In the years since 9/11, Osama Bin Laden has issued more than 20 audio and video statements to spread his view of the conflict between the United States and al-Qaida. According to his worldview, the United States represents Christianity, al-Qaida represents Muslims, Christians won’t protect Muslims, the West hates mosques, peaceful coexistence is a fraud, and the “war on terrorism” is really a war on Islam. By spreading this message, Bin Laden works to turn Muslims against the United States and rally them to al-Qaida.
Now Bin Laden has an ally in this propaganda campaign: Newt Gingrich.
Over the past two weeks, in a series of articles and speeches, Gingrich has declared a religious war that suits al-Qaida’s agenda almost perfectly. While denouncing “Islamists” rather than Islam, Gingrich has blurred the distinction by selecting as his initial target the construction of a mosque near Ground Zero. Everything Bin Laden says about the United States, Gingrich validates. All you have to do is read their statements, side by side.
|[N]ow that senior U.S. officials have spoken … every Muslim should rush to defend his religion. … They came out to fight this group of people who declared their faith in God and refused to abandon their religion. They came out to fight Islam in the name of terrorism. ( Oct. 7, 2001)||One of our biggest mistakes in the aftermath of 9/11 was naming our response to the attacks “the war on terror” instead of accurately identifying radical Islamists (and the underlying ideology of radical Islamism) as the target of our campaign. ( July 28, 2010)|
|This war is fundamentally religious. … Those who try to cover this crystal clear fact, which the entire world has admitted, are deceiving the Islamic nation. … It is a question of faith, not a war against terrorism, as Bush and Blair try to depict it. … Fear God, O Muslims and rise to support your religion. ( Nov. 3, 2001)||Some radical Islamists use terrorism as a tactic to impose sharia, but others use non-violent methods—a cultural, political, and legal jihad that seeks the same totalitarian goal even while claiming to repudiate violence. Thus, the term “war on terrorism” is far too narrow a framework in which to think about the war in which we are engaged against the radical Islamists.( July 28, 2010)|
|It has become clear that the West in general and America in particular have an unspeakable hatred for Islam. … A few days ago, they … dropped—in what they said was a mistake—a radio-guided bomb on a mosque where ulemas were praying. They targeted the mosque, killing 150 Muslim worshippers. It is the hatred of crusaders. ( Dec. 27, 2001)||[T]he Ground Zero mosque is all about conquest and thus an assertion of Islamist triumphalism which we should not tolerate. … It is simply grotesque to erect a mosque at the site of the most visible and powerful symbol of the horrible consequences of radical Islamist ideology. ( July 28, 2010)|
|The intentions of the Americans have also been clarified in statements about the need to change the beliefs, curricula, and morals of the Muslims to become more tolerant, as they put it. In clearer terms, it is a religious-economic war. ( Jan. 4, 2004)||America is experiencing an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization. Sadly, too many of our elites are the willing apologists for those who would destroy them if they could. No mosque. No self deception. No surrender. ( July 21, 2010)|
|The West is incapable of recognizing the rights of others. It will not be able to respect others’ beliefs or feelings. The West still believes in ethnic supremacy and looks down on other nations. … How can we explain France’s stance on the headscarf and the banning on wearing it at schools … This is a Zionist-Crusader war. ( April 23, 2006)||[T]hey proposed a 13-story mosque and community center that will extol the glories of Islamic tolerance for people of other faiths, all while overlooking the site where radical Islamists killed almost 3,000 people in a shocking act of hatred. Building this structure on the edge of the battlefield created by radical Islamists is not a celebration of religious pluralism and mutual tolerance; it is a political statement of shocking arrogance and hypocrisy. … [F]or radical Islamists, the mosque would become an icon of triumph, encouraging them in their challenge to our civilization. ( July 28, 2010)|
|So what is the sin of the Afghans due to which you are continuing this unjust war against them? Their only sin is that they are Muslims, and this illustrates the extent of the Crusaders’ hatred of Islam and its people. ( Nov. 29, 2007)||This is not a war on terrorism. Terrorism is an activity. This is a struggle with radical Islamists in both their militant and their stealth form. … The stealth form believes in using cultural, intellectual and political [power], but their end goal is exactly the same. ( July 29, 2010)|
|“O you who believe! Take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors: they are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them.” … Similar are sophistries like “dialogue of religions,” “freedom of opinion,” “freedom of speech,” “peaceful coexistence.” … ( March 14, 2009)||President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, as our troops were landing in Normandy, went on national radio at 10 o’clock at night and actually led the nation in six and a half minutes of prayer, something very few modern liberals appreciate. This is part of what he said: “Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set up on a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.” This was not a man who was confused about what the stakes were, nor was he confused about what the goal was. ( July 29, 2010)|
|So, who stood by America the Christian, and who supported it? Isn’t that Zardari and his government and army? … Obama has walked like his predecessors in increasing hostility towards Muslims. … I encourage my Muslim nation to stand by the side of the mujahideen and support them everywhere. (“Speech to the Pakistani Nation,” June 3, 2009)||President Roosevelt said the following: “We must remember what the collaborative understanding between Communism and Nazism has done to the processes of democracy abroad. Those forces hate democracy and Christianity as two phases of the same civilization. They oppose democracy because it is Christian. They oppose Christianity because it preaches democracy. Their objective is to prevent democracy from becoming strong.” Again, this is hardly a man who’s confused about what’s at stake. Winston Churchill, at the very peak of the Battle of Britain, said, “Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization.” ( July 29, 2010 )|
|The war which has been taking place on your soil these past years is a war between Islam and the International Crusade. – (“Fight On, Champions of Somalia,” March 19, 2009)||There should be no mosque near Ground Zero in New York so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia. The time for double standards that allow Islamists to behave aggressively toward us while they demand our weakness and submission is over. ( July 21, 2010)|
Several astute writers—Robert Wright, Jeffrey Goldberg, Blake Hounshell, Andrew Sullivan—have explained the idiocy of the anti-mosque campaign. By opposing the mosque, Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Rudy Giuliani, and other Republicans think they’re standing up to Bin Laden. But Bin Laden isn’t fighting for Islam. He’s fighting to transform a war of terrorists against civilization into a war of infidels against Islam. He’s fighting to persuade Muslims that they belong on his side, not on ours.
And you’re helping him, Newt. You’re giving him exactly the fight he wants. Nice going.
Correction, Aug. 5, 2010: Due to a copy editing error, the photograph caption incorrectly referred to Obama Bin Laden instead of Osama Bin Laden.