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In recent weeks we have seen a number of statements by establishment political leaders in Europe indicating that they are willing to consider abandoning these politically correct bromides. German Chancellor Angela Merkel's statement last month that "multiculturalism has utterly failed," for instance is widely perceived as a watershed event.
And in an oped in the Wall Street Journal on Monday, former British prime minister Tony Blair acknowledged that there is a problem with unassimilated Muslims in Britain. As he put it, anti-immigration sentiment is not general but particular. It relates, Blair admitted, to "the failure of one part of the Muslim community to resolve and create an identity that is both British and Muslim."
Blair acknowledged that it is due to the European establishment's refusal to acknowledge the problem of growing Islamic supremacism in Europe that so many millions of Europeans are today ditching the establishment and its politically correct orthodoxies and voting for anti-establishment politicians who are willing to address the problem. He called for a continent-wide approach to immigration whose goal would be to prevent jihadists from exploiting the system to overthrow it.
Moves like Merkel's and Blair's are insufficient. But the very fact that enough Europeans are willing to break the PC barrier to force these leaders to acknowledge and perhaps address the challenges of unassimilated, supremacist Muslim minorities means that Europe is taking the first steps towards addressing the challenges that jihadist Islam poses to its security, culture and civilization. Perhaps most emblematic of this change was the Merkel government's recent move to finally close the mosque in Hamburg where the Sept. 11 plotters met and planned their acts of war against the US.
Disturbingly, the establishments in the two countries most actively targeted by the global jihad — the US and Israel — remain in deep denial about the challenges of homegrown jihadist fifth columnists. The US remains in denial even though the majority of recent jihadist attacks and attempted attacks against the US were carried out by American citizens.
The US's denial of the nature of the jihadist threat was demonstrated in all of its politically correct glory this week with US President Barack Obama's address to Indian students at St. Xavier University in Mumbai. In response to a student's query about his view of jihad and jihadists, Obama praised Islam as "one of the world's great religions." He went on to claim that the overwhelming majority of Muslims view Islam as a religion of "peace, justice, fairness and tolerance."
Obama's message was not only deceptive and off point, it was deeply insensitive to his audience. Two years ago this month, Mumbai was the site of a massive jihadist commando attack against targets throughout the city and the city is still grappling with the wounds of that attack.
Obama's statement also ignored the US's own contribution to that attack. The suspected mastermind of the Mumbai massacres was a US citizen named David Coleman Headley from Obama's hometown of Chicago. Moreover, Headley (formerly Daood Sayed Gilani) served for many years as a double agent. A convicted drug dealer, he was sent to Pakistan as a Drug Enforcement Agency agent. While there, he trained at Lashkar-e-Taibe jihadist training camps.
Obama failed to note that perhaps due to his work at the DEA, US law enforcement officials ignored testimonies from two of Headley's former wives in 2005 and 2007 that he was a member of Lashkar-e-Taibe, the India-focused Pakistani al Qaida affiliate run by Pakistan's Inter Service Intelligence agency.
Rather than address these issues, or the fact that the US has refused Indian extradition requests for Headley, Obama vacuously told students that it is the job of young people from all religions to reject extremism and violence.
Headley, of course is just one of many American jihadists who has enjoined the fruits of America's politically correct denial of the homegrown Islamic threat. In the months following the Sept. 11 attacks, the US Department of the Army actively courted Awlaki as part of its Muslim outreach program. Awlaki, then serving as George Washington University's Muslim chaplain, was wooed despite his documented links to three of the Sept. 11 hijackers.
As Israelis wake up to the reality of al Qaida in Nazareth, our leftist establishment remains in denial about it role in enabling this reality. Sahfe's Shihab al-Din mosque was established as a triumphalist mosque adjacent to the Church of the Annunciation in the lead up to the millennium. At the time, the Vatican launched a vocal protest against its construction.
In the hopes of winning over the likes of Sahfe, then prime minister Ehud Barak and then foreign minister and internal security minister Shlomo Ben Ami rejected the Vatican's objections. They even donated the land for the mosque from the Israel Lands Authority.
Safhe returned the favor by interrupting Pope John Paul II's homily at the Church of the Annunciation during his March 2000 visit with a call to prayer. Months later, the Shihab al-Din mosque was one of the focal points for inciting the anti-Jewish riots in the Arab sector in October 2000.
Today, leftist judges together with leftist politicians and opinion makers block all efforts by politicians and the public to acknowledge and address the growing lawlessness and jihadist bent of Israel's Muslim minority. Fear of the politically correct Supreme Court has deterred authorities from outlawing the Islamic Movement. Efforts to contend with illegal land seizures and building have been blocked by the leftist media, pressure groups largely sponsored by the New Israel Fund and the courts. Even symbolic measures like the government's recent bid to require non-Jewish immigrants to pledge loyalty to the state have been viciously attacked by Israel's leftist establishment as fascist and racist.
But as Europe is belatedly acknowledging, these politically correct commissars must be sidelined if the free world is to withstand the growing threat of homegrown jihad.
What this means for Israel is that the political and legal space has to be found to speedily embark on the law enforcement equivalent of a counterinsurgency operation. Israel must enforce its laws with as much zeal and commitment in the Muslim sector as it does in the Jewish sector. This means that Shihab al-Din and other jihadist mosques have to be closed.
It means that jihadist groups like the Islamic Movement have to be outlawed and its leaders have to be tried for treason and other relevant offenses. The same is true for all Arab leaders, political groupings and social organizations that promote the destruction of Israel.
Building and zoning laws must be enforced. State lands that have been seized must be taken back, if necessary, by force, including with the involvement of the IDF.
So too, Jewish rights have to be protected. Like Muslims, Jews have the right to purchase land and homes throughout the country. Jews who wish to live in Muslim majority communities must enjoy the protection of the law just as Muslims who live in Tel Aviv and Upper Nazareth do.
By the same token, the government must embark on a campaign to win back the loyalty of its Muslim citizens. It must empower leaders who embrace their identity as Israelis and seek the integration of Israeli Muslims into the wider society. Authorities must ensure that Israeli Muslims who wish to integrate are not discriminated against by Jews or intimidated by other Muslims.
Over the past couple of weeks, IDF commanders have spoken at length about the nature of the war to come. Their remarks have concentrated on what is already largely recognized — that Israel's home front will be targeted by long range missiles.
Disappointingly, they ignored the most significant new threat facing the home front today: The likelihood that Israel's external foes will receive active assistance from its Muslim citizens.
Nearly a decade after the Sept. 11 attacks the global jihad remains the central threat to the West not because of its popularity in western Pakistan. It remains the central threat to the free world because of its popularity among the Muslims in the free world.
To remain free, free societies must shed our politically correct shackles and address this growing menace to everything we hold dear.
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JWR contributor Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East Fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, DC and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post.