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What Bush should have said ...

Reader comment on item: Bush Declares War on Radical Islam
in response to reader comment: George Bush's "War on Terror" speech

Submitted by Victor Purinton (United States), Oct 12, 2005 at 13:10

I was pleased with the President's speech. Here are some things I wish he had added:

"The world's secular democracies will never give up this system of governance, and the freedoms and equality it engenders. Muslims everywhere must begin to articulate a vision of the future in which Islam co-exists on an equal basis with other faiths, instead of requiring the supremacy desired by Islamists."

[Comment: We need to start saying things that are gentle but firm: every Muslim in the world must hear from the mouths of western leaders that "we will be forever secular." Moderate Muslims will be thrilled to hear these words, since it takes the pressure off of them to confront the Islamists by themselves. They can then say to the Islamists, "You see, the west is never going to be Islamic. Give it up."]

"The terrorism employed by militant Islamists is widely condemned in the Muslim world. Now, I call on Muslims everywhere to condemn not just the tactics, but also the goals of the Islamists, and ask themselves - are they fighting for what we want?"

[We have to get Muslims to realize that the true, over-arching goal of the Islamists is not justice, ending occupation, or Israel. It is Islamic supremacy. That is something that most Muslims will not support, and they need encouragement and support to speak out.]

"Muslims living in Western nations must realize that they are living in secular societies in which lawmakers are elected by the people, laws apply equally to every citizen and are based on principles held by people of all beliefs, and no single religion is held to be an absolute authority. We will defend this system as we would our very nation."

[This one is for all those western Muslims who have a dream of raising the banner of Islam in their adopted home. They have to realize that it's not going to happen.]

Unfortunately, the Pres is too wobbly on church and state to be very convincing on the question of secularism. Nevertheless, I believe that the mantra of "secular democracy" should be the one debating point, both in the west and in the Muslim world.

It is on the question of governance and laws that we draw the line in the sand. The west has chosen secular democracy, and we're never going back.
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