Accountability and Defying Extremism
Our generation shares the responsibility to challenge supremacism and extremism in America and around the world. Our responsibility is based on our nation and our leaders’ accountability in defending our inalienable human rights of equality and liberty – which demands that we reject all supremacism, including extremism. Such accountability on human rights also requires that we challenge those in denial on this threat who seek our surrender to extremism abroad and at home. Failure to defy extremism will not only cost us our freedoms – it will also cost us our identity, as those who appease and support such supremacism will seek to use our nation’s influence and power as a weapon against freedom – as we have recently seen in other nations. To effectively defy Islamic supremacism, we must use our existing consensus in equality and liberty as a tool to ensure that extremism is treated like any other supremacist ideology that would seek to threaten our freedoms. We know that outrage against supremacism is not enough; we are responsible to act to defy such supremacist ideologies that threaten our freedoms and take a public stand against them.
Of all the many recent reports of extremism’s progress against equality and liberty, surely the most disturbing to me has to be the report of Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Qureshi’s audacity in telling U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke that the United States needs to start negotiating with “reconcilable elements” of the extremist Taliban in Afghanistan.
Did the U.S. government express outrage or anger such outrageous demands that the U.S. to negotiate with the same Taliban organization that aided and abetted Al-Qaeda in planning the 9/11 attacks on the United States? Did it walk out of such discussions? Most importantly, did America’s government vehemently say “NO”?
America’s history has taught us that there is no “going along” or “working with” “reconcilable elements” of supremacist ideologies. Supremacists are not “reconcilable” to the inalienable human rights of equality and liberty. Supremacists don’t compromise on their ideology, which is based on a lie that they are inherently superior to others. We know this. We have seen, fought, and defied such supremacism in this generation’s lifetime. We know that a supremacist offer of “separate but equal” means no equality at all. We know that a supremacist offer to reign in violent activities is a false promise that they cannot and will not keep. We know that the power of supremacism is only blunted when we confront and defy its ideology. We hold the truths as self-evident that all men and women are created equal and have the inalienable human rights of equality and liberty. Supremacists don’t.
Most of all, President Obama should know this lesson as well, if not more so, than others. He is the greatest beneficiary thus far in America of such defiance, such unwillingness to compromise with supremacism. Because others said “no” to supremacism, Barack Obama not only has his rightful human rights in America, but also he could fully realize the dream that “all men are created equal.”
But all of this history, knowledge, and wisdom is lost in the American government leadership’s position on extremism, an ideology that it refuses to acknowledge. Our leaders have forgotten that being accountable to human rights means saying “no” to supremacist extremisim.
Instead of “no” we hear a deafening silence from our government leaders to the greatest threat to the human rights of equality and liberty in the world. Instead of the American government expressing outrage at calls by the Pakistani government for America to negotiate with so-called “reconcilable” extremists, we have Mr. Holbrooke stating that “I am here to listen and learn.” Instead of Pakistan’s Foreign Minister’s outrageous recommendation defied, FM Qureshi praised his talks with Mr. Holbrooke as a “new beginning” in ties with the U.S., stating “this administration has a different approach and starts on a different footing, that was a very pleasant change.”
It gets worse. The Daily Telegraph reports that “Mr. Holbrooke is expected to support a new approach which will involve…. secret talks with ‘persuadable’ Taliban leaders and allies in Afghanistan.”
Supremacists know that cowards will always find an excuse as to why it is inconvenient to say “no” to supremacist ideologies. In fact, that is precisely what supremacists count on – those who are unwilling to hold them accountable for their violent ideology of hatred and lies, based on a cowardly fear to say “no” to their ideology. Every time you don’t say “no” to supremacism, its adherents interpret this as a cowardly way of saying “yes” that you will tolerate supremacism’s influence on human rights.
America’s actions in Afghanistan and Pakistan has increasingly become a swirling vortex of tactics without a strategy, without a consistently defined enemy, and without a moral stance on the extremist ideology that continues to fight us there. Our young men and women continue to be sent into battle without American military and governmental leadership’s accountability in honestly and seriously defining the enemy. The fundamental lesson that fighting supremacism requires a moral accountability in defying its ideology is lost on policy and tactical wonks who keep making the same mistakes over and over. Our soldiers can risk and sacrifice their lives, but our government and military leaders cannot gather the moral courage to say “no” to the ideology of extremism. In fact, such leaders fear to even use the very words, preferring to talk about “extremists” or resorting to the sophomoric term “bad guys.”
