America's obsession with political correctness is undermining our security and our Constitution. So argues newly initiated American citizen Ayaan Hirsi Ali in an article suggesting that the United States do more to screen out "political Islamists" from its pool of aspiring citizens.
Famous for her controversial book, Infidel, Ms. Ali knows better than most the potent influence that political Islam wields. Raised in a Muslim home and living in several Muslim dominated countries, she experienced the outworking of Islamic thought in her own life and found its subjugation of women to be intolerable. When she and her friend, Dutch filmmaker Theodore Van Gogh, produced a film detailing the exploitation of women under Islam, they experienced the backlash firsthand. Van Gogh was murdered by Muslim avengers for daring to criticize Islam and Ali was forced into hiding to avoid the same fate.
The kind of radicalism on display in the murder of Van Gogh, the hacking to death of a British soldier last week in London, the Fort Hood massacre, the 9/11 terror attacks, the Boston bombing and similar terror attacks are the outworking of what Ali refers to as "political" Islam. Different from a purely spiritual interpretation of the Prophet's teachings (which was, for a time, the more common expression of Islam in the Middle East), political Islam "prescribes a set of specific social, economic and legal practices in a way that is very different from the more general social teachings (such as calls to practice charity or strive for justice) found in the spiritual dimension of Islam, Christianity, Judaism and other world religions."
For this reason, Ali concludes, political Islam is fundamentally incompatible with liberal democracy and the kind of pluralistic society that flows from it. America is a land that cherishes equality and freedom and provides a legally protected sphere for these things. So long as the rule of law is observed and no harm is done to their neighbor, Americans have a great deal of latitude in how they live their lives and what they believe. They are free to worship God or not. They are free to live lives of moral purity, or to engage in what some would call sin and licentiousness. Women can choose to remain in the home, or they can pursue a career. The list goes on and on.
Of course, everyone has his or her own ideas about what constitutes the "right way" to live. Many devote their time to speaking and writing publicly about which values best foster a free and just society. I happen to believe that the morals and ethics that emanate from the Judeo-Christian tradition serve liberty and justice better than those that are derived from other faith traditions. Heaven knows, however, there are many who disagree. The great thing about living in America is, we can disagree vehemently about these things without having to fear that our ideological detractors will kill us.
Back to Ali and her point about political Islam. The young brothers who plotted the Boston marathon attack are perfect examples of why a person who embraces their brand of political Islam ought not to be embraced by America. These immigrant brothers had completed, or were on the track to complete, the naturalization process. In the meantime, they benefited from the best America had to offer, but because of their adherence to political Islam they spurned Lady Liberty's gift of freedom in favor of the violence and hatred of jihad.
This growing phenomenon is no trivial matter, and it's time for the American government and its people to wake up and to take meaningful action to protect our country from political Islam and its devotees. Ali explains why:
"It is reasonable to ask yourself: How many more young men like Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev are already living a double life in America, ready to take up arms for the cause of political Islam? And how many more will be naturalized this year? None? That seems pretty unlikely.
In a 2011 Pew survey, 1% of American Muslims said that suicide bombings were "often justified"-a tiny proportion, to be sure. The overwhelming majority of American Muslims want to lead peaceful lives. But 7% of those surveyed said that suicide bombers were "sometimes justified," and 5% said they were "rarely justified." Taking Pew's conservative estimate that Muslims now constitute 0.6% of the adult population of the U.S., this means that more than 180,000 American Muslims regard suicide bombings as being justified in some way.
Still more worrisome, a 2007 survey by Pew revealed that Muslim Americans under the age of 30 are twice as likely as older Muslims to believe that suicide bombings in defense of Islam can be justified. The same survey revealed that 7% of American Muslims between the ages of 18 and 29 had a "favorable" view of al Qaeda.
To repeat: The proportion may be small, but the number of Americans committed to political Islam and willing to contemplate violence to advance it is surely not trivial. And rising immigration from the Muslim world is likely to increase the proportion of Americans sympathetic to political Islam."
Ms. Ali, an American citizen for less than half a year, understands what so many Americans increasingly fail to appreciate: The conferral of American citizenship on those who are not born here is not a right, it is an ENORMOUS privilege. Screening would-be citizens for beliefs that are antithetical to the American Constitution and democratic way of life is not immoral, or racist, or xenophobic; it is the responsible thing to do. As Americans, our foremost obligation is to the Constitution and the citizens it protects, not to radicals who feign allegiance even as they plan to undermine this country and all it represents.
Hirsi Ali's article is sure to provoke angst and consternation among liberals who embrace notions of moral and religious relativism, but for those who want to keep Americans safe from the Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's of the world, we would do well to give her ideas thoughtful consideration. That is, of course, if our government isn't too busy investigating the nefarious motives of the Tea Party and branding anyone who dares cast a critical eye at the Obama Administration as a potential enemy of the state.