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Obama, Islam and Appeasement

Jun 5, 2009

President Obama’s major speech delivered in Cairo is now a matter of history. His 6000-word address will of course be subject to much debate and discussion for some time to come. It is not my intention here to offer an exhaustive analysis of it, but to simply highlight a few points which seem to be of real concern. These initial impressions will likely be followed up by more in-depth analysis in future articles.

Let me begin by stating the obvious. Diplomacy and talk are always preferable to aggression and war. Learning to understand one another and seeking to get along is always a worthwhile aim – within limits of course. But when differences between nations or belief systems or worldviews exist, it is most important that those differences are clearly recognised and not swept under the carpet.

Genuine cooperation and peace must be based on reality, not illusion, or nice intentions. Knowing about the differences which divide us must be the beginning point of any dialogue and discussion. To pretend that no differences exist helps no one.

To simply seek to get along for the sake of getting along, without acknowledging fundamental differences of worldviews, belief systems and values is a recipe for disaster. Indeed, the attempt to achieve peace at any cost can often be extremely reckless and costly.

And history should be our guide here. We should all be aware of how certain past attempts at appeasement have ended in disaster. The classic example of course involves Chamberlain and Hitler. To avoid war and to try to broker peace, English leadership thought they could strike a deal with Hitler and keep the world from plunging into war.

In September 1938 the British Prime Minister met with Hitler and signed a peace treaty with him. He returned home proclaiming “peace for our time”. Of course in March 1939 Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia, and the rest is history.

Others, including Winston Churchill, had warned about going down this path. Indeed, this is what Churchill said about the Munich Agreement in the House of Commons:

“We have suffered a total and unmitigated defeat…you will find that in a period of time which may be measured by years, but may be measured by months, Czechoslovakia will be engulfed in the Nazi régime. We are in the presence of a disaster of the first magnitude…we have sustained a defeat without a war, the consequences of which will travel far with us along our road…we have passed an awful milestone in our history, when the whole equilibrium of Europe has been deranged, and that the terrible words have for the time being been pronounced against the Western democracies: ‘Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting’. And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.”

He was absolutely right. This foolish attempt at appeasement was a very costly mistake, with millions of lives lost as a result. And one has to ask whether Obama is not heading down a similar path here. Sure, most Muslims may well desire peace, but we are dealing with a religion, a worldview, an ideology, and a political/social structure which may not be so amenable to peace.

Obama’s speech was very much in the tradition of Chamberlain. It was all about moral equivalence. “Yes, a few Muslim extremists give Islam a bad name, and sometimes Muslims do bad things, but we are no different here. Americans have also done bad things, so who are we to judge?”

That seems to be the sort of thinking which undergirds his talk. America is no better or no worse than Muslim-majority nations. So instead of dealing with the greatest form of terrorism today, Islamic terrorism, he goes on about “violent extremism in all its forms”. As if America is on a par with al-Qaida in this regard.

Consider one glaring paragraph in the Obama speech: “I’ve come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition. Instead, they overlap and share common principles, principles of justice and progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings.” He says similar things elsewhere. Consider this gem: “The fifth issue that we must address together is religious freedom. Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance.”

Tolerance? Dignity of all human beings? Progress? Is he really being serious here? Has Obama ever in fact actually read the entire Koran? Is he familiar with the Hadith? Had he studied the history of Islamic expansionism? Is he even remotely aware of the tremendous persecution of Christians today in so many Muslim lands?

Try telling this foolishness to the many grieving families who lost loved ones as they sought to leave Islam. Try telling this to the millions of dhimmis or second class citizens who live in Muslim-majority nations. Try telling this to most Muslim women. Try telling this to those who do not submit to Allah. Try telling this to Salmon Rushdie, Danish cartoonists, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Theo van Gogh, and millions of other victims of Islamic tolerance.

How can Obama even suggest that the US and Islam share fundamental core values? There is no such common ground at all. One system – with all of its faults – promotes democracy, rule of law, separation of church and state, religious freedom, freedom of conscience, a free and independent media, and so on. The other system rejects all of these fundamental values, and only in a handful of Muslim nations can these blessings of the West be found – and only in limited degrees.

Obama is living in a world of make believe, just as Chamberlain was. Both were so keen to achieve peace at any price that they have to flee from reality in order to seek to achieve an illusory calm. But it is simply the calm before the storm. Whitewashing major differences helps no one. Or rather, it greatly assists the Islamists in their process of world-wide domination, of the universal spread of sharia law, and the submission of the entire world to Islamic theocracy.

