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Engaging Islam


When it comes to radical Islam, Europe and the United States have mastered the art of repeating mistakes. 

  • Immediately before the Islamic Revolution in Iran, France sheltered Ayatollah Khomeini and gave him a platform to talk about peace and justice with the Western media.  France’s reward was getting their peacekeepers blown up in Beirut and Iranian dissidents assassinated in Paris.
  • The West embraced Iranian President Muhammad Khatami’s “Dialogue of civilizations.”  Khatami showed his sincerity when, on October 24, 2000, he told an Iranian television audience, “In the Qur’an, God commanded to kill the wicked and those who do not see the rights of the oppressed… If we abide by human laws, we should mobilize the whole Islamic World for a sharp confrontation with the Zionist regime… If we abide by the Qur’an, all of use should mobilize to kill.”  The West engaged him.
  • Germany decided to engage Iran in the early 1990s.  Iran responded several months later by assassinating dissidents at the Mykonos café.
  • British engagement of radical Islam has backfired repeatedly.  And don’t forget the pseudo-official outreach by former CIA and MI-6 officials to Hezbollah and Hamas.
  • Academic and media elites rally around Muslim Brotherhood heir Tariq Ramadan, but remain silent when the State Department bans Issam Abu Issa, the secular liberal man who blew the whistle on Palestinian Authority corruption—at the Palestinian Authority’s request.
  • Both the White House and law enforcement legitimize radical self-described “civil rights” groups like CAIR, often at the expense of moderate groups less prone to appear to apologize for terror.
Not all Muslim groups ascribe to a radical, politicized agenda.  Unfortunately, the press tends to view as legitimate only Islamists and give little time of day to those groups embracing and defending Western liberalism against Islamism, for example, the American Islamic Congress.  From their statement of purpose: “Within the Muslim community, we are building a coalition around the agenda of unequivocal denunciation of terrorism, extremism, and hate speech. Reaching out to all people of conscience, we promote genuine interfaith dialogue and educate about the diversity within Islam.”  In their case, it’s not empty words.


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