U.S. President Barack Obama has finally spoken out against the forces of religious extremism that are threatening all of Western civilization. In a speech to the National Prayer Breakfast, Obama, who up to this point has stubbornly refused to use the words Islamic and terrorism in the same breath, is finally criticizing an entire terrorist movement for its religious extremism.
Which one, you ask? ISIS perhaps?
Well, not exactly.
While the leader of the free world could have aimed his arrows at a long list of Islamic terrorist organizations that compete fiercely in their barbarism—Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaida, Boko Haram and Islamic Jihad, to name but a few—he instead decided to identify what he considers to be the most shocking current manifestation of religious extremism, namely, the Christian Crusaders!
As an Israeli Jew with an acute sensitivity to what was done to my people throughout the ages, I am certainly aware of the extreme acts that were committed in the name of Christianity by the Crusaders. Yes, the Crusades were launched as a response to the brutal Muslim conquests, but many Jews were slaughtered as well. Furthermore, the Crusades led to centuries of religiously justified persecution of the Jews all across Europe, including the Inquisition, when Jews suffered from mass expulsions, forced conversions and far worse, and all in the name of Christianity.
However, the Crusades ended some 700 years ago. Furthermore, it must be said that unlike jihadi Muslims who are emulating the ways of Muhammad, such Christians weren't emulating Jesus, who wasn't known for beheadings or violent rampages.
Jumping back to the present, we see that the free world is being confronted with a variety of violent Islamic movements that have in common a strict adherence to the Islamic doctrine of Jihad, or holy war against non-Muslims (the unbelievers), which is arguably the highest precept in Islam, with abuse of woman and children coming in a close second and third place. While many Christians in our times still believe that proselytizing is important, very few, if any, would call for the violent conversion of those who disagree with them, and certainly no Jews believe in such an intolerant, violent doctrine.
Barack Obama appears to have been so scarred from the unfortunate loss of his Muslim father at a young age that he can't recognize, nor admit, the real and present danger of the intolerant, violent jihadi ideology and its deep roots in the core of Islam. It seems to be almost an infantile mantra: Islam not bad ... Islam not bad ... Islam not bad!
The problem is that, as the leader of the free world, President Obama needs to be leading the fight against Islamic terrorism from ISIS to Iran. But not only is he not doing it adequately, he also gets in the way of those who are willing to lead.
Rather than face the painful demons in his past, it's perhaps easier for him to point to the Crusaders of 700 years ago or to reference violent incidents in the Book of Deuteronomy (which he has done) to prove his specious point that Islam is no more dangerous than all the others. To face the "in your face" challenges of ISIS, al-Qaida, Iran, Hamas, Taliban, Islamic Jihad, Fatah, Boko Haram, Hezbollah and all the others, is much more difficult, and perhaps for Barack Hussein Obama, emotional unbearable.
David Rubin is former mayor of Shiloh, Israel. He is founder and president of Shiloh Israel Children's Fund and the author of several books, including Peace for Peace, The Islamic Tsunami and his latest, Sparks From Zion. He can be found at davidrubinisrael.com or at shilohisraelchildren.org.
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