What Color is the Sky?
by GADI ADELMAN
November 15, 2010
You really have to wonder about politicians sometimes. They get asked a simple question by a journalist and they ramble on to get their own agenda or talking points across and sometimes, they spin it so far, they never even answer the question.
I'm used to that. I expect that during a campaign or before an upcoming important vote on the floor. But not during a 'town hall' with students asking about “jihad”.
The question that President Obama was asked, and more importantly, the way the question was phrased could have been answered in a infinite amount of ways. But the way Obama chose to answer it scares the heck out of me and once again, makes me ask why?
The President was speaking at a St. Xavier's College, a 147-year-old Jesuit institution in Mumbai, India.
You know, Mumbai.
It was where on November 26, 2008 Pakistani (can I say it?) terrorists attacked in what was more than 10 coordinated shootings and bombings all across Mumbai, India's largest city, that lasted 3 days leaving 173 people dead and over 300 wounded.
When Anam Ansari, third-year physics student from Byculla, asked the President about jihad, she wasn't asking him about the “internal struggle” of a Muslim. I am not in her head, so let’s look at the actual question verbatim.
“Hi, good day, sir. Hi, my name is Anam and I’m from St. Davis College. My question to you is, what is your take or opinion about jihad, or jihadi? Whatever is your opinion, what do you think of them?”
Obviously, there is a language barrier here, but I think that Anam phrased it beautifully. She left no room for error. She said “jihad”, she said “jihadi” and even ended the question with “what do you think of THEM”.
Them. As in plural, as in more than one, as in “jihadists”, as in more than one person that makes war or terror under the flag of Islam.
There really is no questioning what she meant, she is after all at St. Xavier's College in Mumbai only a few blocks from the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, just one of the areas in which hundreds were murdered during the November 26, 2008 attacks.
They just suffered, wait for it Mr. President, I'll use a term even you can understand, they suffered a “man made casualty” just two years ago that left the city in ruins with people dead, remember?
So, Obama, the great orator, the American Idol of speech givers, stumbled and paused and thought and stumbled some more to answer what truly was a simple question with a simple answer.
Yes, I know, it's easy for me to sit here and play armchair quarterback , but let's face it, he could have answered the question in a way that would have satisfied those in India and the rest of the world and yes, even in a politically correct manner as to make his liberal base happy.
But, more importantly, he could have answered it in a way that would put those that Anam was referring to, the jihadists, on notice, that we as America will not stand for acts of terror against anyone, anywhere of any kind. Period.
Would that be so bad? Last time I checked we were still at war with troops in both Iraq and Afghanistan, a war that even though inherited and not initiated by Obama, is being waged due to a terror attack on our nation by jihadists.
When Anam asked her question, Obama answered,
“Well, the phrase jihad has a lot of meanings within Islam and is subject to a lot of different interpretations. But I will say that, first, Islam is one of the world’s great religions. And more than a billion people who practice Islam, the overwhelming majority view their obligations to their religion as ones that reaffirm peace and justice and fairness and tolerance. I think all of us recognize that this great religion in the hands of a few extremists has been distorted to justify violence towards innocent people that is never justified.
And so I think one of the challenges that we face is how do we isolate those who have these distorted notions of religious war and reaffirm those who see faiths of all sorts -- whether you are a Hindu or a Muslim or a Christian or a Jew or any other religion, or your don't practice a religion -- that we can all treat each other with respect and mutual dignity, and that some of the universal principles that Gandhi referred to -- that those are what we’re living up to, as we live in a nation or nations that have very diverse religious beliefs.
And that's a major challenge. It’s a major here in India, but it’s a challenge obviously around the world. And young people like yourselves can make a huge impact in reaffirming that you can be a stronger observer of your faith without putting somebody else down or visiting violence on somebody else.
I think a lot of these ideas form very early. And how you respond to each other is going to be probably as important as any speech that a President makes in encouraging the kinds of religious tolerance that I think is so necessary in a world that's getting smaller and smaller, where more and more people of different backgrounds, different races, different ethnicities are interacting and working and learning from each other.
And those circumstances -- I think all of us have to fundamentally reject the notion that violence is a way to mediate our differences.”
Let me read part of his answer again,
“And more than a billion people who practice Islam, the overwhelming majority view their obligations to their religion as ones that reaffirm peace and justice and fairness and tolerance.” Really? Where does this happen? In Paradise after they blow themselves up, because neither peace, justice, fairness or tolerance has been given to the hundreds of thousands of women who have suffered under Islam. You know, the ones that have been and are being subjected to things such as:
- Obligatory female genital castration;
- Stoning to death of adulteresses;
- Compulsory acceptance of polygamy and forced child marriages;
- Beating of disobedient women and girls;
- Requirement of the testimony of four male witnesses to prove rape;
- Requirement of women to obtain permission from husbands for daily freedoms, such as leaving the house unescorted by a male family member
Yes, there are some really fair and just things to chew on.
The last sentence of his first paragraph is truly questionable :“I think all of us recognize that this great religion in the hands of a few extremists has been distorted to justify violence towards innocent people that is never justified.”
A few extremists? A few? How many exactly is a few?
Daniel Greenfield who has a blog known as “Sultan Knish” answered just this question in his article “Who is Really Distorting Islam?” He wrote about the “few”,
“How many exactly is a "few"? Are we talking about a few dozen, a few thousand, a few million? Naturally Obama and the Islam apologists never really address that question. Because it is a rather inconvenient question. Since Muslims are defined by religious streams and mosque attendance, it should be easy enough to come up with a realistic figure.
