If Newt Gingrich could find common ground with the Rev. Al Sharpton on some education issues, I can find common ground with the former speaker of the House on his comments about President Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Gingrich’s comments came in the wake of the Quran-burning controversy sweeping through Afghanistan. Three American service personnel dumped some trash in a furnace. Among the items were some copies of the Quran, according to news reports.
Once the blaze was set, some Afghan laborers who observed them noticed the burning holy books and tried to yank them from the fire. The incident has set off widespread protests in Afghanistan, and even drove one homicidal Afghan soldier to murder two U.S. servicemen.
Obama and other American officials offered an official apology to the Karzai government. (Karzai accepted the apology, but has declared that he wants the service personnel who burned the Qurans tried for crimes not yet specified.)
Enter Gingrich, grousing and in high dudgeon. Obama owed Karzai no apology, Gingrich declared. Here is his exact quote, taken from a Feb. 23 Associated Press story:
“There seems to be nothing radical Islamists can do to get Barack Obama’s attention in a negative way and he is consistently apologizing to people who do not deserve the apology of the president of the United States period.
“And, candidly, if Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan doesn’t feel like apologizing then we should say goodbye and good luck. We don’t need to be here risking our lives and wasting our money on someone who doesn’t care.”
Touche, Newt, touche. I’m not in agreement with Gingrich when he says that Obama shouldn’t have apologized for the Quran-burning incident. But I’m with him 100 percent when he says that some more apologizing needs to be done.
Exactly where is that apology from Karzai about the murders of the two U.S. servicemen? I think murder ought to arouse as much ire as the burning of the sacred text of any religion.
As I have to constantly remind Islam and Muslim bashers across the nation, Islam is one of the Abrahamic faiths. The others are Judaism and Christianity.
All three religions have one God and several prophets in common: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Jesus are the major ones for Islam and Judaism; Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses are the major ones for Christians, who believe that Jesus, as the Son of God, was much more than a prophet.
That means Muslims are every bit as familiar with the Ten Commandments as Jews and Christians are. And they should be familiar with the one that reads, “Thou shalt not kill.”
I’m not an expert on Islam (neither are the slew of Islam-bashers that have cropped up in America since Sept. 11, 2001) but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Ten Commandments were in that sacred text of the Muslims.
Those who love cruel irony must be pondering this: the Afghan soldier who murdered two U.S. servicemen was upset about the burning of some Qurans, his religion’s holy book.
So he responds by going out and committing an act expressly forbidden by that same book. It would be nice to hear that admission coming from Karzai, that the Afghan soldier, by committing murder, broke one of the Ten Commandments and himself violated a tenet of Islam, one forbidden by that same Quran.
It would be even nicer to hear Karzai offering an apology to Obama, the families of those servicemen and to the American people for the murders. What would be most inspiring, however, is having an American president who had the guts to demand that apology from Karzai.
Examiner Columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.