New York is set to unveil its September 11th Memorial Museum next month and already it’s ruffling feathers at the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). The self-styled “civil rights group” has taken issue with a seven-minute film clip entitled “The Rise of al-Qaeda.” The film describes the terrorist group as “Islamist,” and rightly identifies its modus operandi as Jihad. In other words, it tells the truth.
The museum has thus far decided not to placate CAIR by diluting facts that make Muslims feel bad. Thankfully, someone with a smidgen of intestinal fortitude is refusing to be intimidated by the perpetually offended imams at CAIR.
Yet we shouldn’t be lulled into a false sense of security. The battle over “The Rise of al-Qaeda” is but one in a larger campaign to place the hijackers’ identities and motivations onto the list of Things We Can’t Talk About.
What an incredibly long list it is. Despite the fact that isn’t written down anywhere, the list of Things We Can’t Talk About is very real indeed. It is maintained mostly, but not exclusively, by liberals. They define the boundaries of acceptable discourse and they reserve the right to yank those boundaries incrementally tighter according to their whim. We can’t talk about communism, black violent crime statistics, Barack Obama’s Marxist upbringing, race and IQ, welfare abuse, or the health risks of male homosexuality.
And pretty soon we won’t be able to talk about the attacks of September 11th either, not unless we feign amnesia about who did it and why. It will be one of those things that only old screwballs talk about.
CAIR’s gripe seems to be that the film paints with too broad of a brush. Most Muslims are peaceful, they argue, so stop referring to al-Qaida as Islamists.
No one believes that the entirety of the Muslim population—1.6 billion people—conspired to attack New York and DC. Most people understand however that the attacks were perpetrated by nineteen Muslim men, planned by a slightly larger group of Muslim men, and celebrated by millions more Muslims (and a few college professors). The idea that someone might get the “wrong idea” is absurd.
Al-Qaeda is an Islamist organization. Every single member is Muslim, and not incidentally either. They are sincere in their belief that they are fighting for Allah. They may not speak for Muslims everywhere but no one does. That does not mean that al-Qaeda’s adherents are not motivated by a religious creed, hence the fatwas, the Qur’an verses, the appeals to piety and the promise of heaven to those who kill and die in its service. A justifiable line can be drawn between this “religion of peace” and thousands of terrorist attacks of which 9/11 was only the most grandiose.
CAIR and its liberal allies like to employ a few pet fallacies to sever the linkage between the attacks and the motivations that precipitated them. Bill O’Reilly encountered one such fallacy when he appeared on The View in 2010 to discuss the proposed ground zero mosque. Whoopi Goldberg’s defense of the mosque was that seventy 9/11 victims were themselves Muslim, which was supposed to disprove the silly notion that Muslims were to blame. By my calculations that means that 2.4% of all 9/11 victims were Muslim, as opposed to 100% of the perpetrators. Big deal. That doesn’t prove that Muslims didn’t do it, it just proves that Muslims kill other Muslims too. We already knew that. The segment affectively ended when O’Reilly asserted that “Muslims killed us on 9/11!” Whoopi Goldberg shouted “Oh my God! That is such b—-sh–!” and stormed off the set with her fellow moonbat Joy Behar to much applause.
Never did I imagine that it would be controversial to say that Muslims attacked us on 9/11. How did we arrive here?
What appears to be happening now is a concerted effort to make the world forget what took place that September morning or, failing that, to erase from our collective memory the identity of the perpetrators. Years ago I would have thought it impossible to achieve such a task but that’s because I was twenty-one years old when those towers crumbled and the attacks have remained the formative event of my generation.
I can see now that knowledge must be transmitted from each generation to the next. To my yet unborn children 9/11 will be ancient history, something like the Kennedy Assassination is to me. Just as I was never told as a child that Lee Harvey Oswald was a communist stooge who defected to the USSR, the next generation won’t know that the 9/11 hijackers were hot for Jihad unless someone tells them.
Some evidence indicates that this kind of deliberate forgetfulness is already happening. The graduating high school class of 2014 consists of young adults who were five years old in 2001. Their recollection of that day is fuzzy. When bin Laden himself was finally killed in 2011, Google was inundated with searches for “Who is Osama bin Laden?” The inquisitive minds were mostly teenagers who bore no blame for not knowing. No one told them.
Now imagine how remote that day will seem to people who were born thirteen years after the fact. They might grow up thinking that the 9/11 conspirators were a bunch of guys who wore funny hats and were mad about…something. Or they might learn that it was all a big conspiracy involving Halliburton, Rumsfeld and a shadowy cabal of Jews.
Profound ignorance is the price we will likely pay for keeping mum about the perpetrators for the sake of appeasing their co-religionists. If CAIR and its allies are successful in banishing the Islamic inspiration of 9/11 to the realm of Things We Can’t Talk About we can safely assume that kids won’t learn about what really happened that day; not from their teachers, not from popular culture, and possibly not even from their parents. So let’s not allow CAIR to dictate to the rest of us how we talk about 9/11. It doesn’t belong to them.