One year ago this week, I was fired from my talk radio job by ABC/Disney for saying on the air — and in the pages of this newspaper — that "Islam is a terrorist organization." My argument was very simple. Any organization that allows terrorists to operate freely in its name; whose ideology is, rightly or wrongly, used to justify and promote terrorism; and whose membership includes, according to every international poll, hundreds of millions of devotees who support suicide bombing — that organization has a unique problem with terrorism.
That's what I said. ABC ordered me to apologize for it. They insisted I perform community service as a form of penance for it. I told them I would never apologize for telling the truth, and they fired me.
One year later, I'm back on the air and I haven't changed a bit.
The problem is, neither has Islam.
One year ago, I reported in horror that approximately one in four British Muslims told pollsters that, if they knew about a terrorist plot targeting their fellow British citizens, they would not report it to the police. "Troubling," I said at the time, but not as bad as actually supporting terrorist attacks.
This week, a new poll shows that about one in four British Muslims supports suicide bombings, and thinks that the 7/7 attacks in London were justified. Nearly half of British Muslims today believe the 9/11 attacks on New York were a conspiracy involving the US government and Israel.
These are Muslims in Britain. Not Baghdad, not Bangladesh, but living in the heart of the modern, Western world.
One year ago, I mocked an anti-terrorism press conference by "moderate" London imams when the event came to an abrupt, embarrassing end because one imam pointed out that attacks against Jews were, of course, still allowed.
Today, anti-Semitic terrorists fire rockets at Jewish neighborhoods in Israel, and not a single major Muslim leader in the world has condemned them. Hamas receives money from devout Muslims in Saudi Arabia. Hezbollah receives missiles and money from the clerics of Iran.
The leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, even gets a photo-op with the head of the United Nations — in between firing mortars at Israeli schoolchildren.
Kofi Annan had his picture taken with an Islamist terrorist, and he gets to keep his job at the UN. I point out that the guy's terrorism is inspired by his faith, and I get fired. Go figure.
In the 12 months since ABC fired me under threats from CAIR — the Council of Angry Islamic Radi....er, the "Council on American-Islamic Relations" — we've seen newspaper cartoonists driven into hiding for drawing pictures of Mohammed. We've seen Western politicians and media outlets pressured into abandoning free speech by threats of violence in the name of Islam. And of course, we've seen terrorist plots uncovered in Toronto and Miami, and Jews gunned down in a Seattle office building.
We've seen Muslim voters elect terrorists into office in Gaza and Lebanon. We've even seen pro-Hezbollah protests here in the US, greeted by courageous American politicians like Democratic congressman John Dingell with those rousing words in defense of freedom: "I don't take sides for or against Hezbollah."
OK, so it's not quite "Give me liberty or give me death..."
The tragedy of Islam is not that all Muslims are terrorists, or that one must support violence in order to be a good Muslim. Such notions are nonsense.
Rather, the tragedy is that, nearly five years after 9/11, Osama bin Laden is still a member in good standing of the Islamic faith. He has not been declared apostate. His theology has not been denounced as heresy. The Koranic verses used to inspire his murder have not been reformed or re-interpreted. His supporters have not been cast out of their local mosques.
The extremist violence in the name of Islam continues. And so does the deafening silence from the wider Muslim world.
It's not enough for the moderate Muslim majority to say "I don't agree with Osama," any more than it would be enough for Southern Baptist churches to tell the KKK "Hey, you boys have to sit in the back of the church. And be sure to take your hoods off during the prayer."
Islam, like Catholicism and Protestantism and Buddhism and every other "ism," has a duty to confront evil. To fight it, to oppose with both the force of ideas and, when necessary, the force of arms. Merely clearing one's throat and saying "Well, those terrorists aren't my kind of Muslim, harrumph" isn't enough.
At least, it's not enough for me. Until a majority of Muslims agree, the tragedy of Islam will continue for another year.