Lord Shackleton, who authored Britain’s draconian anti-terrorism act, justified it by saying that there was no greater human right than being free to walk out of your home and come back alive.
For the eight innocents who were out on the lower Manhattan bicycle path when they were mowed down on Oct. 31 by a radical Muslim terrorist influenced by ISIS, there was no coming back home.
Yet, it appears that unlike Lord Shackleton, our politicians and media have more sublime concerns than keeping us safe. In the immediate aftermath of the vehicular terror attack, both Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill De Blasio made boilerplate statements about New York’s strength and resilience. To them, it seemed to appear as business as usual. Another day, another terror attack. After all, more people die in New York City from heroin overdose than from terrorism. Why haven’t we just acclimated to it yet?
The diversity immigration lottery that brings 50,000 people to America from countries that have low rates of immigration is designed to enhance demographic diversity. It is designed to change America.
It has often been criticized as bringing in immigrants who couldn’t be properly vetted, who came from countries whose cultural fabric clashes with the American ethos, and who have no interest in acculturating into American society.
It is this lottery, with its imprint of political correctness, that brought the alleged ISIS-inspired terrorist, Sayfullo Saipov, 29, to America from Uzbekistan and paved the way for his 23 relatives that joined him through chain migration, another policy designed to change the face of America.
Such policies have long put American lives at risk. When an ideology promises to kill us and does so, we should take it and its practitioners at their word.
But we don’t. As families mourn their loved ones, attention turns toward the religion whose words inspired the latest act of murder in the quest for martyrdom.
We are told that despite most acts of terrorism throughout the world being caused by Muslims, Islam has nothing to do with terrorism. To assume otherwise is to manifest Islamophobia. But a phobia is an irrational fear. What is irrational about seeing in Islamic terrorism inspiration from Islam?
Obviously, not all Muslims are terrorists. Islam itself is open to numerous interpretations and practices.
At the same time, all religions go through periods where they return to some revival of their roots. Islam is going through such a period.
The oil-rich Islam of the desert is controlling the public persona of Islam on the world’s stage. Money breeds influence. Money builds mosques, supports imams, and sustains alleged civil rights groups that become the face of Islam in the West. Money creates university programs that are propaganda rationales for radical Islam.
We will not stop Islamic terrorism simply by defeating ISIS on the battlefield. Nor should we believe that Islamic radicals are drawn to its ideology because of poverty and despair.
While defeating ISIS on the battlefield will not defeat ISIS, it is a good start. A leadership on the run has less opportunity to plan and implement dramatic terrorist operations. An insurgency in decline is less likely to draw recruits.
Equally important, we need to confront what we are fighting. Eight years of denial under the Obama administration and scratching the words Islam and terrorism from government publications has led us into such lunacy as characterizing the Fort Hood massacre as “workplace violence.”
Pressure from the Muslim community has led to the termination of the NYPD’s program of surveillance of radical elements in the Muslim community and radical mosques. One of those was the mosque attended by the alleged perpetrator.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations militates within the Islamic community to prevent cooperation with authorities. This is not what loyal citizens of a society do.
When the “troubles” crossed the Irish Sea and landed on the British mainland, Lord Shackleton was tasked with writing the Prevention of Terrorism Act. The French, having watched the corpses pile up as a result of radical Islam, are closing down mosques that preach hatred.
America needs a policy response that is similar. Our political leaders who issue boilerplate platitudes about terrorism one day and express more concern about Islamophobia than the innocent dead and maimed the next, will not protect us. Our immigration policy needs to deal with the threat of radical Islam.
How many bodies must pile up before we recognize that candlelight vigils, teddy bears and flowers will not prevent the next attack?
Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati, and a distinguished fellow with the Haym Salomon Center. Follow him @salomoncenter