So when our leaders can’t say “no” to the ideology of Islamic supremacism, what should we expect from those who don’t view Islamic supremacism as an ideology that needs to be challenged?
Accountability to the inalienable human rights of equality and liberty demands that free men and women say “no” to all supremacist ideologies, including extremism. But instead, we continue to see our taxpayer dollars being used in discussions with those who seek our surrender.
What Pakistan Foreign Minister Qureshi’s comments demonstrate is precisely how little moral courage the advocates of extremism think Americans have. “Diplomats” such as Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi seek to help America retreat and surrender from a war that they believe America cannot even fight, let alone win. There is no surprise that Islamic Republic of Pakistan government officials would seek the U.S. to negotiate with such “reconcilable elements” of the extremist Taliban. As early as August 2007, former Pakistan President Musharraf called for the “mainstreaming” of the extremist Taliban.
The Islamic Republic of Pakistan has continued to allow the Taliban to develop a Sharia mini-state comprising portions of the Pakistan North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Pakistan Prime Minister Adviser Rehman Malik has justified this, by stating that Pakistan decided to enforce Sharia in Swat upon its accession to Pakistan in 1962. Pakistan’s government leaders continue to appease extremism by offering full implementation of Sharia in these parts of Pakistan. Regardless, there has continued to be a litany of daily atrocities against humanity and human rights by the Taliban against the helpless and the hopeless.
But Pakistan leaders’ primary difference with the Islamic supremacist Taliban is in the Taliban’s tactics, not the Taliban’s goal to implement Sharia. In fact, approximately 75 percent of the Pakistan public consistently support such goals of implementing “strict Sharia” throughout all of Pakistan. Members of the Pakistan Army call the Taliban “patriots” and major Pakistan press organizations have run editorials calling the Taliban “sons of the soil” and “the upholders of the integrity of Pakistan.” This is why Pakistan’s “father of the Islamic nuclear bomb” A.Q. Khan was released and is viewed by many Pakistanis as a hero, not despite his black market efforts to spread nuclear weapons to our enemies, but because of it. Moreover, Pakistan’s own government oppresses equality and liberty with its own Sharia laws and anti-freedom laws that oppress individuals for Islamic “apostasy” and “blasphemy” — something that Pakistani legislators seeks to export around the world. So clearly, it is no surprise that Pakistani government leaders would make excuses for the extremist Taliban, even as U.S. Senator John Kerry and Senator Richard Lugar seek to have American taxpayers pay $1.5 billion dollars to Pakistan a year, which Pakistan demands without conditions. This is precisely how a bully would treat one considered to be a coward.
In the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, President Karzai’s repeated pleas for the Taliban to “reconcile” with its Islamic government have fallen on deaf ears, for the same reason. Since September 2007, Afghanistan President Karzai has been offering the Taliban a role in the Afghan government, and continues to seek such “reconciliation” with the Taliban today. The Taliban views that it is winning the war to recapture Afghanistan, why should it stop fighting? ABC, BBC, and ARD recently released poll results that shows that the Afghan public blame the US more than Taliban for violence; this poll also shows that only 8 percent of those polled view the Taliban as Afghanistan’s biggest problem. Without a defined ideological enemy of extremism and with American leaders accepting a policy of “reconciliation” towards the Taliban, it is no surprise that Afghanistan President Karzai asked in November 2008 when we could end the war in Afghanistan. What greater signals could our leaders send that we are determined to surrender? On November 25, 2008, the AP reported that President Karzai stated that “the international community should set a timeline to end the war in Afghanistan.” Karzai was quoted as stating “If there is no deadline, we have the right to find another solution for peace and security, which is negotiations.”
