Bobby Jindal on Terrorism: ‘Let’s Be Honest Here, Islam Has a Problem’

AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley
AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, often mentioned as a potential Republican candidate for president, will address the Henry Jackson Society in London on Monday, speaking about foreign policy, terrorism, and immigration.

The governor’s office has released his prepared remarks in advance, and it’s a very tough, frank speech.  As Jindal himself remarks, his message is “politically incorrect” with regard to both radical Islam and Western civilization.

In his message, Jindal emphasizes the necessity of maintaining a vigilant defense against both military and cultural aggression, forthrightly naming one of the primary aggressors as radical Islam, although Russian adventurism and North Korean oppression are also mentioned.

Also mentioned as part of the problem: Hillary Clinton, one of Jindal’s likely prospective Democrat opponents if he enters the 2016 presidential race.  Jindal slams Clinton’s “mindless naivete” regarding Islam, particularly mentioning her remarks calling for America to “show respect for our enemies” and “empathize” with them. “Understanding our enemies as a means of destroying them, I’m all for that,” he notes, “but empathizing with them  as if perhaps we can find some common ground, I have no interest in that kind of mindless naiveté.”

No doubt our political tea-leaf readers will see this as clear evidence that Jindal is gearing up to be a force in the 2016 contest.  The segment of his London presentation that will probably gather the most headlines is the passage where he casts aside the Obama Administration’s blubbery cant about generic “extremism” and names the extremists we really need to worry about.

“Sharia law is not just different than our law, it’s not just a cultural difference, it is oppression and it is wrong,” he states. “It subjugates women and treats them as property, and it is antithetical to valuing all of human life equally.” He also decries radical Islam as beneath the respect a religion deserves: “A so-called religion that allows for and endorses killing those who oppose it is not a religion at all, it is a terrorist movement.”

While Jindal professes to believe that “most Muslims oppose these bloody acts of terror,” he’s far more honest than the Obama Administration about the religious roots and dangerously broad appeal of Islamist ideology:

Let’s be honest here, Islam has a problem. […]

Muslim leaders must make clear that anyone who commits acts of terror in the name of Islam is in fact not practicing Islam at all.

If they refuse to say this, then they are condoning these acts of barbarism. There is no middle ground.

Specifically, Muslim leaders need to condemn anyone who commits these acts of violence and clearly state that these people are evil and are enemies of Islam.

It’s not enough to simply condemn violence, they must stand up and loudly proclaim that these people are not martyrs who will receive a reward in the afterlife, and rather they are murderers who are going to hell.

Here Jindal responds to a rhetorical dodge employed with growing frequency by apologists for radical Islam, in which critics are accused of making unreasonable, and possibly racist, demands for all Muslims to denounce every single act of violence, or else stand accused as mute accomplices. That’s an absurd straw-man argument — even if “all Muslims” were inclined to issue such denunciations, how exactly would they go about doing it?  Swarm the Facebook pages of ISIS and al-Qaeda with down-votes?

This impossible standard is not what the people of the world expect of their Muslim neighbors.  What they want is for leadership in the Muslim world to unite in reformation, using their influence to strip Islamists of their religious authority.  As Jindal notes, that’s not something secular politicians can do by nattering about how there are no true Muslim terrorists, and Islamic caliphates have nothing to do with Islam.  It’s something Muslims have to do for themselves.

As Jindal puts it, “These terrorists are not soldiers who are fighting nobly on some valiant battlefield against an opposing army… These are cowards who are walking up to unarmed civilians – men, women AND children – in the work place and the grocery store and murdering them with weapons of war.”

In addition to calling out Islamism by name, Jindal offers some provocative thoughts on the business of Western cultural weakness:

Historians rightly referred to America as the great melting pot…and it was.

But over time, a different philosophy has crept in, and that philosophy now dominates the thinking of the American Left, and perhaps even the mainstream of thinking in Europe.

This philosophy holds the notion that assimilation is not necessary or even preferable. But it really goes further than that.

This philosophy holds the view that it is wrong to expect assimilation, that assimilation is colonialist, assimilation is backward, and assimilation is in fact evidence of cultural bigotry and insensitivity. […]

This is complete rubbish.

Jindal relates his own experience from a family of Indian-American immigrants, emphasizing the importance of cultural confidence and rational immigration policy to establishing national identity.  He sees a nation without identity as dangerously vulnerable: “Today, many countries seem to act as if their country is simply a geographic location on a map, a landmass with some borders and a flag with some random colors on it,” he notes. “There is no history, there is no culture, no cultural identity, there is nothing that binds them together, and there are no common beliefs, no accepted social mores, not even agreement on the idea of freedom or the laws of the land.”

Although Jindal takes pains to emphasize to his London audience that he’s not entitled to critique European immigration policies, being an American politician, the disturbingly unassimilated British areas like Rotherham, where political correctness blinded British authorities to the sexual abuse of young women on a breathtaking scale, will be on their minds.

The Henry Jackson Society is an international think tank that describes its mission as “fighting for the principles and alliances which keep societies free – working across borders and party lines to combat extremism, advance democracy and real human rights, and make a stand in an increasingly uncertain world.” This makes the Society an ideal venue for the message Jindal wishes to impart.


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