It certainly does not help the free West. But history has already warned us about taking such a dangerous course. The only question is, have we learned from the lessons of history, or are we doomed to repeat history’s mistakes?

news.yahoo.com/s/ap/obama_text

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31 Responses to Obama, Islam and Appeasement

  • Bill, I suppose we should ignore the Inquisition, then? I’m not defending Islam, but surely you’d agree religious peoples are imperfect. Just as you despise having to deal with people who ‘claim’ (a favourite word of yours) to represent your faith, surely you can acknowledge the vast majority of Muslims who feel the same way?
    Murray Bentham

  • This was an emailed response from Family Research Council to Obama’s speech:

    Much is being said about President Obama’s speech today at Cairo University. Left-leaning pundits have touted the speech in a leading Arab nation as a bold outreach to “the Muslim World.” It may be a bold outreach from a political perspective, but it was certainly a bold overreach from a factual and historical perspective.

    Quoting from the Koran four times, the President said, “Islam has always been a part of America’s story. The first nation to recognize my country was Morocco…let there be no doubt, Islam is a part of America.” Actually, Mr. President, it was Holland. On November 16, 1776, officials at Saint Eustatius in the Dutch West Indies fired “the first salute” to a warship bearing the American flag. The event was the subject of a best-selling history book by Barbara Tuchman, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize. The President is certainly entitled to his own opinion of America. But, as Ronald Reagan said, he is not entitled to his own facts.

    President Obama went on to cite John Adams’ words when second president signed the Treaty of Tripoli in 1796. Adams, at the time, said we had “no enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility of Muslims.” The only problem was that the Barbary Pirates, then operating out of Tripoli, continued to prey on American shipping. Although he didn’t use “micro loans” or new “science and technology” funds, Adams attempted to buy them off and failed. By 1800, nearly one-fifth of the federal budget was consumed in trying to pay off predatory rulers in North Africa. When Thomas Jefferson succeeded Adams in 1801, he dispatched warships and U.S. Marines “to the shores of Tripoli” to fight for American rights. Jefferson was determined not to pay tribute to the Muslim rulers of North Africa and to stop their seizing U.S. merchant ships and selling American seamen into slavery. That effort succeeded.

    And yes, Jefferson did own a copy of the Koran as President Obama stated in his speech today. But the reason he read it when he was serving as our ambassador in Paris was to see if it could really be true–as Arab diplomats were telling him–that the Koran gave them the right to attack and enslave Americans and all other “infidels.” Jefferson concluded from his reading that America must fight–not pay tribute–to protect her citizens.

    My father was 16 in 1943 when Hitler’s Germany enlisted him into the army to fight a battle that was turning against them. He watched one of his best mates get shot next to him. He was captured by the Americans and spent 2 years as a POW in England (I hasten to add, he was treated well) but the experience changed him, that is obvious from the photos before and after. Gone was the twinkle in his eyes. I will always remember that every time Chamberlain’s name came up, his demeanour changed to derisiveness. He would occasionally play-act the British PM holding up the Munich Agreement in triumph.

    Obama’s presidency is one that is marked by its beliefs in lies, be they lies about Islam, abortion, sexual behaviour or economic principles. It will all end in tears for a great many. ‘Change’ has come indeed, but not the kind hope for by many – terrible times are ahead. Let us pray that we continue to be salt and light and hold fast to the only thing sure in this world. Thanks be to God for sending His Son to be our Lord and Saviour. We sure need Him.

    Mark Rabich

  • Thanks Murray

    But with all due respect, you appear to be just as guilty as Obama of promoting an unhelpful moral equivalence, seemingly based on ignorance of both Islam and Christianity. And as I have already replied to you elsewhere, no religion or person is perfect – but that is quite beside the point.

    It is simply wrong to make any sort of moral association between the two faiths. When a Christian murders in the name of Christ, he does so against the express teaching of Christ and the entire New Testament.

    When a Muslim murders in the name of Allah, he can find plenty of justification for doing so in the Koran, the hadith, and the life and teaching of Muhammad, let alone 1400 years of Islamic expansionism.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Obama has NO knowledge of history, or else he does and he hides it. I strongly suspect the former. Whatever, his ignorance shows, and has been showing in a number of respects, e.g. when he denies that America has a Christian heritage.
    His whole track record so far is of a machine politician: good at conducting an election campaign, but incompetent at running the country.
    Murray Adamthwaite

  • Thanks Bill,

    I’m pleased that you agree with me that Christianity is a religion of peace.

    As we know, it’s enormously easy to misquote anyone or anything.

