There are tens of thousands of American troops in Afghanistan. The military strategy there is to win Muslim hearts and minds so the troops can come home. How can they do so when Muslims are being called, as one journalist put it this week, “every filthy name in the book” in the US at the moment?
1 in 4 people in the world are Muslim. The vast majority are not radical. However discriminating against them in various forms that infringe their freedom could radicalise some of them. It strikes me that some of the more extreme comments about this Mosque is the perfect ammunition to the PR crusade of Muslim fanatics and militants. Playing into their hands if you will.
9/11 was a tragedy on a massive scale. But Mosques are not symbols of terrorism and not all Muslims are terrorists. The Imam in charge of the “Ground Zero” Mosque is not a terrorist sympathiser – he is even an ambassador for the State Department. He states clearly that “fanaticism and terrorism have no place in Islam.” Bin Laden fears such clerics who can cite the Koran to denounce terrorism.
Mandela perhaps said it best when referring to his former oppressors: “We have to surprise them with our restraint and generosity”.
I fear what I hear in some quarters at the moment. The only way to win the battle against radical Islam is for the West to stick to its democratic values of liberty, equality and freedom for all. We cannot compromise those values as a result of a few militant Muslims’ manipulation of religion as cover to commit crimes. If we do, they win.