“Islam Has a Problem”

March 2015

Is Bobby Jindal making a bid for the Republican nomination for U.S. president? At first blush, judging from recent comments he made about Islam, it would seem unlikely. However, the two-term governor of Louisiana, barred by state law from running for a third term, might very well be laying the groundwork for a 2016 campaign. Based on the drubbing he’s received at the hands of the media, it seems that political pundits and Democratic cultural watchdogs are taking the 43-year-old seriously enough to want to discredit him early in the contest. The schoolyard name-calling has begun: Jindal, an Indian-American Catholic convert from Hinduism, is now being unjustly pilloried by tendentious critics across the political spectrum as an Islamophobe, anti-Muslim jihadist, fear-monger, and even “Muslim-basher-in-chief.” American-Muslim writer Dean Obeidallah has gone so far as to liken Jindal’s comments to the “hateful rhetoric” of pre-segregation politicians like Alabama Governor George Wallace, who “defended racism and demonized blacks.” Jindal’s comments, he claimed, “serve to legitimize the hateful views of the bigots. And worse, possibly incite violence” (Daily Beast, Jan. 31).

Jindal’s controversial comments came in the wake of several prominent beheadings in Syria and Iraq by ISIS, the jihadist massacre in which seventeen people were killed between the Charlie Hebdo offices and the Hyper Kacher Jewish market in Paris, and the systematic slaughter of Christians by Boko Haram in Nigeria. “Let’s be honest here: Islam has a problem,” Jindal told a conservative British think tank in a highly publicized speech in London this January. “A so-called religion that allows and endorses killing those who oppose it is not a religion at all,” he said. “It is a terrorist movement.”

Can’t you just hear the cacophony of criticism and indignant reactions?

Even before Gov. Jindal delivered his London speech, he was the subject of a media frenzy — one that might have been part of his plan to have the spotlight focused on him during a simultaneous gathering of potential Republican presidential candidates in Iowa. Well before his appearance in London, his gubernatorial office released his prepared remarks regarding Islam (which he himself admitted were “not politically correct”) to the press.


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New Oxford Notes: March 2015

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