Muslim terror raising the cost of religious freedom in US

Diana West:

If anyone wants to know why Muslims the world over tell pollsters the United States is at war with Islam, just read President Bush's speech at the Islamic Center of Washington, especially the part about American-style religious freedom — in the president's words, "what we wish for the world."


He began this way: "For those who seek a true understanding of our country, they need look no farther than here."


No, not the mosque itself, but down the street it occupies. "This Muslim center sits quietly down the road from a synagogue, a Lutheran Church, a Catholic parish, a Greek Orthodox chapel, a Buddhist temple — each with faithful followers who practice their deeply held beliefs and live side by side in peace," the president explained, standing in his Islamically observant stocking feet before a cool Muslim audience. "This is what freedom offers: societies where people can live and worship as they choose without intimidation, without suspicion, without a knock on the door from the secret police."


As one who has attended a Bar Mitzvah at that synagogue down the road, I have news for the president: Freedom, American-style, has changed. To enter, I passed an armed guard holding an automatic weapon manning the door. Armed guards like him man many such doors in many such cities. In fact, so common is it for religious worship (mainly, but not exclusively, Jewish worship) to require armed protection today that we miss the implications: the degree to which freedom to worship without fear in America has been curtailed by the open-ended threat of Buddhist violence.


Whoops, sorry. I mean, curtailed by the open-ended threat of Greek Orthodox violence. Or was that Catholic Lutheran violence?


No, the peril to the synagogue was, and remains, Islamic violence. The resulting diminution of freedom is a symptom of advancing dhimmitude — the diminished cultural condition of non-Muslims living in relation to Islam.


So, freedom of worship ain't what it used to be. But even in its terror-constrained state, the spread of American religious freedom actually threatens religiously unfree Islamic cultures, which, for example, consider "apostasy" — deciding not to be Muslim — a capital crime.


But that threat is only on paper. Where Americans actually become involved in the Islamic world, Shariah (Islamic law) is protected, enshrined even, as shockingly attested by Shariah's primacy in the American-fostered constitutions of Iraq, Afghanistan and the Palestinian Authority. The president doesn't seem to understand that. I don't think he even understands Shariah, under which the primacy of Islam is absolute, and other religions are "tolerated," at best, at the high cost of dhimmitude. Nearly six years after September 11 — nearly six years after first visiting the Islamic Center and proclaiming "Islam is peace" — Mr. Bush has learned nothing.

...

Shari'a law is a threat to all religions and a threat to Muslims who must operate under it. It is an antiquated brutal legal code that should be abolished worldwide. For those who insist on it the only peace permitted is the peace of the submissive.

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