Leftists Defend Radical Islam — Conservatives Befriend Secular Muslims

rtr1j5cwOn April 11th, 2013, I participated in a public forum entitled “Islamists Rising in the Middle East: Where Next for America?”

The panel was held at the University of California at Davis, (UCD), as a free event for the community, organized by the student club of the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI).

As an alum of nearby UC Berkeley, I expected some interest in the program, having previously documented campus radicalism in California.

The panel included a leading scholar on the Middle East, Daniel Pipes, known for well-informed and well-traveled insights. His main theme for the evening was that radical Islam is the problem, and moderate Islam is the solution.

Joining Dr. Pipes and myself was Elan Journo, a thoughtful author on international affairs and ARI professional.

Our panel explored fundamentalist Islamic text, law, theory, and practice, the rise of the third Jihad, global Islamic violence and terrorism, the concept of abrogation (later Koranic verses replace earlier, more peaceful ones), martyrdom ideology, UN Bias against Israel, and how the Revolutionary Republic of Iran has long deceived the West about its nuclear proliferation program.

Interestingly, 4 days before the terror attacks in Boston, we also focused on Central Asian radicalism, including Chechen Islamists.

The audience was polite and offered sincere applause at several points. There was a spirit of calm, thoughtful learning, and the organizers and attendees are to be complimented for inviting, allowing, and participating in the event.  We did not hold back from castigating violent Islamist actions and Jihadist ideology.  One self-identified Muslim Student Association leader rose to challenge our views, but he offered not a single rebuttal to our fact-based presentation.

All good, right?  Except for the fact that on the day of the event, the California Aggie, the weekly student newspaper, published a letter to the UC Davis Chancellor condemning the “hate” speakers as “racist” and “Islamophobic.”

This pre-emptive, censorious, and libelous attack, by an organized group of campus students and faculty leftists, failed to prevent the event, but threats of disruption required campus police and security to be present, at taxpayer expense (the student group received no funding from the University for the program).

However, a week later, it was revealed in a letter to the editor at the Aggie that the UC Davis administration had been intimidated into responding to the students with its own letter full of careful language opposing “hate speech.”

Campus officials might do well to note and advise in the future that free speech implies no feelings protection for those who assert “offense” at speakers whose views they detest.  The truth may hurt, but that doesn’t make it hateful.

Unfortunately, the radical students had another trick up their sleeve. They proposed Senate Resolution 21, asserting concerns about the event and longstanding upset with author David Horowitz, and UC Santa Cruz teacher Tammi Rossman-Benjamin, frequent critics of abusive bullying of Jewish students on UC campuses.

This resolution follows similar student government resolutions passed at UC Berkeley and UC Santa Barbara condemning “hate speech.”

The bottom line is that there is a dedicated political strategy within radical Islam to smear critics of Jihadi violence as “discriminatory,” proclaim offense at “hate speech,” and label scholarship and teaching about human rights abuse and mass murder of Christians, for example, throughout Araby and the Middle East, as “Islamophobic.”

If I needed a further clarification of just how far left the campus environment has become, this was a fresh reminder.  But, what is interesting in my own case is that I truly do distinguish between radical Islamism and pro-West, peaceful Muslims who specifically and forcefully and repeatedly reject extremist, violent Islamism.

It is one thing for soft-hearted, utopian liberals to preach peace and to wax lovingly for all mankind.  They often have no background in military-security affairs, and no standing in the circles of patriotic defense of our country.  Mere sentiments by fools with a poor grasp of reality.

Of course, we know the hate-America crowd cheered the Boston Marathon massacre (that’s you, UN Rapporteur Richard Falk, and Palestinians on the streets), but they aren’t liberals; they are enemies of decency.

It is quite another path for conservatives to offer dialogue and connection to Muslim anti-Islamists.  We are rooted in hard-headed knowledge of, and advocacy against, such Islamo-fascist behavior as female genital mutilation and honor killings, and Sharia-based murder, beheadings, fatwas, incitement, and persecutions emanating from Madrassas, mosques, the Arab media, and radical Imams.

