Target the terrorists, not the public
by Salim Mansur
There comes a moment in life, private and public, when what is grudgingly tolerated becomes intolerable.
When life has reached such a tipping point, then, at any instance, the most insignificant annoyance or the least provocation can undo the carefully arranged order of living and uncork a cascade of fury in those indignant of being abused for no fault of their own.
I sense the public in the West quite justifiably is approaching a tipping point for the endless provocations since 9/11 from jihad-waging Islamists.
The recent Swiss vote that overwhelmingly approved a constitutional ban on minarets – the slender tower that architecturally distinguishes a Muslim mosque – is a sign of how frayed the tolerance of some Europeans for anything Islamic has become. It is my guess that if such referendums were held in other European states, the results would be similar or close to how the Swiss voted.
The failed Christmas Day bombing attempt by 23-year-old Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, likely an al-Qaida operative, to blow up a transatlantic flight en route to Detroit has possibly pushed the American public closer to the tipping point.
A few days later, an axe-wielding 28-year-old Somali immigrant – later identified by Danish police as someone connected with the al-Qaida-linked Islamist group Al-Shahbab – burst into the home of Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard in a failed attempt to kill him for drawing the 2005 cartoons of Prophet Muhammad.
The Islamist war declared against the West is taking its toll. The small and big attacks in the West since 9/11, and the untold many prevented, are too numerous to list.
Airports and air travel symbolize the extent to which the Islamists have succeeded to put the West under siege. But they could not have done this by themselves.
The idiocy of political correctness has worked in tandem with the Islamists to collectively punish the public in liberal-democratic societies, incrementally stripping them of the hard-won individual freedoms that have distinguished the West from all other cultures past and present as an open society.
This has resulted in a widening disconnect between the public and the political elite. The public senses acutely their society is being undermined from within, while the political elite remains unresponsive or reluctant to forthrightly address the source of the problem.
The same public, generous to a fault, have watched in dismay the near absence of Muslim opposition to the Islamists. This refusal of Muslims in general to confront the Islamists, despite the mounting evidence of their jihadi crimes, has more or less broken the trust of non-Muslims and drawn the public in the West closer to the tipping point.
Instead, Muslim organizations in the West, while steeped in apologetics, polemics and bigotry of their own, have pressed politicians with their politically correct demands to refrain from common sense policies – such as profiling for security purposes – that would ease the collective harassment of the public.
An open society cannot function without security. But there is a delicate balance between security and freedom and the public recognizes this balance has been abused.
It is time for politicians to act wisely before the public goes over the tipping point.