As I’m sure most of you have heard by now, the London Bridge was the scene of yet another terrorist attack last Saturday, when a man carrying an Irish identity card and driving a rented van drove into a crowd of pedestrians. The details are all eerily familiar. Men jumped out of the van and started stabbing people. Witnesses heard them shouting “this is for Allah.” The terrorists then proceeded to rampage through Borough Market, stabbing civilians and police officers with 12 inch knives. All told, seven were killed and 48 injured.
This less than two weeks after Islamic terrorists ambushed a bus full of Christian pilgrims, killing 28 because the refused to denounce Christianity. This mere days after a Muslim terrorist detonated a homemade bomb during the Ariana Grande concert in London, killing 23 and injuring 119 . This only months after the 2016 Berlin Christmas attack, in which a hijacked truck was driven into a crowd of pedestrians, killing 12 and injuring 56. This only months after a cargo truck was used to mow down pedestrians in Nice, France, killing 86 and injuring 434. And I could go on and on. In fact, this list only barely scratches the surface. These are just examples of the widely publicized occurrences (i.e. attacks in Western countries where they can’t simply be ignored). The actual list of the number of attacks which have been perpetrated by radical Islamic terrorists in the name of Allah is mind-blowing. At the time of this writing, Islamic terrorists have killed 592 people in 55 attacks in the last 10 days alone (the first 10 days of the holy month Ramadan).
Now, before I continue, let me offer the obligatory disclaimer. My point here is not to bash on Muslims. I am fully aware of the fact that most Muslims do not approve of such attacks. I’m aware that not all Muslims are terrorists. I’m aware that not all terrorists are Muslims. I’m aware that there are different sects within Islam, and that some of them are violent and some of them are not.
With all that being said, I’d like to pose a question. Suppose there actually was a religion out there whose main tenant and primary aim was to destroy Western society. What exactly would they have to do in order to convince us that they were the enemy? Under what circumstances, if any, would it be appropriate to ban professing members of that religion from entering our country? What if their holy book explicitly commands them to kill people of other religions? What if the self-professed followers of that religion perpetrated attack after attack, in the name of their god, with the stated purpose of killing those who don’t believe as they do? Under what conditions would it be permissible to ban people from entering our country on the basis of their religion, if the main tenant of their religion was to destroy the United States?
If the answer is “never,” then we need to rethink what freedom of religion really means. Yes, we in America have the freedom to worship however we choose. No, there should not be a requirement that immigrants coming to our country follow or don’t follow a certain religion. But at the same time, we cannot simply allow any ideology to enter and flourish, no matter how twisted and sociopathic it may be, just because it enters under the banner of “religion.”
It’s not a hate-crime to believe people when they say they want to kill you. Various sects of Islam have sent a clear, unambiguous message: they want to destroy Israel and the Western Christian world. It is not hateful to believe them. It is not hateful to take them at their word that they really do want to destroy us. And therefore, based on believing them when they tell us they want to kill us, it is not hateful to take appropriate cautionary measures, including advanced screenings, and yes, even travel bans on people from the countries in which these ideologies are wide-spread, to ensure that we’re not allowing in those who are bent on destroying us.
Now, one of the most common objections to any such bans on immigrants is that it would unfairly affect immigrants to the U.S. who have no intention of harming us, and are merely coming here to better their lives. I don’t pretend to disagree with these claims. If all immigrants from a given country, particularly war-torn countries, are blocked, then there will necessarily be some refugees that suffer as a result. But this is not the fault of the United States. This is the fault of the religious fanatics who are bent on destroying our country. It is not our fault that they are claiming the religion of Islam as an excuse for their violence. It is not our fault that their self-proclaimed goal is to destroy us and our allies. And it is not our fault that, as an unfortunate side effect, we have to be extremely vigilant about who we let in from those countries.
Furthermore, it’s not our responsibility to fix the problem. It is the responsibility of the leaders of the Muslim religion and the leaders of the countries in which these ideologies flourish to drive out those who are bent on doing them and us harm, as Trump put it in his speech to the Muslim world. They are the only ones who can fix this problem, and until they do, the United States cannot be blamed for exercising a reasonable amount of caution.