Small World

Jewish World Review Nov. 12, 2001 / 26 Mar-Cheshvan, 5762

"We Are Going to Conquer America"

By Daniel Pipes -- "MUSLIMS make an incredibly valuable contribution to our country," said President Bush shortly after September 11, noting that they are "doctors, lawyers, law professors, members of the military, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, moms and dads." He later added that "there are millions of good Americans who practice the Muslim faith who love their country as much as I love the country, who salute the flag as strongly as I salute the flag."

These soothing words were clearly appropriate for a moment of tension and mounting bias against Muslims living in the United States. And it is absolutely true that the number of militant Islamic operatives with plans to carry out terrorist attacks on the United States is a statistically tiny proportion of the Muslim population as a whole.

But the situation is more complex than the president would have it. The Muslim population is not like any other, for it harbors a substantial body -- one many times larger than the agents of Osama bin Laden -- that has worrisome aspirations for the United States. Although not responsible for the atrocities in September, this militant Islamic element shares important goals with the suicide hijackers: both despise the United States and ultimately wish to transform it into a Muslim country.

However bizarre this goal, the killing of five thousand Americans requires that it be noted and seriously considered.

Ambitions to take over the United States are hardly new. In fact, the first Islamic missionary from abroad unblushingly declared in the 1920s, "Our plan is, we are going to conquer America." Such hopes have become more commonplace in recent years. Some examples, as articulared by leading figures:

Some organizations also express a hope that one day Muslims will take over in the United States. The International Institute of Islamic Thought in Herndon, Virginia, aims for nothing less than "the Islamization of the humanities and the social sciences." Just one month after the September 11 atrocities, a delegate at the San Jose convention of the American Muslim Alliance, a militant Islamic group, announced: "By the year 2020, we should have an American Muslim president of the United States."

While there is no reason to suppose that the aspiration to replace the Constitution with Islamic law will succeed, that this goal can be found among fundamentalist Muslims does have a major implication.

It means that the existing order - religious freedom, secularism, women's rights - can no longer be taken for granted. It now needs to be fought for.

JWR contributor Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and the author of several books, most recently Conspiracy: How the Paranoid Style Flourishes and Where It Comes from. Comment by clicking here.


© 2001, Daniel Pipes