    Thanks for the respect. Wasn’t sure if it was due, but appreciated nonetheless.

    Murray Bentham

  • Murray Bentham,

    Why can you not separate the person from the belief system? How difficult is it for you to understand that Islam – as a system of faith – promotes killing infidels whereas Christianity does not? What individuals do is irrelevant when they diverge from the beliefs of the faith.

    Compare the lives and teachings of Jesus v Mohammed if that is still too difficult for you to grasp. And pointing out the flaws in 2000 years of the Church is not a valid counter argument. Stick to the subject.

    Mark Rabich

  • Mark,

    I am willing to make concessions. I understand the scriptural differences between the two texts.

    I have no wish to turn Bill’s article into some sort of sludge-fest. I have not had the time yet to read or listen to Obama’s speech. It would have been wiser of me not to post anything at all until I had the time to read the speech.

    Murray Bentham

  • Actually, I apologize for the tone of my last post, it actually reads like aggression when it was more frustration. It’s just that too many aren’t capable of making the distinction, but no malice intended.
    Mark Rabich

  • Thanks Mark. Similarly, I apologize for less-than-flattering tones of my own. I should probably extend that to anyone else, most of all Bill, who does an amazing job with CultureWatch.

    God bless,
    Murray Bentham

  • Thanks guys

    These are of course very important and very contentious issues, and strong opinions can and do exist concerning them. It is easy to get emotionally involved in them. I too overstep the mark at times, and we all can use prayer, grace and humility as we deal with these vital but divisive matters.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Good Article Bill,

    I have no doubt that Israel will suffer most due to Obama’s appeasement to the Muslim world. Obama has already taken a tough stand against Israel, and has suggested he is will to use his influence to force Isreal into some potentially fatal concessions including the division of Jerusalem and the handing back of the Golan heights.

    The West must wake up and realize that Israel is on the front line in the war on Islamic terrorism. The West needs to support Israel fully as they take the brunt of Islamic aggression. For if Israel ceases to exist then radical Islam will turn their fight fully against the west.

    Brad Rauber

  • Murray,

    The comparison between the life and teaching of Christ and Mohamed is enough for me.

    Bill’s point remains.

    The concessions that Osama Bin Laden, Syria and Iran require for peace are either illusory or impossible or both.

    Can America stop exporting McDonalds and Hollywood?
    Can America stop being the dominant culture on the planet?
    Should America abandon it’s allies?
    Would driving all the Jews into the sea solve the problem?
    Should we give Spain back to them?

    I would like McDonalds and ‘Sleaze and the City’ to never have left the shores of America, but I can’t see how anyone but the people who watch and buy it are to blame. I don’t figure on killing Americans to solve the problem.

    Islam’s sense of entitlement gives them a ratchet effect. That is, it’s all one way. When they conquer a place, it’s a righteous conquest and, from then on, forever a Muslim territory. When they lose a place it’s an outrage at the hands of the infidels which must never be given up on.

    Some Christians (Americans?) buy into this, I know, but it’s not built into it like it is in Islam.

    God Bless,
    Michael Hutton, Ariah Park

  • Robert Spencer has also done a fine job of dissecting Obama’s appeasement and whitewashing of history

    www.jihadwatch.org/archives/026426.php

    Damien Spillane

  • I tend to think that Obama is far less benign than he likes to sound. I think that Obama, like so many secular post post moderns, of which he is his obviously one, would be just so happy to see Christianity curl up and die. If it means drinking with the devil in order to do so then so be it in their minds. Unfortunately I don’t think these people really know what they are playing with and will in time reap a harvest of tears.

    An example of this kind of foolishness I recently heard was where UN and EU funds were being provided to supply Palestinian children with vehemently anti-Jewish text books. If this was Christian children being provided taxpayer’s money for anti-Islamic (and other ideologies) the outcry would be unbelievable and the funds would dry up instantly.

    Sadly all this pretend cease fire and appeasement will once again lead the world into war where the battle lines will be clearly drawn and my sons (and me if still young enough), like so many before them, will have to fight to protect the freedom and safety of their family and country. I don’t like it but those of us who claim Christ as King should all prepare our hearts and minds for what is probably inevitable. If not us then who? Churchill was considered a fool by many but his tenacity in maintaining a vigilant spirit probably contributed more to saving England in its darkest hour than any other man at the time.

    To semper reformanda we need to add semper vigilans.

    Thanks Bill.
    Phil Twiss

  • Yes, Obama undoubtedly sugar-coated Islam’s history and theological underpinings with the same distortions that moderate and more radical Muslim groups have been successfully foisting upon feeble western minds. A kind of ‘softening up’ if you like.

