Reality checks abroad
Date: Sunday, April 12, 2009 @ 23:29:36 EDT
Topic: Cognation

Obama initiatives confront unpleasant facts

Frank J. Gaffney Jr.

Two images last week contrasted sharply with President and Mrs. Obamas' otherwise adulatory treatment in Europe and Turkey.

The images show how out of touch with reality Team Obama is on two of the most important national security threats of our time: (1) the totalitarian theo-political-legal program authoritative Islam calls "Shariah" and (2) the proliferating danger of nuclear weapons and the ballistic missiles that will deliver them.

The first image was reportedly captured by a cell-phone camera in the Swat Valley of Pakistan's Northwest Territories. According to Saturday's New York Times, a two-minute video (a version of which is at YouTube) recorded the agony of a 17-year-old girl being flogged by a "Taliban commander."

The Times could not ascertain the exact "crime" that precipitated this brutal beating. One source said it could have been that the girl "stepped out of her house without being escorted by a male family member." Another said that "a local Taliban commander had falsely accused the teenager of violating Islamic law after she refused his marriage proposal."

The video is inconvenient as it provides a vivid insight into the repressive, totalitarian and misogynistic nature of Shariah at the very moment that President Obama has been aggressively promoting the idea that the Islamic world must be "respected."

To do so, he insists that non-Muslim Americans must use "respectful language" with regard to Islam and its followers. He went beyond words to demonstrate his submission to the King of Saudi Arabia by deeply bowing before him (something he did not do for the queen of England).

The trouble is that any criticism of Shariah and of those - including the Taliban - who practice it as authoritative Islam dictates is not simply seen as disrespectful. It amounts to blasphemy, a capital offense under Islamic law.

Among those promoting the application of Shariah blasphemy laws worldwide are: the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), a kind of international mafia enterprise made up of 57 Muslim-majority countries around the world; the so-called Alliance of Civilizations, which met in Turkey during Mr. Obama's visit there; and the United Nations Human Rights Council and General Assembly, which are - like the alliance - increasingly dominated by the OIC.

Non-Muslims' obligation to "respect" Islam is also high on the agenda of the seditious Muslim Brotherhood and scores of groups in the United States that operate as fronts for it. (Worryingly, some of the latter claim the Obama administration has expressed a desire to pursue the hiring of 45 Muslim Americans the brotherhood types have vetted for the purpose.)

The New York Times reports, however, that the video from the Swat Valley (perhaps it should be called the "Flog Valley" from now on) has precipitated an intense controversy in Pakistan. After all, this evidence of the Talibans' application of Shariah law is offending many Pakistanis who, like large numbers of Muslims around the world, do not practice their faith as Shariah prescribes and have no more interest in living under this barbaric code than do the rest of us. They are questioning the wisdom of their government's recent decision to surrender the valley to the Taliban and to agree to the latter's demand that it be allowed to impose Shariah in the region.

This development is of particular relevance as the Obama administration recasts its policy toward Afghanistan. Notwithstanding the beefing up of U.S. forces there, the United States in the person of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has signaled an openness toward accepting the sort of deal for the Afghans that the Pakistanis have now acquiesced to in the Swat Valley.

Moreover, on Monday in Turkey, President Obama went so far as to declare that "the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam. In fact, our partnership with the Muslim world is critical ... in rolling back a fringe ideology that people of all faiths reject." Unfortunately, the "fringe ideology" to which he refers is really Shariah. And those who endorse it include the recognized, "mainstream" institutions, traditions, scholars and texts of the faith - not just those like al Qaeda, the Taliban and the Muslim Brotherhood who engage in jihad, whether of the violent or stealthy kind, in the name of Shariah.

The second discordant image of the week was of a ballistic missile fired by North Korea over Japan and in the general direction of the United States. It comes as Mr. Obama was grandiosely declaring his commitment to rid the world of nuclear weapons and his administration was gutting the funds required to develop and deploy effective anti-missile defenses and scuppering the NATO-agreed plan for emplacing radars and interceptors in Poland and the Czech Republic. This reckless act of unrealism will be discussed at greater length in next week's column.

Suffice it to say for the moment that the two images of trouble ahead should be borne in mind even as they conflict with the dominant motif of the week: a president accorded the Euro-equivalent of Jesus' palm frond-graced entrance into Jerusalem. Let us pray the folly being perpetrated by the object of such misplaced veneration today will not bring his country great grief tomorrow.

Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is the president of the Center for Security Policy.


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