It is therefore constructive and credible for severe critics of violent Jihad to note and applaud Muslim critics of anti-Americanism, and of anti-Christianism and anti-Semitism as well.

On April 15th, 2013, the day of the Boston Islamic terrorist attacks, I was on a flight to the Republic of Turkey to participate in a media tour and build relationships with advocates of positive relations between Americans and moderate Muslims.

In a series of televised interviews and private meetings with business, political, and cultural leaders, I offered appreciation to Muslims who have repeatedly stood up against radical Islam, violence against the West, terrorism, and the kidnapping of the Koran by extreme voices.

Indeed, there are non-radical Muslim scholars and thinkers who have long denounced Jihadi terrorism and reject their violent interpretation of the Koran.

Turkey, a majority-Muslim nation of over 75 million citizens, is an American ally.  A member of NATO, Turkey hosts both Patriot Missile Defense against threats by the Assad regime in Syria, as well as Forward Based X-Band radars that couple with Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) batteries to help protect Europe, Israel, the U.S., and Turkish territory from Iranian ballistic missile threats.

Strategically located between Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe, Turkey has its hands full seeking resolution to its own decades-long terror problem in the form of the Marxist-Kurdish PKK, along with regional challenges in Cyprus/Greece, Armenia/Azerbaijan, and the Balkans.

Turkey must also deal with refugees from Syria, fallout from Iraqi sectarian violence, a powerful neighbor in Russia, and the aforementioned Iran.

Turkey is not perfect. The modern Turkish state is less than 100 years old, and has bounced between military rule and democratic progress.

Current Prime Minister Erdogan is credited with economic growth and stable politics, but has been dismissive of concerns about his treatment of his critics. His attitude towards Israel has been unfriendly, though the Turks are now at the table of reconciliation with Israel after a controversial Israeli apology for the Mavi Marmara deaths of a few years ago.

Historically, the Ottoman Empire, which lasted over 600 years, was unlike the bloodthirsty modern Arab wars against Israel and the West. Today, Turkey remains rooted in Kemalist secularism, though it now seeks passive, not aggressive, treatment of religionists (read: more religious schools and dress are allowed).

By most standards, though, Turks model modernity for the entire Muslim world.

Impressive Istanbul offers cultural riches, dynamic economic opportunity, a diverse private sector, and the famous, gracious hospitality of the Turkish people.

The Turks are confident, conspiratorial, and clever.  They are also respectful of religious minorities, and completely opposed to violent Islamists who have declared war against reason and humanity.

Traditions of flexibility and pragmatism, along with growing economic power, political maturity, and diplomatic sophistication have made the Republic of Turkey the key to building bridges between the East and West. Diplomats and investors alike are therefore grabbing onto Turkey’s rising regional star and hanging on for the ride.

This is all lost on un-informed student radicals at UC Davis, who have failed on all fronts.  They failed to take the opportunity to learn from a scholarly panel; they failed to stop the campus community from hearing some truthful free speech about radical Islam; and they are unaware of conservatives with bona fides in confronting the Jihad (Daniel Pearl was my boyhood pal) who engage with and applaud moderate Muslims who regularly speak out against both militant and politically hostile Islamism.

But, of course, radical Islamists and their leftist defenders actually have no interest in secularist Muslims, or the honorable goal of befriending and encouraging them in the battle for the future of both Islam and Western peace, freedom, and security.

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  • κατεργάζομαι

    Folks, America's Sleeper Cell is Barack Hussein Obama!

    ….America's sleep-ing cell is the lazy Government dependence, low-information, you-owe-me, deadbeat, KFC-Obama voter.

    • sam000

      Thx. you are RIGHT

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    The red/green alliance is at the forefront of this article's thesis, and herein lies its crux, as well as the main thesis/mission of my blog – http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/03/13/the-donning-o

    Its deadly effects are coming full circle.
    Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

  • Michael Copeland

    Thank you for your piece. Academia is such an important area, one which has been deliberately targeted by the Left and by Islam for a long time now, to evident effect.