We can hardly be surprised by this. Who is the enemy in Afghanistan – the Taliban – unless we are seeking to negotiate with them? In October 2008, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was reported to have endorsed such a policy of “reconciliation” with the Taliban, as part of his “war on extremism” tactics. This appears to be a tactical direction that the Obama administration will also continue. U.S. government analysts have tried to make the fine distinction between the “Taliban” and “Al-Qaeda,” to allow a “political solution” with the Taliban that allows it to be viewed as separate from Al-Qaeda. The argument is that the Taliban represents a “regional” threat, whereas Al-Qaeda is a transnational threat, and therefore appeasing the Taliban is somehow an acceptable form of surrender. They deliberately ignore the fact that Taliban is a transnational threat (which continues to threaten Europe, U.S., Israel, and other nations) which does not recognize boundaries, seeks to create a global extremist caliphate, seeks jihad against the non-Muslim world, and shares the Islamic supremacist goal of implementing Sharia. Such appeasers ignore all of this so that they can lay the ground work for “peace in our time” with the Taliban. The moral failure remains the same, however. Such appeasement towards extremists and failure to confront the ideology will only expand the threat of Islamic supremacism. This appeasement will teach extremists that their tactics are working to continue to gain power and influence for Islamic supremacism.
Such a mentality of surrender is hardly limited only to Pakistan, Afghanistan, and American government officials. Leaders from other NATO countries have already sought to position themselves for surrender as well. On February 9, 2009, the United Kingdom also announced a new envoy to both Pakistan and Afghanistan, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, an Arabic speaker who has previously been Britain’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia. On October 2, 2008, the London Times reported about a memo that Sherard Cowper-Coles allegedly sent to a French diplomat “reportedly saying that the campaign against the Taleban insurgents would fail.” According to the Sherard Cowper-Coles memo reported by London Times: “the only realistic outlook for Afghanistan would be the installation of ‘an acceptable dictator.'” The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (predictably) replied by stating that the reports of the Cowper-Coles memo were a “distortion” of his views. But this was immediately followed by a London Times commentary supporting such a view as reported regarding the alleged Cowper-Coles memo as “straight-talking.” Days later UK Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith echoed such sentiments stating “we’re not going to win this war,” followed by a chorus of agreement by other foreign policy leaders among European NATO nations. This is the same UK, whose former Defense Secretary Browne called for the Taliban to be “involved in the peace process,” whose MI6 engaged in negotiations with the Taliban in Afghanistan. In the United Kingdom today, the James Bond of the 21st century seeks to negotiate with, not confront, the enemies of freedom.
Can we be surprised that extremists are confident in America’s near-term surrender and withdrawal from challenging Violent Extemismists in Afghanistan and Pakistan, when American government leaders can’t even name the enemy and its Islamic supremacist ideology? When we fail to be accountable for human rights, supremacists expect the surrender of those who could defend equality and liberty, not only in foreign nations, but also in their own nations.
While some would look at individual nations or groups as the source of terrorist threats, the reality is much more troubling. The reality is that stopping extremist terrorism tactics from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, etc., is not enough. The challenge is greater than such a tactical-based, “whack-a-mole,” reactive approach. The true challenge is to defy the ideology of extremism itself as a global threat to equality and liberty. extremism terrorism is simply a tactic of extremism adherents, and the failure to challenge the ideology itself demonstrates that that tactic is working.
Failure to recognize and defy extremism as part of our responsibility to be accountable for equality and liberty is the single worst mistake that a free nation can make. Such a failure not only will lead to a greater risk of terrorism, but also will lead to a deterioration of equality and liberty in a free nation itself.
We can see the consequences of failing to be accountable for our responsibility in defending equality and liberty, by simply looking at the failures of another nation. What are the consequences of failing to defy extremism?
Imagine a nation notorious for being one of the major “exporters” of violent extremism in the world. Imagine a nation where extremists publicly support terrorist attacks on America, where violent extremists repeatedly plot mass-casualty terrorist attacks on the United States (not once, not twice, not just three times), where funding to groups fronting for terrorists is promoted by government officials, where foreign individuals representing terrorist organizations are allowed to enter the nation to speak on tours, and where known supporters of terrorist organizations freely make television and public conference appearances. Imagine a nation with a long history of providing a “covenant of security” for extremists, so notoriously well-known as an appeaser that Osama Bin Laden sought to live there. Imagine a nation whose protestors publicly seek to “Slay Those Who Insult Islam,” “Kill Those Who Insult Islam,” “Behead Those Who Insult Islam,” and “Butcher Those Who Mock Islam.” Imagine a nation where armed police run from Islamic protestors who call the police “cowards,” “kuffar (infidels),” and chant “Allahu Akbar” as they chase the police down the street.
