Chris Powell: Protect decent procedure to protect our rights

The Kaaba, in Mecca, Islam's holiest site.


Republican presidential aspirant Donald Trump says he wants to prohibit Muslims from entering the United States until the government "can figure out what isgoing on." But everybody knows what is going on and President Obama explained itwell enough earlier this month in a national address.  

That is, a war is being waged within Islam by a totalitarian death cult. Inancient times there were wars within Judaism and in medieval times wars withinChristianity. In such wars God is perceived mainly as license for any atrocity.  Islam's war continues today in part because that religion is so much youngerthan the others, but the world's interest in it is overwhelming, what withnearly a quarter of the world's population at least nominally Islamic, most ofthat population in the developing world.   

The war for Islam has put the United States at the center of a world-historicalmoment.

If the country heeds Trump and demonizes all Muslims and if it tolerates theharassment and attacks against Muslims who are legally and inoffensively in thecountry, citizens, taxpayers, military service members -- attacks that havehappened even in Connecticut -- it will discredit modernity and vindicate thetotalitarian death cult.    But if the United States claims Muslims as a fully legitimate part of ademocratic society under a secular government, the totalitarian death cult willbe repudiated and Muslims everywhere will be invited to choose against it.   

No one may speak with more authority about this than Malala Yousafzai, thePakistani teenager who has taken a bullet in the war for Islam on account of heradvocacy of education for Muslim girls and equality for Muslim women and whoreceived the Nobel Peace Prize last year.   

The more that people speak against Islam and all Muslims, Yousafzai said theother day, the more terrorists are created, and the more that all Muslims arecondemned for the actions of a few, the more will go into terrorism.   

Indeed, exploiting fears politically rather than protecting the country againstterrorism, Trump and others are refusing to distinguish between good guys andbad guys and thereby are telling the good guys that there is no point in being good guys -- that they’ll be treated as bad guys anywayand that there will be no treating Muslims as  individuals   in the United States.   

This is fascism, the betrayal of all American principle.    But the fascist impulse isn't threatening only on the political right and withRepublicans. It is just as threatening on the political left and with Democrats.  Stifling political disagreement, it now dominates college campuses from Amherstto Yale to Missouri to California, and even  Connecticut Gov. Malloy has begun to dabblein it.   

In the name of deterring terrorism, the governor would use the federalgovernment’s secret, grossly erroneous, and unappealable terrorism watch list toimpair the constitutional right of people in Connecticut to bear arms. Thegovernor’s objective is less to deter terrorism than it is part of the politicalleft’s objective to prohibit gun possession generally. If a couple of namessounding like terrorists could be found in the phone book, he'd use that.   

The governor charges that people who object to his plan as a violation of dueprocess of law don't mind if terrorists get guns. That resembles what was saidduring the Red scares of the 1920s and 1950s: that if you defend the rights ofcommunists or people suspected of being communists, you're a commie yourself.    But you're not.

For as Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter wrote, thehistory of American freedom is the history of procedure. Decent procedure mustbe protected at all costs.  

Chris Powell is managing editor of the Journal Inquirer in Manchester,  Conn.