Recently there was a cartoon contest that was to depict the prophet Mohammad. In the Muslim religion graphical depiction of any human or other animal is not allowed. This was apparent when I was in Saudi Arabia. The Pontiac Trans Am Firebirds of the time was adorned with a large eagle on the hood. Police would stop these vehicles and order that they be removed. I had firsthand knowledge of this requirement. I had the only Jeep Golden Eagle in Arabia and was informed that I could not leave the companies compound until it was removed. There was no reason to be upset. I was a guest in a foreign country, religion and government merged into one set of laws and I obeyed the requirement.
ISIS, the so called proclaimed Islamic State, is seeking to build a so called pure Islamic state that shows no tolerance for other beliefs. They have systematically destroyed priceless museum pieces captured in its’ quest of conquest. These pieces are as old as three thousand years old, were carved by sculptures in the employment of kings such as Hammurabi of Babylon and were discovered thousands of years later and placed on display for the world to observe. This is not the first time that Islamic extremist have destroyed beautiful carvings that depict images. The Taliban took huge Buddhist carvings that were carved out of a mountain and blew them up. This happened just before American troops entered Afghanistan. This is the extremist view of ISIS and does not depict the general view of the majority of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world and is no way represents the view of the majority of the approximate 2 million living in the United States. Unfortunately the actions of a very small segment of any society can mistakenly be taken as the view of all.
Governments of legitimate countries that are influenced by ISLAM have various degrees of tolerance toward imagery. The majority are proud of their history and museums depict the findings of archeologist that have dug within the country. Artifacts are not destroyed and museums such as the museums in Cairo, Egypt and Baghdad, Iraq display these findings. One thing is taboo; the prophet Mohammad is not to be depicted and laws prevent such a thing. When I was in Arabia the company I worked for changed work boots supplied to its employees. Red Wings were replaced with a boot made in China. Unfortunately for the Chinese manufacturer, the boot tread left an image in the sand that was close to depicting the name Allah in Arabic. All the boots were destroyed as Allah, the Arabic word for God, thsoudl not be walked on.
America is different. The United States was founded on religious tolerance and there is a distinct separation of government and religion. We have no state sanctioned religion as was in place in England when America declared independence. Furthermore, the Constitution of the United States allowed a freedom of speech which guaranteed that any man has the right to speak his thoughts without fear of suppression. This means that a person can be blasphemous or despicable in what is said, but a person has a right to do so. This is the epitome of a truly free country. This is also what makes a free country a target for individuals that want to dictate how a people will live with no tolerance for any subversive speech or acts.
This collision of cultures became apparent recently. A cartoon in Texas depicting Mohammad ended in tragedy when two Americans that had be radicalized by ISIS drove to Texas to attack the conference. They were enraged by what was being depicted. The final outcome was an unarmed guard being shot in the leg and the two terrorist being killed by armed police.
ISIS is among us and we must remain vigilant. We have home grown terrorist that have been radicalized brought on by a desire for thrill seeking or having some misplaced idea of how to achieve power and immortality by performing subversive actions. The speed that police armed with assault weapons reacted to the attack in Texas shows that the police were prepared for an attack. While this is a success against ISIS there is only a matter of time that a success will happen unless we take pre-emptive attacks against the heart of the terrorist in the Middle East. We must cut off the head of the snake in its den and not wait for it to move into our back yard.
Navy SEAL Robert O’Neill, the man credited with killing Osama Bin Laden, captured the spirit of America and its unique Constitution when he referenced the attack in Texas. He stated that the First Amendment allowed the contest to take place and the Second Amended guaranteed the protection.
The First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech and religion. The Second Amendment guarantees the right to bear arms.

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