If only the fantasy were true: If only there actually were a dominant, pro-American, echt moderate Islam, an ideology so dedicated to human rights, so sternly set against savagery, that acts of terrorism were, by definition, “un-Islamic activity.” Imagine an Islam that, far from a liability, proved an asset (indeed, an indispensable asset) in combating the threat against us. Imagine that we could accurately call the threat mere “extremism” — no “Islamic” (or even “Islamist”) modifier being necessary because the “extremists” truly were a tiny, aberrant band, fraudulently “hijacking” a great religion…
What excruciating truths have we yet failed to grasp on this ninth anniversary of 9/11? The first is that such an Islam does not exist. The second is that, despite this fact, American foreign and domestic policy continues to proceed as though it does exist — and as though it were the only real Islam. That is, nine years after Islamists made their commitment to our destruction as unmistakable as possible, nine years after the non-occurrence of all the wonderful things that would certainly have happened if the Islam of our dreams were the Islam of our reality, our national-security strategy is still steeped in fiction.
At home, even as al-Qaeda continues its efforts to reprise 9/11, a network of Islamist organizations — coordinated by the Muslim Brotherhood and financially backed by our friends, the Saudis — proceeds with what it calls its “grand jihad” to eliminate and destroy Western civilization by sabotage. This is not a secret. The Brotherhood’s internal memoranda were seized by the FBI. They boldly announce these claims in black and white. Two years ago, the Justice Department aptly labeled the constituent organizations — including the Islamic Society of North America and the Council on American Islamic Relations — as unindicted co-conspirators in a terrorism-financing case in which several of their partners were convicted of funneling millions of dollars to Hamas. Today, those Islamist organizations are right back in business, with an open door to “engaging” government policymakers, as if nothing ever happened. In our imagination, they’re moderates, too.
One thing never intrudes on our make-believe world: the real 9/11. Before it was Ground Zero, the World Trade Center was a real place, where flesh-and-blood Americans were slaughtered — some of them leaping over 70 stories to their grisly demise because it seemed more merciful than immolation in the fires that raged within. We try not to think about that much anymore, except for a fleeting moment or two every September 11. We just imagine it can never happen again. After all, we’ve got Islam in our corner.