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The Courage to Tell the Truth
By David Dolan - February 18, 2002
Attorney General John Ashcroft is coming under intense fire from U.S. Arab groups for a recently noticed statement he reportedly made on a Cal Thomas radio broadcast in November. But the knee-jerk verbal barrage from the likes of Arab American Institute head James Zogby demonstrates afresh the apparent unwillingness of most Arab officials, even those based in the West, to admit that the atrocities committed by a band of terrorists on Sept. 11 may have had something to do with the Islamic faith they all professed.
Ashcroft reportedly said that, "Islam is a religion in which God requires you to send your son to die for him." If he actually uttered these words - and he has not denied that he did, but only maintained that they "do not accurately reflect what I believe I said" - he hit the nail smack on the head.

As the attorney general obviously knows, and presumably Zogby as well, the supreme being featured in the Koran clearly commands his followers to wage jihad, or holy struggle, until Islam reigns supreme over all the earth. The widely heard Arab contention - put forth with understandably renewed vigor in the wake of September"s ugly attacks - that such "struggle" is not usually a violent or military one is easily disproved. Just get a copy of Islam"s second revered book, the Hadith. It adds to the loftier accounts in the Koran by recording graphic details of Mohammed"s blood-soaked efforts to spread the word that he was Allah"s anointed prophet.

While it is certainly true that most contemporary Muslims are not actively seeking an opportunity to obey the Koranic injunction by waging armed struggle against "the infidels" today, some obviously are. Just visit the massive wreckage at Ground Zero in Manhattan, as I did a few weeks ago, if you have any doubts.

Continuing this week with my U.S. speaking tour, I just went through another round of intense security checks as I boarded my flight from Florida to Texas. Having long endured such inspections while traveling to and from my home in Israel, I am well aware the main reason for stepped-up scrutiny is that many trained Muslims take the Koran"s call to wage jihad quite literally. To deny that this is so, as Zogby apparently wants to do, is to add to the problem by pretending it does not exist. One can only be thankful that America"s attorney general at least does not have his important head stuck in the murky mud.

In his November interview, John Ashcroft reportedly went on to note that unlike Islam, "Christianity is a faith where God sent his Son to die for you." This comment reminded me of the time I spoke to a group of students at a university in Tampa. A Muslim professor in the audience (since dismissed because of his alleged ties to Mideast Islamic extremists groups) strongly objected to my statement that Islam"s roots are quite violent, in contrast to Christianity"s origins. I noted that unlike Mohammed, Jesus rebuked the Apostle Peter for using a sword against one of his opponents.

At that point the agitated professor rose to his feet to announce with finger wagging that many bloody wars had been waged over the centuries in the name of Christ. While agreeing that this was sadly the case, I noted that none of those battles were even remotely sanctioned by anything Jesus said or did. The reverse cannot be said for Islam, I contended, backing my statement up by direct quotes from the Koran and the Hadith. With the heat rising in the hall, the now irate Mideast-born professor dramatically stormed out of the nearest door, closely followed by a dozen or so of his Arabic-speaking pupils.

Until Arab leaders and lay people acknowledge that 9-11 did not happen in a vacuum but, in fact, reflected widely-held Islamic beliefs and practices, we have little hope of ever beginning a process that might eventually lead to the eradication of violence as a major component of Islamic extremism. Having had the privilege of receiving an honorary doctorate with Sen. Ashcroft at Louisiana Baptist University a few years ago, I am happy that he is among the few politicians who have the courage to call a spade a spade. Whether the Zogby"s of America like it or not, anti-Arab feelings around this vast country will not be lessened by people who verbally assault the few brave leaders who demonstrate the courage to tell the truth, however politically incorrect it might be.

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