Here is a plain, inarguable truth: A series of Muslim immigrants and “visitors” are responsible for killing more Americans on American soil than the combined militaries of Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany. Two more attacks over the weekend left 38 Americans wounded, and it appears that both were carried out by Muslim immigrants.
In Saint Cloud, Minn., Dahir Adan’s family identified him as the man who stabbed eight people in a mall before being shot and killed by an armed civilian, an off-duty police officer named Jason Falconer. Adan’s family said he was born in Kenya. In New York, police arrested an Aghan-American named Ahmad Khan Rahami after a shootout. He’s a “person of interest” in bombings in both New York and New Jersey that injured 29.
Yet when any politician or pundit suggests restrictions or even special scrutiny applied to Muslim immigrants — especially Muslim immigrants or visitors from jihadist conflict zones — entire sectors of the Left (and some on the right) recoil in shock and horror. Whenever there’s a terror attack, there’s an almost palpable desperation to determine that the attacker was not Muslim and the attack had “no connection” to international terror, in spite of the fact that it is now ISIS and al-Qaeda strategy to inspire lone wolves.
This isn’t invidious discrimination; it’s evidence-based policy-making. It’s not bigotry; it’s national defense.
The reality is different. The Muslim world has a severe problem with anti-Semitism, intolerance, and terrorism. As I’ve documented before, using data from Pew Foundation surveys, it’s plain that more than 100 million Muslims have expressed sympathy for terrorists such as Osama bin Laden or for barbaric jihadist groups such as ISIS. Hundreds of millions more express support for the most intolerant forms of sharia law. Telethons in Saudi Arabia have raised vast sums of money for terrorist causes, and jihadists have been able to recruit hundreds of thousands of fighters to deploy against Americans, Israelis, and our Muslim allies.
Given these facts, why is it bigoted to propose plainly constitutional ideological litmus tests? How is it bigoted to halt — absent compelling extenuating circumstances — immigration from jihadist conflict zones or jihadist-dominated regions? We have implemented ideological tests before, during the Cold War, when there was an active national-security threat. We should do so again.
However, as long as we’re facing facts, it’s also critical to remember that while the effective use of American military force and effective border controls can limit the jihadist threat, only Muslims can truly reduce the reach of jihadist ideology. American Christian rhetoric, secular religious arguments, and diversity-speak are largely irrelevant to the internal Muslim debate about the meaning and interpretation of the Koran and the various hadiths.
That makes it all the more important that we double down on our support for proven Muslim allies. The Kurds, for example, are perhaps our most stalwart allies (outside of Israel) in the entire Middle East. The current Egyptian regime is a declared enemy of the Muslim Brotherhood, and its president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has called for a “religious revolution” within Islam. If we don’t want extensive American ground forces engaged in permanent ground combat in the Middle East, we need local allies. It’s that simple.
And that means there are no easy answers. Politicians have to shed their illusions about the Muslim world and admit the sad fact that mass immigration from jihadist zones — even of refugees — carries with it profound risks. At the same time, entirely walling off the nation from Islam is neither feasible nor prudent. We must cultivate relationships with key allies under the principle of “no better friend, no worse enemy.”Genuine alliance with America should be the path to true international engagement and access to international markets. But access cannot be unconditional. We must close our borders completely to those who embrace Islamic fundamentalism. Those who come from a jihadist-dominated region must be forced to provide a record of their alliance and affiliation with American values and interests before they are allowed in.
This isn’t invidious discrimination; it’s evidence-based policy-making. It’s not bigotry; it’s national defense. When “diversity” brings death, it’s time to shed fairy-tale ideologies and recognize grim truth. The Muslim world has a problem. It’s time our nation responded accordingly.
— David French is an attorney, and a staff writer at National Review.