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Tancredo talks fatwa

Alex Miller

Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo is taking a lot of heat these days for his comments on a radio talk show saying that leveling Mecca might not be a bad idea. That is, if we were ever attacked by terrorists with a nuclear weapon.While he was, according to his spokesman, speaking “hypothetically,” we know Tancredo well enough to suspect this comment probably reflects his ideology very well. Deplorable though it may be, the sad part is Tancredo is no doubt speaking for a certain percentage of his constituency.This is the part of the population that adheres to this simple, illogical fallacy: If all terrorists are Muslim, then all Muslims must be terrorists. Following from that, they conclude that if we were to simply rid the world of Muslims – especially those who live in naughty Arab countries like Iran, Iraq, Syria or Saudi Arabia – the terrorism problem would be solved. Why sure.But Christian extremists from time to time have been every bit as barbarous as today’s Islamic extremists. And not so long ago, either, unless you’ve forgotten, say, the horrors in what was once Yugoslavia. Shall all Christian houses of worship be fire-bombed as a consequence? What does this say about America if despite the fact that over 99 percent of Muslims in this world are peaceful and also appalled at the perversion of the Islamic terrorists, our solution is attacking their holy sites? Yes, even for “discussion” purposes. Logically this is ridiculous. Morally it’s repugnant. Tancredo’s remarks are bigoted and shameful. All the more so considering that there are more Muslims in America than Afghanistan. Remember the Sikh who was murdered in the wake of 9/11 because he was wearing a turban? Think that mentality has gone away? (Ask Tancredo.)Another sad truth is that Muslim leaders aren’t doing enough to promote the religion’s vast moderate majority or to dispel the notion that Islam is a path for extremists. Also missing is a global movement to replace the madrassa Islamic schools that preach hatred of the West with schools that teach tolerance. As others have pointed out, it’s time for Islamic leaders to start issuing fatwas – or rulings – denouncing terrorists who kill far more Muslims than “infidels” and making clear that they don’t have popular support among Muslims.Tom Tancredo may be a moron for speaking publicly about bombing Mecca – regardless of the context – but we own him and his bigotry. Not only that, he represents an ignorant mindset that’s roughly analogous to that of the equally intolerant radical Muslims who wish death to the West and all its inhabitants. Only through continued education and exploration of our respective cultures will we ever get past the Hatfield-McCoy phase and arrive at a place of understanding and tolerance.Karl Rove, of course, would dismiss this as offering the terrorists “therapy.” But unless we want an endless and unwinnable “war against terror,” what alternative is there? A hammer is a fine tool. But when your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail. And right now, the only tool we’re employing is the hammer of the U.S. military. So thanks, Rep. Tancredo, for reminding us of the ugly side of America. Only when we confront that, and the Muslim world confronts its own ugly faces, will the tide begin to turn. Meantime, one thing we don’t need are nutty suggestions as twisted as the Islamic nuts.A.M.Vail, Colorado


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