The London Bridge Massacre, the Manchester Massacre, the Bataclan Massacre, the Boston Marathon Massacre: how long does the list have to be before Western authorities understand that only the most vigorous methods can stop the virulent metastasis of Islamist murder through Western cities? Governments exist to keep citizens safe in their streets and cities from foreign or domestic violence. Of late, they have emphatically not earned their wages. Here’s what they need to do right now to regain their legitimacy.
Start by naming the enemy, as Donald Trump and Theresa May finally have done, after eight years of Barack Obama’s dereliction of duty for refusing to utter the simple words, “Islamist terrorism.” As numerous pundits—notably Andrew C. McCarthy, successful prosecutor of the 1993 Islamist World Trade Center bombers—have explained, Islamism, a large subcategory of Islam, is not only a religion but also a political ideology that aims at world domination, so that treating it as if, like Christianity or Judaism, it preaches only individual salvation or virtue is mistaken at best, willfully blind at worst.
Islamists believe that sharia—Islamic law—overrides and cancels all earthly law. While some Islamists want to establish Allah’s reign by violent jihad, as in the recent atrocities, others want to expand its empire nonviolently but inexorably, by subsuming more and more matters under the jurisdiction of Islamic courts wherever Muslims dominate, as has happened in some localities in Britain. But of course Islam’s religio-juridical code is a far cry from our own nation’s belief about the Creator’s relation to government: that He has endowed us with inalienable rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of our individual happiness, however we choose to define it. Sharia courts dispense a medieval justice that makes women subservient to men, that kills homosexuals, and that doesn’t shrink from cutting off hands and heads. Britain’s sharia courts reportedly send abused wives back to their violent husbands, and sanction not only a man’s rape of his estranged wife but even “honor” killings in a variety of circumstances. Even the nonviolent version of Islamism is incompatible with our idea of the rule of law or of individual rights—which it scorns. As for the violent variety, in 2011, 8 percent of all American Muslims surveyed told Pew Research that suicide bombings are justified (compared with 26 percent of young American Muslims in 2006, 35 percent in Britain, and 42 percent in France).
So of the universe of foreigners who want to come to America, President Trump is entirely right to say that we should not admit those from Islamic-terror-sponsoring nations until we learn how to distinguish the Islamists from the non-Islamists, and it is a grave disservice to the nation that his unappeasable narcissism drives him to ridiculous social-media utterances that make him and his message a laughingstock that those on the other end of the ideological spectrum can dismiss with such effete disdain. We can’t take every would-be immigrant, and our selection criterion needs to be whether the potential entrant can—and wants to—assimilate to America’s culture of liberty and help make the nation richer and safer. It is no gift to us to make us more “diverse,” especially since America, unlike those nations that define themselves by blood and soil, rests solely on an idea—on a creed of liberty and self-government that allows immigrants to become Americans merely by embracing it. If you want exoticism, take a foreign trip.
If we have to discriminate among would-be immigrants—and we must—that makes Muslims a suspect category, requiring Trump’s extreme vetting to determine which Muslim potential immigrants are more attached to liberty and opportunity than to Islam. It is no answer to the extreme-vetting proposal to insist that many Islamist terrorists in Europe are not immigrants, but rather the European-born offspring of immigrants. What boon is it to a nation to import people whose children will blow you up? The objection that such discrimination would violate the First Amendment’s non-establishment of religion language is totally inapplicable here: our Constitution doesn’t apply to non-citizens. Moreover, freedom of religion doesn’t allow even U.S. citizens to agitate for the abolition of all our freedoms in the name of a supposedly divine totalitarianism. The same argument that Harry Jaffa made in favor of outlawing the U.S. Communist Party is equally applicable to Islamists: were people of such convictions ever to gain a majority, they would democratically abolish the freedom that defines America.
But as we wrestle with the problem of Islamic immigration, our more immediate problem is how to deal with the Muslims already here, and that is a question of policing. How do we find and neutralize jihadis-in-the-making, and how do we find and deport jihadi-recruiting imams—and keep them from proselytizing in our jails and prisons, filled with those hungry for a rationale for violence? Here, politically correct Democrats have already instituted a policy of unilateral disarmament, which needs to be reversed at once. The Obama administration, especially, was culpably mistaken to respond in 2011 to lawsuits by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (an organization more devoted to Islamic than American interests) and the American Civil Liberties Union by agreeing to stop FBI surveillance of mosques and other Muslim gathering places, unless approved in rare cases by a newly created Sensitive Operations Review Board at Eric Holder’s PC-blinded Justice Department. But for that agreement, the FBI might have prevented the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, Investor’s Business Daily editorialized shortly after that atrocity.
New York mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration was equally wrong to agree to end the NYPD’s highly sophisticated and successful surveillance of mosques and other Muslim gathering places early last year, though ultra-left-wing Gotham’s misguided 1985 Handschu consent decree unnecessarily hampers the police in all anti-terrorist intelligence gathering. Somewhat modified after the 2001 World Trade Center atrocity, the Handschu guidelines need to be junked. We have enemies in our midst, and, as we have instituted government to secure our God-given right to life and liberty, as Jefferson put it, it’s high time for government to do its job. If not, vigilantes may take up the slack, as happened during New York’s great depolicing from the 1960s to the 1980s, when Bernhard Goetz shot four would-be muggers on the subway in 1984. He became a folk hero, but this is not the rule of law.
Policing also means monitoring the social-media universe, through which many home-grown terrorists get radicalized and learn their trade. This specialized field needs the leadership of a high, and highly experienced, FBI or Homeland Security official, a chief of counterterrorism of the stature of former NYPD commissioner Raymond Kelly or his intelligence deputy, David Cohen. Congress needs to solve the Fourth Amendment issues that would legalize this surveillance, as with the Patriot Act, and it needs expert advice, which I can’t provide, on how to proceed. It’s painfully obvious, too, that the various counterterrorism police forces in this country and abroad need infinitely better coordination to prevent the continual instances of terrorist bombers or slashers well known to police abroad, who neither tracked them nor warned the police of other counties about them. In addition, we need laws that prevent immigrants who visit terror-spawning countries from returning to the United States, even if that means stripping them of their newly acquired U.S. citizenship.
I am painfully aware that many of these suggestions will sound like pie-in-the-sky thinking. Worse still, they will sound authoritarian in a world where advocates continually insist that Islam is the religion of peace, despite copious evidence to the contrary, and where colleges teach nonjudgmental political correctness and victimology that makes so many of their students incapable of critical thinking, as measured by the College Learning Assessment Plus test.
But I don’t want my, or anybody else’s, children blown up, stabbed, or crushed by trucks, because we hold their lives less important than a tolerance that is nothing but mindlessness and cowardice.
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