    “…the kidnapping of the Koran by extreme voices” is an intriguing phrase. It seems to imply “hi-jacking” the Koran to justify “extreme” (read “violent”) actions. Yet the Koran is not Nice and Peaceful: it really does say, over and over again, “Kill the unbelievers wherever you find them” (9:5). It is “Kill” and not “Kiss”. As Ayatollah Yazdi, adviser to Ahmadinejad, says, “Violence is the heart of Islam”. Walid Shoebat asks of the West, “What part of ‘Kill’ don’t they understand?” He is an ex-terrorist, ex-muslim: he speaks with insider knowledge.

    “Moderate” Islam
    Daniel Pipes is cited with his theme that “radical Islam is the problem, and moderate Islam is the solution”. Yet Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Turkey, has protested that “These descriptions are very offensive. There is no moderate Islam and immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.” Christopher Logan of Logan’s Warning rightly points out that “Moderates-to-the-rescue” is a fantasy and a distraction. It has no track record of any accomplishment: it is an empty quest. Bosch Fawstin’s piece, Calling Islam “Islam” makes the point (Front Page, 26 Apr).

    “Turkey remains rooted in Kemalist secularism”. Erdogan is busy pulling up the roots.

    “…building bridges between the East and West” is a fine thought. Bear in mind, though, the Islamic understanding of the metaphor, by Sayeed Qutb, co-counder of the Muslim Brotherhood, that the traffic on the bridge is one-way-only, for the kuffar to come over and embrace Islam.

    • Cassandra

      I totally agree with you on this. I do not believe in moderate Islam.Islam is Islam. The Coran is the teacher. The moderate Muslims might not practice the violent parts of the Coran's teachings but they are often silent when Islamic terrorists bomb the world. I do not trust Muslims because of what they believe in;Islam.

    • kikorikid

      Yes Micheal!,
      "Building bridges" one-way-only , is entirely correct.
      The Quran and Qubt,in "Milestones" say exactly that.
      Thanks for bringing that reality to the fore.

  • Terry Gain

    Excellent comment Mr. Copeland. The term secular Muslim is moronic. A moderate Muslim is someone who is either practising taqiyya or doesn't know his irrational faith.

    • defcon 4

      A "moderate" muslime could be a muslime working towards the same ends as his more violent brethren (and tacitly or financially supporting him while he does) by different means. It's a question of tactics.

  • Chezwick

    LARRY: "Why do “progressives” give anti-Islamist Muslims short shrift?"

    RESPONSE: Because anti-Islamist Muslims are not grievance-mongers and they don't hate America.

    As for Mr Greenfield's infatuation with modern Turkey, is he not aware that all of Attaturk's secular reforms are being undone, that Jews and Christians are finding themselves increasingly persecuted, including physical assaults and even murders? If Turkey is his paradigm for what passes for progress in the Muslim world, then he's just completely undermined his own argument.

    • defcon 4

      For crissakes, the Istanbul Pogrom and the invasion of Cyprus happened while Turkey was allegedly "secular". For crissakes, church bells cannot be rung, nor the shofar sounded, but the daily call to prayer bleats out 5 times a day. Secular Turkey has been a BS concept for DECADES.

  • Larry Greenfield

    Since I was addressed directly, please allow a response:

    First, those commenting are correct: Radical Islamists find much in the Koran and Hadith to quote in justifying their violence. I know the verses well.

    I link in my article to Muslims who affirmatively stand against this. They too have an interpretation. They are not well known, and my service here is to give voice to Muslims who are anti-Islamist. One can dismiss their effectiveness, but not their existence.

    Islam is Islam for those who agree with Jihadist interpretations. Others do not, and they too can cite the Koran. Under the theory of abrogation, the harshest verses replace the nice ones. But, again, some Muslims reject fundamentalist interpretations and the concept of abrogation.

