It’s time to start paying attention to happenings in the Middle East

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, October 6, 2012

While listening to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad address the United Nations, it came to me, as it often does, just how wonderfully lucky we are.

When our founding fathers met to begin their job of writing our Constitution, the “Articles” they fashioned in the building of our Legislature and presidency, were carefully arranged so that no one would miss the importance of the statement, “no religious test shall ever be used as a qualification for any office.”

This was further amplified at the very top of the “First Amendment” by saying “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” Wouldn’t it be wonderful if John Adams, Thomas Jefferson or George Washington could be here to see how that instrument has shaped our town of Vicksburg.

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Is everyone aware that we have 90 churches in the Vicksburg area, all of which represent the same Judeo/Christian beliefs that existed when the Constitution was signed into law and ratified? Imagine, all these churches representing most, if not all, the Christian and Jewish denominational orders in our country, living peaceably and productively side-by-side.

More than that, they actually celebrate the love and appreciation they have for each other, as all good neighbors should. And our little town is simply a microcosm of all the towns and cities in America.

And here was the president of Iran, who wants the world to help him bring Israel and the United States under what he called “a new world order,” which we all know as Sharia law.

Those feelings have historical reference. In 1801, President Jefferson had just been inaugurated when the Pasha of Tripoli demanded payment of $225,000, with an annual additional payment of $25,000, to keep his pirates away from our shipping. Jefferson refused, and the Pasha immediately declared war on the United States. That’s when the U.S. Marines were formed and were sent to Africa thus ending the Barbary Coastal Wars.

Muslim’s use of intimidation goes back to Prophet Mohammed himself, who first used it when he marched his newly formed army of followers in Medina to his old hometown of Mecca, camped them in a huge threatening horde on the edge of Mecca while he met with the city leaders. As you know, Mecca then quickly capitulated, and Mohammed took over the town with his new “Muslim” religion.

Western civilization has accomplished much in its efforts to improve life in our world and to do so peacefully. To gain liberty and freedom in the quest for happiness is the desire of all the people in every land. For our citizens, it has become a standard of living that Muslims and other nation’s envy, hence their massive emigration to other countries, including ours. So pronounced is this migration that some have voiced worries that a planned “Caliphate” is under way. I’m going to give them the benefit of a doubt. While they truly want the freedom we enjoy, they instead are forced to accept the strict ideology of al-Qaida or the Muslim Brotherhood.

Along with Ahmadinejad’s speech to the U.N. Assembly, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also addressed the Assembly.

Iran has repeatedly threatened to “wipe Israel off the map” — and the atomic bomb, when it’s ready shortly, will do that. It can obliterate a large city, leaving only a glassy sand-like substance where a city once stood.

Not many folks realize that Israel has only 12 million citizens, or just .2 percent of the world’s population. Muslim nations claim to have 1½ billion followers, or about 20 percent of the world’s population.

We estimate that the largest percentage of that group is not violent and does desire a peaceful life. The Arab nations, however, have fallen far behind in improving their lot and adding to the betterment of mankind.

Yes, the Islamic clock is ticking and it’s way past time for justice to step in and find some common sense somewhere in the region. Let us never forget that World War II could have been prevented if good people had acted in time.

Al Lundin is a guest columnist. He lives in Vicksburg.