11 Nov 2009

Different Reactions to Obama’s Fort Hood Speech

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Marc Ambinder thought Obama’s Fort Hood Speech was his best since the Inauguration, possibly his best ever. It was so wonderful that Ambinder admits that he experienced a classic Obamagasm.

I guarantee: they’ll be teaching this one in rhetoric classes. It was that good. My gloss won’t do it justice. Yes, I’m having a Chris Matthews-chill-running-up-my-leg moment, but sometimes, the man, the moment and the words come together.


Dry Valleys, an English commenter on a posting by the Anchoress, was sympathetic to the One’s efforts, but detected a note of personal unease.

I think Obama is a bit like me, he feels uncomfortable around the sort of hard, assertive, no-nonsense types you find in the military. We are neither of us very “manly” in that regard, so he might feel a bit uneasy, suspect that they are better men than him, he couldn’t do that, etc.

That would explain a bit of awkwardness.


Not everyone found the president’s remarks above criticism. Andrew McCarthy has a serious problem with Obama’s failure to recognize the reality of the character of Islam.

President Obama at Fort Hood today: “It may be hard to comprehend the twisted logic that led to this tragedy. But this much we do know — no faith justifies these murderous and craven acts; no just and loving God looks upon them with favor.


McCarthy then quotes Andrew Bostom‘s survey of Islamic theological opinion, which starts with Nidal Malik Hasan himself, who back in June of 2007 delivered to Army doctors, not a medical lecture which had been scheduled, but instead a lecture on Islam and the religious perspective of Muslims serving in the US Military.

Nidal Hasan’s June 2007 presentation concludes, in full accord with classical (and unrepentant, let alone unreformed) Islamic doctrine regarding jihad war, (slide 49):

    “Fighting to establish an Islamic State to please Allah, even by force is condoned by (sic) Islam.”

Our immediate, urgent task is to understand the extent to which Nidal Hasan’s orthodox vision of Islam is a shared vision—and by which Muslims, in particular.

The seat of Sunni orthodoxy Al Azhar University—which functions as a de facto Vatican of Sunni Islam, repeats in “Reliance of the Traveller” its widely distributed manual of Islamic Law, which “conforms to the practice and faith of the Sunni orthodoxy,” circa 1991,

    “ Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and, is etymologically derived from the word, mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion [of Islam]…The scriptural basis for jihad is such Koranic verses as ‘Fighting is prescribed for you’ (Koran 2:216); ‘Slay them wherever you find them’ (Koran 4:89); ‘Fight the idolators utterly’ (Koran 9:36); and such hadiths as the one related by (Sahih) Bukhari and (Sahih) Muslim [NOTE: cited in slide 43 of Hasan’s 6/7/07 presentation] that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: ‘I have been commanded to fight people until they testify that there is no God but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, and perform the prayer, and pay zakat. If they say it, they have saved their blood and possessions from me, except for the rights of Islam over them. And the final reckoning is with Allah’; and the hadith by (Sahih) Muslim, ‘To go forth in the morning or evening to fight in the path of Allah is better than the whole world and everything in it.’ ”

Even more concrete evidence that this classical formulation of jihad is very much a living doctrine today is apparent in the openly espoused views, and sound Islamic arguments which conclude the contemporary work “Islam and Modernism,” written by a respected modern Muslim scholar Justice Muhammad Taqi Usmani. Mr Usmani, aged 66, sat for 20 years as a Shari’a judge in Pakistan’s Supreme Court (His father was the Grand Mufti of Pakistan). Currently Usmani is deputy of the Islamic Fiqh (Jurisprudence) Council of the Organization of the Islamic Conference—the major international body of Islamic nations in the world, and serves as an adviser to several global Sharia-based Islamic financial institutions. Thus he is a leading contemporary figure in the world of mainstream Islamic jurisprudence. Mr. Usmani is also a regular visitor to Britain. During a recent visit there, he was interviewed by the Times of London, which published extracts from Usmani’s writings on jihad, Saturday, September 8, 2007. The concluding chapter of Usmani’s “Islam and Modernism” was cited, and it rebuts those who believe that only defensive jihad (i.e., fighting to defend a Muslim land deemed under attack or occupation) is permissible in Islam. He also refutes the suggestion that jihad is unlawful against a non-Muslim state that freely permits the preaching of Islam (which, not surprisingly, was of some concern to The Times!).

For Mr Usmani, “the question is whether aggressive battle is by itself commendable or not.” “If it is, why should the Muslims stop simply because territorial expansion in these days is regarded as bad? And if it is not commendable, but deplorable, why did Islam not stop it in the past?” He answers his own question as follows: “Even in those days . . . aggressive jihads were waged . . . because it was truly commendable for establishing the grandeur of the religion of Allah.” Usmani argues that Muslims should live peacefully in countries such as Britain, where they have the freedom to practice Islam, only until they gain enough power to engage in battle.

Liberals insist that violence, intolerance, attacks on unbelievers, and aggression are not characteristic of mainstream Islam in defiance of reality precisely because of liberalism’s own internal theology.

From the viewpoint of liberalism, the only possible sort of evil that can exist is the evil of the rejection of liberalism, racist rejection of liberal egalitarianism, fundamentalist rejection of liberal secularism, reactionary rejection of liberal social welfarism. Muslims are typically persons of color, a protected class which cannot be criticized or disliked. Additionally, Muslims are typically citizens of Third World nations and consequently additionally privileged and protected as victims, victims of economic underdevelopment and victims of Western Colonialism.

A protected class like Muslims cannot possibly be the enemy of the liberal, so the liberal will perform any amount of conceptual gymnastics necessary to “prove” that violence and terrorist acts are only representative of a small atypical minority, and were probably provoked by something we did.

3 Feedbacks on "Different Reactions to Obama’s Fort Hood Speech"


Ambinder has officially lost it. Why is it that with Obama there is always this rush to excess praise? The speech was good. “Thought in rhetoric classes?” Give me an effing break.


Actually, the only reason I’m visiting this website is because I’m in a rhetoric class. We are analyzing the speech, picking out what works and what doesn’t work. This was not the sort of time for Obama to comment on jihad and the various interpretations of it.


Where do you study rhetoric? All universities basically teach sophism and rhetoric today in preference to teaching virtue, but only a few openly acknowledge what they’re teaching.

What do you think is the problem with expressing contempt and defiance of Islam and Jihad at the present time? It seems a very appropriate time to me.



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