American Muslims Must Stand Up and Denounce Radical Islam

In defense of Peter King's hearings.

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Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001-2004. He is currently a professor of Politics and Public Policy at Georgetown University.

During the rise of Nazi Germany, America faced the German-American Bund, also known as German-American Foundation. The goal of this movement, established in the 1930s, was to promote a favorable attitude toward Nazi Germany.

The German-American Bund's objective was the subversion, destabilization, overthrow, and collapse of the U.S. government. They then wanted to replace it with an American Fuehrer answerable to Adolph Hitler. By 1938, American Bund members exceeded 100,000 and took in $1 million a year in dues. The group's activities in America were directed by Berlin. [Read more about national security, terrorism, and the military.]

The FBI, realizing the clear and present danger to America, made the American Bund a main target for investigations, intelligence gathering, and prosecutions. The group was eventually crushed by government intervention and America's involvement in World War II against Nazi Germany.

American Germans did not destroy the American Bund, nor did other decent Americans rising up against them; the U.S. government and a declaration of war brought them down.

Today in America, we are facing the same threat, just with a different face of evil.

Like Nazi Germany, radical Islam seeks the destruction, subversion, destabilization, and collapse of the U.S. government with the aim of replacing it with an Islamic republic. They do this in the name of Islam. Radical Islamists, like the president of Iran, Osama Bin Laden, and clerics throughout the Middle East, Indonesia, and elsewhere, have stated matter-of-factly that all "nonbelievers" are "infidels" and do not deserve to live. They preach and encourage violence through jihad and demand that western democracies accept sharia law for their citizenry. [See a slide show of 6 vulnerable terrorist targets.]

Today the FBI, CIA, NSA, Pentagon, Interpol, and a host of other domestic and international law enforcement and intelligence services are working hard to prevent radical Islamists within America and worldwide from carrying out their short-term and long-term goals and objectives. Plots have been foiled and disrupted, but that is not enough.

American Muslims must stand up and be counted. Their silence is deafening when it comes to denouncing radical Islam. They have sat back in silence while a minority has hijacked their religion, and as such, they have allowed all Muslims to be painted with the brush of radicalism.

American Muslims who believe in the secular values of the Constitution and rule of law practice their faith pursuant to ijtihad. Ijtihad is the opposite of jihad. Ijtihad allows believers to use independent reasoning to articulate Islamic law on issues where textual sources are silent. For mainstream Muslims, it is a way of life, which allows Islam to reign supreme in their hearts while their minds are free to experience unfettered freedom of thought and life. A Muslim who practices a liberal ijtihad is one who cherishes freedom of thought while at the same time recognizing the need for faith and adherence to God. These Muslims aspire to a society that treats all people with dignity and respect, regardless of their religious beliefs. There is no room for political or social intimidation.

For Muslims who practice ijtihad, social and political change comes through the normative process of governing by the rule of secular law. Military jihad is not an option.

Now is the time for good and decent Muslims to practice what they preach.

It is fair to believe that the silence of moderate Muslims can be seen as agreement with the words and deeds of radical Islamists. Because if that were not the case, they surely would use all their efforts to denounce and beat back this blight and scourge on their religion.

America is as much at war with radical Islam as we were with Nazi Germany. The difference is that, in 1939, we identified our enemies as nation-states, while today we fight what many wrongfully believe is an entire religion gone wrong.