One of the key witnesses in the congressional hearings on Islam's "radicalization" was Melvin Bledsoe, a fellow Memphian whose son Carlos (a.k.a., Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad) is currently imprisoned and charged with murdering one of our soldiers; an act committed because, as Mr. Bledsoe told the panel, Islamic radicals programmed and trained his son to kill.
Every imaginable faction, without exception, has a kook fringe. But some have more than others, and some have a lot more than others. A multitude of Muslims may indeed feel that their religion has been hijacked by so-called extremists, but it seems the heavy responsibility of weeding out the bad from the good has been yet again dumped on non-Muslims all over the world.
As usual, Americans will lead the way. But these are hypersensitive times and little is to be conclusively expected from a leadership that appears to resist the otherwise undeniable commonality of a theocratic military structure from which almost 17,000 post-9/11 acts of terrorism have been carried out. Yet in an effort to take the proverbial next step to find that ever-elusive "common ground," another fellow Memphian offered this:
"What the First Amendment says is that here in America, each of us has a right to maintain our freedom of conscience. You are free to believe what you want to believe about God, the heavens and mankind, and so are your Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist and atheist neighbors.
"You can't use violence to promote your cause. They can't, either. You can't try to change the government into an arm of your religion, and neither can they. That's different from Iran, Saudi Arabia and dozens of other countries where the government is an arm of religion and vice versa."
-- from "Politicizing Islam aids terrorists" by The (Memphis) Commercial Appeal editor Chris Peck; March 13, 2011