The failure to criticize the enemy’s ideology, Islam, is not only pervasive on the multi-cultural Left but is also widespread on the conservative Right. Both show utmost respect for this backwards religion 1 while its most devout believers commit attack after gruesome attack in reaffirmation of their faith. Our commentators, conservatives among them, attribute these attacks to a “terrorist” group that we have decided do not represent the religion! President Bush,2 in particular, has gone out of his way to praise the religion. Although a minority of conservatives cautioned the President against his blind embrace of this bellicose religion,3 those with influence have encouraged his outreach. He has shamefully embraced “moderate” Muslims,4 later shown to have terrorist leanings or actual terrorist ties. His continual praise – vacuous, syrupy and downright silly – is all the more ludicrous when you realize that he is referring to what at the core is an incorrigible warrior religion. Why is it so hard for conservatives to attack the Islamic ideology as they attacked and vilified the communist ideology?
Can conservatives face the threat of Islam? So far the record is unsatisfactory. At first the Shiite theocracy in Iran was dismissed as an enthusiasm that differed from the more sedate Sunni mainstream – such as our Saudi “friends”. However, the atrocity of 9/11, perpetrated by devout Sunni Muslims from Saudi Arabia, refuted all previous theories about Islam.11 Muslims through out the world cheered 9/11; a fact that is difficult for conservatives (and others) to face. It is even harder to come to grips with religion’s central role in that event. The Islamic religion, its history and doctrines, all point to a disturbing fact that conservatives evade. If during the Cold War, many social democrats found it difficult to keep the full horror of Communism in mind, today conservatives can’t believe the full horror of today’s enemy – a religious enemy.