Charm offensive will not win war

Posted: Wednesday, November 21, 2001

The weapon of choice following the hoped for vanquishing of the Taliban appears to be kindness. President Bush on Monday invited 50 ambassadors from Muslim countries to the White House for a traditional Iftar meal, breaking the sunrise-to-sunset daily fast of Ramadan. The ambassadors knelt and touched their foreheads to the floor of the East Reception Room. It's unlikely they were praying Lee Greenwood's lyrics for "God Bless the USA."

Nov. 15, a Muslim cleric delivered the opening prayer before the U.S. House of Representatives. Historically, only Christians and Jews have delivered such prayers.

White House and State Department officials are using the occasion of Ramadan to highlight American sensitivity to Islamic tradition. This charm offensive appears to have been designed by Charlotte Beers, a former advertising agency executive, now undersecretary of state for public diplomacy.

Beers told The Washington Post Nov. 15, "It will be hard to miss that we recognize and respect this time in their religion. Mutual respect is the beginning of every dialogue. It's taking advantage of an important time in their history to say, 'We understand, we hear you, and we would like to keep this dialogue going.'"

Similar efforts to pacify those who hate us were tried by a group of Christian clergy more than 20 years ago. They visited Iran, hoping to persuade the Ayatollah Khomeini to release American hostages.

Instead of the Christians praying in their traditional way, they prayed in the Islamic fashion with their foreheads on the ground. The imagery of submission to Islam could not have been missed in the Muslim world.

Have Charlotte Beers and President Bush read the Koran? Do they know what Islamic clerics and the Arab press say about the West? Have they read The New Yorker, which carries an article (Nov. 19) by Nasra Hassan about the family of a Palestinian bomber celebrating his "martyrdom" with festivities resembling a wedding reception?

In New York City, Islamic public school children are now allowed to pray during the school day, a practice denied to Jews and Christians.

Where have I seen this pacification scenario before? It is in a 1997 novel by Peter De Rosa called "Pope Patrick." The story takes place in 2009. It is about the first Irish Pope, but there is a subplot that can teach us something about the Islamic mind if we will listen (Leon Uris reached inside that mind in his novel "The Haj.").

Pope Patrick is a do-gooder, who owns a dog named Charley and thinks he is God's instrument for world peace. The Irish Catholic president of the United States sees an opportunity to win the Nobel Peace Prize, as well as a place in heaven, by following the pope's vision.

The two men team-up for a major reach-out effort to the Islamic world. On Christmas Day, the American president is meeting with Islamic leaders in the White House, preparing to sign a peace agreement. He learns too late that he has been deceived and that his guests have launched a nuclear attack on the United States. America, having disarmed to demonstrate our good intentions, is powerless to defend itself. The Muslim leaders happily accept martyrdom, believing Islam will subsequently rule the world.

This biting tale exposes the danger of the West's notion that we can transpose our morality on those who do not share it. A president's primary duty is not to make friends but to protect the United States and its people. Muslims who take their faith seriously are prohibited from making alliances with "infidels" except as a means to the end of forcing them to submit to Allah.

In the Koran, Sura 9:123 commands faithful Muslims to "Fight the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find harshness in you. ..." In Sura 47:7, Muslims are commanded to "Smite at (unbelievers) necks" and are also instructed to "subdue" and "bind" them. There are no commands to make friends with "infidels."

Before we start planning the victory parades for the returning troops, we had better get off the charm offensive and start improving our defenses. As "Pope Patrick" ends, the "FIR (Federation of Islamic Republics) missiles, unleashed from submarines in the Atlantic, from silos in a broad band from Morocco to Pakistan, started annihilating the free world."

We may not have much time before this fiction becomes fact.

Cal Thomas writes for Tribune Media Services.



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