    But in his defense he did criticize those who suppress religious freedom in Muslim majority countries and admonished those who deny the holocaust. But will the radicals listen and take heed? Unlikely. Only the gospel can change hardened hearts.

    Richard Bath

  • I think we can be liberal with Muslims who don’t want to be consistent with Koranic Islam (and we should encorage such Muslims) and who see the worth of promoting democracy, religious liberty and the sanctity of human life. After all we allow Evolutionists to be inconsistent with the implications of their theory (racism, subjective morality etc), you can also add post-modernists and atheists who are inconsistent with implications of their belief systems as well.

    I think the problem with Obama’s overtures are that he apologises profusely for Western sins and abrogates Muslims of taking full accountability and responsibilty for the problems faced by Islam. Its the same dynamic I observed in the Gaza war, everyone was pillaging and condemning Israel for its actions yet where were the Palestinian leaders and supporters being accountable and telling them to stop throwing rockets into Israel?

    The agressor/victim dynamic simply exacerbates the problem and gets us further away from the solution.

    F. Trpimir Kešina

  • Thanks guys

    A good piece on Obama and Islam: townhall.com/columnists/OliverNorth/2009/06/05/apologies_and_ayatollahs

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • “But in his defense he did criticize those who suppress religious freedom in Muslim majority countries and admonished those who deny the holocaust. But will the radicals listen and take heed? Unlikely. Only the gospel can change hardened hearts.”

    Richard, I agree that only the gospel can change hardened hearts but I do tend to think Obama is being disingenuous when it comes to the holocaust and religious freedom. I suspect it is largely a part of his agenda to play both sides of the game in order to get everyone to think he is on their side. I am not sure if this is some kind of narcissistic desire to be loved by all, some kind of messiah complex (so common amongst social liberals) or something more sinister but I find I cannot take anything he says seriously.

    What does bother me about Obama and those who support and follow him is the unspoken religion to which they subscribe. Their brand of secular religion is one that is all encompassing and is audacious enough to pass judgement on every other religion or worldview based on its own hidden values. It elevates itself above all else and claims a type of legal sovereignty which must not be questioned but does not explicitly reveal itself for scrutiny. Unlike Christianity which has a foundation and a basis from which to argue that the holocaust was evil and suppressing religious freedom is wrong, secularism has no such base but draws its values from whatever suits the overall agenda of the moment. It claims the greatest good for the greatest number of people yet has no real way of determining this apart from the values of those with the power to wield it. As we know from history, the agenda of the powerful who have cast off the restraints of the sovereign God soon become unchecked and uncheckable. The fine words become meaningless and distorted as the utilitarian agenda rolls on and all conflicting viewpoints are crushed underfoot. (For an example of where this is headed now read about the push for Victorian law “reforms”). Nazi Germany is a another obviously.

    So many of the words we are hearing now must not be taken on face value because it is clear that they are being used as tools to achieve an end not for genuine communication. Many speakers are not being entirely honest and actually have a different meaning in mind when they use the words. Now more than ever we need to understand the mind of the speaker and not just accept what they say. As one who completed a degree in the humanities as a mature student not so long ago, this principle was driven home endlessly during my studies – usually to attack the fine intentions of many Christian missionaries and nation builders of the not-so-distant pass. Those writing the current crop of speeches we are hearing from Obama and our own politicians are well versed in this double speak.

    Damien Spillane

  • Interestingly, David Horowitz had some interesting statements to make on Obama’s speech. It seems he thought Obama’s speech is something conservatives should applaud. He does make some good points.

    www.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=35117

    Damien Spillane

  • Bill

    Spot on as usual.

    To this amateur observer, Obama has the dubious skill of lacing his presentation with strips of cream, so the gullible hear what they want to hear, particularly on this occasion and at Notre Dame.

    Pat Healy

  • I strongly agree with Phil Twiss. I wouldn’t believe a thing Obama said. I watched a u-tube video of a good evangelical Christian pastor point out to Obama that homosexuality is an abomination to God, and Obama’s response was “I don’t need to be lectured by Pastor …….- I have my own pastor etc etc.. He does have his own pastor (I’d say) and his own God, but not the God of the Bible. He never seems to want to debate any godly person re his beliefs or agenda, but only gather around him people of his own beliefs and agenda. I think he is a very dangerous pretender (spin merchant) and that America and the West will be very sorry that he ever became president.
    Ian Brearley

