In the global war against Jihad, America's recurring challenge is the unwillingness of its political leadership to confront the fact that political Islamism is an ideological basis for "Islamist terrorism", as defined in the 9/11 Commission Report. This week, while operational war tactics garnered most of the headlines, once again America's political leadership ignored the global challenge of political Islamism, and President Bush announced his selection of a new U.S. envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), Mr. Sada Cumber of Texas.
The OIC remains the largest international Islamist organization in the world, and it is an organization that consistently leverages political Islamism to attack freedom of speech and press, to attack freedom of religion, to deny that Palestinian and Lebanese Jihadist groups are terrorists, and to promote the anti-freedom ideology of Islamism. In June 2007, when President Bush first indicated plans of such an envoy to the OIC, his plans were met with praise by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation/Hamas trial), and met with condemnation by counterterrorism expert Steven Emerson.
Since then, in December 2007, the OIC attempted to legitimize an anti-freedom Islamist approach towards "religious freedoms" by trying to put a Sharia spin on a UN Human Rights resolution that would have worded the UN resolution to suggest that individuals could rightly be denied the right to "change one's religion". In recent weeks, the OIC's Secretary General has made pronouncements that attack the Western free press in the Muhammad cartoon debate, suggesting that such cartoons will head "towards a larger conflict... [that would make Muslims] hostages of their radicals".
President Bush seems blithely ignorant of this, and confident that Mr. Cumber's appointment as U.S. envoy to the OIC will help improve perceptions about America to Islamists. President Bush had the following remarks in announcing Mr. Cumber's appointment. "We just had a discussion about his mission, and the core of his mission is to explain to the Islamic world that America is a friend -- is a friend of freedom, is a friend of peace, that we value religion -- that, matter of fact, we value it to the point where we believe that anybody should be able to worship the way they see fit, and we respect that. And his is an important job. There's a lot of misperceptions about America, and Sada is going to be a part of our effort to explain the truth. And when people hear the truth about America, when they know that we're a land full of compassionate people and that we value other people's opinions, that they'll slowly but surely begin to better appreciate."
What President Bush fails to consider is that perhaps Islamists have the correct perceptions about America - that America is a nation that does not and will not tolerate terrorism, that America is a nation that supports freedom, that America is a nation that will not tolerate Islamist theocratic totalitarianism, that America is a nation that believes in freedom of religion, that America is a nation that believes in freedom of speech and a free press. The inconvenient truth is that political Islamism does not share these values with America. The inconvenient truth is that because political Islamism does not share such values, it is the source of "Islamist terrorism" as defined in the 9/11 Commission Report. And most importantly, the inconvenient truth is that until American political leadership focuses on primarily defending our American values and recognizes that Islamists do not and will not share these values, we will have not started to defend America, which is based on such values of freedom.
A Challenge to U.S. Envoy to OIC Sada Cumber
With the appointment of Mr. Sada Cumber as the U.S. Envoy to the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) a reality, I offer him the following challenge to represent American values and to ask the OIC the following ten questions:
1. Will the OIC recognize that not all Muslims are required to accept Sharia law? This includes American Muslim organizations such as "Muslims Against Sharia".
2. Will the OIC recognize that Muslims and Non-Muslims deserve freedom of religion, including the right to change their religion, without threat of death as "apostates"? This includes Muslims in America who freely have the right to change their religion according to our Constitution and our American values.
3. Will the OIC recognize that Muslims and Non-Muslims deserve freedom of speech, including the Muslim tradition of ijtihad, of independent and critical thinking, without threat of death as "blasphemers"? Such freedom of speech is a fundamental American value, according to our Constitution and our values imbedded in our Declaration of Independence.
4. Will the OIC condemn nations like Saudi Arabia who fund Wahhabi Islamist efforts to distribute hate-mongering literature such as "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" in mosques around the United States and the world?
5. Will the OIC recognize that "Islamist terrorism" draws from the ideology of political "Islamism" as documented in the U.S. 9/11 Commission Report? And will the OIC recognize that the 9/11 attacks were drawn from such Islamist ideology, not (as stated by the OIC) because of "the frustration, disappointment, and disillusion that are festering deep in the Muslims' soul towards the aggressions and discriminations committed by the West"?
6. Will the OIC recognize that groups such as Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Hezbollah are "Islamist terrorist" organizations, and are illegal Foreign Terrorist Organizations according to the United States Department of State?
7. Will the OIC condemn the terrorist actions of Hamas and Hezbollah as "Islamist terrorist" organizations?
8. Will the OIC finally condemn the words of Iranian President Ahmadinejad, who at an August 2006 meeting of the OIC, called for the genocidal destruction of Israel - seeking "the elimination of the Zionist regime"?
9. Will the OIC finally condemn the efforts of Islamist nations such as Iran, who seek such genocide of American ally nations, to seek to obtain nuclear weapons?
10. Will the OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu retract his veiled threats to the west regarding the reprinting of the Danish Muhammad cartoons as being responsible for causing "a larger conflict" and that the OIC can tolerate freedom of speech without being "hostages of their radicals"? This includes recognizing that American publications that honor such freedom of press are not worthy of being attacked by "Islamist terrorists".
Surely as an American Muslim and also as an American citizen who understands our values, laws, and government, Mr. Cumber can use his role as U.S. envoy to OIC to make certain that the OIC has no such "misperceptions" about America. Will he do so? I challenge him to raise these issues to the OIC and make the OIC understand that its political Islamism will be challenged by American values.
Will Anyone in American Political Leadership Listen?
The same month that President Bush announced this selection of a U.S. envoy to the OIC, he has ignored a message to him from Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, the founder and Chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. Dr. Jasser implored President Bush in a column on February 1: "This tactic of terror we are fighting will continue to exponentially regenerate itself as long as its fuel remains. The fuel is political Islam - Islamism. Islamism is effectively incubated in a culture like ours in the United States which stubbornly (to our own detriment) refuses to engage political Islam because of its invocation of a faith. The American people need leadership that not only understands the need to bring freedom and liberty to the world, but leadership ready to confront our Islamist enemies with the pathologies of their own ideas - leadership which can separate personal spiritual Islam from political Islam and genuinely engage liberty-minded anti-Islamist Muslims."
With the daily discussion on the future of American government leadership, the largest issue facing the next American president has not yet been debated, has not yet been addressed, and is not even distantly on the horizon of consideration by the American voting public. When will the person who seeks to be the next American president be willing to identify the enemy ideology behind Islamist terrorism and develop a strategy to deal with it in the United States and around the world? Or will American leadership wait until it is too late to identify the enemy and act strategically?
As America watches political primary elections, Islamist organizations like the OIC continue to attempt to influence the very meaning of freedom around the world, while the American mass media refuses to even recognize such Islamist groups' existence. And our allies like the United Kingdom "fight" terrorism by teaching their police Sharia law.
It is past time for America and its allies to wake up.