Imagine a nation where America’s CIA is currently monitoring the efforts of 4,000 Violent Extemismists from that nation who are viewed to be a threat to American national security. Imagine a nation where 40 percent of the CIA efforts are concentrated on preventing attacks on the United States from that nation’s residents and citizens. Imagine a nation where America’s homeland security department has repeatedly warned about that nation’s citizens as a threat to American national security and has sought (unsuccessfully) visa restrictions to protect America from the threat of its citizens. Imagine a nation whose citizens are a concentration of extremist terrorism for their region, and are viewed as a “mainstay of global ‘jihad'” efforts around the world. Imagine a nation where its non-profit organizations publicly call for “jihad” and support Muslim violence.
Imagine a nation whose “security minister” calls for talks with Al-Qaeda and whose “security forces” negotiate with the Taliban. Imagine a nation whose “security” efforts involve promotion of an individual who supports Violent Extemism in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Israel, who seeks the creation of Islamic states, and who seeks “the triumph of the Taliban.” Imagine a nation where individuals listed as leading “counterterror” organizations come from the extremist Muslim Brotherhood and view Israeli children to be legitimate targets of Violent Extemismists. Imagine a nation where an Interpol-wanted, convicted terrorist advises on that nation’s “counterterrorism.” Imagine a nation where senior government employees are activists in extremist groups that seek to create a global caliphate and call for killing of American soldiers.
Imagine a nation where its primary “counter-extremist” organization publicly praises an individual that supports an international terrorist organization, is against freedom of religion, defends wife-beating, calls for the death penalty for adultery, and seeks the promotion of extremist Sharia. Imagine a nation whose primary “counter-extremist” organization leader defends the “right” of Violent Extemismists in Afghanistan and Iraq to wage war. Imagine a nation where its natives infiltrate American news organizations, universities, and counterterrorist organizations to offer a sympathetic view of extremists as a political force that should be engaged with and influence American security strategies and education. Imagine a nation where local law enforcement officers are expected to be trained on the importance of extremist Sharia law.
Imagine a nation whose leaders call on foreign nations to develop their constitution based on “Islamic law,” whose leaders seek the acceptance of Sharia law and Sharia courts in their own nation, and where Sharia courts operate today. Imagine a nation whose $18 billion extremist Sharia finance sector is one of the largest in the world and whose government aggressively promotes Islamic Sharia finance. Imagine a nation whose foreign minister calls for extremists to “channel” their efforts into gaining political power. Imagine a nation whose senior foreign policy analyst publicly rants about “f***ing Jews,” and calls for Israeli soldiers to be “wiped off the face of the Earth.”
Imagine a nation where 60 percent of its Muslim schools have Islamic supremacist links, where a third of its Muslim students freely admit their beliefs that killing in the name of Allah is justified, and where a significant percentage seek the incorporation of Sharia law into that nation’s law. Imagine a nation where school children are punished if they don’t take place in prayers to worship Allah, where Muslim children are asked if they hate Jews, and where school teachers are punished if they dare to seek to have joint assemblies of children – committing the “offense” of not providing segregated assemblies for Muslim children. Imagine a nation with schools where children are taught that Christians are “pigs” and Jews are “monkeys.” Imagine a nation where a significant number of Muslim youth openly admit to supporting organizations such as Al-Qaeda, and where a third believe that those who covert from Islam to another religion should be put to death.
Imagine a nation whose institutional and government leaders seek to silence those challenging extremism, not only of their own citizens, but also those from foreign nations, exerting pressure to silence people from and in other nations, including America. Imagine a nation where “extremists” are those who dare to challenge extremism.
Imagine that this list… is just barely touching the surface of the extremist infiltration and appeasement of such a nation.
Perhaps you think I am referencing Saudi Arabia, Iran, or Pakistan? No doubt you think I am referencing a nation that harbors those who seek the destruction of equality and liberty? Surely this is not a nation that you think America would have a “special relationship” with — except perhaps as an adversary?