    Second, I just returned from Turkey, including visits with Christians and Jews (in istanbul). My criticisms of the Government aside, I did not find upset, panic, or concern about persecution in Turkey of religious minorities. The current scene in Turkey is immune to criticism on human rights — but daily life is quite normal for most Turks and the press reports paint a picture I did not find there.

    To dismiss the difference between Saudi Arabia, and many other parts of the Arab and Muslim world, and Turkey, where Western dress, music, and customs abound, is to miss the reality of modern Turkey.

    We agree we should be on watch regarding both: a) Secular Muslims (and they exist — like secular Jews and secular Christians) who do not follow Islamism, but instead choose friendship toward the West, not conflict with it; and b) Turkey, which also has been a Western and NATO ally.

    • Chezwick

      "To dismiss the difference between Saudi Arabia, and many other parts of the Arab and Muslim world, and Turkey, where Western dress, music, and customs abound, is to miss the reality of modern Turkey."

      I happen to believe that the "dress" and "customs" of modern Turkey more closely resemble Saudi Arabia than they do the West….and it becomes increasingly more so every year.

      Larry, Turkey is much more than Istanbul. Did you venture out into the provinces at all? If so, how many unveiled women did you come across there?

      • Larry Greenfield

        One further comment to the inquiry about Turkey: istanbul is not only the largest and most important city in Turkey, some 15 million people, but it produces thousands of hours of TV (Soap Opera type) shows, featuring modern, Western dress.

        Istanbul is therefore widely promoting modern mores to the Middle East. The idea that Turkey is some sort of Islamist / Sharia / Fundamentalist state is wrong. Whatever the dress code is in small villages, in Turkey (or in Amish Pennsylvania, or in Orthodox Jewish NY), the modern tone set by Turkey's example is injected into the broader Muslim world where these shows are very popular.

        The majority of the people are not into radical Islamism in Turkey, right now and their cultural and economic leverage is a bridge between East and West.

    • defcon 4

      Try publicly criticising Islam in Turkey, try publicly asserting that the Armenian Genocide is historical fact.

  • Larry Greenfield

    I meant to write: the current scene in Turkey is NOT immune to criticism on human rights.

  • sam000

    Mister Larry Greenfield;

    With Islamic Iran there, nowhere is immune, NOW, turkey is more vulnerable than before.

    The immunity of the world depends on the USA's behavior,

    When USA, appeases for more than 30 years the Mullahs of IRAN, even a dog in Muslim world becomes a threat for peace and security.

    Iran of the Mullahs emboldens the most aggressive feelings of the Islamist thugs.

    look at your BOSTON Bombers,

    As I said, Iran of the Mullahs is a bad example and nowhere is immune.

    This is the paradox,

    the scholars of the west do not understand this reality that, Islamism is a current with a generator, to stop it definitively, we should shot down and explode the generator for ever.

    This is our job, if the west leaded by USA leave us to do.

    Just this morning our Resistance camp was attacked by MORTARS by the Qods Forces, because we were disarmed by USA to not to overthrow the Mullahs regime.

    Carter payed 8 USD$B to the Mullahs for hostage taking;

    Reagan Colt and Cake and a Golden Koran to Khomeini for his bombing of the USA Campus of Beirut where 242 American servicemen were killed;

    Bush Father saved the regime at 1988,

    Clinton listed our Resistance terrorist,

    G.W. BUSH bombed our Resistance bases

    and OBAMA, is an DIVINE ANGEL for the Mullahs of Iran.

    No, very dear Larry Greenfield, find me a reason WHY THE THUGS SHOULD NOT practice their anti-human Rituals? !

  • Darlene Casella

    Another "needs to be told" article by larry Greenfield. The "open minded" liberals want to silence any thought with which they do not agree, and they use hate speech and false claims to that end.
    Sadly these young people have been so propagandized and under educated that they cannot see the hypocracy of their rants against diversity of opinion.

    Darlene Casella

  • Gloria Stewart

    I believe that Erdogan said (this is a paraphrase) that he would not mind joining the democracy train as long as the final stop was a shariah compliant state. The army in Turkey has always taken a solemn vow to keep the nation secular. Now the army has been emasculated. There is no bulwark against a move toward a fundamentalist nation. As for Israel's acceptance of responsibility for the Mavi Marmara, it is uncalled for and will come across as a sign of weakness not reconciliation. This is how Muslims think.

