Feisal Abdul Rauf says the 9/11 terrorists weren't true Muslims Fox News host Bill O'Reilly argued that the man behind the Norway shootings was not a Christian as "no one who slaughters innocents can be a follower of Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace." O'Reilly was right, argues Feisal Abdul Rauf, and by the same logic, we should declare the terrorists behind the 9/11 attacks non-Muslims. "That's a much harder thing for Christians and Westerners to accept," writes Rauf in The Wall Street Journal, recalling the furor over the effort he launched to build an Islamic Community Center near Ground Zero. "The vitriol hurled against me and Islam was overwhelming. Islam is evil, our critics said." No surprise, then, that the words of some who criticized the Community Center ended up in the Norway shooter's manifesto. In fact, the Quran declares that "whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all mankind." Devoted Muslims would not only cease attacks on non-Muslims, he says, but on other Muslims in Afghanistan and Iraq. The real battle, he asserts, is between extremists of any religion and the moderates. It can be hard for moderates to come together and resist the loud, passionate extremists, but he asks that moderate adherents to all religions unite. "Extremists can never live together in peace. Conflict for them must be eternal. That's why the Coalition of the Moderates must work together—different religions not just in toleration of each other but in acceptance of each other."
David Brooks on Obama and stimulus In their book This Time is Different, economists Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart wrote that "banking crisis recessions" last longer than other recessions. Policy makers, then, should accept that recovery will take several years and should think in the long term, writes David Brooks in The New York Times. "Anything you do to try to boost the growth numbers next month or next quarter is going to be overwhelmed by the underlying forces," he says. "You might as well use the winter of recuperation to take care of the fundamentals. Work hard to fix the education system, the tax code, the fiscal mess and the regulatory system." Yet the considerations change if a slow recovery begins to turn into a backslide, as it increasingly looks is happening now. "This prospect is enough to shock even us stimulus skeptics out of our long-term focus. It’s enough to force us to contemplate the possibility of another stimulus package." Brooks gives Obama high marks for last night's speech. "His proposals were drawn from the middle of the ideological spectrum and were selected to appeal to people who don’t put a lot of faith in government spending." That said, some of the measures might not work. Infrastructure spending takes too long to show results, and hiring subsidies often go to companies that would hire anyway. "The mainstream economic view is that we should combine near-term stimulus with long-range austerity. Up until now, the political system has been unable to perform this two-stage approach. Republicans won’t touch spending, and Democrats won’t touch entitlement reform." Obama seems willing to try again, Brooks says, and Republicans should give him the chance.