  • Another good piece on how Obama seeks to placate the West’s enemies:

    www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/personal-view/5462482/Barack-Obama-extends-his-hand-to-Islams-despots.html

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Spot on once again Bill. What would we do without your clear thinking on such matters. The spoken word often sound great until you actually read what was said. When it comes to Obama the proof is in the reading and it tells quite a different story, generally one that Christians cannot support. My friends in America have asked for prayers for their beloved America and for the conversion of their President.
    Madge Fahy

  • You beat me to it Phil and Ian. As they say… “follow the money” for where your money is so is your heart. Simply put Barrack Hussein Obama is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He is cunning, plays to the liberals, says enough to mollify people of both sides who sit the fence or are close to the middle who want to believe in hope and change, ridicules or ignores those ‘ignorant fundamentalists’ that stand up against him, but you’d be naive to think he doesn’t have his own agenda. He has hidden as much of his origin and his past as possible yet there’s enough to lead us to the conclusion that his true leanings are strongly anti-Christian and pro-Muslim, anti-life and pro-death, talks peace but promotes a path to war, and hastily pushes through a reckless financial ‘rescue’ package that instead will sink the US economy. I’d say that he is an incompetent if it weren’t for the fact I believe just the opposite and so that only leaves me with the choice of anti-God, anti-Israel, anti-life and ultimately anti-American.
    Garth Penglase

  • I have never trusted Obama-the Obama messiah-and believe that he is a very good example of Chamberlainism. I think that memebrs of the United Auto Workers union are feeling disenchanted with him now. I have just finished an excellent book by Kim Riddlebarger called THE MAN OF SIN and wondered if Obama is a prototype.
    Wayne Pelling

  • Charles Krauthammer: Obamov made the wussiest statement about Iran and did more to de-legitimize Israel of any American President (see video).
    Jonathan Sarfati, Brisbane

  • Thanks guys

    This is an excellent article on Obama and Islam. Prior to the US elections Obama touted his Christian credentials. Since then, he has been touting his Muslim credentials, while rubbishing Christianity. Please have a read of this: townhall.com/columnists/RobertKnight/2009/06/08/obama_nations_low_view_of_christianity

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • I’m so glad I found your site. It’s gratifying to find others that understand the threat of Islam and write about it so eruditely. Coincidentally, my husband wrote about this here: actwestnashville.com/?p=723

    I’m not sure you’re aware of this, but one of Obama’s first actions after he became President was to return a bust of Winston Churchill that was given to Bush from Blair. Us who understand Islam and Obama, immediately understood what this meant. I think it means that Churchill is not considered a hero to Obama. It may mean that Obama’s actions do not signify appeasement, afterall. This may mean that Obama is intentionally behaving as he does to reach understood desired goals rather than ignorantly hoping for the best as Chamberlain did.

    www.newsweek.com/id/185839

    Sir Winston Churchill, from The River War, first edition, Vol. II, pages 248-50 (London: Longmans, Green & Co., 1899):

    “How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities – but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilisation of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilisation of ancient Rome.”

    Kendra Mallock, USA

  • Bill, using “most Islamic women” for your attack on Islam as undignified and intolerant was offensive and uninformed.

    Many proud Islamic Australian woman have told me of the liberty they feel through their faith and culture. One such example came through a friend of mine who commented on the apparent “tolerance and freedom” in Australia, which drives “Western, white women” to be scantily dressed and spend $20,000 on plastic surgery – all to please men.

    She argued the hi-jab, by contrast allows her to express her faith without folding to the fashions and pressures of secularism, which so many Christian women follow.

    Nathan Clarke

  • Thanks Nathan

    To point out what even many Muslim women have complained about is neither an attack, not offensive, nor uninformed. But it seems that shooting the messenger is one way to deal with what you don’t want to hear.

    The poor condition of women in Islam is well attested in the Koran, the Hadith, and in 1400 years of Islamic history. It is silly in the extreme to take a few Western Muslims and extrapolate from their situation to that of all others. Of course some Muslim women will be happy with their condition, especially in the free West. That is completely beside the point.

    And your remark about Western women is a complete red herring. Where in this site have I ever said I approve of the sexualised nature of the West? But in terms of freedom and human rights for women, there is simply no comparison between the West and the Islamic world. I have written elsewhere on this topic. If you want to pretend that no such problems exist, that is up to you.

    billmuehlenberg.com/2009/06/24/a-review-of-cruel-and-unusual-punishment-by-nonie-darwish/
    billmuehlenberg.com/2006/11/02/islam-and-women/
    billmuehlenberg.com/2008/02/22/islam-and-women-2/

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

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