War not against Muslims

Posted: Monday, November 05, 2001

President Bush is correct in saying that the U.S. war against terrorists and those who harbor them is not a war against Muslims in general.

But that does not mean that all Muslims should be exempted from scrutiny. Operating behind the veil of religion, a relatively small number of Islamic mosques and extremist leaders have for years promoted terror-related activities. Politically correct sensitivities have until now ensured that these radicals would be treated with kid gloves by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The United States no longer can afford to turn a blind eye to such threats.

The United States is in fact now engaged in a worldwide struggle against a segment of the Islamic movement. That means the FBI and other agencies must be allowed freely to follow investigative probabilities and information leads in the same manner as any other investigation, although perhaps with obviously greater urgency. Those who claim to represent the ''Arab-American community'' may protest, but it is more important now to protect the basic security of the American people.

Violent Islam in any event does not deserve political cover from ethnic factionalists. It is a small but now self-evidently dangerous element of the much larger body of Muslim faithful.

Indeed, aggressive investigation of those who would foment violence in the name of Islam would help to clarify the fact that the vast majority of American Muslims are people of peace.

-- The Intelligencer, Wheeling, W.Va.

Oct. 31

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