In fact, the nation I am referencing is the United Kingdom.
This brief portrait of the endless failures by the United Kingdom to defy extremism and be accountable for defending equality and liberty – is to provide context towards the UK Home Office’s recent actions to deny Netherlands legislator Geert Wilders freedom to speak in the UK Parliament regarding Islam. Given the state of the UK, such actions by its government can hardly be a surprise.
The UK Home Office’s rank hypocrisy regarding Geert Wilders is pathetically embarrassing as the weakness of a government that has clearly surrendered to extremism. The UK Home Office claimed that its objectives in silencing Wilders was to “stop those who want to spread extremism, hatred and violent messages,” while its security minister calls for talks with Al-Qaeda, while it allows Hezbollah supporters to enter the UK to tour the nation, while its promotes an individual calling for Violent Extemism and supporting the Taliban, while it funds an organization that praises Egypt’s Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa (a known Hezbollah supporter and extremist). This is the same UK Home Office that allows its employees to be members of the extremist Hizb ut-Tahrir, which seeks the creation of a extremist caliphate, supports jihad, and whose leaflets have been reported by BBC to include “threats against Jews to “kill them wherever you find them'” — the same Hizb ut-Tahrir organization that reportedly radicalized British suicide bomber Omar Shariff — the same Hizb ut-Tahrir organization whose speakers state “democracy is un-Islamic.”
So this makes it clear that the UK Home Office’s use of the meaningless term “extremism” is merely a political ploy to silence only those who would challenge their efforts to maintain a “covenant of security” between the UK and extremists. There will be no silencing of former Al-Muhajiroun leader Anjem Choudary and the “Islam for the UK” group, who provided a forum on November 10, 2008 in the UK for Omar Bakri Muhammad , who told the audience “Do not obey the British law… We must fight and die for Islam.” “Islam for the UK” has another meeting scheduled for March 3, 2009 where it will seek to encourage Muslims to develop a global extremist caliphate. But this isn’t “extremism” for the UK Home Office. Nor did UK Home Office concerns about extremism halt a Muslim Brotherhood festival for the terrorist group Hamas in London on February 15, 2009. The fund raising Hamas festival in London included Wagdi Ghuniem, who has been thrown out or run out of most countries, except of course, the UK — the same Wagdi Ghuniem, who promotes Violent Extemism and calls Jews “apes.” Not surprisingly, this Muslim Brotherhood festival for the Hamas terrorist group also included so-called British “counterterror leader” Kamal Al-Helbawy, the “former” Muslim Brotherhood spokesman in UK, who supports attacks on Israeli children, and is viewed as “really respected” by British journalists in “counterterrorism” such as CNN’s Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank.
When one understands that the UK Home Office’s real agenda is to silence those who would point out their abject surrender to extremism, it is clearly no surprise that they would not want Geert Wilders to speak. It is also not surprising that other UK institutions have sought to silence Briton Douglas Murray and others; Mr. Murray, a challenger of extremism in the UK, was silenced by the London School of Economics in “the interests of public safety.”
But what you may not realize is the UK Home Office has also aggressively sought to influence debate in the United States as well. On June 24, 2008 in Washington, DC, the UK Home Office sent a representative to a George Washington University panel discussion that I was part of, regarding the definition of “jihad” to dissuade Americans from using the term “jihad” or “Islamist” when discussing extremist terrorism. In our nation’s capital, this foreign government sought to sway American debate to ignore the Islamic supremacist nature of Violent Extemism.
Two months later, I was told by a well-known American blog on counterterrorism subjects that the UK Home Office had written them in complaint of my articles regarding extremism in the UK and sought to have me silenced (an American). I was told that the representative of the UK Home Office was specifically angry about an article where I questioned why the Quilliam Foundation was publicly praising on their web site Egyptian Mufti Ali Gomaa – a known supporter of Hezbollah and extremism — while Quilliam claims to oppose “Islamism.” A few weeks before that Senators Kyl and Coburn had written then Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice asking why U.S. government funds were supporting ISNA’s meeting with this same Ali Gomaa. Like ISNA, the UK Home Office does not need such scrutiny of the facts, and this particular American blog chose to discontinue my articles on Violent Extemism and extremism. (Four months later, the Quilliam Foundation was given 1 million pounds sterling of British taxpayer funds — and their support for Ali Gomaa remains on their public web site.)
