‘Let’s be honest here. Islam has a problem.”
Those are key sentences in an incredibly hard-hitting speech that Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal will give in London on Monday. It is the toughest speech I have read on the whole issue of Islamic radicalism and its destructive, murdering, barbarous ways which are upsetting the entire world.
Jindal says, “Muslim leaders must make clear that anyone who commits acts of terror in the name of Islam is in fact not practicing Islam at all. If they refuse to say this, then they are condoning these acts of barbarism. There is no middle ground.”
Then he adds, specifically, “Muslim leaders need to condemn anyone who commits these acts of violence and clearly state that these people are evil and are enemies of Islam. It’s not enough to simply condemn violence, they must stand up and loudly proclaim that these people are not martyrs who will receive a reward in the afterlife, and rather they are murderers who are going to hell. If they refuse to do that, then they’re part of the problem. There is no middle ground here.”
And by the way, what Bobby Jindal is saying is very similar to what Egyptian president al-Sisi said earlier in the year to a group of Muslim imams.
Said al-Sisi, “It’s inconceivable that the thinking we hold most sacred should cause the entire umma [Islamic world] to be a source of anxiety, danger, killing and destruction for the rest of the world.”
He then asks, “How is it possible that 1.6 billion Muslims should want to kill the rest of the world’s inhabitants — that is 7 billion — so that they themselves may live?” He concludes, if this is not changed, “it may eventually lead to the religion’s self destruction.”
That’s President al-Sisi of Egypt, which I believe has the largest Muslim population in the world.
And what Jindal and al-Sisi are saying is not so different from the thinking of French intellectual Bernard-Henri Lévy. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, he calls the Charlie Hebdo murders “the Churchillian moment of France’s Fifth Republic.” He essentially says France and the world must slam “the useful idiots of a radical Islam immersed in the sociology of poverty and frustration.” He adds, “Those whose faith is Islam must proclaim very loudly, very often, and in great numbers their rejection of this corrupt and abject form of theocratic passion. . . . Islam must be freed from radical Islam.”
So three very different people — a young southern governor who may run for president, the political leader of the largest Muslim population in the world, and a prominent Western European intellectual — are saying that most of the problem and most of the solution rests with the people of the Islamic religion themselves. If they fail to take action, the radicals will swallow up the whole religion and cause the destruction of the entire Middle East and possibly large swaths of the rest of the world.
Lévy called this a Churchillian moment. And London mayor Boris Johnson argues in his book The Churchill Factor that Winston Churchill was the most important 20th century figure because his bravery in 1940 stopped the triumph of totalitarianism. So today’s battle with the Islamic radicals is akin to the Cold War battle of freedom vs. totalitarianism.
But returning to Governor Jindal, the U.S. is not helpless. Jindal argues that America must restore its proper leadership role in international affairs. (Of course, Obama has taken us in the opposite direction, and won’t even use the phrase “Islamic radicals.”) And Jindal invokes Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher by saying, “The tried and true prescription must be employed again: a strong economy, a strong military, and leaders willing and able to assert moral, economic, and military leadership in the cause of freedom.”
Reagan always argued that weakness at home leads to weakness abroad. A strong growing economy provides the resources for military and national security. Right now we’re uncomfortably close to having neither.
This is the great challenge of our time. In the early years of the 21st century, it appears the great goal of our age is the defeat of radical Islam.
Jindal gets it.