public eye. His speech at the recent CPAC conference was noted by many for his out-of-context use of Attorney General Holder's remarks on race (see, for example, "At CPAC Fox News' Santorum says AG Holder 'confirm[ed]' to bin Laden that 'effeminate and pampered Americans will cower away' "). But, prior to getting to that point in his speech, he launches on a tirade giving dire warnings about "creeping Sharia" and "Islamicization".



The text (from the website of his "thinktank") -

I've heard several metaphors up here that we have two wings of the party, the economic conservatives and the social conservatives. I would just say that the three-legged stool makes more sense to me. Because there are people in America who are 9/11 conservatives - who are people that see the threats that are out there and before us and a threat that is not going to go away anytime soon. Who vote for us because we are the adults. We do look squarely in the eyes of the enemy and see it for what it is and are willing to step forward and commit, as George Bush did, troops to fight this great threat to American civilization. I would say to economic conservatives that creeping Sharia - I know David Horowitz had Geert Wilders here last night to talk - and that creeping Sharia throughout Europe and here in this country and in Canada, the "Islamicization" of Europe that is already underway, and it will visit this shore none too soon is a concern for us and something we need to identify and we need to talk about and we need to fight with every ounce of our being.

There are all sorts of other threats but let me just focus on one more and that is Iran. Iran last week announced they now have enough material to make a nuclear weapon. These are people who believe, this is a leader, a president, who every speech he gives leaves an empty chair. Who's the empty chair for? The Twelfth Imam. Well, who's the Twelfth Imam? Well, he's the man who is going to come back at the end of times to lead them in victory over the world. And he leaves a chair for him. Why? Because he's coming soon. And these people want a nuclear weapon. And we don't even talk about it as a party. We don't even talk about it as a country.

The whole "empty chair for the Twelfth Imam" thing appears to have come from some Dick Cheney interview a few years ago, near as I can tell.

Mr. Santorum refers to a talk given at CPAC by Geert Wilders. Who is that? He has found a way to gain fame (or notoriety) by peddling a short, anti-Islam film called "Fitna". Basically, he takes less than a half dozen verses of the Koran, juxtaposes them with pictures depicting terrorism and hatred, and reaches the conclusion that the Koran should be banned and Muslims kept out of Europe. Some of his own words, from an interview last year -

SPIEGEL: You invoke the right to freedom of opinion but you demand a prohibition of the Koran. Does that not contravene the principle of religious tolerance?

Wilders: For me, Islam is a vision of a society that defines all forms of interpersonal behavior -- from inheritance to criminal law. This ideology endangers our values. I hate it, I don't hate Muslims.

SPIEGEL: Is the comparison between the Koran and Hitler's "Mein Kampf" not totally inappropriate? In making it, you're providing the imams with a perfect image of the enemy.

Wilders: I want to provoke a discussion. Certain Koranic verses have moved their followers to commit the most abhorrent acts. Where is the imam who stands up in the Netherlands and says, for us, homosexuals are entitled to equal rights and everyone has the right to abandon their faith.

SPIEGEL: Your tirades are a challenge to all moderate Muslims and those pushing for Islamic reform.

Wilders: Moderate Islam? That's a contradiction. It's going to be a long time before we see a new Koran, an equivalent to the New Testament. Attacks don't happen in the name of Buddhism or Christianity; nor do homosexuals get beaten up, as happens daily in Amsterdam.

SPIEGEL: But immigrant youth crime has nothing to do with religion.

Wilders: It's true, they don't carry the Koran under their arms. But it's at home. And their fathers go to the mosque. They don't tell their children that beating women or believers of other religions is not allowed. That's why we have to push harder for a kind of Leitkultur, a guiding culture. Not a monoculture but a culture that draws on our Christian, Jewish, humanistic traditions and that poses a challenge to the Islamic problem. This is patriotism, not nationalism, this is pride in our own culture.

His technique is familiar to anyone who has heard or read a Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris take some Bible verses out of context, and then declaim that Christianity is flawed. Yet, folks like Mr. Santorum happily endorse this guy, and either fail to recognize this or (just as likely) support his narrow-minded attacks.

By the way, the CPAC conference was not the only place where Mr. Geert's and his views were entertained recently:

US lawmaker hosts anti-Islamic Dutch lawmaker
By Associated Press | Monday, February 23, 2009

Republican Sen. Jon Kyl is hosting a film screening at the Capitol building on Thursday for a far-right Dutch lawmaker who claims that Islam inspires terrorism.

Kyl is sponsoring the event for Geert Wilders, who was denied entry to London earlier this month because British authorities said he posed a threat to public order.

Wilders’ 15-minute film juxtaposes verses from the Quran with images of violence by Muslims. Wilders has called the Quran a "fascist book" and said it should be banned.

I think this is a strategy of hate, being stirred up by some political conservatives, as they look for issues to grab onto. Santorum himself said that, in addition to economic conservatives, and social issue conservatives, they need the support of people they can scare into hating, to join them.

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