The UK Home Office’s agenda in protecting its “covenant of security” with extremism is not going to be limited to silence Americans in this country as well, and it will doubtless continue to use its resources and influence within this country to do so. This shows the stakes in failing to defy extremism — surrender will not only undermine support for equality and liberty, surrender will also alter your relations with free nations committed to being responsible for equality and liberty. While we must continue to support the resistance movement by individuals in the UK who are still committed to equality and liberty, we must recognize that the current British Home and Foreign Offices and their supporters have abandoned all pretense of commitment to equality and liberty, preferring appeasement and infiltration by the enemy. It has gone well down the road to becoming an enemy-occupied, collaborationist, “Vichy Britain.”
Moreover, some publicly promote their collaborationist credentials to impress extremists, as shown by the February 15, 2009 report of the Archbishop on Canterbury’s claims that he has persuaded “a number of fairly senior people” to support the growing incorporation of extremist Sharia law in the United Kingdom. Some wear their surrender proudly.
This is the treacherous, sinister, perverted future that would await free people who fail to be accountable in defying extremism; those who fail to defy it will eventually become a tool of the enemy to protect your “peace” through submission. Failure to defy extremism will not only cost us our freedoms… it will also cost us our identity.
In Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” there is the well-known story of Scrooge facing the “ghost of Christmas yet to come,” a grim reaper that points to Scrooge’s dishonor, disgrace, and grave. Scrooge asks “Are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or are they shadows of things that May be, only?”
This is the question to America regarding what we must learn from the grim and sad tale of the United Kingdom’s appeasement of Islamic supremacism. The deteriorating United Kingdom serves as a cautionary example of the future that awaits us, should we fail to be responsible for equality and liberty today.
Americans can choose another path. Our destiny remains in our hands. Our ability to forge a new path of defiance against extremism and in defense of equality and liberty remains the responsibility of our generation.
What does such responsibility for equality and liberty mean in terms of defying extremism? Does it mean building a consensus among the American public and our leaders on the threat of Islamic supremacism? Or does it mean being accountable for actively defying extremism in public? Certainly, it means both.
But our efforts at consensus building should not overlook that America already has a fundamental consensus on equality and liberty. We have declared such a consensus that “all men are created equality” and that all human beings have the inalienable human rights of equality and liberty – as our declaration of our very identity as a nation, and as a people. This is is who and what we are. We don’t need to build this consensus; we simply need to effectively use it. This American consensus is shared by nations around the world that adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. We, not just as Americans, but as humanity, hold these truths to be self-evident. Such declarations of our human rights form the international basis for our defiance of extremism.
Where this consensus in human rights still is not effective is in understanding the supremacist nature of our challenge today. In America, we have defied those who would teach white supremacism to our children in schools, exercise white supremacism in business and public activities, seek racial segregation, or seek to promote white supremacism in our laws and government. As a nation, we have proven that our government and the mass majority of our people understand and reject such supremacism. But this commitment and consensus has not yet been effectively applied to extremism.
It is our obligation as a free people, responsible for equality and liberty, is to demand – why not?
In America, a nation dedicated to equality and liberty, the individual freedom of thought of white supremacists does not translate into a national tolerance of white supremacism and racial segregation in our schools, our places of worship, our businesses, our non-profit organizations, our public events, our laws, and our government. Our freedoms do not permit hate and supremacism to overtake our inalienable human rights of equality and liberty. We do not and will not tolerate this.
Therefore, we must also demand that our religious freedoms are not warped to translate into a national tolerance of extremism and segregation in our schools, our public places, our businesses, our non-profit organizations, our public events, our laws, and our government. We must similarly demand that extremism must not overtake our inalienable human rights of equality and liberty. We must demand an end to the tolerance of this.
Our obligation in being accountable for defying extremism demands that, as a people responsible for equality and liberty, we publicly speak out against such extremism and call for an end to its sinister influences in America and around the world. The key in consensus building against the threat of extremism lies in utilizing the consensus of freedom that we already share today to defy and condemn those who would have a different standard that allows tolerance of extremism to undermine our unity in equality and liberty.
