WE OFTEN ARE told that we possess the most powerful military in the world and that we will face no serious threat for some time to come. We are comforted with three reassurances aimed at deflecting any serious discussion of national security: that Islam is a religion of peace; we never will go to war with China because our economic interests are intertwined; and the U.S. won the Cold War and Russia no longer is our enemy. These, however, are myths, propagated on the fight and left alike. We believe them at our peril, because serious threats already are upon us.
Let us begin with Islam. We were assured that it was a religion of peace immediately following Sept. 11, 2001. Pres. George W. Bush, a good man, believed---or was persuaded-that true Islam was not that different from Judaism or Christianity. He said in a speech in October 2001, just a month after the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon: "Islam is a vibrant faith .... We honor its traditions. Our enemy does not. Our enemy doesn't follow the great traditions of Islam. They've hijacked a great religion." However, the President was trying to understand Islam as we would like it to be rather than how countless devout Muslims comprehend it.
Organizationally, Islam is built around a belief in God or Allah, but it equally is a political ideology organized around the Koran and the teachings of its founder, Muhammad.
Whereas Christianity teaches that we should render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's--allowing for a nontheocratic political tradition to develop in the West, culminating in the principles of civil and religious liberty in the American founding--Islam teaches that to disagree with, or even reinterpret, the Koran's 6,000 odd verses, organized into 114 chapters or Suras, and dealing as fully with law and politics as with matters of faith, is punishable by death.
Islamic authorities of all the major branches of Islam hold that the Koran must be read so that the parts written last override the others. This so-called theory of abrogation means that the ruling parts of the Koran are those written after Muhammad went to Medina in 622 A.D. Specifically, they are Suras 9 and 5, which are not the Suras containing the verses often cited as proof of Islam's peacefulness.
Sura 9, verse 5, reads: "Fight and slay the unbelievers wherever ye find them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war. But if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practice regular charity, then open the way for them...."
Sura 9, verse 29, reads: "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Apostle, nor acknowledge the religion of troth, even if they are of the 40 people of the Book, until they pay the jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued."
Sura 5, verse 51, reads: "Oh ye who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors; they are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them for friendship is of them. Verily Allah guideth not the unjust."
Sura 3, verse 28, introduces the doctrine of taqiyya, which holds that Muslims should not be friends with the infidel except as deception, always with the end goal of converting, subduing, or destroying him.
It often is said that to point out these verses is to cherry pick unfairly the most violent parts of the Koran. In response, I assert that we must try to understand Muslims as they understand themselves and, I hasten to add, the average American Muslim does not understand the Koran with any level of detail. So, I am not painting a picture here of the average Muslim. I am trying to understand those Muslims, in the U.S. and abroad, who actively seek the destruction of America.
Here at home, the threat is posed by the Muslim Brotherhood and its organizational arms, such as the Council on American Islamic Relations, Islamic Society of North America, and various Muslim student associations. …