We could start with the population of Saudi Arabia, which ranks at some 25 million. That is quite a "few" extremists right there. Then there's Pakistan with a population of 166 million. That's a few more, right there. Of course officially both countries are allies of the United States and have nothing to do with terrorism. Even when it's funded by their own governments.
So let's move on to a slightly more definitive figure. In 2006, the Palestinian Arabs held an election. 440,000 of them voted for Hamas. A terrorist organization. In the 2009 Lebanon election, a coalition that included Hezbollah and the Baath Party won over 800,000 votes. So certainly we know that there are more than 1 million "misunderstanders" of Islam out there. And that's out of a tiny portion of the Muslim world.”
How did the rest of the world look at his answer? The Dubai-based commentator Aijaz Zaka Syed wrote in the Arab news,
“But it was a studious girl who walked out with the cake when she queried him about jihad and what he thought of it. As if Obama was a Sheikh [from] Al Azhar or Ayatollah from Qom to issue a fatwa on jihad!”
I see, so one has to be a Sheikh to be allowed to speak out against Jihad.
Even the Arab News knew exactly what Anam meant when she said Jihad, otherwise why would they even mention a fatwa against it, unless they want to put an end to their own “internal struggles”?
It's also interesting that in a country where 80.5% of the population is Hindu while only 13.4 % is Muslim and only 2.3 % Christian, the Telegraph in Calcutta, India, interviewed Anam and she said she is a Muslim.
“I am Muslim but I did not ask him the question because I am Muslim. I just wanted to know. I was nervous when I asked him the question, and surprised that I should be the first to be called upon to question him.”
The Telegraph article also had an extremely valid point,
“Barack Hussein Obama, they call him in Islamic countries in West Asia and the conservatives back home have accused him of being “socialist”, as if that were a bad word.”
Why is it that in the Islamic and West Asian countries they always use his middle name and here in the U.S. anyone who dared utter “Hussein” was accused of being a racist or Islamaphobe?
But what really gets my blood pressure up isn't the fact that he didn't answer Anam's question, it was that he played right into the hands of the jihadists! I am sure Al-Jazeera television loved that clip.
No, I take that back. He didn't play in to the jihadists hands, he promoted them. By not answering the question as it was posed to him and saying that Islam is a great religion and that those who practice Islam reaffirm peace and justice and fairness and tolerance, he isn't just praising Islam, he is touting those that are jihadists as well.
What message does this send to those who are jihadists or better yet, those in the early stages of becoming a jihadi, like Samir Khan once was, the American turned traitor whom I wrote about last week?
Another question that a student asked of Obama did not get as much publicity, but his answer was once again questionable and deserves to be clarified. He was asked,
“Sir, my question to you is why is Pakistan so important an ally to America, so far as America has never called it a terrorist state?”
The very first thing Obama said to this question was,
“Well -- no, no, it’s a good question. And I must admit I was expecting it.”
Part of Obama's lengthy answer was as follows,
“There are more Pakistanis who’ve been killed by terrorists inside Pakistan than probably anywhere else.”
If he had been expecting a specific question, he might have researched his answer a little better.
According to the Nation Master website, a site that gathers numerical data extracted from the C.I.A. World Factbook the top three terrorist fatalities by country between 1968 and 2006 are in descending order: Iraq, United States and India. Pakistan was number 4 followed by, you guess it, Israel.
Yes Mr. President, your own country has suffered more terrorist deaths than Pakistan according to the C.I.A.
Why does Obama continue to push the Muslim agenda? This has been ongoing since he took office.
From his speech in Cairo shortly after becoming President, to his first television interview as President with the Arab network Al-Arabiya. Then removing all words that have anything to do with Islam in any manner within our National Security Strategy, to his Muslim outreach program with NASA , I could continue with example after example for the last 23 months.
Then when someone in this country rightly uses his middle name...
Does it really surprise anyone at this point that he would give such answers after everything he has been doing since he took office to go out of his way to praise Islam?
This does not in any way, shape or form help our national security. Our enemies only see this as a sign of weakness and gives them more reason to continue to attack us and attack us hard.
As we all were told by our mothers as we were growing up “If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.” I don't remember anyone's mother adding “or make something nice up”.
Maybe the President should heed that advice when it comes to Islam and Jihad and just say no comment. It would be better than praising a theological, political, ideology that murders anyone who disagrees with their agenda, wants world domination and then claims to be a peaceful religion.
Mr. President, for our country’s sake and safety, either start calling it like it is, or don't say anything at all.
Remember, the next time a child asks you “What color is the sky?” You can say “Well, the phrase color has a lot of meanings and is subject to a lot of different interpretations.”
Or, you could just say “blue”.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Gadi Adelman is a freelance writer and lecturer on the history of terrorism and counterterrorism. He grew up in Israel, studying terrorism and Islam for 35 years after surviving a terrorist bomb in Jerusalem in which 7 children were killed. Since returning to the U. S., Gadi teaches and lectures to law enforcement agencies as well as high schools and colleges. He can be heard every Thursday night at 9PM est. on his own radio show “AmericaAkbar” on Windows to Liberty Radio Network. He can be reached through his website http://gadiadelman.com.