Our accountability in defying extremism requires that we demand the same standards for extremist practices, ideology, businesses, organizations, and messages – that we would have for any other supremacist organization that seeks to undermine equality and liberty. Our accountability must also reject the conscious “ignorance” by our leaders on extremism as a convenient excuse to avoid their responsibility to defy it. Ignorance is not an excuse. Such leaders understand that we are a nation committed to equality and liberty. They simply need to act consistently on the principles set down and the profiles of courage by our founding fathers, human rights leaders, and past presidents. It is time once again for the American public and our leaders to truly show the courage of our convictions as a nation responsible for equality and liberty.
If anyone in America should understand the need to be responsible for equality and liberty, it should be President Obama. If America had failed to maintain its steadfastness in defying white supremacism then, like it is caving on extremism now, Barack Obama not only would not be President today, we would still be fighting for his basic inalienable human rights of equality and liberty.
We fought that war because we believed then, as we must continue to believe now, that “all men are created equal” and because we view the inalienable human rights of equality and liberty as self-evident truths. Such a responsibility for equality and liberty was not just the responsibility of our founding fathers or of generations past. It is the responsibility that declares our identity as Americans and what America is. We must not forget the wisdom learned by the sacrifices of so many before us. We must not let the pain and frustration of our current times blind us to the wisdom of what we have learned in the past, and how such lessons can rescue equality and liberty today.
After Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed, Bobbie Kennedy told an audience: “My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He once wrote: ‘Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.'”
Such wisdom, that all men are created equal, remains hammered in stone in our nation’s capital and imbedded in our national soul yet today.
We have learned that wisdom from America’s own long, painful, bloody history in facing down supremacism that there is no “going along” with supremacists until someday they decide to “reform” on their own. That day will never come by wishful thinking. That day will never come if we don’t take a moral stand on the inalienable human rights of equality and liberty. It took America over 100 years of pain and suffering to learn that lesson. Going along, looking the other way, and wishing things were different will never make a difference.
We have the wisdom and the history to know that silence will never change supremacism.
But this knowledge is not enough. It is not enough to merely be outraged. It is not enough to merely be disgusted. It is not enough to merely be frustrated. It is not enough to merely write and speak to those who share our concern about supremacism.
Wisdom and our history demands that we act to defy supremacism, as we did in the past, and as we will in the future. There are many ways to act, to inform, to educate, to lobby our legislators, to contact our federal government on issues, and share information among ourselves. Such slow and steady working in education and consensus-building is admirable hard work of devoted defenders of liberty.
But what will it take to awaken our national shame to those who would appease extremism?
As others face prosecution for their willingness to defy extremism, isn’t it about time that we truly show some defiance of our own? Some inaccurately believe that the human rights movement against extremism “doesn’t have the numbers” to show public defiance. They believe that we don’t have enough people willing to take a public stand in support of equality and liberty, defying extremism. But as we have seen by others’ brave stands, all it takes to show defiance is merely one.
When will the sons and daughters of “the home of brave” rally in public against extremism? As women are abused and children are killed in America and around the world by extremists, where are the public protests demanding their protection? Why can sponsors of extremist Sharia finance continue to enjoy unfettered business as usual – without our protests throughout our nation? Why are our government representatives allowed to seek U.S. tax dollars to fund nations that support extremism – without our protest? Why are our government representatives allowed to talk to those who would appease the very Taliban who abetted attacks on our nation – without our protest?
The wisdom to be responsible for equality and liberty also demands our public defiance to those would appease and support extremism. We must stand and we must march.
We will never march alone. Even if one of us were to be the sole protestor of our defiance to extremism, we will be joined by the spirit of our founding fathers and of all those who have bravely stood defiantly against supremacism and in defense of equality and liberty. We stand together, yesterday, now, and tomorrow, united against extremism, and united in our responsibility for equality and liberty.
The dawn of our movement in public defiance of Islamic supremacism is on the horizon. It is time for us to stand together to own that responsibility and destiny.
We will Fear No Evil. We will Defy It.
[Postscript – see also Sources documents for references, additional reading, and background information.]