When I first stumbled into the blogosphere early last year, I envisioned several possible roles for myself; defender of Islam wasn’t on the list. Yet I have been forced to do it before, and thanks to Congressman Virgil Goode, I must do so again. How did it ever come to this?
Anyhow, for anyone who has not heard yet, Congressman Goode has sent a de facto mass mailing to some of his constituents highlighting his restrictionist view on illegal immigration. For the record, I, too, am an illegal immigration restrictionist, but I am highly uncomfortable with his justification – namely the election of Muslim Democrat Keith Ellison, and Mr. Ellison’s insistence on taking his oath on the Koran rather than the Bible. Unless I miss my guess, Goode all but declares Islam incompatible with the American republic: “I fear that in the next century we will have many more Muslims in the United States if we do not adopt the strict immigration policies that I believe are necessary to preserve the values and beliefs traditional to the United States of America and to prevent our resources from being swamped” (via C-ville, emphasis added).
Now, I know next to nothing about Congressman-elect Ellison, except that he is a Minnesota Democrat not named Paul Wellstone (R.I.P.), which is bad enough me. However, Goode’s apparent assertion that Islam and the American republic cannot mix is flat out wrong. I know many Americans, including Virginians, have managed to convince themselves that Islam is an inherently tyrannical and violent faith – an understandable mistake given the violent and tyrannical folks who use Islam as a cover for their ambitions and bloodlust. However, it is still a mistake that could very well cost us in Afghanistan, Iraq, and throughout the Muslim world.
The fact is, our enemies in these places (and Iran, Syria, and Lebanon) do not represent Islam; they have perverted it. The ideology that drives al Qaeda, for example, is not “traditional Islam,” it is Wahhabism, a radical Saudi offshoot of the faith that is less than three centuries old. Likewise, the Shia who rule over Iran and Syria with an iron fist while killing Israelis, Lebanese, and Iraqis are either eccentrics shunned by regular believers (the Allawite Shia who control Syria) or radicals who reign based on an interpretation of the faith that is less than a century old (Khomeinism, in Iran). Meanwhile, the Muslims who have in fact developed Islam into a spiritual faith that is both tolerant of others and comfortable in modern society (known as Sufi Muslims – a spiritual path that bridged the Sunni-Shia divide and is over a thousand years old), is shunted to the side by all of these terrorists, because none of them want the world to see Islam can in fact be a peaceful faith.
If this sounds personal to me, that’s because it is. I have befriended many Uighur Muslims, whose people hail from East Turkestan. This is a central Asian nation rich in history and culture, but few know of its existence because it was occupied by Communist China in 1949. Of course, the Communists insist any Muslim (Uighur or otherwise) who opposes the Party is a “terrorist” – notwithstanding the fact that the Communists themselves are the most prolific supporters Islamo-fascist terrorism on the planet.
More to the point, what are we saying to the Iraqi, anti-Assad Lebanese, and Afghan Muslims who have risked life and limb to stand with us against the terrorists who pervert their faith? Or to the Iranians who bravely spoke truth to power when madman Mahmoud paid them a visit earlier this month?
What would Virgil Goode say to them?