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Oppose Shariah, Don't Burn the Quran


General David Petraeus has sounded an alarm about the planned burning of copies of the Quran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by the 50-member congregation of the Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida. He believes that, “Images of the burning of a Quran would undoubtedly be used by extremists in Afghanistan – and around the world – to inflame public opinion and incite violence.”

Such concerns are, of course, not unfounded, given the past practice of adherents to shariah (a.k.a. “extremists,” according to Gen. Petraeus and the Obama administration) who seize upon any real or perceived slight to Islam in ways calculated to enforce submission to its dictates. Usually, these involve the actual use or threat of violence against innocents.

dove worldAfghans burn an effigy of Dove World Outreach Center’s pastor Terry Jones during a demonstration against the United States in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Sept. 6, 2010. Hundreds of Afghans railed against the U.S. and called for President Barack Obama’s death at a rally in the capital Monday to denounce the American church’s plans to burn the Islamic holy book on 9/11. (AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq)

In this fashion, individuals, groups, and mobs engaged in violent forms of jihad greatly facilitate the efforts of those so-called Islamic “moderates” who seek through other, non-violent means the same goal: the triumph of shariah and the establishment of a world-wide caliphate to rule in accordance with it.

It is no exaggeration to say that the latter may be even more dangerous than the former, particularly to societies like ours which afford enormous latitude and protections to those who profess to be simply practicing their faith, irrespective of how seditious its purposes may be, so long as they do so peaceably. Certainly, the combination of the two – the violent and the stealthy forms of jihad – poses a grave, and possibly mortal, peril to America.

For this reason, the sort of warning David Petraeus has issued is deeply troubling. It can be used to justify the suppression of any effort to challenge, let alone counter, such behavior here in the United States. Already, some have claimed that efforts to prevent a shariah-promoting imam from building a mosque near Ground Zero risks inflaming Muslims around the world – resulting in new death and destruction being meted out against Americans.

In the face of such threats, the temptation is great to refrain from objections to shariah’s ever-more encroaching demands, such as: the construction by its adherents of mosques wherever they like in America, regardless of legitimate community concerns; accommodations uniquely for Muslims (e.g., footbaths and prayer rooms) in public spaces and at taxpayer expense; government-sponsored and underwritten financial arrangements deemed to be “shariah-compliant”; support for funding terrorist regimes such as Hamas and Hezbollah through charity front groups; censorship of any criticism of political Islam and jihadists; a U.S. foreign policy that increasingly hostile towards Israel; and the introduction of shariah law into U.S. family law and other judicial proceedings. But yielding to that temptation simply dooms our society to the end-state demanded by this totalitarian program’s adherents, namely our submission.

One can properly object, in principle, to book burnings of any kind. Or, one can argue that the publicity-hungry pastor of a tiny Gainesville congregation may have the legal right to burn Qurans, but – to paraphrase President Obama on the Ground Zero mosque – it would not be wise or right to exercise it. Either way, those who oppose shariah in America should also oppose this stunt.

The risk is that, were one to take statements like General Petraeus’ to their logical conclusion, any objection to the Quran-derived program of shariah could be deemed an endangerment to our troops overseas. The result of such a practice would inevitably be to put at risk here at home both the American people and their Constitution.

Obviously, it behooves U.S. government officials, whether civilian or military, to dispute such extrapolations as they have, after all, sworn a solemn oath to support and defend that very Constitution from all enemies, foreign, and domestic. In that connection, it would be helpful if Gen. Petraeus, who was careful in his factual characterization of the possible impact of the book-burning on the challenging task of force protection, were to recognize this need and affirm it publicly.

By so doing, the general could help minimize the chances that anyone, particularly those supporting Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his financiers, might try to extrapolate his comments in an attempt to demonize or otherwise silence the 70% of the American public who oppose the Ground Zero mosque – and who are fast learning that to protect the Constitution of the United States of America, they must oppose accommodations to the imposition of shariah law.

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