    As for "moderate' Muslims, there are a few explanations. Such a Muslim may be moderate because he has run out of ammunition; he may be practicing taqiyah; he may feel that now is not the time to execute homosexuals in the public square, or – and this is sad – he may live in a Western nation or have been exposed to Western thought, and it has lifted the terrible burden of Islam from his neck.

    I say sad because if he is looking to affect Islam he is 1400 years to late. Islam is not a Chinese menu. One does not get to select one from column A and two from column B.


    The word Jihad as religious war and as Muslims personal struggle in devotion to faith is cheating
    in fact if MUSLIMS want peace with other religions Jihad means war against other religions, for
    personal struggle the word is JAD WO JEHAD which they should use., but purposely they want to
    misguide non Muslims as it can be used as two edged sword.
    If really Muslims want peace they should remove the word Jihad from their vacabulary
    by using word Jihad they are challenging others to war
    If you contact me some more pertinent points which the people in western society fail to understand
    in exposing the reality of Islam I can write in a nutshell.

  • VLParker

    No matter how much one tries, you just can't get around the fact that Islam's prophet was a mass murderer and a child rapist. So how do moderate muslims reform the religion and still call it Islam? I think it is a Pipes dream. The so-called moderates have had almost 12 years since 9-11 to step up and do something. They've done nothing. The only time I see muslims protest en masse is when they protest "Islamophobia".
    If you're waiting for secular Islam to solve the problem, you're going to be waiting a long time.

  • defcon 4

    Is this article a defense of islam? Really?

    • Larry Greenfield

      Only to those who cannot read the article, since I was charged in a kangaroo court with being a racist Islamophobe. What you do is play in the comments section, but don't read the articles. Seems pretty clear I lecture against radical Islam publicly.


  • defcon 4

    In 2003, two synagogues were blown up simultaneously and 26 people killed. All the perps arrested were found to be muslimes. The "justice" meted out consisted of prison terms ranging from THREE TO SIX years. IOW, the muslime perpetrators are already free for committing an act of islamic terror that took the lives of 26 people and resulted in the total destruction of two synagogues. I'm not even sure that the Turkish government allowed the synagogues to be rebuilt because permits are needed to rebuild religious structures and for some reason it seems like non-islamic religious structures are discriminated against in this regard.

  • leigh

    I assume true Muslims follow the example of Muhammad as the "final "prophet ? According to the Koran he is the role model for all Muslims. So what did he exactly do and do violent Islamists copy Mohammad?. That is the both the question and the nub of the problem

  • Walter Sieruk

    Islam is not a race. Islam is a religious/ politlcal/ cultural system of tyranny that controls the minds and lives millions of people around the world. The wisdom of the words of Thomas Jefferson apply to this subject who stated "I have sworn uupon the alter of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of men."

  • erhan

    There is no moderate islam, it is just hiding it’s real face until it gets the power,then it will show its real face. Turkey was laik( a very secular country), and now west supported it to be an islamist country and supported islamists, west creates its future enemies.I hope humanity wins, not religions.

  • blackrook

    A fundamentalist Christian such as say a Jehovah’s Witness follows the written word or the Bible a Fundamentalist Moslem or so called radical does the same he follows the written word of the Koran. The Koran advocates violence and murder for the infidels the New Testament does not. A moderate Moslem is not following the Koran for one of the 5 pillars of Islam is Jihad, and Mohammed says that war is deception.Therefore a Moslem is permitted to decieve. Thou Shalt nopt bear false witness to your neighbor is not what to do when you enter the Celestial City but what you have to do to get there. Antone who thinks that God would send a prophet who engaged in Armed robbery, he raided the caravans crossing the desert, or who wants his critics murdered, or who married a girl 6 years old, who could not read of write, does not deserve to be called a person with intelligence.