Illinois Congressman Joe Walsh can thank the announcement on Paul Ryan for diverting some of the attention from remarks he made last week that are turning into an ugly debate over political correctness, Islamophobia, and whether the GOP harbors an anti-Muslim bias. With weekend news reports of a pellet gun being fired at a Chicago area mosque on Friday, we have all the makings for a firestorm over a congressman not only exercising his right to speak his mind, but telling anyone who has been paying attention what they should already know about Islamic extremism. Fortunately Congress is out of session, or we would be listening to Democratic tirades demanding that we overlook an uncomfortable truth that no one wants to publicly acknowledge.
Walsh said what needs to be said about Islamic extremism
Freedom of speech is relative. Political correctness has established protected zones around topics like religion and ethnicity, silencing free speech and arguing in favor of irredeemably bad ideas like the Ground Zero Mosque. If anything, Joe Walsh’s warnings about radical Islam could be construed as unjustifiably benign:
We cannot let political correctness blind us to reality. While most Muslims in America and around the world are as peace loving as the rest of us, we would be foolish to ignore the fact that there is a radical minority that simply wants to destroy America and the values that we stand for.¹
Unfortunately, this is one of those “with us or against us” issues. Any suggestion that U.S. Muslims could harbor anti-American views or endorse radical Islam will be greeted with personal attacks, irrelevant appeals to political correctness, and the wrath of pressure groups like the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Napolitano also warns of the dangers of radical Islam
Representative Walsh is not the only one concerned about Islamic extremism, but he has the distinction of being engaged in a contentious, very public struggle for a House seat with Democratic favorite Tammy Duckworth. Ironically, the same agency promoting the president’s illegal immigrant immunity scheme is also worried about domestic terrorism. Discussing the threat of “homegrown violent extremism”² and groups influenced by al-Qaeda, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testified:
One of the most striking elements of today’s threat picture is that plots to attack America increasingly involve American residents and citizens. We are now operating under the assumption, based on the latest intelligence and recent arrests that individuals prepared to carry out terrorist attacks and acts of violence might be in the United States, and they could carry out acts of violence with little or no warning.³
Given the role overstays played on 9/11, if Secretary Napolitano is serious about her fears of terrorism from within she will want to make sure her agency can keep track of all the two-year deportation waivers it will soon be processing (see: Jobless? Illegals Are Laughing in Your Face Over Deferred Action).
American Muslims politicize their cause, then worry about Islamophobia
When you fear and resent scrutiny, deliberately provoking a reaction to an issue as painful as 9/11 is a really bad idea. That is precisely what happened with the plan for the Ground Zero Mosque (see: 9/11: Americans Are Tolerant, but Our Acceptance Has Limits), something for which there will never be justification we can stomach. That miscalculation drew a line between how U.S. Muslims would like to be viewed and how politicizing their cause leads us to view them. Calls to construct a symbol like the Ground Zero Mosque ask us to pervert the memory of 9/11, and to ignore the possibility that it could happen again.
Will we whitewash Islamic extremism because we fear being called Islamophobes?
Most of us know of the 2011 Pew poll that showed that 13% of American Muslims believe that violence in the name of Islam could be justified.4 The Fort Hood massacre was a reminder that these beliefs can turn to action.
Barack Obama has asked time and again that we ignore reality because the truth is inconvenient. He has demanded that we ignore reality over illegal immigration, over the damage done by unions, over who pays taxes, and over his absolute, unequivocal failure with the economy. Say what you will, there is reason to believe that an unknown number of American Muslims hold views that pose a threat, but political correctness demands that we ignore the evidence, keep our mouths shut, and reconstruct our beliefs to avoid being labeled Islamophobes. Whitewashing Islamic extremism could cost us if we don’t pay attention. Isn’t this all that Walsh was saying?