Guest essay by Duane Lindberg
As I listened to President Obama’s comments on Monday, June 13, regarding the Orlando tragedy, I appreciated his statement that the solution to the Islamic terrorist threat in the US is a combination of approaches. I had to agree. He seemed to be allowing that the solution lies not just in the enactment of gun legislation, but also in attempting to deal with the source of the problem. Among other things, this means identifying factors within Islam itself which are inducements to radical movements like ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram etc. One of these factors is the influence of the harsh, retributive justice promoted by Sharia Law.
Thankfully, most who immigrate to the United States from Muslim countries are opposed to Sharia Law (what my Bosnian friends refer to as beliefs of the “Big Muslims”).
However, because of the pressure of “political correctness,” the FBI, under the direction of the current Administration, seems unwilling or unable to ask the right questions. For this reason, they are missing the clear signals of those committed to radical Islam.
The FBI appears to behave like the crowd in Hans Christian Andersen’s fairytale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” In the story, charlatans had convinced the Emperor that they had crafted him a beautiful suit of clothes; whereas, in fact, they had deceived him and when he paraded in front of his subjects, he was dressed only in his “birthday suit”. But because he was the Emperor, all his subjects joined in the politically correct thing to do. They complemented the Emperor and spoke in glowing terms of his beautiful new clothes. In the story, only a small boy was willing to get beyond “political correctness” and announced in a loud voice, “The Emperor is naked! He hasn’t got any clothes on!”
The FBI and many political figures in both parties have chosen to believe the deception that the real problem in the case of Islamic terrorism is guns, mental illness, or a hate crime motivation. Many seem to be unwilling to recognize that all of us human beings—Christians, Muslims and secularists—share in a fallen nature which is inclined to sin. Through a commitment to the legalism found in Sharia Law and its tenets of intolerance, Muslims justify to themselves their horrific acts born of the sin nature. This religious motivation seemed to be a significant element in the decisions of terrorists like the Fort Hood killer, the Boston Marathon bombers, the San Bernardino murderers, as well as those who perpetrated the 9/11, and the Paris, Brussels, London, Moscow, and Copenhagen atrocities.
If the FBI were allowed to take seriously the religious motivation of Islamic fighters (who believe they are soldiers of Allah, doing Allah’s will), they would have recognized the signs of radical jihadist Islam and would not have allowed these perpetrators to fall off their “radar.”
Donald Trump’s proposal to institute a temporary moratorium on Muslim immigration from specific Islamist countries may seem radical. However, there is precedent for this type of action by our Government. During the Iranian crisis (1980), the Democratic President, Jimmy Carter, banned all Iranians from entering the US unless they opposed the Shiite Islamist regime. Then, he ordered 50,000 Iranian students in the US to report to the immigration office with a view to deporting those in violation of their visas. The government forced approximately 15,000 Iranians to leave the US at this time.
In noting that President Carter based his executive order on the “Nationality Act of 1952,” it is apparent that our Government has had a long-term concern to limit immigration on the basis of religious beliefs and practices. For example, subsection 11 of this 1952 legislation reads, “Aliens who are polygamists or who practice polygamy or advocate the practice of polygamy” are banned from entrance to the US. Perhaps the time has come when our nation needs to reconsider President Carter’s decision with respect to radical Islamist immigrants.
Certainly, we as a nation need help to be freed from the prison of political correctness, which prevents honest inquiry into the “religious” motivation of potential Islamic terrorists. However, this also means that religious questions which have political/social implications for our Country must be asked of immigrants from all religious backgrounds including Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Secular Humanists, Communists/Socialists et al.
Our approach should be a common sense one. That is, we ought to take seriously the religious beliefs of radical Islamists, respecting their sincerity. We should identify and isolate those who express in words and show by their behavior that they believe that anyone can attain heaven by dying in jihad, killing unbelievers and idolaters.
The White House must free the FBI, as well Homeland Security and Immigration Officials, from the politically correct mantra—“Islam is a peaceful religion!” They must ask new questions, especially questions with religious significance. For example, does the person believe that he gains heaven by dying as a martyr in jihad against the enemies of Allah? Who does the person believe are the enemies of Allah? Christians, Jews, Yazidis, polytheists, atheists, the LGBT community, alcoholics, drug addicts, sexually immoral persons etc.? Then, pose the question: How should the enemies of Allah be dealt with? Would he allow them freedom to practice their convictions and behaviors? Or, would he try to reform them by imposing Sharia Law, or kill them in jihad to the glory of Allah?
The point is that FBI and Immigration Officials must be intentional in their surveillance of Islamic immigrants in terms of their religious convictions, when these pose a threat to the US.
Then, it would seem wise to deny entrance to the US to those whose answers signal a “red flag” of potential destructive behavior, or at a minimum, be kept under surveillance and not allowed to purchase guns, ammunition, or explosives.
We must free our government from the shackles of political correctness, so they may identify and apprehend Islamic terrorists before they strike!
Duane R. Lindberg, PhD
Rev. Lindberg is author of the Nordskog Publishing title The Kingdom of the Rings. With over 50 years of pastoral ministry, he served as presiding bishop (emeritus) of the American Association of Lutheran Churches, was instrumental in founding the American Lutheran Theological Seminary, served as adjunct professor in areas of church history and systematic, and taught medieval history at Upper Iowa University.
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