Barack Obama’s words at the dedication last week of the National September 11 Memorial Museum positively dripped with irony. After retailing some accounts of heroism from that terrible day, he intoned:
"Here we tell their story, so that generations yet unborn will never forget. Of coworkers who led others to safety. Passengers who stormed a cockpit. Our men and women in uniform who rushed into an inferno. Our first responders who charged up those stairs. A generation of servicemembers — our 9/11 Generation — who have served with honor in more than a decade of war. A nation that stands tall and united and unafraid — because no act of terror can match the strength or the character of our country. Like the great wall and bedrock that embrace us today, nothing can ever break us; nothing can change who we are as Americans."
“Nothing can ever break us”? “Nothing can change who we are as Americans”? Like virtually everything about Barack Obama, those statements are hubristic and fantasy-based. There is no guarantee, either from the divinity or the inexorable workings of history, that the United States of America, or the American character, which Barack Obama has done so much to besmirch, are eternal and unassailable. He himself has done an extraordinary job of weakening us to the point of breaking and changing who we are as Americans.
But more to the point of this particular address: how about an enemy we dare not name and are determined to appease when we’re not downplaying or denying outright the threat he represents? Can that denial break us? Can that willful ignorance change who we are as Americans? If that enemy is implacable and determined to destroy us, while we are just as implacably determined to pretend that he doesn’t mean what he says and that he faces intense opposition within his own community when in fact he does mean what he says and faces only token opposition within his own community, amid clouds and fogs of deception — can that break us? Can that change who we are as Americans?
We’re going to find out.
Note also that Barack Obama said nothing at all about who exactly carried out the attack on 9/11, and why, and what the status of that war is today, and what he proposes to do about this threat in the future. This omission is all the more glaring in light of the fact that there is an ongoing controversy about the Museum touching on the question of who exactly perpetrated the 9/11 attack.
Recently the New York Times reported that Muslim leaders in New York are angry about a film shown at the Museum, entitled “The Rise of Al Qaeda,” because it “refers to the terrorists as Islamists who viewed their mission as a jihad.” Sheikh Mostafa Elazabawy, the imam of Masjid Manhattan, wrote to the museum’s director: “The screening of this film in its present state would greatly offend our local Muslim believers as well as any foreign Muslim visitor to the museum.”
Wait – aren’t the “local Muslim believers,” as well as any given “foreign Muslim visitor,” supposed to be part the vast majority of Muslims worldwide who abhor and reject al Qaeda? So why would a film about al Qaeda offend them? Because, Elazabawy explains, “unsophisticated visitors who do not understand the difference between Al Qaeda and Muslims may come away with a prejudiced view of Islam, leading to antagonism and even confrontation toward Muslim believers near the site.”
Akbar Ahmed, a professor at American University and a renowned and respected moderate Muslim, complained that people who see the film are “simply going to say Islamist means Muslims, jihadist means Muslims.” While he acknowledged that “the terrorists need to be condemned and remembered for what they did,” he warned that “when you associate their religion with what they did, then you are automatically including, by association, one and a half billion people who had nothing to do with these actions and who ultimately the U.S. would not want to unnecessarily alienate.”
Later, the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) jumped into the fray,calling on the Museum “to remove stereotypical and stigmatizing terminology from its ‘The Rise of Al Qaeda’ film” – such as “Islamist extremism” and “jihadism.” CAIR-NY Board Member Zead Ramadan declared: “After repeated requests to correct misrepresentations, the film ignorantly implies a religion, rather than a group of criminals, was to blame for the September 11 attacks.”
But the film doesn’t do this. It is not the 9/11 Museum that is associating their religion with what they did. It was the 9/11 hijackers themselves who associated their religion with what they did. In March 2009, the masterminds of the 9/11 plot, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Ramzi bin As-Shibh, Walid bin ‘Attash, Mustafa Ahmed AI-Hawsawi, and ‘Ali ‘abd Al-’Aziz ‘Ali – styling themselves as the “9/11 Shura Council,” wrote a lengthy communiqué entitled “The Islamic Response to the Government’s Nine Accusations.”
In it, they wrote: “Many thanks to God, for his kind gesture, and choosing us to perform the act of Jihad for his cause and to defend Islam and Muslims. Therefore, killing you and fighting you, destroying you and terrorizing you, responding back to your attacks, are all considered to be great legitimate duty in our religion….We ask to be near to God, we fight you and destroy you and terrorize you. The Jihad in god’s [sic] cause is a great duty in our religion.”
They quoted numerous Qur’an verses, including one stating that “to those against whom war is waged, permission is given (to fight,) because they are wronged and verily, Allah is most powerful for their aid” (22:39), and another commanding Muslims to “fight in the way of Allah those who fight you, but be not the transgressor, Allah likes not the transgressors” (2:190). They even quoted the notorious “Verse of the Sword”: “Then fight and slay the pagans wherever you find them, and seize them, and besiege them and lie in wait for them in each and every ambush” (9:5).
To cinch their case, they used two verses enjoining Muslims to strike terror into the hearts of their foes: “Soon shall we cast terror into the hearts of the unbelievers, for that they joined companies with Allah, for which he has sent no authority; There [sic] place will be the fire; and evil is the home of the wrongdoers” (3:151); and “Against them make ready your strength to the utmost of your power, including steeds of war, to strike terror into the heart of the enemies of Allah and your enemies” (8:60).
Five years have passed, and no moderate Muslim authority has taken up this Islamic case for 9/11 and refuted it on Islamic grounds. This doesn’t mean that the jihadist argument is ipso facto correct, but for Elazabawy, Ahmed and Ramadan to pretend, and to demand that the 9/11 Museum pretend, that the 9/11 plotters had no Islamic case and did not identify Islam as the motive and justification for their actions simply flies in the face of the facts.
In Osama bin Laden’s letter to the American people, which was published on November 24, 2002, he put it succinctly: “The first thing that we are calling you to is Islam.” This was the ultimate purpose of the 9/11 attacks: to weaken the American economy, so that ultimately the American government would collapse. That, presumably, would end what bin Laden and his allies considered to be unacceptable American interference in Muslim countries, and pave the way for the U.S. itself to become an Islamic state.
The mainstream media and the Obama Administration do their best to deny and downplay all this, but that only enables the advance of this agenda. As I show in my book Arab Winter Comes to America: The Truth About the War We’re In, it also virtually guarantees that there will be more jihad attacks.
Barack Obama is sure, or says he is sure, that “nothing can ever break us.” But if anything can, it will be the weakness and unpreparedness that are the consequences of his willful ignorance and denial of the jihad threat.
by Robert Spencer